Captured on an iPhone 4 using ClassicPAN; post processed with Painteresque, Blender, Iris on an iPad 2.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Rice drying in Cuba - iPad image processing

If anyone can tell me how to maintain the discipline I need to have in order to post regular tutorials here, I'd be eternally grateful! I am so easily distracted! This tutorial will outline how to go from what probably looks like a throw-away image to something that is quite nice and serves as a wonderful memory of my recent trip to Cuba with John Barclay, Tony Sweet and 11 other photographers. We learned that rice is dried on the road in Cuba. If one meets a vehicle coming down the one available lane of the two lane road being used for rice drying, one of the vehicles must drive over the rice in order to allow the other vehicle to pass. Fortunately, this is the "raw" rice before it has been hulled so I'm guessing/hoping the processing after the drying stage (which is done so the rice can be stored 'as is' until time to process it) takes care of getting rid of any dirt and debris added during the drying process!

The first image below is the result of processing the second image below through several steps which will be covered in detail in this tutorial. The original image was shot through the bus window with the iPhone 4s native camera app. Apps used for post processing on the iPad include PerfectPhoto, Touch Retouch, Painteresque, Image Blender, Photo fx Ultra, and A+ Signature.

finished image of rice drying in Cuba
Finished image of rice drying on the road in Cuba.

original, starting image
Original native iPhone 4s image shot through a bus window.

The first steps were done in PerfectPhoto (tutorial available) and included cropping, sharpening and denoise steps resulting in the image below.

cropped image
I chose a square crop to eliminate as many of the distracting elements as possible. You will have noticed that the crop I chose didn't eliminate all of the visor at the front of the bus (still visible along the top of the cropped image) and left some other artifacts and distracting elements due to having been shot through the bus window. I next used Touch Retouch to remove those elements I found distracting. Between the brush and the lasso tool, the entire process took me less than five minutes. If you are new to using this marvelous iPhone app, I recommend viewing the in-app tutorials as many times as necessary to get the hang it it. For those familiar with Photoshop content aware tools, Retouch is the iPhone answer to that function and does a fantastic job of retouching images!

When using Touch Retouch, two finger pinch or spread action will allow you to zoom out or zoom in to facilitate retouching. Sometimes, the entire image won't be visible at first in which case you will want to pinch the image to shrink it to fit in the screen so you can see the edges and work on them. A screen shot below shows the visor marked in red (it was selected using the lasso tool to select a bit of the blue sky all around the edge of the visor). When the right "arrow" (showing as a triangle to the right of the hand icon along the bottom edge of the screen shot below) is clicked after selecting an area for retouching, the retouch tool will magically get rid of the visor and replace it with blue sky.

retouch example
First step in retouching

Additional artifacts were removed with either the brush or the lasso, resulting in the retouched image shown below.

retouched image

Painteresque is just what it sounds like, a painting app that will apply a style of painterly treatment to an image. I had a specific "look" in mind for my finished image and knew that Painteresque would be a good choice. The screen shot below shows the image after Style Painteresque 2 was applied. As you can see, by selecting Style in Painteresque, you get a menu of style options. Experiment to see what is available. It is even possible to Fine Tune any of the styles but I accepted the default settings for the style. It is a bit "over the top" for the effect I wanted, but I knew that blending it with the retouched image in Image Blender would tone done the effect. So I saved it to the camera roll for continued processing.

screen shot of Painteresque treatment applied

The next screen shot shows the result of loading the retouched image into Blender (tutorial available) on the left side and the Painteresque processed image on the right side and blending using Normal blend with 60% of the Painteresque image in the blend.

painteresque style applied

The last step before signing with A+ Signature (tutorial available) was to take the blended image into Photo fx Ultra and apply a vignette using Lens/Vignette/Black Square at 50% amount and 100% softness as shown in the screen shot below. (The default amount is 100% amount which I find to be overpowering.)

photo fx ultra vignette applied

One step not illustrated is the second iteration of using Touch Retouch to get rid of a strange looking spot in the sky that was exaggerated once the Painteresque style had been applied. The finished image is shown again below because I'm too lazy to code the link needed to go back to the top of the page.

finished image of rice drying in Cuba
Finished image of rice drying on the road in Cuba.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Second Attempt! Slide Show of Cuba iPhone images...

