Monday, July 20, 2009

It’s actually a red bike



It’s actually strawberry shortcake to be exact. It has been outside at my yard for ages. There’s an old post on this blog in which I outlined the history behind the bike. Hence, I won’t bore you with any more trivialities. So, why another post? For one thing, it’s a different version of the bike photo. It’s been texturized and the gammarized using the Microsoft Photo Editor (MPE) that I have on my office PC. [Side note: I don’t know why they installed the MPE on my PC because photo manipulation is not what I get paid to do at work.] More on MPE’s capability later. A couple of people were gracious enough to notice this image, which I originally posted at the LensBaby forum. Since I didn’t get that much hits, I was so thrilled to find that there would be similar souls out there who would be interested in my art work. After all, we artists have a propensity to draw attention to ourselves. Laura, one of the commentators, inquired about the technique in manipulating the image. Here’s my response:

“hi laura, thank you so much for your interest. i shot the last one hand-held using my canon 350d and the original LB probably at f4 or f5.6. converted raw into sepia and saved as tiff, and then i imported the file on the original adobe photoshop elements (i refused to upgrade as i am so familiar with this oldest version and don't want to learn to use the newer ones, plus i'm a cheapskate). the post processing involves layering with gradient fill to get that color combination. then i exported the file in the microsoft photo editor and used the effect for texturizer. played around with the slider until i got the effect i wanted. the texture was a free jpeg download from the internet. i had to convert it to tiff as microsoft only accepts tiff. hope this helps. have a great day.”

Now that I remember it, I actually did not use gradient fill to get that greenish color. The photo insert proves it. In fact, I saved the file as “red bike 081129”. Well, duh? Why call it red bike when it looks green? Because it’s actually red.

Anyways, let me correct myself here: The MPE has a slider to control the gamma along with the brightness and contrast. I selected the gamma but instead of working in RGB, I played around with each color channel. I did this until I got the tone I wanted. Sweet.

The last step was texturizing it. The MPE has this cool effect where one can apply textures sans colors of the image used for texturzing. Most commercially available photo editors (ones that cost $$) work by importing an image of the textures. The image is layered unto the photo that requires texturing. If the image is colored, the imported textures will also contain the color information, which one may or may not want. The cool thing about the MPE is it imports only the textures while disregarding the color information associated with the image being imported. [Technically, the image is not imported. The data that makes up the textures are somehow extracted from the image, and used by MPE.] The final image appears as though it has been etched or crumpled. I’m sure there’s a way to achieve the same result in Photoshop Elements but I am not aware of it. Costlier softwares like Adobe Photoshop CS4 or Lightroom may be able to deliver the same result but I can’t afford it. My motto is to be resourceful. So I use what I already have or I improvise.


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More on MPE: the last step prior to posting my imageThe MPE is a cool software that can do certain things more efficiently than Photoshop or Corel Paint. Just before I post an image on the web, I use the MPE as a final step to post-processing after I tweak everything in Photoshop Elements or whatever it is I’m using. My MPE did not cost me anything so I don’t know how much it cost as stand alone. In fact, I don’t know anyone who actually uses the MPE for effects except perhaps for re-sizing an image or converting bitmap to jpeg. There is also a size limitation, which I have yet to figure out. Sometimes it will accept a 300kb jpeg file; sometimes it won’t. I think most files that will be uploaded on the web will be less than 300kb, so for practical purposes the MPE can do the job for all photos intended to go on the web.Tags: texture, techniques, tools
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