Category Archives: Photoshop

Using a DSLR as a Digital Microscope

I’ve recently had the need to solder some small components at home, but don’t have a microscope, or even a decent magnifying glass. But then I thought that I’d a rather expensive DSLR and a pretty good macro lens, along with some extension tubes (allows closer focussing). Now I know that the camera has a Live-View facility (it’s a Canon 5D Mark III), but would the display be output easily to a monitor? Well, in the box that came with the camera, I found a cable which had a composite connector and some kind of A/V connector for the camera, so I set it up as shown in the pictures, a switched on the camera. The menu was displayed on the monitor, as hoped. Once I’d enabled live view and adjusted the settings so the exposure was OK, I zoomed into the display, first x5 and then x10. Each time the live view display was replicated on the monitor.

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Before and After – Pink

Another in the before-after series. This shot was taken for a challenge competition, where the theme was “Pink”.

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Before and After – Fading Contrails

This is the first in a series of before-after shots, where I show the shots that came out of the camera, and the final image, describing how I got from one to the other.

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Photoshop L-Plates

New to the “Photoshop Parody Plug-ins” collection - “L-Plates” for Photoshop. This is a clever little plug-in that you can give to all your friends who produce endless over-saturated, over-processed images. Now, with “L-Plates” you can configure how far they can push each slider in Photoshop.

For example, the default setting in L-Plates for the saturation slider is 15. This means that the use cannot physically push the slider past 15 without getting an over-ride code. And you’re not going to give that code to them, are you? Because you’re so used to seeing images with the saturation slider up around 40-45 (and beyond).

You can also opt to go for the “Electrode Edition”, which includes a hi-voltage adapter that’s connected directly to the user’s skin (location to be decided by you) that will  deliver an electric shock to the user each time they try and push the slider beyond the configured limits. And each time the user tries to go past the limit, the delivered voltage will increase, and can only be reset back to the low level by exiting Photoshop, going off to get a cup of tea, and coming back in a more relaxed state, where the user is less likely to over-process an image.

In the testing for this product it has been found that after a week of using it, the resulting images are far more pleasing and natural looking. In fact, and added bonus seems to be that rather than pushing the sliders up to their default limits, the user under re-training actually stops short of the limit rather than going right up to it. In the case of the saturation slider, which is set to default 15, some user actually only go as far as 13 or 14. This was an unexpected side-effect of using the “Electrode Edition”. Because of this, the next revision of the product may have the capability to deliver a more powerful electric shock, which may encourage even lighter use of the sliders, and will probably result in normal images in a much shorter time-scale.

Installation is a snap. Just browse to a friend’s Flickr or Facebook photo, and let the plug-in do the rest. It’ll analyse the picture, and if it detects that the image is over-processed, it’ll find where the image was uploaded from, and install the plugin on the remote machine automatically.

There are over 100 slider configurations available in “L-Plates”, and you can control the maximum setting for each one. The plug-in also has a fail-safe, in that it will detect if the administrator attempts to change the default limits to something that is beginning to look a bit over-processed. In this case, it will automatically recognise that you don’t have enough cop-on to set sensible limits yourself, and you certainly should not be telling friends what they should be doing. If your plugin gets into this state, there is a special trainers edition of ‘L-Plates’ which comes with hard-wired limits that you cannot change. Once you’ve used that for a month, you can then upgrade to the normal version, where you can then configure the limits for installation on your over-processing friends computers.

At last – an end to the assault on your eyes every time you view new images from your friends. :)

Related Plugins: L-Plates for HDR – Similar to Photoshop -L-Plates, but works with all popular HDR software packages.

This news-release is scheduled for publication on April 1st 2012.

 

Photoshop Extreme Makeovers

My daughter wanted to be an Avatar, because she happened to see a video on YouTube of Venessa Hudgens being given the Avatar treatment. I had a good look at the video, and gave it a go. Here’s the result:

Also, if you want to give it a go yourself, here’s the YouTube video by NEATeyePHOTOart I used as a guide:

Once I’d completed the Avatar daugher, my other two wanted their own makeovers. So they chose the vampire style of the movie “Twilight”. Here’s the before-and-after from each of their makeovers.

and

The most difficult part of the vampire makeovers was the removal of the freckles in the first one. I was told that vampires dont have freckles. Something do do with skin pigment in vampires. Where they got that from, I don’t know. Anyway, they were insistent that I take out the freckles. I think they were right, it’s a better result because of it.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Arrival

I just took delivery of Adobe Photoshop CS5. I had recently got CS4, and decided that I’d like to keep up-to-date with the latest version, especially with all the rave reviews of the new “Content-Aware Fill” feature that everybody is going on about. Having played with it in the trial version, I decided it was worth the upgrade. I haven’t tried it for real yet, only on some test images, but the results of the Content-Aware Fill look nothing short of magic. I was working on an image of the Dolmen in Poulnabrone, and used this feature to remove those damn ropes that surround it. Not only did it do a nice job of removing the ropes and rope-stands, it filled in what it removed with rocks, shadows, highlights, etc, which all made for a retouch that is very hard to tell from the real thing. Much better (and faster) than the older patch tool in CS4.

Photo Retouching

I just subscribed to www.GuyGowan.com. He’s a photo retoucher and Adobe Photoshop Trainer, and I happened to see a couple of his seminars at Photofest in Dublin in April 2010. The stuff he does with channels in photoshop is nothing short of amazing. It really does speed up workflow. Also the emphasis is on non-destructive methods, and natural-looking retouches, so using a combination of curves and channel masks, all the retouches work with the image, making the changes as natural looking as possible. There’s also a method of doing HDR withouth any 3rd party program or the HDR action in photoshop. The result is  a very dramatic, natural looking image with all the dynamic range of a HDR, but without the halo’s and other negative effects you usually associate with HDR. If you get a change to catch Guy in a seminar near you, he’s defintely worth a look.