Post-Production Software – Part 4

MyPaint is a program designed for the creation of digital art or artistic expression on a digital image in .PNG; . JPEG or .ORA (Open Raster images). Do not worry if you do not understand the “Open Raster” terminology for a file format. This .ORA format will largely only be used by or applicable to professional artists.

For those that do use the Open Raster format, you will be interested to know that you can transfer .ORA images between GIMP and MyPaint.

MyPaint does not as much occur in the daily workflow of a photographer, unless there is a special ordered image to be styled or retouched as a painting.

Parents, this is a wonderful and inexpensive alternative to getting an artistic interpretation of your child’s professional portrait. Using one of your favorite photographs of you child, import the photo in .JPEG (.JPG is the same format) into MyPaint and use the different brushes for your desired effect.

Copyright of Foetoss Light 2012

I took a photo I had taken, imported it into MyPaint and used different brush style to compliment or fit the texture of the surface being altered. Now it has a feel or photograph and hand painting.

Artistically inclined users will find MyPaint intuitive. Be sure to look around the menus. There are many hot keys listed next to the operation in the menu. (The menus being “File”, “Edit” and so on.)

Capabilities: Layers, Brush Styles, Quick Tool Selection, Paper Texture, Single Key Hot-Keys and Quick Working Surface Positioning.

Strengths: The software is very attentive to each detail, including mouse cursor position, touch-pad scrolling and touch-pad selection. These three touch-pad specific things will affect your work by rotating your work surface, zoom in or out or move your work surface in the opposite direction of your mouse cursor’s position. Quite a surprise if you are not expecting the help.

MyPaint is a “light” program meaning that it is quick to respond and resourceful in its operations so as not to require large amounts of CPU time and Swap space. (Those are technical terms for “thinking power” = CPU time and “temporary memory” = Swap space.)

Weaknesses: While I have a hard time saying this, it is true. MyPaint devotes 75% of its power and ability to graphics pads like the Wacom tablets. It is still possible to use the program (MyPaint) without a graphics tablet, but it is not as fluid or convenient. This is not to make a case against the program. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to make a program as effective with both graphics tablet and touch-pad.

This is a strong program also young in the market as Darktable. MyPaint is currently on version 1.0. While I have not found bugs in MyPaint, I must confess I do not have the time or experience in the program that I would like.

Each program has its own capabilities, strengths and weaknesses just as we will choose them based on our use for the program’s applicable service.

Post-Production Software – Part 2

GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program

First I would like to be clear; I do own and use other software besides these three free programs I have mentioned. I also have used the installations of other programs on my friends computers. I am not writing these posts from a prejudiced point of view that “free software is every bit as good as chargeable software”.

My premise is this: “each piece of software has its strengths and weaknesses”. Strengths and weaknesses which we can use to our benefit! It is my desire to share with you, my reader, the ways that I have found to use these programs in tandem or independently to achieve my desired outcome for each photograph and their functionality of mass file alterations.

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is designed to create an image or manipulate an image already created. That is to say, any changes made to an image are saved to the original file and thus over-writing any previous data. So long as the user is aware of this there will be no problems in making your own image progression by changing the file-name (even one character difference is enough to distinguish between files).

Capabilities: Layers, Channels, Gradients, Patterns, Image history, Document history, Wide variety of Tools, Paths and the ability to edit every function of the program or write new scripts in PERL for customized performance. This is a rather brief description of the program capabilities but we can go into these specifics at a later time.

Strengths: GIMP is a wonderful program for the artist working on individual pieces of art or “fine corrections” on specific parts of an art piece. It is a powerful GNU GPL (General Public License) software making it available for tweaking by studious users. All of the Tool Brushes can be copied or new Brushes made to suit your specific purposes.

Weaknesses: For many users not being a file organizer is a turn off. (Thus it is listed as a weakness of the software. I personal still use GIMP for this purpose.) Scripts for complicated processing are minimal (i.e. HDR creation, Panorama stitching and Automatic Watermarking.) It would benefit from better RAW Camera Data reading and manipulation.

These are my professional critiques. For personal uses, this program has always exceeded my desires and performance requirements. It is a solid, fully developed piece of software that is well worth your time to learn and use!

NEXT:… Post-Production Software – Part 3 (Darktable)

The Make-up Of An HDR Photo

This is a completed HDR photo. When making a HDR, you want to add to each element. Be careful not to detract from the photo's statement. In this photo the ray of sunlight on the rock is part of the statement, being "the viewer is in a safe place and cool shade" and still maintaining the cheerful bright awareness of the sun. More details are given in the article below.

Welcome to 2012! I hope the Christmas and New years celebrations were enjoyable and filled with family and friends.

In the tender start of this new year, we began discussing the techniques of photography. We like new perspectives and informative articles, but only when simultaneously woven together in artful story form.

There are so many “HDR tutorials” out there that searching “How to make a HDR photo in (your favorite program here)” will bring one or more tutorials! So I do not intend to make this another tutorial, rather I desire to give some thoughts and insight into what make an HDR photo so impressive.

What creates that “wow” factor in the HDR photos I see? From observation of and experience in photography, a photo well made will have the most detail in the moderate range with light and shadowed areas. The technique of using a High Dynamic Range (speaking strictly of light) is designed to add detail to the light and shadowed areas.

Illustrating what I mean by adding detail to areas of light and shadow, this side-show gives you and idea of what each layer of the HDR image brings to the completed work.

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The basic theory is adding detail to the light and shadowed area of the photo, but the HDR technique adds to much more than simply expanding the detail by diversifying the amount of light between image layers. The High Dynamic Range adds more to a photo in color, definition and detail. Light is central to these three things, but when we speak in terms of light, my mind begins to construct a black and white image in which to better understand the use of light. HDRs add much more than blacks and whites to an image. Light expounds the color spectrum, and this is the basic foundation of a HDR photo.

This is why it will be hard to explain every detail of the HDR technique, because light is the core and many scientists admit that they can not define light, but only explain some of what it does for us.

Here is a parting thought: “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (Found in the First Epistle of John; chapter 1 verses 3-5.)

Amazing!