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Archive for the ‘Photoshop’ Category

Dundas Street West Photowalk

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Last week I managed to spend a few hours in the neighbourhood with my new 50mm f/1.8 prime lens attached to the camera. But I screwed up!

Sadly, my brain became locked on the idea that the lens would always be at f/1.8. I have no idea how that notion formed in my brain. So all the photos that I took were at about f/22 and had the deep field depth it produces.

I put the worthy photos into my Toronto, Ontario Flickr album. Here are some of the better shots.

2017-06-25 Photowalk

This footbridge crosses Mimico Creek. I had my first photowalk with the 80D here after some excessive rain. So this time the water levels were much closer to their normal levels.

Timer Priority Test

I have long wanted to try some longer exposure photos with running water. This one came out alright considering that it was darn close to being hand-held. In the large version you can see that the rocks are not tack-sharp. Next time I will use the tripod and the cable-release.

Dundas Street West

I walked down Dundas Street West almost all the way to Royal York before turning around. This shot was a fast, hand-held shot while the street was uncharacteristically void of cars. I did edit out one car and a couple of compost bags by the nearby trees. This probably would look better with the shallower depth of field that the lens can produce.

Random Garden Along Dundas Street 02

This one was an off-the-hip shot of a small garden in front of a house that I was walking past. It was while looking at this photo afterward that I realized the f-stop had been set incorrectly.

As always, this is a learning experience.

Photoshop World 2017 On Flickr

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Here is the album for Photoshop World 2017 on my Flickr site.

These are the live and still-life models that were available to photograph. I have more of the “princess” (I couldn’t think of a better description for her) and a WWII vet to work on still. I hope to get those uploaded to the album tonight.

Unfortunately, most of the spy photos were very blurry – if I had been more careful, I could have gotten some cool shots of him.

Still Life - wine & flowers 02Some of these have been processed with the Topaz Labs tools that I bought – usually adding a vignette. Some vignettes I made myself; you can tell, they look like crap! Sarcastic smile

This is my favourite still-life shot. The star flares were added in Topaz Star Effects. Normally flares are over-done and cliché; but I think these turned out alright.

So, I’ve added to my ever-growing list of things to learn. But it will be worth it.

Photoshop World 2017

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Alright, today is not Sunday as originally promised. I arrived home at about 1 AM Sunday morning and spent that day in a daze. Then it was back to work.

However, Photoshop World 2017 was absolutely awesome! I cannot wait for the next one! Photoshop World and the FFRF National Conventions are going to be my annual rituals from now on.

I met some wonderful fellow Canadians as well as some of my Photoshop heroes (Corey Barker, Glyn Dewis, Scott Kelby). Most of the talks were spectacular and I learned a lot. I tried to balance between photography talks and Photoshop talks – there was so much though and often it was tough to pick between talks when they were being held at the same time.

KelbyOne opened PSW with a hilarious TV show spoof, “Photoshop Cops.” Be sure to watch the blooper reel afterward. That link also includes the keynote address by Adobe’s Julieanne Kost.

Canon is at every single PSW and offers free camera cleaning and minor repairs. There were professional models posing – for hours! – so that people can walk up and take photos. I still have to edit my photos; however, I will write another post once I have them on Flickr.

Stacy Pearsall’s talk would tear your heart out – this was definitely a show highlight and worth the price of admission. The photos and videos that she shared were just incredible. I had to keep checking myself that this stuff is not Hollywood and that it really happened. Really powerful.

Stacy made jokes throughout her talk but we rarely laughed – not because they were bad jokes; but rather the emotional weight of her story kept us silent. She had to remind the audience that it was okay to laugh!

Stacy is now working on the Veterans Portrait Project – she started taking photos of vets while waiting in the VA hospitals. That turned into emotional/psychological therapy for her own healing.

