Archive for June 2011
Saw this gerbera the other day as I was passing a flower shop and couldn’t resist picking it up. I love the vibrant colours and those petals look just like flames!
Here are some of my favourite photo posts from the week.
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As per my previous post, I’ve learned that some things take time, more time than I necessarily have. This blog, for instance, has been taking more time than it should lately. These texture pieces are particularly time consuming. As we arrive at summer holidays for the kiddies, they are going to be much more demanding of my time. Putting these things together, I plan to cut back on the blog over summer. I’ll still be posting regularly, but it will be less often – probably every few days.
In the meantime, I’ve officially hung out my shingle and launched my website for my photo business (Mike Moruzi Photography). You can find me at the very cleverly named website – www.mikemoruzi.com. It accompanies my Facebook business page that I launched a few weeks back. Hopefully a lot more of my time will be consumed as I get my business up and running.
I learned something new these past few days (and posts). I learned that while the technique of applying textures to photos isn’t too difficult it is actually quite a bit harder to produce something I like and hence, feel is worthy of sharing. Broken arms and additional required parenting/child nursing time aside, this is a much more time-consuming process and I find I’m just not able to set enough time in the day aside to meet a daily posting regimen. This explains my sporadic postings of the last few days and conveniently serves as a prefab excuse for any further late posts in the near future.
So, the title of today’s post is not referring to my Photoshop skills, but rather to the creative process. Unlike with a photograph that is more lightly processed, this type of image is not one that I arrive at quickly. It requires far more experimenting with treatments that work and don’t work (and there are a lot that don’t work). Most significantly, I find I need to allow these image to breathe a little, to rest, to hide from prying eyes.
This particular image required four attempts to get it to a stage where I was prepared to post it. I had a previous version uploaded yesterday in an attempt to post on time, but when I saw it in the blog, I realized I was rushing an image out the door that I didn’t even particularly like to meet a self-imposed deadline.
I like this image now, but tomorrow when I see it again I may just change my mind.
Missed another day on the blog. Not good. I did have good intentions to blog yesterday, but my daughter rather completely stole my day out from under me. We were at “Family Fun Day” at school on Friday. I was one of many parents volunteering as teams of kids rotated through activities. It all started at 9:00am. Everyone was having a lovely time for all of about 30 minutes when she broke her arm in a fall at one of the stations. Presumably everyone else continued to have fun, but we very definitely did not.
Thankfully, I was on the field so I had her on the way to emergency just a couple of minutes after the fall. It was a pretty bad break – so she had a pretty rough time of it, but the hospital did a fantastic job and rushed her through all points along the way. We were home (and serving her every whim) a little under four hours after the break. I’ve heard horror stories of 8 and 10 hour waits in the emergency rooms here in Alberta so I was really happy that we spent very little time at all waiting. About 45 minutes after the break we were in a room in the pediatrics ward.
While I have pictures from the hospital she forbade me from using them on the blog. Fair enough. She’s not exactly at her best, but she was still able to pull off a smile for the camera while we were waiting for all the doctors (two monitoring respiration, two orthos, two responsible for drugs, one casting and one nurse) required to cast her arm. It’s a teaching hospital so three of the crowd were observing/helping/learning. My wife and I had to leave the room to make space for all the doctors!
Since I wasn’t allowed to include a picture from the hospital, here’s my latest texture project.
If you’re interested in the compositing that I and a couple of others (David and Brandon) have been doing lately and you’re still not quite understanding how we’re pulling it off – I found this recently posted video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uS5zn04Ks4) by Adorama that explains it in detail.
Once upon a time, I had this picture of a rose. I thought it was a pretty decent picture (as flower pics go) when I shot it about seven years ago. Until yesterday, I was still pretty happy with it. That is, until I reworked it with a few select textures. Now the original looks flat, and boring to me.
When the weather turns around (it’s cold and raining in Edmonton these days) I’ll actually get out and shoot with the specific goal of exploring textures, but for now, everything in my back catalogue is available for a do-over.
Regarding the processing notes that I usually include in my postings. I didn’t include anything yesterday and I wasn’t going to include anything today because the process of applying textures isn’t a step by step approach. I find it involves a lot of trial and error. There are techniques that I’m using, but they’re not in any particular order.
In general though, I start by selecting an image with a clear subject. I then open in PS and make a copy of my background layer, adding a mask and brushing out the background so my subject is isolated. This gives me my primary layer with my subject. This is the most time-consuming part of the process, especially if your edges have a lot of detail. Getting the mask right so it doesn’t look like you took a pair of scissors to the original photo takes time, heavy magnification and a lot of feathering.
I keep a white layer beneath the primary layer so I can tell if I have any gaps in my mask. Once I’m happy with the mask, I start trying textures above and below the primary layer. Some work, some don’t. Sometimes I copy the mask (from the primary layer) onto a texture layer to control the area the texture is affecting. Moving layers up and down changes the outcome as well. On each layer, I experiment with the blending mode and the opacity until I find something I like.
I find Overlay and Soft Light work well as blending modes for texture layers, but they can lead to unseemly hot spots in the image and that where the burning tool comes in handy.
Then, as I mentioned yesterday, you just have to decide when you’re happy enough with the image to call it done.
Working with textures is interesting. It’s hard to decide when you’re done. I’m not sure I’m happy with this photo yet, but apparently I’m happy enough with it to share.
I actually uploaded this once to the blog and when I saw it in thumbnail form, I found something I didn’t like. I’m sure I’ll come back to this a few more times before I really think it’s done. Might need to give it a total overhaul.
I may never tire of these composites and I have many more ideas yet to play out. Unfortunately time is going to be short for shooting and processing these so tomorrow will have to be something new.
If you’re still not sure how I’m doing these, David has done the most recent and most thorough explanation of the process. The only real difference between my approach and his is that I put a black mask (hold ALT then click the ‘Add layer mask’ icon) on every image to initially hide every layer. For the layer I want to work on, I click on the mask to select it, then Shift-Click on it to temporarily hide it. Then I paint with a black brush over the element I want to keep from that layer. Click the mask again to reactivate it and fine tune by painting with the black brush to expose more and a white brush to hide. Repeat on each layer.
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