Filmmaker, Video Editor, Motion Graphics Designer, and Photographer in Cairo, Egypt.
Keeping notes to remember.. You may consider it some sort of Documentation.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How To Make Your Photos Look Professional (3)

The Extreme Contrast Effect:

I'm still not very sure when this effect works the best. I guess the more the photo has bright colors, the more it looks great with it.

Anyway, I'll use this photo of Pooh reading a book about PHP. I took it using my Nokia cell phone's camera. Not a high resolution photo at all.

Step 1: Duplicate the background layer by clicking the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J. This will add a new layer called "Layer 1".

Step 2: Desaturate the new layer by hitting the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+U to make the image appears in black and white.

Step 3: With "Layer 1" selected in the Layers palette, press Ctrl+J to duplicate it, so we'll now have two black and white layers in the Layers palette.

Step 4: With "Layer 1 copy" selected, change the blend mode of  it to 'Screen' and lower the opacity to 50%.

Step 5: Click back on the original Background layer. Then press Ctrl+J to create another copy of it, named "Background copy". Then drag & drop it to the top of the layer stack.

Step 6: Change the layer's blend mode to "Overlay", and the opacity to 75%.

Step 7: With the "Background copy" layer still selected, press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E to merge all layers onto a new layer at the top of the layers palette.

Step 8: Add noise to the merged layer [Filters > Noise > Add Noise]. And use the values of the following screen.
Aside: Well, feel free to set the "Amount" of noise you'd like & that suits your photo.

Step 9: Sharpen the image to enhance the noise [Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen]. Use the following settings.

Step 10: Add a "Curves" adjustment layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves], and set its blend mode to "Multiply".

Step 11: Grab the Elliptical Marquee tool from the Tools palette, and drag out a large oval selection inside the document, making it so large that the edges extend out past the left and right of the image.

Step 12: With Black color as your Background color and the Curves adjustment layer selected in the Layers palette, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Backspace to fill the selection with black. You're not covering the image itself with black. Instead, you're filling the area on the Curve adjustment's layer mask with black, which will cause the Curves adjustment to be hidden inside the area you selected, allowing the original lighter version of the image below it to show through. Only the corners of the image remain darker.

Step 13: Soften the edges with the "Gaussian Blur" filter [Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur]. Use the following settings.
Aside: Again, this depends on the resolution of the photo. So, change the value till you get a smooth enough edges.

This is the last step to have an Extreme Contrast effect on your photo. For this particular one, I'll add some blur effect to the background, to make Mr Pooh stand out of it.

So here's the final result. Click to enlarge.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

How To Make Your Photos Look Professional (2)

Here's another trick of almost one step, which is called:


This effect usually works fine with images that have a lot of colors, as it depends on manipulating the Red, Green, & Blue colors of the image.

I'll use this photo of the Nile.

Step 1: Add a Curves layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves]. Then press OK.

Step 2: From the Channel drop-down box, select the Red channel and drag the top right of the curve a little to the left. Then drag a couple of points on the curve so that it forms a very gentle S — darkening the shadows and brightening the Red channel's highlights.

Step 3: Select the Blue channel and drag the curve's top-right point downward. It doesn't need to be much — just enough to take some blue out of the highlights. Then drag the curve's bottom-right point up a little, blocking up the Blue channel in the shadows.

Step 4: In the Green channel, add another gentle S curve — increasing the contrast, especially in the highlights.

Step 5: Change the Curves adjustment layer's blending mode to Color.

And here's the final result. Click the pic to enlarge.

Well, it almost depends on how much you control the channels curves, and your eyes trying to figure the best balance between the three colors. So, watch your hands & eyes ;)


Thursday, December 22, 2011

How To Make Your Photos Look Professional

I'm still a believer that a good photo should be good enough for no photo editing whatsoever! Yet, I found myself sometimes need to make some precious shoots look much better.

So, I've googled for some tricks, and I found a lot for VERY nice ones ;). I'll share what I've leaned her. Each trick per post.

Here's one of the easiest ways to enhance the look of your photo. It' my favorite too :). I cal it...

The Filters:

I guess this technique would work better with photos of quite bad lightning. Where it would need some sharpen.

I'd use this photo of mine to apply the technique on.

This is the original photo without any editing, using a special effect in my camera to have those "spectra".

Step 1: Sharpen the image a bit using the Unsharp Mask [Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask]. Use the values in the following screenshot.

Step 2: Add a Levels Adjustment layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels]. When the Levels dialog opens, just click on Auto.

