Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fatboy Slim - Weapon of Choice - Music

Okay, let's not get too serious here.
How about some dancing music.

Weapon of Choice
Fatboy Slim (aka Quentin Leo Cook, aka Norman Cook)

(Still going thru my music by title using Windows Media Player, whew.)

Currently, I found three different videos at youtube with this song:
1. Christopher Walken
2. street scenes
3. girls
google it.

More Links:
dailymotion video has info about the song.
The song draws from Frank Herbert's novel Dune, evidently.

Connie Converse Story - Music

I found out about Connie Converse via the NPR Song of The Day, here.
(Follow the links there.)

Something about it hooked me.
A singer/songwriter in the 1950's who went largely unrecognized.
She packed up her bags in 1974 and disappeared.
If alive today, she'd be 85 years old.
Converse's Social Security number has not been registered as a death.

Hour long mp3 download about Connie, here.
(Follow the links there, also.)

"One has a right to become a missing person."
(51:50 on mp3)

Image creation notes:
Coloring and grain is aged film effect, white faded/ragged borders.
Feedback effect on linear gradient, greyscale, increase brightness/contrast for "road."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Radial Blur and Landrollers

I caught some Dog Whisperer episodes on the National Geographic Channel and wondered what kind of skates Cesar Millan wore.

They are Landrollers. Noticed the pic at the Landroller site and tried to duplicate the effect in Paint Shop Pro using radial blur zoom and masking. Turned out pretty good. (Found the original googling.) The Landroller website added the helmet too, evidently.

Duplicate layer the original image, radial blur zoom, then added a mask and airbrushed out the areas I wanted in focus.

Airbrush settings need to be very soft so edges won't show.

Layer Palette.

Can duplicate the entire mask layers group and fiddle with layer opacity and blend modes for various lighting and contrast effects.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moon And Venus

Moon and Venus in the eastern sky at 6:24 a.m.

Post-processing: added a dash of cloud texture, lightened the blue tones a tad, removed the chromatic aberration on Venus, sharpened, added border, cropped of course.

Moon to Hide Venus
Sometime before or after sunrise Wednesday, April 22.


Things are still lookin' pretty brown and soggy around here.

The most interesting thing I saw this past weekend were Mr. and Mrs. Goose hanging out along the rec trail. (I guess they're a couple, I couldn't tell. heh heh)

What's with the leg, I have no idea.

Okay, that's enough of this photo shoot, we're outa here.

The water looked muddy dirty that day and a fairly blue sky too.

Besides cropping, I added some fill flash to the foot pic post-processing. No sharpening. I liked them soft better.

These were all taken with my Canon XSi. I usually take BOTH cameras, the Canon S3 and XSi. The viewer is WAY better on the XSi in sunlight. Better quality goose feathers from the XSi. S3 is better at handheld great DOF--everything in focus and sharp. Typical point and shoot vs DSLR behavior, I guess. I'll probably always have BOTH types of cameras.

My next camera equipment purchase is probably going to be a
50mm f/1.4 lens for my XSi. I want to get creative with shallow DOF and learn how to work with such a thing.

Better build quality, better bokeh (background blur), better focusing than the cheapy 50mm f/1.8 lens.

After that purchase? Probably a shoe-mount flash.

Canada Geese.
"Canadian Geese" is incorrect, evidently.

Previous pics:

Standing on one leg is typical resting posture of (some/all?) birds, evidently.
Golden's Birds of North America 1983 Ed., now 2001 Ed.
Page 108 Behaviour of Shorebirds:
9. Dunlin standing on one foot, a typical resting posture of shorebirds.

Awesome Bokeh in Paint Shop Pro

Idea from the popular "awesome" bokeh photoshop tut here.

Here's mine:

Probably needs more work, but I thought it looked pretty good as is.

How I did it:

I made a couple of brush stamps using the circle shape that looked like this:

For the settings and variance, I started with the stock PSP8 brush Preset called Confetti and then tweaked it until I got the effect I wanted.

Brush Step was between 60-80.
Brush Variance (F11) - I ended up with everything at zero EXCEPT:
Size Jitter = 10
Fade Rate = 100
Position Jitter = 100
Impressions per step = 1

Brush with White FG and Pale Grey BG.
Two layers for depth.
One with smaller brush size and blurred.
Both layers set to Overlay blend mode. (I tried Dodge, but the brush borders get jaggie.)

Gradient used was a multicolored linear with gaussian blur 40 added.

To get more light/shading variance I airbrushed random white spots on a top layer.
Use very light settings: Size 50, Hardness 2, Opacity 10, Step 10
Then added some Gaussian blur and set layer blend mode to Dodge.

My layer palette looks like this:

And in addition, a happy accident along the way:

The dark blue background layer with one layer of that gradient set to blend mode dodge resulted in the above image.

I've made those before using filters/plugins. Never knew how to make one from scratch. I'll have to play with that some more.

Popular Photoshop Lines Tut with a Filter

This Photoshop Lines Tutorial shows up on a lot of recommended tut lists for some reason.

Playing around with filters/plugins, I found one that does something similar.

Birgits Chaos Filters
Use as Overlay Layer on top of a gradient.
Flip, Mirror, Rotate, etc the layers.
Try different gradients.
Try different Black&WhiteStrips Settings.
Add a black layer and then crop off the sides of the stripes to look more like the Photoshop tut.
Stretch, rotate with the Deform tool.
Endless variety.

