Tag Archives: adobe

I felt honored

Picture of the Moment

The Pacific Photographic Society (PPS) to which I belong is a Meetup group.

That’s how I found out about it.

After each event—and we have billions and billions of events!—each event attendee is allowed to upload no more than ten photos to our Meetup photo album for that event.

Everyone browses the pictures and sometimes comments.

Along with the picture of Cleo (see this post), this picture got the most comments:

Bench

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The owner of the garden, herself an extremely good photographer with equipment far superior to mine, and a member of PPS, had this to say:

“This is an interesting interpretation of this subject. I like what you have done with the texture.”

I felt honored.

The original picture was all drab, some of it having to do with it being a dull, drab, overcast, gray, rainy day. However, I have discovered that within those dull, drab, My wise old grandmothergray colors are many other colors wanting to get out. Photoshop to the rescue!

As my wise old grandmother (picture ►) would say:

“What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Anniversary? Birthday? Graduation? Marriage?
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Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Is he a keeper?

How I Did It

A couple of days ago, Julian asked me if I was going to teach him the ins and outs of creating Photographic Art. I can’t express how happy it made me that he wanted to learn, and considering how awesome he is in everything he has accomplished for Photographic Art, I had no hesitation about teaching him and expecting him to pick it up very quickly.

So today, before he arrived for work, I picked a particularly troublesome photo to train him on. Here it is:

Amerigo

This had 12 problems associated with it and each problem allowed us to explore different facets of Photoshop.

0 – Perspective. It’s obvious that I was standing on the ground looking up at the mural because everything seems to be tilted back. We corrected the perspective and then cropped the window at the right so that we had half a window on both sides.

  1. A little piece of something in the corner, probably an advertisement or a parking sign. We removed that.
  2. Glare from a light is noticeable. We had to clone that out to make that area blend in with the rest of the mural surroundings.
  3. A little imperfection in the stucco. We cloned that out.
  4. Glare in the window from lights elsewhere. We removed them.
  5. Two little dots which don’t look like much here, but sometimes those little dots really stand out in the Photographic Art. We removed them.
  6. Four little dots. Removed.
  7. Part of a square something or other. Removed.
  8. Another imperfection in the stucco. Cloned.
  9. Another little part of a square something. Removed.
  10. It might be hard to see in this picture, but there is a wire that starts here, goes behind the mural, and shows up again up near 3. Removed.
  11. A flag pole holder. Removed.
  12. Stucco faded noticeably so we cloned it to make it more even with the rest of the stucco.

Here is our final product:

Amerigo

Some of the many Photoshop features/variations we used included:

  1. Crop Tool
  2. Perspective Crop Tool
  3. Clone Stamp Tool
  4. Spot Healing Brush Tool
  5. Rectangular Marquee Tool
  6. Fill, Content Aware
  7. Copy, Paste, Move
  8. Brush Tool
  9. Zoom Tool
  10. Image Size
  11. Canvas Size

So, whaddaya think of Julian’s work? He certainly doesn’t sleep on the job like my other partner:

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Is Julian a keeper?

Julian back at work

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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I have the answer:photograhic art taking pictures making art

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Inspected house made more beautiful

Blah to beautiful with Photoshop!

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I always like it when my home inspection Clients are satisfied with the home inspections I do for them.

Occasionally, though, a Client will call with a different matter.

I include pictures in my reports, usually of problems and problem areas. However, on the front page of the report is a picture of the front of the property that I inspected. Here is the picture from an inspection earlier this week:

Inspected house

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yep. It’s a picture of a house, specifically a manufactured home. A pretty blasé picture.

Now that my Photographic Art venture is viable, I decided that I should start including a Photographic Art picture of the home. I decided to replace the cloudy sky with a more beautiful sky, and bring some contrast and depth to the home and the plants. When I finished, I had this:

Inspected house made more beautiful

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My Client called to ask me where I got the picture. I told him that I took a picture at the inspection, and since the picture was pretty blah, I used Photoshop to make it more beautiful. He was amazed. I pointed him to my Photographic Art Catalog, so who knows where this might lead somewhere down the road. Maybe he’ll buy billions and billions and billions of my work!

