Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Digital Art -3/4/15: "Going Negative"


The Digital Art meme hosted by Natures Footstep memes   now includes what was formerly the Abstract Photo meme.

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GOING NEGATIVE:

 A few months ago I started to experiment with "going negative" ---that is, I took an image, either straight from the camera or one that I had already enhanced, then inverted the colors.

On some images the inverted colors look terrible. On some they look wonderful and then there are some that look OK, but need some adjustments. Sometimes I am surprised at what colors turn up in the inverted image.

I tend to like bold colors, so there are usually some dark colors in my images. Those turn white or almost white when colors are inverted, so sometimes I erase the white in the inverted image to leave the colors from the original image (on a layer below) show through or I select the light colors and replace them with darker ones. I often make additional adjustments as I normally would with any image.

If you want to try this in Photoshop, go to any image. Duplicate the image on a new layer (control +J ---or command +J on a Mac). Go to Image>Adjustments>Invert.

Below find just a few before & after images I created over the past few months, with one step in-between.

CLICK ON AN IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEWS OF ALL.
Image 1a: "Silver and Blue"
If you remember this from several months ago,
 I took a photo of the top of a square wooden post
painted blue (notice the tree rings on the left) with some
duct tape on top.  I rearranged and worked with color
to come up with this abstract design.
Image 1b:
After inverting colors, before additional enhancement.
Image 1c: "Brown and Gold"
I upped the clarity and color saturation and made some
areas darker with the burn tool to increase the textures.
Image 2a: "White Hydrangea"
SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera)
Image 2b: "Hydrangea in Negative"
After inverting colors, there seemed to be too much white,
so I added a blue-violet gradient to the white in the corners,
then upped the clarity and color saturation slightly.
Image 2c: "Hydrangea in Negative, Framed"
I copied the center of the inverted image (above) &
placed it on a new layer, then upped the saturation a bit.
On the layer with the complete image, I used the
cutout filter to simplify it, then added a violet layer in
color mode over that (under the center section layer.)
I selected the center section, expanded the selected area
added a new layer under it and filled it with a blue I took
from the image to create the small outline around it.

Negative colors with a difference:

I started with a photo of columbine flowers. When I inverted it, I didn't like the result. (The green flower bothered me.)

But then, I changed the inverted layer from normal to "difference" mode and WOW!  I loved the result.

After adjusting levels a bit, it was even better.


Image 3a: "Columbines"
Original photo of columbines after
normal enhancement.


Image 3b: Inverted image.
Image 3c: "Columbines in Technicolor"
Inverted image in "difference"
mode and levels adjustments.
I suggest trying this on an image that doesn't have a lot of white or very light colors and very little black or very dark colors. If you can't find something, try adjusting the contrast. Or choose the dark areas and add a lighter color and add a darker shade in the light areas. If you do this on a layer with a copy of the original photo under the difference layer, when you change it, the layer in difference mode will adjust accordingly.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Digital Art - 2/18/15: "Golden Slide"


The Digital Art meme hosted by Natures Footstep memes now includes what was formerly the Abstract Photo meme.

Click on the links above to view the posts by other artists/photographers or to participate yourself.

There used to be a large "Play Castle" at a local park. It included all kinds of bridges, slides, and climbing apparatus.

One day, after taking a walk in the park, when it was rather cold and close to sunset, no children were using the equipment. So, I climbed to the top of several spiral slides and took photos, looking down. The slides were made of metal, probably aluminum. The sun was low in the sky and there was just a hint of reflection from the orange sky in parts of the photo.

I like taking photos of playground equipment.  However, these days I'm reluctant to take photos when youngsters are playing.  I don't want anyone to think I'm stalking their children.

This equipment is now gone, replaced by a new playground. The new equipment is more colorful, and probably won't result in splinters, but I think the old structure looked like more fun.

Click on any image fore a larger view.

"Golden Slide"
For this image, I added color and textures.
original photo:
spiral slide, looking down from above
"Play Castle"
gone, but not forgotten
"Play Castle"
















See my photostream on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cj_proartz
Below my name there, click on albums to find a particular type of photo (Black and White, Fences, Abstract, Landscapes, Still Life, Autumn Scenes, Bridges, Animals, Art Created from My Photos, etc.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Digital Art and Geometric Friday - 2/4 & 2/6/15: "Spheres of Interest 5"


The Digital Art meme hosted by Natures Footstep memes   now includes what was formerly the Abstract Photo meme.


Geometric Friday hosted by LorikArt 

Click on the links above to view posts by other artists/photographers or to participate yourself.





Since I started to post photos & art on Flickr, I've been expanding my horizons.  Occasionally a group I belong to has a challenge. If I don't have something that fits the challenge, I have to create something new (if I want to participate.)

