Tag Archives: Photoshop

Photoshop: Photo manipulation

PHOTOSHOP: Photo manipulation at its best

IT’S amazing what people can do with photography software such as Photoshop. I remember doing a crash course at varsity whereby we were given a photograph of a newspaper lying on a desk. The task was to create a glass sphere on top of the paper from scratch. The final orb magnified the print behind it, cast a realistic shadow and had a beam of light shining through it.

The photoshop workshop only took 45 minutes, but I couldn’t even begin to recreate something like that if held at gunpoint. Fortunately others can and always impress with their photo manipulation skills. Check out these peculiar works.

Photo Manipulation

Bumble Dog

Bumble Dog

Clown explosion

Clown explosion

Bonzai

Bonzai

Iron Man

Smoke on the water

Smoke on the water

Egg Heads

Egg Heads

Rising ink

Rising ink

Shattered arms

Shattered arms

Falling letters

Falling letters

Water painting

Water painting

Vertical Turn

Vertical Turn

Soccer peas

Soccer peas

Torn

Torn

Zebrafrog

Zebrafrog

Pencil Muncher

Pencil Muncher

Chicken Dog

Chicken Dog

Nosey Pete

Nosey Pete

Face punch

Face punch

SEO Tip 1: image searches

SEO TRICKS: Using image searches to your blog’s benefit

CHECKING your site’s statistics on a regular (if not daily) basis is extremely useful for determining just how people are arriving at your website via searches. I have been surprised to find that a lot of my traffic arrives via Google image searches. So how do we make the most of this?

If you wish to use an existing image on the web, the first trick is to download and re-size the image. By simply opening the image in Photoshop, you can save the image as a larger file (jpeg) than what it previously was. The result is that if someone does a relevant image search and clicks on the “large” option, your version of the pic is more likely to show up first in searches, and may result in a click-through.

The second step is to tag your images cleverly and ensure that these match with the context of your post and/or post headline. For example, in a post titled How to Photoshop your photos, the accompanying image (below) has been both re-sized and renamed to “Photoshop Before and After.” The keyword “photoshop” has also been used within the alternative text and description of the image.

Photoshop Before and After

Photoshop before and after

Photoshop tends to judge, so touch up your human subjects

It is also useful to provide a sub-heading and caption with your images – each containing the same keyword(s). Ideally the same tags should appear in your post headline as well.

Picture Posts

It seems to be very difficult to get picture posts publicity on the web due to their text-free nature. However, by applying the same methods above, your picture posts are far more likely to be found via Google image searches. As an extra insurance, provide a short splurb with each each image – over and above the sub headings and captions – and fuel these with relevant search tags.

That’s all for now. Next time we’ll look at promoting your posts via social media.

How to Photoshop your photos

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PHOTOSHOP 101: How to touch up your photography

Straighten skew pics

FOR most photos there should be some kind of visual clue that indicates whether a pic is skewed or not – such as a horizon in the background or something lying horizontally flat in the photo. Use a line guide to find the horizon and rotate the image until it’s straight. Go to “image” then “rotation” and play around until things are straightened out.

Crop your way to the good bits

If your image was rotated it may have left behind ugly looking black triangles in the corners. There is often also a lot of excess background in photographs which can all be cropped off using the most popular Photoshop tool – the Crop tool. Crop closely around your subject(s) using the tool and hit enter to perform a crop. Holding down ctrl+shift while cropping will keep things square.

Touching things up

The Clone Stamp tool is probably one of the most contested Photoshop tools as it can be used to change an image quite drastically. If there are a lot of similar looking objects or shapes that you want more of, simply clone them in. With the Clone tool selected, press alt+click over the object you want to clone. Alternatively, the Clone tool can be used to remove unwanted elements. Cloning the sky over storm clouds is a common example.

Photoshop Before and After pic

Photoshop Before and After

Photoshop tends to judge, so touch-up your human subjects

Heal your handiwork
If your image consists of close-up of a face, put your morals aside and get rid of any spots or blemishes using the spot healing tool. Zoom in close to achieve the best results and simply click on the spotty areas with this Spot Healing Brush selected. You can also use this tool to blend the edges of an altered subject to better fit with the rest of the background. It may appear as if you’re erasing the background, but worry not.

Drawing and blurring details

Using the line or paint tools to fill in details is not recommended as things can get messy pretty quickly. Trying to draw freehand using a mouse rather than your own trusty digits is a whole different story. However, if you do decide to add in a little detail be sure to use the Blur tool afterwards to soften the edges. This will also replicate the look of the original photo.

