David's Blog

Tag: Photoshop

Growing Old: Photoshop Portrait

GrowingOld_GrowingYoung

Here are two images both produced by overlapping 88 different photographs and playing with the opacity. My original intention was to create a (now so fashionable) time-lapse of my partner’s now 87 year old grandmother growing up and ageing through childhood, teenage-hood, marriage, motherhood, grandparent hood and now enjoying her old age with biscuits and TV.

I rummaged around and scanning every photograph I could find (over 100) and whittling them down to the ones with the face looking in the same direction. In Photoshop I adjusted the opacity and began overlaying the images matching the eye-line. All this was intended only to simplify the After Effects process. What I ended up with was something rather beautiful instead.

Playing around with each layers opacity and slight colour enhancements I think brings out each individual image, I believe theres a real depth to the pictures. I then went back and recorded them to show of her younger self, her old age ghosted in the background. What’s interesting is not what has changed but what has stayed- while the Portuguese sun has added wrinkles her smile has never really changed, assaying the same while the rest is a blur.

And what about the original video that kicked all this off? Well, I will get around to that…. Eventually.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 18.12.37

The Camera Doesn’t Lie?

Here’s an interesting story from the Guardian today. Narciso Contreras a Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist was fired from the Associated Press for photoshopping one of his images, the before and after are below. 

Image

What’s interesting is not that he has been released into the wild but rather the idea that photographs tell the truth in the first place. There are 100 ways of telling the same story and there are 100 more ways of showing it. What’s interesting here is not that the camera was digitally removed but rather that it wasn’t cropped out in the first place, in my mind there’s very little difference between the two. In Flat Earth News Nick Davies shows how journalists distort facts to fit their agenda- here’s looking at you Daily Mail. Photography is no different, there might be 100 photographs of me on facebook looking miserable and bearded but that doesn’t mean… oh ok bad example. Bad examples aside you get the picture (see what I did there?) a photograph is nothing more than a set of eyes that can only see what is deemed important, to me that is a very strange version of reality.

A photograph deemed expectable by the Associated Press (again read Davies’s book to read more about them) would have been one of a few hundred images taken that day, the lens would of been chosen that showed the subject in the best or worst way, the photographer might cut out any unwanted distractions, such as other cameras, a street lamp or an annoying passing car, if not while taking the shot then defiantly in post. The colours would be sharpened, perhaps drastically changed (blue sky for example) and finally eyes and lips might be sharped, surroundings might be blurred slightly. All this is deemed perfectly acceptable even though it is far more perfect than life could ever be.     

Photojournalists and Photojournalism are important and with the rise of camera phone amateurs we should all be sad they are going extinct, but that doesn’t mean you should trust the image, even if it hasn’t been photoshopped…   

Belém Tower (Alternatively: Embrace Your Mistakes)


Castle_stich

This picture is of Belem Tower, an impressive building found in Lisbon.

My intention was to do a new photo stitch on a very large scale, I had in mind a rather pretentious (and silly) idea of taking all the pictures from slightly different angles and showing a truly 3D-2D world. What it actually looks like is (as one could expect) a mess.

there are several reasons for this, and as it is always best to learn from ones (or someone else’s) mistakes I shall go through them for you.

1. The pictures are all taken with different lighting conditions.

2. I did not use a tripod

3. If I really wanted to take it from different angles I should of actually taken all angles possible to slowly stitch up. Show one side of a cube you get a square, show two sides that do not connect and you get two squares etc.

4. (Perhaps the most important) I did not think through what I wanted to achieve, I just blindly clicked away.

So with these 4 tips in mind a reader could (and quite probably should) ask: “Why not through away the picture? Why did you keep and PUBLISH it for all to laugh at?” This is for a very simple reason: I like it. Sure it doesn’t work; a tower is appearing out of the sea, all the images are different colours and nothing really matches up. With all this in mind I still think of it as quite a silly, fun picture and one that I can see not just what I wanted to achieve but how I can do so next time.

And so with his in mind I have created a new category called “Embrace Your Mistakes” and a new Flickr Set of the same name. I am going to carry on posting and sharing not just pictures I am proud of but pictures that completely failed in my aims.

So remember this: Anyone can take a good picture of Belém Tower, it takes someone special to create a really bad one.

Photo Stitching

My girlfriend has taken up stitching with her (great) Grandmother’s old sewing machine. I have been doing some stitching myself, but not with needles and thread but photographs and an editing software.

Friends who do not own DSLRs and Photoshop moan to me that they have not been able to do any of my blogs so far, so this is a simple technique that can be done with ANY type of camera (or camera app) and any type of photo editing software (for a free alternative to photoshop look at Gimp, if you have a mac Pixelmator is well worth it’s £10).

Panorama’s are all in at the moment thanks to some brilliant apps on smart phones but I have a few problems:

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1. the image quality is not great

2. the image is too trimmed (which means you are stuck doing landscape shots)

3. They never look as good as you hope

By digitally stitching together pictures you can have full control over the image. When taking pictures there are several things to remember:

1. make sure your images can be overlapped, it is useless if there is a gap.

2. make sure there is a ‘point’ to an image being so large, if you want to show say a ladybird on a leaf, is stitching loads of images around the lady bird going to make the eyes focus on that little red and black specimen?

3. Have you got everything you need? Remember the image will have to be cropped, so shoot a bit of sky or ground if you need

4. Make sure you take the pics pretty darn quick so the image looks like it was all in one shot and make sure the camera exposure is consistent.

5. Have fun 🙂

Now when you put the photographs side by side in your application they’re going to look like what they are, a jumble of shots side by side. So now you have to take those pictures and overlap them where they correspond and start rubbing out the edges and duplicates. This is the most time consuming part, the heading photo was quick as it was five different tripod shots (18mm lens, 600d) while the shot at the end of this post took a little longer as I needed to crop, resize and duplicate some of the images to get all the tree trunk and surrounding canopy (that shot was taken a Nikon D300 with 17-200mm lens.) But why be so linear? Big spaces are what the panoramic image was made for but with stitching you can go in any direction. This bug below was first shown on my Lens Duplication Reversion Blog but as as equally at home here. Why? Because it is actually many many many images all crammed into one, as the image next to it shows:

bug and shots

Also why do you even have to hide it’s a collection? Why not show it for what it is? A higgledy piggledy messy collage? Isn’t that right Jellings? (that’s James Jellings on the top right…he’s a friend from the uni days). I am going to do more posts on this soon as I think there’s a lot more to say on the subject but for now comment with anything you have to say and flick through my flickr set.

garlic forest