Step 3:  Add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast]. Set the values as in the following screenshot.

Step 4: Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation]. Set the values as in the following screenshot.

Step 5: Add a Photo Filter Adjustment layer [Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter], with the default Warming(85) setting.
Aside: Here, I usually change it to "Color". My favorite color that I usually use is "White". So, it's quite up to you to use whatever you like.

& we're done!!!
Can you see the difference? (Click the picture to enlarge. The original is the right one, the modified is the left one).


    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    The Pet Projects - An Idea For Ideas!

    While reading “Agile Product Management With Scrum” book, I found the following paragraph -under “Techniques For Creating Vision” section- very interesting. It says:

    “At companies like Google, developers are encouraged to spend 20% of their time on “pet projects.” Those private research projects result in new ideas implemented as prototypes. The results justify Google’s investment: Half of all products released by Google in the last six months of 2005 started as pet projects (Mayer 2006). The developers who cam up with the original idea continue to work on the project that brings the product to life, as in the case of the Google’s Chrome browser. Ben Goodger & Darin Fisher, two of the engineers who came up with the original prototype, played an important role on the Chrome development project (Levy 2008). Ken Schwaber (2007, 80) favor this approach to developing new ideas:

    I recommend you set aside a part every employee’s time to pursue activities that are outside their current Scrum teams & that benefit the enterprise. I recommend an allowance of 20 percent of their time. Let people coalesce into interest groups where they work together. Some of this can be spent working with peers in sustaining & enhancing functional expertise. Some of the work can be researching & prototyping new ideas. The yellow sticky notes of 3M & Gmail at Google were developed this way. ”

    I looked up for more info about the “pet project”, & I found this article with more detials about the idea. I’d liket to excerpt those few paragraphes here:

    “According to 3M’s Web site, the company has an “unstoppable commitment to innovation, creating new technologies and products.” From this commitment came the invention Post-It Notes, back in 1977, which was a personal project of one of its researchers.”

    “The day-to-day work week can sometimes become dull and uninspiring, so by having a fun, inspiring personal project to work on, employees can reenergize themselves to keep working on their daily tasks.”

    “Try implementing a program like this at your company—even for a couple months—to see the kind of response you get from it. You may be completely surprised (and have some great new company projects to brag about!).

    Though often very difficult for employers to swallow—employees already complete personal tasks on company time, approved or not. A recent survey from found that the average worker frets away about two hours per day, not including lunch.

    So since it’s happening anyhow, your company might as well benefit from it.”

    Well, I think this might be a quit good idea for coming up with new project ides for almost any thing! Just think big... & act small ;)

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Batch (Bulk) Image Editing Using Photoshop

    In this post, I'll do what exactly I wanted to do at the previous post, but this time using Photoshop.

    Initially, I admit that GIMP is a bit easier than Photoshop here!!

    Anyway, to resize the images, we will use two functions called "Actions" & "Batch".

    Create a New Action:
    • Navigate to Window > Action from the main menu to display the Action window.
    • Create a new Action. 
    • Click Record when you’re ready to begin recording your new Action.
    • At this point, apply the edits that you routinely do to your image: resizing, applying filters, save to web, etc. 
    • In our case here, simply open a photo, click "save as", & minimize the quality of it; then "close" it.
    • When you’re done, click the Stop Playing/Recording button in the Action window. 
    Edit Multiple Pictures with a Batch:
    • To apply your Action to a Batch, click File > Automate > Batch from the main menu.
    • A new window will appear that shows all of the Batch settings you’ll configure. The most important settings are which Action to apply, where the images you want to edit are stored, and where to save the edited images. Note that you must apply a Batch to all photos within a folder. 
    More detailed tutorials:

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Batch (Bulk) Image Editing Using GIMP

    Taking a lot of images with a high resolution camera, is a great fun! But saving them on a limited disk space, or uploading them on any photo hosting site is a great headache!

    I've been suffering from the tedious process of re-sizing my images to convert the 3+MB image to 300+KB image!

    I've googled how to do so using GIMP, & it's pretty easy. Just download DBP Plugin. DBP is a simple batch processing plugin for the Gimp - it allows the user to automatically perform operations (such as resize) on a collection of image files.

    Since I'm in a Windows environment, I'v just downloaded and unzip the file, and copy dbp.exe into the plugins folder.

    The batch editing window is really easy. Navigate to it from the Filters menu in the main Gimp window, select Batch Process... to bring up the DBP window. The processing steps are laid out on a series of pages, one for each step.

    I liked that!! :)

    More Resources: