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.

PSPI – Using Photoshop plugins in GIMP

2006-06-27_ptlens.png PSPI has long been the best way of running Photoshop in the Win32 version of GIMP. I’ve waited for a Linux version with anticipation and it has now been ported! Not all plugins will work, but I tried the trial version of PTLens and once I pointed it at the .dat file it worked perfectly, if quite slowly.

As well as the efforts to run Photoshop actions in GIMP this is a great addition to the GIMP arsenal of plugins and tools to aid photographers!

Need Photoshop plugins? This article reviews 10 free Photoshop plugins. I installed the Virtual Photographer one. It works quite well, although the preview window is a little wonky and don’t move the window or it won’t redraw.

Noise Ninja Beta

A new Noise Ninja release candidate is out now for Linux, Mac and Windows!

I tried the Linux version, and despite having a strange file selector it worked really well! You can try it for yourself, but the unregistered version saves images with a watermark. I’m going to test it on a few more images and may purchase it myslf.
Make sure you download a camera profile for your camera. The 20D one works well!

Making the top ten of Interestingness

The Swan Gang, a photo I posted three days ago, became the 4th most interesting photo on Flickr two days ago.

How?

Nuggets of Gold
Flickr Interestingness uses a secret algorithm to decide what is interesting, but is biased against users who consistently get a lot of attention. Up until last month I would add my photos to many groups in the hope of attracting attention and eyeballs and yes, a number of my photos are in the interesting list but it was getting harder for me to get high results.
Last month I got married, took the month off and hardly touched a computer. Most of the photos published that month haven’t been added to any group so I think that helped me when it came to publishing this photo.

Groups
There are a number of photo groups on Flickr where members are encouraged to leave comments on the photographs of other users. If you look at my Swan photo again some of them are listed down the right hand side. That’s a good way of getting attention. Don’t even consider posting to these groups if you haven’t got time to participate yourself. For every photo you post, you may have to leave comments on up to 5 other photos. It’s extra work, but viewing other people’s work is inspiring and always a good way to improve your own technique.

Thumbnail
The thumbnail looks good. The swans have these bright orange beaks and are looking into the camera. It screams “Click Me!”

The Swan Gang

Time
I uploaded the photo to Flickr around 10:30am Irish time but I didn’t add it to any groups until much later in the day when the US is awake. I have consistently noticed that photos I add to Flickr groups early in the morning don’t build up the same number of views as quickly as when they’re posted later on in the day.

Links
One other factor that interestingness is judged upon is where traffic comes from. If someone links to your photos from outside Flickr like happened here that will help a lot. I have seen this a few times and each time it made a noticeable difference to how high a particular photo went.

Magic
And then add some Flickr magic to finish off!

Further Reading:

Backups and Storage, 50 years hence

What backup medium lasts 50 years and will be as easy to restore in 2056 as it is now? Mike Johnston writes that computers and backup systems are too complex today and that, “we shouldn’t all need to gradually become full-time archivists” to hold on to precious memories for decades. There are some great comments, and Mike has summarised a few of the ideas expressed in a follow up post. I may even purchase that DAM book.
What is that medium? I don’t know, but it was prompted by Mike’s story when he was cleaning up a bench in a darkroom:

“On the floor behind it, in all the dust and spiderwebs, I found a strip of three 120 negatives. The picture in the middle was of a nude woman in one of those 1940s-style pinup poses that hide as much as they reveal.

Naturally, I cleaned off the negative and made a print of it.

It wasn’t a very good picture, and the negative had been underdeveloped. The point is that it was at least 50 years old at the time, and it had lasted all that time—not only without pampering, but in the absence of human care of any sort.”

Cross-processing, Lomo, Fake Model, HDR, Sin City

Here’s yet another photo processing effect that may be destined to become yet another over used style on Flickr: The Sin City Style draws inspiration from the artwork of Frank Miller’s Sin City.
The example image is as gritty and powerful as Miller’s work and hopefully someone won’t write a Photoshop plugin or action to automate it. At least not for a week or so anyway.

The RAW Backlash

There are holy wars in every field of human endevour. Vi vs Emacs, C vs Java, film vs digital and of course RAW vs Jpeg.
For several months last year I shot in Raw+Jpeg which was great. gThumb displayed a thumbnail for the Jpeg file while I also had the RAW negative. Yes, great. Until I got tired of opening the RAW file in my RAW converter (bibblelite, ufraw-gimp), before opening in the GIMP. Then there’s the space requirements. I shot 85GB of images last year. I need one of those terrabyte RAID servers Joe mentioned the other night at that dinner!
Ryan has done the same, shooting in Jpeg now.
Doug Pardee has too. He explains why too. He hasn’t got time to do the extra conversion required given the volume of shots he takes.
And of course, Ken Rockwell shoots Jpeg. He has a very lengthy post about his choice.
Still not sure? Read Tommy’s post for a rebuttal to Ken’s article. If you agree with him (and he makes plenty of valid points), then you should shoot RAW.

I’ll still shoot RAW, but only at special occasions. We’re going to a wedding next month and I’ll certainly be shooting RAW there!