Tag Archives: PhotoForge2

Making Things Happen: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

Making Things Happen by rsmithing
Making Things Happen, a photo by rsmithing on Flickr.

Two things I’ve been doing lately: travelling and listening to Beats Antique (often simultaneously). The music is, for me, a perfect mood-setter: stimulating, forward moving, and compelling without lyrics. I saw the band twice in 2012, and captured this image of Zoe Jakes at a gig in Asheville, NC. This snapshot makes the perfect foreground for this vista from above the clouds off Florida’s Gulf Coast, brought together via iPhone with the masks & textures of Photoforge2.

Update 3/3: Now Featured by WeAreJUXT

JUXT LogoBig thanks to the folks at WeAreJUXT for including this image in their weekly showcase! This is the second image of mine featured there (here’s the first) and I’m totally flattered, since they constantly and consistently highlight such great creations with insights from their creators (and I’m not just saying that because I’m there). You should definitely check out the whole JUXT site. Here’s what I say about this image over there:

My favorite art is the kind that gets the viewer to consider things in new ways. I believe that’s the most exciting thing about sharing creativity: the opportunity for a mind-expanding experience. That can happen for me through words, music, or with visual art as in the works of my favorite artists, Salvador Dalí and Jerry Uelsmann. The story behind this image is that I was on a business trip last month and happened to be in the air at just the right time to capture a glorious sunrise from above the clouds. I knew I wanted to remember the moment, but didn’t know what form that would take. This week, the vision hit me: a dancer amid the clouds with selective lighting and textures was what I wanted to make happen. I instantly thought of this silhouette image I shot last year at a show by one of my favorite bands, Beats Antique, which happen to be on heavy rotation during my recent travels. The mysterious form in the foreground is the troupe’s Zoe Jakes as shown backlit from behind a screen with exotic costume accents. The spell-casting pose along with textures, layer modes and and masking in Photoforge2 makes the mind-expansion thing happen.

Friendly Fireman: Single Image Sundays

Friendly Fireman

I met this fellow last week. He is actually a fireman. And he was friendly enough to let me take his picture. I explained that it would end up in a wild edit and showed him some examples on the spot with my phone. He was cool with that. And here we are. Check out more like this at my Pinterest, Flickr, iPhoneArt, Instagram, or 500px collections.

What do you think? Ever met someone randomly and asked if you could take their picture? How’d that go? Let us hear from you in the comments.

A Rosy Photo Edit Tutorial

A shoutout to magicunicorn for recognizing the musical reference here on Instagram. You rock!

Edit of a photo in honor of Valentine's Day. See below for Behind The Music.

My awesome wife got some of these for Valentine’s Day (from me), and so I had to get a photo and have some metaphoric fun with the result. Below is an approximate rundown of how this came to be, and some classic V-Day music for your listening pleasure. Whether you have a Valentine or not, get out there and share the love in whatever way you know how. Apps used: PhotoForge2, LumiereDynamic Light.

The original photo

After cropping and creating a heart in the center using PhotoForge2, I added texture and edginess in Lumiere.

A quick black & white solarization with Dynamic Light, then back to PhotoForge2 along with the previous file for layering.

Boosted saturation for more red, layered previous two versions and masked selectively to highlight certain bits in PhotoForge2.

Seriously, there was a ridiculous amount of masking involved. Took a while here.

And finally, the completed image. A metaphor for what's at the heart of all we go through in love. Ultimately, the reward is there.

And now, ladies and gentlemen…

The Replacements – Valentine

 

Well you wish upon a star that turns into a plane.
And I guess that’s right on par.
Who’s left to blame?

If you were a pill,
I’d take a handful at my will.
And I’d knock you back with something sweet and strong.
Plenty of times you wake up in February make-up;
Like the moon and the morning star you’re gone.

(chorus:)

Tonight makes love to all your kind.
Tomorrow’s makin’ Valentines.

Hey you pop up in this old place,
So sick and so refined (divine?).
Are you strung out on some face?
Well I know it ain’t mine.

If you were a pill, I’d take a handful at my will,
And I’d knock you back with something sweet and strong.
Trouble keeping your head up when you’re hungry and you’re fed up,
Like a moon and a lone star you’re gone.

(chorus)

If you were a pill, I’d take a handful at my will,
And I’d knock you back with something sweet as wine.
Yesterday was theirs to say; this is their world and their time.
Well if tonight belongs to you, tomorrow’s mine.

Any questions? I know I didn’t cover all the steps, so please fire away below and I’ll answer the best I can. How has your Valentine’s Day been? Did you do anything for or with your significant other? If so, what? If not, what else did you do? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Moth Drama: Transforming The Ordinary into Art

Click to view the full 9-image set

A moth in full drama mode. The ordinary becomes extraordinary through photography & apps. Click to see what went into creating this image.

Here’s a look at how a simple moth can serve as subject for a striking, dramatic image by way of a macro lens attachment and some basic iPhone app editing (mainly Photoforge2, which I review here). Through the course of nine images, I take you through how the ordinary transforms into a fulfilling creative experience.