Tomorrow, just for my wonderful readers, I’ll be posting a tutorial on how to not only replace skies, but how to easily select detail like you find in those pine trees, a technique that works with anything that has a rough outline, like hair on a person’s head, cat and dog hair, etc. So be sure to tune in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel (smile if you grew up watching Batman!).

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Consider Photographic Art!photographic art logoVisit Russel Ray Photos.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hibiscus cube

Digital photo editing software

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach, CaliforniaDisclaimer: All of the photos in this blog post have been significantly “photoshopped.”

I got my start with Photoshop with version 1.0 way back in February 1990. I was already entrenched into the PC world by then but my business had customers using the Macintosh, so I had a Macintosh in the office just in case a Client needed me to do some work in that computer environment.Silver Strand Training Complex

The Big Four software programs in my office were Word, Excel, Photoshop, and CorelDraw. With those four programs, I could do anything. In September 1994 (finally), Photoshop hit the PC environment and that was the end of any association for me with Apple computers. Word, Excel, Photoshop, and CorelDraw still are the Big Four on my computers, and CorelDraw isn’t even available for Apple computers.

Public art in Palm Springs, CaliforniaI know that Photoshop can do anything that CorelDraw can do, and it’s been my goal since April 2007 (Photoshop CS3) to force myself to use Photoshop for all the things that I’ve been doing in CorelDraw, which I have been using since version 1.0 hit the market in January 1989.

Adobe, however, made that difficult to do in one sense because Photoshop CS3 was a whopping $649.  The price for CS4 went to $699 where it stayed for CS5 and CS6. Unreasonable for anyone other than the extraordinarily rich, the über wealthy, and people like me who were willing to alter the family budget and do without 175 happy hour margaritas at On The Border.

African lioin at the San Diego ZooRecently Adobe has made Photoshop and its sister program, Lightroom, available on a subscription basis, which seems to be where the software market is moving. If you own Photoshop CS3 or later, you can get both Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 (the latest versions) for just $9.99 a month. How great is that? Well, let me put it into numbers.

For people who bought Photoshop and then upgraded when a new version was released, which was every 15-18 months, here’s the cost for CS3, CS4, CS5, and CS6:

CS3, April 2007 – $649
CS4 upgrade, October 2008 – $199
CS5 upgrade, April 2010 – $199
CS6 upgrade, May 2012 – $199
Total over 61 months: $946

Happy ThanksgivingThe subscription cost for Photoshop and Lightroom for 61 months at $9.99 a month is $609.39. Quite a savings. There are arguments for upgrading every other time, which would save $398, and you could always buy the software at Amazon or Fry’s Electronics and sometimes get a discount. So there have been ways to save money over the Adobe retail price.

HibiscusA cool advantage of the subscription method of having software is that you get updates instantaneously. No more waiting 18 months for the latest and the greatest because you always have the latest and the greatest, providing that you let your software upgrade itself. You can turn that feature off, and there might be an argument for doing so. We all know that software has bugs in it, even upgrades and updates. Sometimes the upgrade/update fixes a bug but introduces a new bug.

Zoey the Cool Cat soccer ballA real life example that happened to me:

A couple of months ago I had lot of Actions and keyboard shortcuts set up in Photoshop CC (the latest version, available only by subscription, but you can still buy CS6 from Adobe). I had Photoshop set to automatically install updates. One update totally deleted every Action and keyboard shortcut, basically resetting it to the factory defaults. That was not cool, and I let Adobe know on their Facebook page. Within a couple of days they had another update that fixed that problem. Too late, of course, since all my Actions and customization had already been deleted, causing me to spend several hours re-recording the Actions and setting my keyboard shortcuts again.

Lonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust HDR collection dynamic brightness filterAfter that experience I set Photoshop NOT to do automatic updates. I would decide when to do updates, usually on weekends or holidays when the world’s not busy demanding my time. In writing this post, I went looking for all the ways that I could set Photoshop to update, and the ways that I used to use are completely gone, including Adobe Updater and the preferences from within Photoshop. Maybe they learned….

Many people seem to be upset at the subscription method but I think it’s brilliant. My Microsoft Office software is also via subscription; it’s called Office 365. With two very large companies going the subscription route, I think you’ll see more and more of it within the next five years.