An Offset filter, included in Paint Shop Pro and many other graphics software programs, will make stripes from any image.
Simple, Diamonds plugin/filter will rotate vertical stripes 45 degree angle and fill the image seamlessly.

More ideas here.
Has a link to the Birgits and Simple filters.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Kang Filters

These images were created using the Kang 4 Filter set.

I really like them.
Just pretty abstracts.


I got the bug to install GIMP and see what it's like, even though I don't really need another graphics program. Paint Shop Pro is dying since Corel bought it from Jasc, so I'm unsure about it's future.

Is it gimp or GIMP? GIMP, I think.

The first thing about GIMP I wanted to know was how well it supported the use of free Photoshop compatible (*.8bf) plugins/filters.

"Pspi is a GIMP plug-in that runs 3rd-party Photoshop plug-in filters."

For Windows, download gimp-pspi-1.0.7.win32.zip
and unzip. There is only one file in it, pspi.exe.

Copy and paste it in GIMP's plug-in directory here:
C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\lib\gimp\2.0\plug-ins

Load GIMP and under the Filters Menu there will be an added option called:
"Photoshop plugin settings"
Click on that and select a path for the plugin (s) you want to load.
I then had to exit GIMP and reload it before it would look for and load those plugins.
I got a popup error on Paint Engine plugin.
It would not work in GIMP. (Possibly because of that ini file?)
Look under the Filters Menu in GIMP again and the plugins should be listed there.

Most plugins I tried worked okay in GIMP.
IrfanView might have better support for 8bf plugins, so that's an option. Paint Engine works in IrfanView.

Since I had just recently been on a fractal kick, I noticed right away that GIMP offered some fractal effects. Fractal Explorer is listed under Filters, Render Menu. More Fractals under Filters, Render, Nature Menu. But those looked too rudimentary and not user friendly. Apophysis would definitely be better.

There's that initial struggle to get around a new interface, but GIMP is pretty easy to learn. Windows behavior support is poor--typical of Open Source software, though, so no surprise. What is up with that multiple popups thing when saving jpg files? Drove me crazy. I need to find out how to make that go away.

I looked in the Filters area first for things that might be in GIMP but not in PSP.
Some interesting effects I want to play with more are:
Filters, Artistic, Cubism
Filters, Artistic, GIMPressionist (Might be like PSP brushstrokes?)
Filters, Distort, Lens Distortion (has a zoom and different from PSP)
Filters, Light and Shadow, Supernova
Filters, Light and Shadow, Lighting Effects (different from PSP)

Paint Shop Pro 9 has a LOT more features than GIMP.
I would definitely miss it.

I've fiddled with Photoshop, but don't like it much.
Photoshop does have some nice filters/effects, though.

More Art

Been quietly playing in Paint Shop Pro a lot lately. I have lots of images I've created that I like but not much to say to go along with them. I basically just start with some kind of fill like a gradient or stock pattern and then start applying different effects/plugins/filters to it and go from there. Sometimes I see something online that gives me an idea for an image, but often end up with something else completely different.

I adore red and green color combos...

This one is fun and lively.

Applying filters/plugins will often result in ragged edges, spots, pixelation that I want to smooth or remove, so I use various blurs to do that. I forget about Edge Preserving Smooth effect in Paint Shop Pro. I think it might be close to Photoshop's Noise Reducer. I'm wanting something that smoothes cleans without making things looks too blurry like Gaussian blur will do. Median blur can go too far and lose definition. Anyway, it's interesting and fun to use various blurs and see what happens. Radial blur is a fav, very versatile in Paint Shop Pro with twirl, swirl, zoom and more. And then sometimes I use the warp brush if I want to mush, move for a more random, imperfect look.

Here's what my PSP Help files say about Edge Preserving Smooth:

And Radial Blur...

Gradient-like effects are always fun, no blurs on this one...

All images created had a filter applied from the VisMan package.

The Richest Season - BOOK

Here's a good weekend read.

The Richest Season,
By Maryann McFadden

I enjoy starting over stories.
This one was different because it tells the story from both sides. I liked Paul's transformation story more than Joanna's.
The turtles side story wasn't interesting to me at all.
I hesitated about reading the book because of the dying stuff (Grace's story), but it didn't get too heavy/melodramatic.

A debut novel.
The author has a 2nd book coming out Jul 09.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Reading The Wind - BOOK

I read something different, a sci-fi book.

Reading The Wind, by Brenda Cooper


See also Brenda's blog post series on the ideas explored in the book.

I discovered it the old-fashioned way--at the library.
The title caught my eye.
Good storytelling in that it moved along at a good pace and kept me interested.
The wind readers interested me the most in the story and I wanted more details on that. Or rather, where that idea comes from and if there are other books that explore a similar idea.
When I got to the part where the enemy landed, I couldn't stop reading it until I was finished.
This book is part 2 of 4.
Part 3 and 4 are not published yet.
I'm not feeling like I want to go back and read part 1, but I might read what comes next after part 2.

I've been playing around in Paint Shop Pro lately. Here's something I just created that seemed to go along with this book theme.

Image Creation Notes:
Visual Manipulations (VisMan or VM Natural),
Instant Art, Strange Life Form 2
Applied to a gradient.
Added various blurs.