Shadows of prison and freedom

A crow flies off into the freedom of the air with a crumb of bread he found on the pavement. The railings of nearby houses are like those of a prison keeping humans in and trapped and closed off.

Who is free?

The best way to show off the GIMP

I just read that a portable version of image manipulation program, GIMP, is now available for download.

If it works well enough that’s going to get a permanent home in my USB memory stick and unlike “Portable Photoshop”, this one is completely legal to copy and share.

GIMP Portable version 2.2.13 has been released. GIMP Portable is the full-featured GIMP image and photo editor bundled with a launcher as a portable app, so you can edit your photos and images on the go. This new release updates the included GIMP to 2.2.13, adds Vista compatibility, correctly cleans up GTK’s bookmark and thumbnail files and features a greatly improved startup speed thanks to the new launcher’s plugin processing.

blueMarine – Free digital photography workflow software


blueMarine is being developed as an open source digital photography workflow environment. It’s written in Java so it’ll run just about anywhere – Windows, Mac and Linux should be “easy” to support.

I haven’t tried it yet and I’m not a fan of Java apps in general but has anyone else tried it? They say they’re close to a beta release so it might be worth a look soon.

Start thinking of an opensource application like Aperture or Lightroom that enables you to organize, develop, print and publish your photos. Pretty standard stuff nowadays.
Let’s go on and let’s think of the workflow. For the existing commercial applications the workflow starts just after shooting the photo and ends with a print on paper, the photo archived and maybe a web gallery published.

Judging by the screenshots, it’s come a long way, even supporting geotagging of images and “Gannet”, a plugin for the amateur ornithologist photographer. (found on the GIMP Users list)

The River, The Brewery and the Cathedral

The River Lee rushes by the Beamish and Crawford Brewery on one side, and O’Sullivan Electrical on the other with St. Finbarre’s Cathedral in the background.

I have discovered there’s a dead pixel on my camera’s sensor. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to show itself much but when I take long exposure shots like the one above a little red dot appears in the top-right of the image. It’s easy to get rid of with the clone tool but also annoying.

The Wacom graphics tablet is great fun to play with but I haven’t got it working fully in Linux yet. Ubuntu thinks it’s simply another mouse device and GIMP doesn’t see it as an “extended device”. I spent quite some time on the Ubuntu forums trying to fix it yesterday before giving up and trying it out on a few images.
It’s a little fiddly to begin with, but I think that’s par-for-the-course when using a new tool. I do find that when dodging and burning large sections of images the brush can get stuck and won’t follow the cursor but I’ve read that once it’s properly configured performance is improved so I hope that is fixed then.

Hope you had a nice Christmas Day!

Run Photoshop in Linux

It may be possible to get Photoshop to run in Linux but would you want to? As a research project in the interest of informing the dear readers of this blog I attempted the install.

  • First of all I had to search out an illegal copy of Photoshop because frankly I don’t have Photoshop and can’t afford it given the revenue I get from my photography. Bittorrent helpd here but, boy was it a pain. There’s a version of Photoshop floating around called “Portable Photoshop”. It’s a self contained install. Unfortunately I got hopelessly low download rates for the several torrents of this application I tried. Adobe, you have nothing to worry about!
  • While that was downloading I installed wine with a simple apt-get install wine. No surprises there. Apt did it’s job and installed everything properly.
  • Finally, the necessary bits downloaded and I unzipped it into a directory then ran wine Photoshop.exe.

How well does it run? After running Wine, up popped the Adobe loading screen and for what seemed like an age it looked for plugins and other assorted stuff. Finally, after a significant wait the Photoshop user interface appeared and I marvelled at how far Wine has gone since I last tried to run Half Life 2. First thing to do was load an image so I clicked File-Open, selected a file and clicked OK. Then, poof! An out of memory error popped up and Photoshop died!

After closing Firefox and Thunderbird I tried again. This time the image loaded but as soon as I tried any operation on it the same error popped up. After briefly searching for an answer and looking through the winerc, I didn’t bother trying a third time. Even if I didn’t have these memory problems I wouldn’t find myself using it. It doesn’t match the rest of the desktop. It’s dog-ugly actually. Windows apps usually are when they’re running in Wine. Bye bye Photoshop! It’s now deleted off my drive.

Linux users – Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, Red Hat, whatever you use, just use the GIMP. It’s a great piece of software that’s simply different to Photoshop. That doesn’t make it necessarily worse. If you are really hankering after the Photoshop UI then go play with Gimpshop. You’ll feel right at home in no time and you’ll save the 833 Euro that Adobe charges for their cash-cow. Ouch! How can any non-professional afford that?

Oh, Sven is working on colour management for the GIMP to keep all you printing folk happy!

Another alternative, Krita has come a long way since I looked at it last. I installed it this morning using Edgy’s Apt repository and it looks good. From a photographer’s perspective it’s missing a few necessary tools, although a levels tool is in the works. It does have support for CMYK but I’ve never had a use for that and as Cyrille says, all home and business printers use RGB. Some high end printers use CMYK but your local lab will print from Jpeg files so don’t lose sleep over it! I must post a comparision between the GIMP and Krita when I’ve used it before.

Airbrush a pretty girl

You may have seen this already, it’s on delicious, but it’s something I’ll read over later so I want to mention it. This airbrush tutorial is very detailed, showing each step with accompanying screenshots.
The result is quite a stunning image in the Playboy tradition of perfect skin and tones. Fake but it’s what people want!

I posted a similar touch-up tutorial a few months ago, but it concentrated on general techniques for giving a portrait more punch.