Lonely day on the seawallIf you don’t like the idea of a subscription, buy Photoshop CS6 before it’s no longer offered for sale; currently $699 at the Adobe web site. There are other options, too:

      • Corel PaintShop Pro X6—This program can do 95% of everything that Photoshop can do and is its main competitor. The 5% difference is stuff that is unique to Photoshop, like some of its filters. Don’t worry, though, because PaintShop Pro has things that are unique to it that Photoshop doesn’t have, like a set of different filters. PsintShop Pro X6 is selling for $59.99 right now direct from Corel’s web site. This was my go-to program from May 1993 to April 2007. I still have it because I like many of its filters and frames, and I’m much more skilled at it than I am Photoshop.
      • St Andrew Catholic Church in PasadenaGIMP—GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is an open-source, freely distributed program. I have heard good things about it but have not tried it, mainly because all my time right now is dedicated to Photoshop, the de facto standard. However, GIMP doesn’t cost anything, so that’s a big advantage. I use two open-source programs: Audacity for recording and audio manipulation, and, of course, WordPress. Both Audacity and WordPress remind me of a comedian whose name I do not remember. He was talking about Wikipedia: “The great thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can contribute. The worst thing about Wikipedia is that anyone can contribute.” That pretty much sums up open source programs, including, in my opinion, Audacity and WordPress.
      • Ocean Beach, CaliforniaPicasa—This is a Google program. I tried to use it once and it literally took over my computer for several hours looking for digital images; there was no way to stop it. Imagine what happened when it finally found my six external hard drives with 175,000 digital images on them. Yep, hours and hours and hours of cataloging. As soon as it finished, I uninstalled it. That was a couple of years ago. Maybe newer versions are better.
      • The Gear CatsAdobe Lightroom—If you’re looking for a great program at a reasonable cost, Lightroom is for you. This program is for photographers and doesn’t do the advanced graphics and image manipulation (such as compositing) that Photoshop does. It sells for $119 through January 11 at the Adobe web site. I also have this program but I’m not using it currently because of my time bias in favor of Photoshop.
      • U.S. Route 80Adobe Photoshop Elements—This program has “elements” of Photoshop. I call it “Photoshop Lite” because it can do all of the stuff that Lightroom does and some of the stuff that Photoshop does. I consider this a more powerful program than Lightroom but, interestingly, it costs less than Lightroom; $69.99 through December 28 from the Adobe web site.
      • For some other options, check out Photo Editing Software Review 2014.

Hibiscus cube

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ferris Wheel at Irvine Spectrum Center

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer,
Realtor Century 21 Award, BRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat soccer ball

Caturday (11-2-13)—Zoey the Cool Cat playing soccer!

Cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Long-time followers know that Zoey the Cool Cat likes to sit on the back of my desk chair and watch tennis or golf.

Zoey the Cool Cat watching tennis

Zoey the Cool Cat watching tennis

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

She is not interested in football, basketball, or baseball.

I suspect that the balls in those sports are too big.

She prefers small things.

However, today, I found her playing with a soccer ball:

Zoey the Cool Cat soccer ball

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you saw my recent post on the Zoey the Cool Cat cube, you might remember that I said the cube was really easy to do.

Taking the basics behind the cube, I decided to see if other shapes were just as easy to do.

Yes.

All I did was get a soccer ball from one of my graphics programs and then pasted Zoey the Cool Cat pictures into appropriate places.

It took about five minutes total!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, BRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Friday Flower Fiesta — The 2013 San Diego County Fair dahlia show

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Our Friday Flower Fiesta today features Dahlias from the 2013 San Diego County Fair. Almost 1.5 million people attended the Fair during its three-week run, and the flower shows are always some of the most popular.

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last Dahlia picture below is a little different. It was the first one I worked on right after I had updated Photoshop CC with a quick download “to solve bug issues” according to Adobe. Well, after letting Photoshop CC update itself, I noticed that some of the Camera Raw controls were working a little differently.

Previously the Clarity slider would increase the clarity. “Logical,” Mr. Spock would say. Now it doesn’t seem to do much with clarity but appears to be more of a contrast control, controlling darkness and lightness, something that the Contrast slider always did quite well.