Sometimes I post an image in one group and another group invites me to post to it, too.

I had posted several abstracts that included circles and was invited to post on two other groups that post only images that include circular shapes & forms.  Several other groups post only square-cropped images. So, I started to create square-cropped designs with circles and or spheres.

I begin with one circle or more and let my imagination take me wherever it goes. I love challenging myself to figure out how to do something I've never tried before in Photoshop

This image was created completely in Photoshop ---no photos involved.

"Spheres of Interest 5" 

This is the 5th in a series. Since I created this, I've worked on several others.

See my photostream on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cj_proartz
Below my name, click on albums to find a particular type of photo (Black and White, Fences, Abstracts, Landscapes, Still Life, Autumn Scenes, Bridges, Animals, Art Created from My Photos, etc.) Or view my entire photo stream which includes everything I've posted, with the most recent first.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Digital Art & Geometric Friday - 1/28 & 1/30/15: "The Squares Within"


The Digital Art meme hosted by Natures Footstep memes   now includes what was formerly the Abstract Photo meme.

Geometric Friday hosted by LorikArt 

Click on the links above to view posts by other artists/photographers or to participate yourself.

Does anyone have the iPhone app that creates beautiful watercolor effects?  I think it's called Waterlogue. (I rarely use my cell phone, so it's not worth it for me to buy an iPhone.)  If so, would you be willing to occasionally use it on one of my photos?  In exchange, I'll be glad to use Photoshop or Topaz to enhance one of yours?  If, so, please leave a comment prefaced with "DO NOT PUBLISH." ( I monitor all comments so I won't publish it.) Leave your email address in the message and I'll contact you privately.

Find a new Photoshop tip on creating composite layers under my images.

This image began with photos taken at the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art.

On the second floor, there are open spaces looking onto the first floor. From those, one can see painted squares on the walls. I took photos of them specifically with the intention of creating an abstract image with them.

I used three photos of those openings and manipulated them, repeated, scaled, overlapped, & rotated them until I had my basic composition. I added some of the colored squares to parts that didn't have those patterns on them. I added textures and colored outlines and upped the saturation.

I then made a composite view of all my layers merged together, made it smaller, duplicated it several times, scaled those to smaller sizes, and rotated them on top of my original composition.

My final step was to rotate the entire image. What started as the bottom is now on the right edge. A well-composed non-representational abstract should look good no matter which way it is turned, but sometimes an artist just prefers it one way over another.

To rotate everything at once, I created another composite layer. See instructions below the image on how to create a composite layer while retaining all your individual layers in Photoshop.


"The Squares Within"
One of three original photos.
Another of my three original photos.





Photoshop tip: Merging layers while keeping copies of all the separate layers intact.

Sometimes I want to add a filter to all my layers at once, or I want to saturate or balance all the colors on every layer, yet I want to keep my layers separated in case I want to go back and make changes.  (Sometimes I even need to copy a layer from one image and add it to a completely different image, so I want to keep at least one file in photoshop format with all my layers unmerged.)

1. Make sure you have only the layers you want to merge visible. Hide all others.
2. Go the the top-most layer you want to merge.
3. Choose shift + option + control + e  ---press all four keys at the same time.
    (On a Mac, use command instead of control)
4. That will create a composite layer of all the visible layers above all the individual layers.
5. Change the name of the layer to "Composite 1"

If you want to make more changes:
6. Hide that composite layer if you want to add more layers below it or change the layers below it. Otherwise, make a duplicate of Composite 1 and make changes to it.
7. Again, hide layers you don't want to be part of your new composite layer, you can go again to the top-most visible layer and make a new composite layer, and call it "Composite 2."
8. If you want to see if your additions to Composite 2 were an improvement over Composite 1, make both visible, and hide any layers between them, then hide the upper-most composite layer and turn it back on to see which one you like best.

Repeat steps 6-8 as often as needed.


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See my photostream on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cj_proartz
Below my name, click on albums to find a particular type of photo (Black and White, Fences, Abstracts, Landscapes, Still Life, Autumn Scenes, Bridges, Animals, Art Created from My Photos, etc.) Or view my entire photo stream which includes everything I've posted, with the most recent first.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Digital Art - 1/14/15: Trying an online photo editor

Natures Footstep memes 

The Digital Art meme now includes what was formerly the Abstract Photo meme.

Click on the links above to view the posts by other artists/photographers or to participate yourself.

I've never had much luck using the "Colored Pencil" filter in Photoshop. I've played around with it, and usually don't like what I get.

In searching for online enhancement sites, I found one that has several good filters for creating colored-pencil-like effects and lots of other effects.