The effect of the final image above reflects my initial vision: dramatic gravity drawing the eye to the fine and generally unseen detail in this humble moth. To me, this is a great example of how photography, especially when spurred by photo-sharing experiences like Instagram, can elevate our everyday surroundings to an evocative level of art readily appreciated by others.

Moth Drama Set
Click to view the step-by-step creation of the final image at top.
Instagram promo for this post - click to see series at Flickr

Instagram promo for this post - made with Phonto, Labelbox & Photoforge2 apps

In the  case of the final image, I got the texture I was after by shooting with Hipstamatic then adjusting the result of that with layers in Photoforge2. But I wanted more dimension than just grayscale, so I added some red. To do this, I duplicated the grayscale layer and added red via the “colorize” function. Then I then masked portions of the top (red) layer to allow the bottom (gray) layer to appear through, using varying brush sizes and opacities. Finally, I set the blending mode of the top (red) layer to overlay, and set the opacity to 75%. Same principles also work in Photoshop, which is one reason I so strongly endorse Photoforge2.

If the above description gets you excited (you nerd), definitely check out the step-by-step series with notes at Flickr.

What do you think? Have you taken the ordinary to an artful place through photography or some other means? Have you done any macro photography of your own, and if so what’s your experience been like? What gear do you recommend? What’s your opinion on creating art from the everyday world? Do you find tips/tutorials like this useful? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Black & White iPhoneography – Photography Editing Tutorial Video

Here’s another fantastic tutorial video from Guy Yang of The Beginner’s Lens on a subject I’m obviously interested in: black & white iPhoneography, that is, photos taken with the iPhone in grayscale, then intensified into expressive art with selective adjustments (brightness, contrast, sharpening, etc.). Guy takes you through a very thorough step-by-step overview using Filterstorm in this 15-minute professional-level clip, showing how to transform a regular snapshot into a striking composition with selective edits. Note: viewable free for a limited time only.

iPhone Camera Essentials from The Beginner's Lens (new window)

"This video is all about editing – in particular transforming some of your less than fabulous color photos into stunning black & white photos, all from your iPhone." via iPhone Camera Essentials

 As a graphic designer for many years, I’ll say it’s still amazing to me how we can achieve these results so easily now with just a few minutes, and app, and a thumb — whereas 5 years ago, this required either a PC running full-on Photoshop… or a dark room and major skills. I elaborate more on this in a discussion about Instagram, and am still very much into that experience, more all the time. See also: Become Popular on Instagram.

What did you think of the video? Have you explored iPhoneography? Do you think black & white is more enjoyable than color, or vice versa? What tips and apps do you prefer for editing? Who inspires you? Let us hear from you in the comments!

PhotoForge2: My First App Review

I’ve used plenty of iPhone apps, reviewing none. PhotoForge2 changes this. For anyone familiar with Photoshop, here’s your app. It’s as good as Photoshop for photo manipulation, and as a graphic designer of 15 years, I would know. It’s nearly all here: layers, masks, blending modes, undo, curves, HSL, freaking Unsharp Mask!?!? Yep, that, too.

Photoforge2 Screen Shot

Screen capture of PhotoForge 2 (credit: GhostBird): Layers, and masks, and tools... oh my!

If you’re a Photoshop user, you already know how to use PhotoForge2. It accomplishes in minutes with your thumb and iDevice what would otherwise require $1000+ in computer & software investment, certainly well enough for things like Instagram, and possibly even commercial work. It’s fast, stable, intuitive, and a steal at anything less than a full-on editing setup. As of this writing it’s on sale for 60% off and will set you back a whopping $1.99. That’s less than a beer.

Do note that PhotoForge2 is more for adjustments rather than painting or illustrating, (emphasis is on filters vs.  pen or brush drawing, for example), but so many of the built-in goods like vignette and frame effects should more than satisfy for basic edits, and set you up nicely for some pro-level results, even from a point-and-shoot camera.

You should also be aware that PhotoForge2 does not offer tools like clone or magic wand (hint-hint… next version maybe?), but you will still be able to execute your vision with what’s available fairly easily. I’ll often do workarounds that get me by, or use it in combination with other apps. The omission of some things like a free rotate or straightening seem glaringly odd, but these are very minor quibbles with an app of this one’s obvious prowess. (UPDATE, MARCH 2012: And, now it has this tool. Proof that Ghostbird Software is awesome)

I gave it 5 stars, but edited some out!

My PhotoForge work on app review. Click for full size.

Other apps specialize in color isolation and light effects, which is fine if that’s all you’ll ever want, but PhotoForge2 is The Mother Lode. Wired magazine says you’ll get $2 worth of entertainment out of it in the first ten minutes. I say two minutes. And they aren’t paying me to say that.

Funny, I remember with the iPad’s debut, all the sudden talk of tablets taking over for PCs. I thought, sure, but not for serious things like image editing. Um… yeah.

If you find this useful, share it on Twitter — thanks!

What’s your favorite photo editing app and why? Do you already use PhotoForge2? What’s your experience been, and what features would you like to see in the next version? Let us hear from you in the comments!