Bibliophile that I am, I bought a bunch of books. Glyn Dewis signed his new book Photograph Like A Thief for me. I also picked up Scott Kelby’s newest Photoshop CC For Photographers and Corey Barker’s How To Create Bad-Ass Effects In Photoshop.

Since they offered a great deal, I bought all of Topaz Labs’ software.

Phew! My AmEx card is still twitching from all of that. But so very worth it!

Time For Photoshop World!

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

It is finally here!

At 10 AM, I leave for Orlando, Florida to attend my first Photoshop World conference.

On Sunday, I’ll blog about the experience.

March 25th Photowalk – Mimico Creek

Monday, March 27th, 2017

I created a Flickr album for Toronto images. The shots from Saturday’s photowalk are in there.

Line Two TrainThe very first set of photos turned out one of my favourites.

Close to the park entrance off Bloor Street is the TTC Line Two subway. Islington Station is a few hundred meters to the left. I wanted to capture a train leaving and this did not disappoint.

The black & white conversion was done inside Adobe Camera Raw.

I think this really captured the essence of the walk; even better than the pictures of Mimico Creek itself.

The other black & white shots were done with the Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro. As I mentioned in my last post, the drizzling rain and overcast clouds really helped with creating black & white shots.

Mimico Creek 06Last week’s snow is melting and combined with the rain, really had the creek deep and flowing fast. It’s not as impressive as the flooded canals around Irving – I don’t think it will ever get that bad except in the most extreme circumstances.

This photo was close to the end of the walk, by the Etobicoke Lawn Bowling Club. Not much further ahead is the Islington Avenue and Dundas Street intersection.

I am definitely looking forward to nicer Spring weather now. My photowalks will extend beyond the Islington neighbourhood – High Park and the Lake Ontario beach areas will be good starts.

Heading To Photoshop World!

Monday, January 30th, 2017

I guess the post title says it all. I’ll be going to Photoshop World in April.

I don’t know what to expect because I have never been before. Hopefully there will be plenty to learn.

A short and to the point post.

A Bit Of 3D News…

Monday, January 30th, 2017

It will be good to get another post in before January ends. I have been playing around a lot with 3D this month but none of it was really worth blogging about.

After a long hiatus, I bought several more Photoshop Actions from Sevenstyles. They include:

I definitely need to acquire images – either my own photos, stock or renders – that I can use these Actions on. There are even more Actions that have been created since I last purchased. Sevenstyles is quite prolific.

Sandstone RidgeMost of my work this past month has been with World Machine and GeoGlyph. I just bought the upgrade license to GeoGlyph Professional v2; this brings some very large changes from the Indie v1 license.

This area is where most of my experimenting has not been worth showing off. But this past weekend, I came up with the following. It is still a work-in-progress but at least it is worth sharing.

I bought an HDRI sky image from CGSkies. They are fairly expensive at about $30 USD per sky; but they do add a lot of realism to the lighting. Most HDRI sites include a ground with the image, but CG-Skies removes that and has just the sky. I’d like to buy more skies, but we’ll see…

My biggest complaint with this image is that it is too smooth. I have not been able to pop out details with a normal or bump map. Hopefully I can get that bit figured out and start producing landscape renders that are really nice.

Getting Caught Up On Stuff

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Screaming up again on a month without a post here. Let’s fix that.

I hinted at a sore throat and that sumbitch only just went away in the last couple of days. It was about two weeks of an actual cold and then two weeks of a dry, scratching throat. It kept me coughing and making ahem sounds.

Black Friday and all the days leading up to Christmas Eve are super-busy for work. As a payment processing company, you expect that. The entire team is essentially on-call right now. Officially, I’m on-call next Friday. Fun!

I have finally re-installed all my SevenStyles Photoshop Actions into PS 2017. Brad has been busy creating even more Actions, so I’ll have to buy more in the near future.

In spite of the sore throat, I have recorded more videos about using Headus UV Layout on my YouTube channel. I was asked to do videos about unwrapping a human model; so I undertook the challenge. I used the free MakeHuman tool to get a female model and then set out to create 3 UV Maps rather than the single UV map produced by MakeHuman.

