Saturday, June 09, 2007

Photo: Phun with Photoshop

There's one Photoshop trick that's always fascinated me.

I've always been intrigued by the idea of changing a photo into a drawing. I've seen at least a hundred tutorials on the 'net for doing this, but they never seemed to do exactly what I wanted. They always looked more like a bad watercolor drawing. I had a really hard time finding exactly the effect I wanted.

But I think I've finally hit on the technique I was looking for.

It was deceptively--and surprisingly--easy, and I've spent the last several days trying out various pictures and effects with it. It helps to start with a clear, sharp picture, with good contrast.

In the finished drawing, the sharp lines come in clear and crisp, just like they should. But even when the original shot isn't so sharp, the end result can still be fun and interesting.

Shots of people and animals are the hardest to make work. Since a flash can wipe out details, the drawings that come out often show people missing noses or other important details. Pictures of animals are even worse, because the program tries to sketch each individual hair on the dog's face.

But if you start with a really good picture, you can get a dynamite drawing out of it.

I couldn't resist running a bunch of my old pictures through it, just to see what would happen.

My next project will involve mixing the putting the blue water into the London Bridge picture, or putting the color in the eyes while leaving the rest of the drawing in sketch. Your ideas, opinions, comments and suggestions are welcome!

Photo: A new town, and a new set of subjects

That's right, your Shards and Phractures author, photographer, and all around geek is moving to a whole new place...all the way from Phoenix to Nebraska, believe it or not.

...and I've got to admit, it's a whole new world, photographically speaking. I mean, there's this green stuff all over the place, and the various plants don't bite if you get too close to them like they do in Arizona...

And, about every other day, this strange and mysterious thing happens...WATER actually falls from the sky! I've heard of this occurring, but didn't really believe it was possible.

In Arizona, there's nothing much to look at on the ground, and if you want something interesting, you need to silhouette it against a cool sunset. Here in Nebraska, though, you can find some interesting stuff to shoot.

The local animals are a little more tame, too.

...this guy actually posed for me for a few shots. Most of the squirrels don't stand still long enough to really get a decent shot of them, but every now and then you get a brave one who will let you get the camera within fifty feet.

If you mess with spiders and bugs in Arizona, you're asking for trouble. I've shot scorpions and black widows, but only when I was absolutely sure of what I was doing--I've squished plenty of nasty bugs because I couldn't see any way to contain them for a safe photoshoot. Here in Nebraska, though...I haven't seen so many nasty bugs. In fact, I managed to find a bug I've never even heard of before--a Hummingbird Moth.

Anyway, that's enough fun for one post...I need to get back outside and find some more fun stuff to shoot.

Up next time--a cool and fun Photoshop trick for turning photos into pencil drawings!