The quick and easy way

Photoshop takes a lot of practice to master as there are literally hundreds of things you can do to your photos. But if you are a little pressed for time or bewildered by all the tools there is a very quick touch-up method. Open your pic(s), go to “image”, “adjustments” and select “auto levels” (ctrl+shift+L). Viola!

– Article adapted from the December issue of Stuff magazine

More Online Tips & Tricks

Compacting memories

My folks had me cleaning out my old bedroom this holiday. In fact I found the whole house to be in disarray when I got home. A large slice of lawn is now a concrete slab and a portion of the roof is missing. I’m struggling to see the patio-vision right now but I’m sure it will turn out nicely in the end.

Back in my room I was given two boxes and a black garbage bag. The bag was simply for ‘garbage’, one box got filled with giveaways and the other was for storing memories in the garage among the fowls.

It’s amazing the things that human beings will collect. My stowaways include a huge jar of marbles, which I won during my junior school days, all the Tintin and Asterix and Obelix books, and a few Beanos. These are among a collection of comic books, playing cards, schoolbooks and love letters (from my wild High School days).

Then I have my prize collection of deodorant cans – convinced that these will be a popular antique to have one day when they stop making certain brands, just like soft drinks or biscuit tins. I even left a smidgen of scent in each can so that I might be able to recall some odorous memories when I finally unearth them. It’s amazing how smell can bring about a flood of memories…

Photography: past and present
Yet the one thing that I’m sure we are all guilty of accumulating are copious amounts of photographs. Some of us have been really disciplined and set aside a good few weeks of our lives to order these into photo albums.

A collection of photographsHowever, I was surprised to find that I only had a handful of photos to speak of – ones that were at least taken by myself. I then realised that every photo that I have from varsity onwards is sitting neatly in a digital folder on my computer labeled ‘my photos.’

And I have thousands of these! Yet I remember setting aside a good few hours of my life to order every last one into distinct folders and even turned a few collections of them into videos, which will be forever stored on the internet. Well until it crashes in 2023 of course…

However, there is still nothing more satisfying for an aspiring photographer or hobbyist to whip out an ordered photo album when guests are around, or having your favourite ones on permanent display within an aesthetically pleasing frame. It’s also great looking at old black and white photos or ones with that historical sepia tint. My folks have a whole wall of the house dedicated to those. They’ve entertained guests on the way to the toilet for years.

But this is the year 2009! I am content with the idea that mom and dad’s house is becoming a unique museum of photography (at least inside) and I’m keen to look to the future. Enter the digital photo frame.

[The digital photo frame enters]
This piece of technology doesn’t need much explanation – it is what it’s called: a photo frame that stores digital photographs. It has an LCD screen which can display a series of photographs in a slideshow and a USB port to load on new photos whenever one feels the need.

One is also able to choose how long each photo will display itself for and choose what transitions will take place between photos. These digitised frames can also be connected to the internet to download new content and can, of course, be connected to digital cameras.

The digiframeThere are just a few issues to take note of. One is to ensure that the frame has its own internal memory card so that it may operate independently of your camera’s memory card. Roughly speaking, a 2 Gigabyte SD card should store up to 1000 images.

Another factor is to ensure that the device has a decent battery life. Unfortunately the general battery life is between 1-3 hours, but most frames have an internal clock that can be set to switch the device on and off during different times of the day.

The other thing to realise is that the quality of the photographs might not be that great, especially for the entry-level digital frames. Depending on the size of the frame/screen (which range from five to 32 inches) one should hope for 800×600 resolution.

An 8 megapixel camera takes photos at a much higher resolution than this and I imagine the digital frame will compress these. So if you know a bit of Photoshop it might be useful to resize you chosen photos before loading them on as this will ensure that you fit in the maximum number with the highest quality possible.

Cost and context
One would expect such as modern-sounding piece of technology to be expensive, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. I saw an entry-level frame in an Incredible Connection catalogue for R600, which is not a lot considering the price of posh, non-digital photo frames.

The more advanced digital frames are obviously pricier, but are able to do a lot more. I’ve come across some that can play videos, MP3s and display text. Others come with wi-fi, touch screens and light sensors and can connect to the web remotely and stream online galleries from sites such as Flickr.

Now imagine a photo frame dedicated to your wedding day. It could begin with a worded introduction to set the scene, saying something like “Mr and Mrs Right were married in Perfect Park on a Friday, April 13”. This could be followed by a short video of the ceremony and lead into a slideshow with the wedding couple’s favourite song playing in the background. I smell a money-making opportunity… And that idea is absolutely free. I’m all about sharing.

I can see it all now: my digitised and compacted wedding memories displaying in all their modern glory in my future living room, with a box of empty deodorant cans hiding in the attic.