What’s more disconcerting, though, is that the Clarity slider now introduces a lot of noise. Previously I really didn’t have a problem with noise in 99% of my photographs. Now I seem to have a problem in all of them!

So with the final Dahlia picture (remembering that it was actually the first one I worked on), I was taking slider controls to their extreme to see what they did, and I think this one is a pretty good artsy picture:

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Dahlias at the 2013 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m Zoey the Cool Cat,
and I approve this post.This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

 Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I can recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Find Photoshop expensive? Consider leasing.

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Currently on my computer I have these digital photo editing programs:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Adobe Lightroom 4.1
  • Corel PaintShop Pro X4
  • Corel Photo-Paint X6
  • CorelDRAW! X6
  • Word 2010 (don’t underestimate it!)

I have had Photoshop, Photo-Paint, CorelDRAW!, and Word since their initial releases decades ago.

When I went to upgrade Photoshop, I discovered the steep price. I also discovered Lightroom, so rather than the steep price for a Photoshop upgrade, I opted to continue using my very old version of Photoshop and learn Lightroom.

When I went to upgrade my very old versions of Photo-Paint and DRAW!, I discovered PaintShop Pro. The price was very reasonable, so I bought it.

I use all of those programs for various purposes, but my current goal is to see if I can get Photoshop to do everything. If I can, then ultimately I’ll be migrating my skills in all the other programs over to Photoshop.

I think that Photoshop is the most powerful individual programs, but if I combine DRAW! X6 and either Photo-Paint X6 or Paintshop Pro X4, I can do in them anything that Photoshop can do. The question is, “How easily?” or “How much time is involved?”

For example, I use CorelDRAW! X6 to do the Zoey the Cool Cat approval stamp at the end of each post. It takes me about 15 seconds. To do it is Photoshop would take several layers and lots of time, and I haven’t found that Photoshop Actions can really automate everything for me yet.

I use Word 2010 to create quick frames, like the one I use for my wise old grandmother:

My wise old grandmother

That took about 15 seconds in Word 2010.

I use Lightroom 4.1 to give me quick JPGs from RAW files and to do quick adjustments for exposure, highlights, shadows, contrast, and clarity (sharpness). Five sliders takes about 30 seconds. The same tasks in Photoshop takes several minutes due to having to go through Adobe Camera Raw first and then into Photoshop. Minimum of five layers in Photoshop.

I use Photo-Paint to create GIFs. It’s the easiest program I’ve found for that:

You could learn a lot by paying attention here

PaintShop Pro X4 is very similar to Photoshop, and I’ve found it much easier to use. However, simply because Photoshop is the defacto standard throughout the world, Photoshop is where I’m dedicating my time. When you have a defacto standard, you have a lot of people doing tutorials and creating plugins and such. So Photoshop it is.

One you have created certain effects that you like in any of the programs, you can either save the file as a template and then just replace the picture as needed (that’s what I do in CorelDRAW! and Word) or you can create actions, scripts, or macros in the other programs to automate tasks. As with anything, it takes time to set it up initially but then the ROI on your time is returned each succeeding time you do the same thing.

If you’re considering Photoshop and find the price too steep, consider leasing it, which is what I do. I have a one-year lease with Adobe that costs me $19.99 a month. Considering that the full program is $699, it would take me 35 months of leasing to pay for the program. That’s three years. During those three years, Adobe will come out with two upgrades, costing you $199 each, another $400. You’ll never be able to stay up to date with the latest and the greatest. With a lease, you can.

Twenty dollars a month is less than any of my other individual bills — gas, phone, cable, mortgage, electricity, etc., and something I can easily afford. Coming up with $699 all at one time, and then $199 every 18 months, can often be difficult for the 99%.

If you’re considering a Photoshop lease, when you go to buy the product, in the dropdown box, select “Subscription” instead of “Upgrade” or “Full.”

Once you have any of these programs, if you have a question about how to do something, ask me. If I don’t know how to do it, I’ll find out. It helps me learn, and real-world examples are always much more fun than reading through a book or watching a tutorial.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos