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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How a Light Meter Works

A light meter sees the entire world as gray. Reflected light meters, which are in all cameras, can easily be fooled to create an exposure that is too dark or too light. Incident light meters accurately record the light in the scene.

Creative Commons License
Better Pixs in 90 Clicks by Timothy Mielke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at milkywayphotos.blogspot.com.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Going on the Digital Diet

Listen to a 90 Second Companion Podcast

     If you could study every magazine cover and advertisement you would be amazed at the editing done to make the models look attractive. Almost every major magazine cover and advertisement uses post-production effects to minimize unattractive features. There is a good chance that the photo editing digitally helped many of the attractive models lose a few extra pounds. The Adobe Photoshop program can quickly and easily give anyone a digital diet in minutes using the Liquify tool.
Digital Diet with Photoshop Liquify Tool
     First you should use the Freeze Mask Tool to paint a temporary red mask around the inside and background area of the diet candidate. Once the red mask is in place you will not be able to change those portions. Next use a large Pucker Tool brush that fills most of the area you wish to shrink. Begin removing the pounds using short mouse clicks with the center of the brush inside the body region. At times you may have to change your Freeze Mask to edit different portions of the body.

Before Weight Loss Liquify Diet
     While the Liquify tool is a perfect for losing weight in a photo, it can also be useful for fixing squinted eyes or protruding ears and even creating comical caricatures that are sure to evoke a smile. With some practice you can change most body types into an attractive model for any magazine cover.

Dramatic Editing Techniques

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     Have you ever stared at a fine art photograph and wondered just how they could create such a dramatic and compelling photograph? Even the best photographs can benefit from subtle and sometimes bold post-production work. While the importance of capturing a good composition with proper exposure cannot be minimized, photo editing is essential to creating a dramatic, cinematic look.
Edited with Levels, Saturation, and Gradient Adjustment Layers
     Adobe Photoshop is the industry leader in photo editing software. The use of layers and masks are the foundation of Photoshop’s editing powers. Learning to use them may at first seem a little daunting but using layers and masks will make your work easier and better quality. The first step to a dramatic photo is deciding what to emphasize in the scene. In the early days of photography, burning and dodging techniques were used to deemphasize or emphasize portions of an exposure. Burning is selectively darkening the exposure while dodging is selectively lightening the exposure. While Photoshop has burn and dodge brush tools, using adjustment layers employs more control while emphasizing or deemphasizing portions of a scene.

From the Camera with no Editing
     Usually the first step is to burn a vignette or at least several corners of the picture by creating a darkened levels adjustment layer. The human eye is naturally drawn to the brightest objects. By darkening the edges, the viewer’s eye is guided naturally into the scene which creates a more dynamic composition. All of the 18 adjustment layer effects automatically create a mask. A mask allows you to add or subtract portions of the adjustment layer effect. If nothing is selected previously, the mask will be completely white. A white mask allows the effect chosen to be visible. If you want to hide a portion of the effect, you paint it a black color with a paint brush. An easy way to remember which color hides the effect is to remember you can hide in the blackness of night.

Actual Adjustment Layers Used
     Many photos can use the same adjustment layer method to enhance other features like saturation, color tones, patterns, or a host of other options. The beauty of using an adjustment layer with a mask is that you can quickly modify the visibility of the effect by painting black or white brush strokes on the mask. As long as you save the file as a Photoshop document (.psd), you will even be able to modify the selections days or even years later. Try for yourself and see the power of adjustment layers in creating dramatic photographs. It will also make your Photoshop work more efficient and professional.