In the very near future, I am also going to take the plunge into the world of ZBrush. There is definitely a lot to learn there.

I am hoping that all of this will take my mind off of the looming disaster of President Trumpycakes.

Adobe Creative Cloud At Last

Monday, October 31st, 2016

I was still at Microsoft when they announced plans to dominate the cloud. The chosen mantra was “We’re all in!”

Ugh! I refused to say it. I found it vaguely dirty minded (yes, that borders on hypocritical but I am not a multi-national world-renowned company).

Well, my opinions of the cloud be damned. Years later, it seems that everybody is doing it. I was disappointed when Adobe announced the Creative Cloud and that they would not ship another physical product beyond CS6.

I’ve put it off for years and I am now several versions behind the latest and greatest versions.

So I’m taking the plunge but it wasn’t as easy as it should have been. A little history is in order, please bear with me.

A long time ago, there was a company called Macromedia. They made a web-based piece of software you might have heard of – Flash. They also made a program for creating websites called Dreamweaver. I bought their suite of tools way back in 2001. Then one day, Adobe bought Macromedia.

That wasn’t a bad thing really. It was a good match and brought some incredible tools to Adobe’s other incredible tools.

Then I moved to Texas. When I upgraded to the new Adobe Creative Suite series, I had to prove my registration of the former-Macromedia suite. But the Adobe ID account did not accept my Texas address. It was linked to Canada and could not be changed. For tax reasons is the official excuse.

So I made a new Adobe ID account and used that happily for several Creative Suite upgrades.

Now I am going through that process all over again but in reverse. Adobe support has apparently changed the country on my account (so much for being impossible).

Hopefully I will have the new applications installed before I finally have to get to bed for work tomorrow…

Photo Walk: Royal Botanical Gardens

Monday, May 16th, 2016

On late Saturday afternoon, my friend Gabriela drove us over to Hamilton’s Royal Botanical Gardens for another photo walk. It was cloudy – but not as bad as New York – and a bit chilly for mid-May. But it turned out to be totally amazing!

Macro shot of a dandelion puffI had never really tried my hand at nature photography before. It seems to be one of Gaby’s major passions and some of that rubbed off on me. Even with just a basic kit lens on my Pentax k-X, I was trying to get some macro shots of flowers. I took so many pictures that I very nearly filled the 8 GB SD card in the camera.

Based on the style and number of photos, I opted to create a new Flickr album just for The Royal Botanical Gardens. These just did not seem appropriate to add to the Hamilton album.

In addition to the trees and flowers, the animals were unbelievable. Gaby insists that I was good luck in bringing out such a variety. The chickadees and chipmunks are used to people feeding them, so they were particularly fearless. We also saw squirrels, a raccoon, muskrat, woodpecker, red-winged blackbirds, swans, ducks, Canada geese and probably more.

Laying down in the grass for a unique shot angleI really liked how this one turned out. Something about this part of the park made me lay down in the grass to shoot just over the top of the blades. There was lots of potential to play with focal depth here.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to think too much about it. My camera auto-focused on the grass so the trees in the background blurred beautifully.

May 14 2016 PhotoWalk - RBGI cannot end this post without showing the chickadees feeding from my hand. It was an assault really; so many of them were trying to land that I felt like O’Hare Airport. As soon as one flew off, another landed. I could have stayed like that for awhile and took hundreds of images. Apparently, they like sunflower seeds best of all – so next time, I will have to come more prepared.

I have other images that I did not upload to Flickr, so more shots will appear in the album. I will most definitely aim to return to the RGB in the future too; there is much more to see and capture in an image there.

This experience has made me want to seriously consider adding some lenses to my kit or maybe even upgrading the camera body entirely (the k-X came out in 2009). The style and technique of nature pictures is also quickly climbing on my list of interests.