The only problem is that you can only use an image that is the maximum size of 2 MB, which is fairly small. On an image that was originally 12 X 9 inches, I had to reduce it to 960 X 720 pixels to get it to 1.98 MB.

Below, I'll show you some of the results and give you a link to the photo editor and instructions for using it.

NOTE: After I applied the effects on the photo of trees below, I did not make additional changes in Photoshop, so you can see what the actual results were.
(I made additional changes on the very last photo "Mail Pouch" but not on the trees.)

I suggest clicking on any image for larger views of the effects.

Original Photo
If you want to try the photo editor yourself: (Don't be intimidated by the numerous steps---it's rather simple to use if you can figure out how to reduce the size of your image, first.)

Understand that a filter might look great on one photo and look terrible on another, so try several to see which you like best. There are 123 effects to choose from. (I can't imagine ever wanting to use about 75% of them, but some look great on some photos and I might find a use for more than I can imagine now.)

"Dark Pencil Drawing" efffect
"Clean Pencil Drawing" effect
"Stroked Pencil Drawing" effect
"Detailed Pencil Drawing" effect
"Typographic Photo Effect 3"
"Clean Impressionistic Painting" effect



FOLLOW THESE STEPS:
1. First enhance your photo in any way needed. Save it as you usually would. (If you don't have software to do that, you might want to chose the "Colors and Details Enhanced" filter once you get to Steps 5 & 6.)

2. Then make your image dimensions very small. In Photoshop you can go to Image> Image size. Change the dimensions from inches or centimeters to pixels, then lower the pixels until it says 2 M or less at the top of that window.
        Examples:
        at 300 ppi (pixels per inch) at 960 X 720 pixels, the dimensions are 3.2 X 2.4 inches = 1.98 MB
        at 150 ppi (pixels per inch) at 960 X 720 pixels, the dimensions are 6.4 X 4.8 inches = 1.98 MB

3. Save it again in jpg format, adding something at the end of the title to tell you this version is very small or for this photo editor, such as Title960X720px.jpg or TitleSmall.jpg or TitlePictureToPeople.jpg

4. Go to the Picture to People website: http://www.picturetopeople.org/easy-online-photo-editor.html           
        I suggest that you bookmark the page so it is easy to go back to ---you have to do that between effects and images.

5. Scroll down through all of the options to find an effect you want to try.
        For a colored pencil effect, I like the "Stroked Pencil Drawing" or the "Detailed Pencil Drawing" filter under "Colorful Drawing Effects" but there are others, too.

6. Click on the icon of the effect you want.

7. Go to the bottom of the page and click on choose file. On your computer, choose the file then wait until you see the title of your image on the photo editor page.

8. Click on "View Effect Result" or "Download Result." In my experience, it is rather slow to view the effect. I often skip that step. (If I don't like the downloaded result, I can delete it later.)

9. Click on "Download Result." If you clicked on "View Result", you have to click the left arrow at the top of your window to go back to the original page to click "Download Result."

10. After it downloads ---and it may be slow ---it says to choose F5 to go back to the original page. However, that doesn't work for me (maybe because I have a Mac.) I just use the arrow to return to the previous page. I also have the page bookmarked so I can easily return to it.

11. Your first item will appear in your download folder with the name online_photo_editor-result.jpg or it might end in png if you used a black and white effect. You need to change the file names later.

12. If you want to try a different filter with the same photo, you have to start over, choose a filter, choose the file again, etc. It will go into your download folder with a slightly different title. It might have a dash and a 2 at the end, or jpg instead of png or vice-versa.

13. Open up your edited photos in your regular enhancement software to make additional changes, if you wish.

I haven't tried it yet, but I think some of these
might look good over others, either making the top layer transparent or changing it to overlay mode.


You might want to try clicking on other tabs at the top of the Picture to People page.  I attempted one watercolor effect that gave the option to choose some parameters, but it wanted an image of 1 MB or less. I had to reduce it to 4.3 X 3.225 inches at 150ppi. The only choice was calculate effect. But since there was no option to download, I had to right click and choose to copy it, then paste it into a new Photoshop file. I thought it looked terrible ---not like watercolor at all.


"Mail Pouch"
This was the first image I tried with this photo editor.
I used the "Dark Pencil Drawing" effect.
I then opened the image in Photoshop
to increase the color saturation and
add a signature.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *
See my photostream on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cj_proartz
Below my name, click on albums to find a particular type of photo (Black and White, Fences, Abstracts, Landscapes, Still Life, Autumn Scenes, Bridges, Animals, Art Created from My Photos, etc.) Or view my entire photo stream which includes everything I've posted, with the most recent first.