If anyone has any ideas how to make this work seamlessly, I'm happy to hear them. (note that if this doesn't work, the post will be taken down while I try, try again) Scroll down to the end for what I tried previously (epic FAIL). This time, I'm suggesting you click here to view the slide show of images. The first slide SHOULD be a slide outlining the itinerary but you may have to stop and start the slide show over again on your computer if you don't see that image first.

The images included in the slide show are a few that I've had time to process from my 9 day adventure in Cuba led by John Barclay and Tony Sweet. Our group consisted of our two leaders, 12 participants, a local guide and the bus driver. Lazaro (who answered all our questions and provided us with a lot of Cuban history, much of which was new to us) was our guide for MOST of the tour and was called away to another tour our last two days after which Libon was our guide. Unfortunately, because I contracted food poisoning from something I ate our next to last evening in Havana, it meant I mostly missed the entire last full day in Cuba as far as taking pictures and participating with the group activities. (I will be adding tutorials for image creation of some of these images at a later date so keep an eye out here if you want to know the process...)

My first attempt at getting a slide who to work after creating a Keynote presentation of iPhone images on my iPad failed (embedding the Quick Time movie I uploaded to my Picasa album)... SIGH... I obviously have a lot to learn to get things to work seamlessly. (the Keynote presentation I created on my iPad to start this process must have been too huge to transfer via email and with the latest release of iTunes, I have no clue how to find the copy of the Keynote presentation that I saved to iTunes; the Keynote presentation saved as PowerPoint was small enough to send myself via email after which I exported the PowerPoint presentation as a Quick Time movie which obviously didn't work so save yourself the trouble)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fall scenery in the Smoky Mountains... iPhone style!

This is an iPhone image from my recent trip to the Smoky Mountains on a marvelous photo tour with John Barclay and Dan Sniffin. As always, you may view it larger by clicking the image. (Follow the links for more information on apps that I've either reviewed or covered in more detail elsewhere)

Smoky Mountain Tennessee; iPhone fall scene
Post processing of the native iPhone 4s camera images included merging in True HDR, then using PerfectPhoto to crop and sharpen a the image a bit. Photo fx Ultra processing (taking advantage of the Add Layer feature to stack filters) was used to add Photographic/Light Balancing, Diffusion/Warm Center Spot (no blur) and Lens/Vignette/Black Square with default settings reduced to give just a bit of vignette around the edges. A+ Signature was used to sign the image. NOTE that A+ Signature has recently had a significant upgrade so my tutorial might need to be updated also.

For completely different look to this same scene, visit my other photography blog post.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Historic Canal Boat at Great Falls Park, MD

With all the furor over the iPhone 5 recently, I made an executive decision to purchase an iPhone 4s (64GB) because I have too many accessories that will not work with the iPhone 5 and I'm not willing to spend money to upgrade all of those accessories AND my phone at this time.

Since what I had previously was an iPhone 4, I did get an upgrade to the camera from a camera capable of capturing only 5 megapixel images to one capable of capturing 8 megapixel images. This will allow me to print my iPhone art/images at a larger size if I choose to do so. Today I'm sharing the processing that resulted in the image below... all the steps. The original image was captured with the iPhone 4s native camera in HDR mode. (as always, you may click any of the images to view them larger size)

canal boat, final image
Apps used included True HDR, PerfectPhoto (sharpen and denoise), touchRetouch, Photo fx Ultra (several effects), AutoPainter HD Van Gogh, Image Blender, A+ Signature (Allura text). This image is for sale on Fine Art America, as are others of my images. And I'm posting to Weekly Top Shot today... wish I could post there every week! Check it out for other nice images.

Since I've previously discussed True HDR and covered PerfectPhoto, Image Blender, and A+ Signature usage in a separate post for each app, I will concentrate on the effects that I applied using Photo fx Ultra which I have been using a LOT lately. Please note that this is NOT a comprehensive tutorial on using Photo fx Ultra. The app has a LOT of filters, effects and I'm only just beginning to appreciate the power of this app. There is a YouTube video that shows the basic features of the app and Tiffin has a bit of information about it on their web site.

canal boat, starting image
True HDR merged image, the starting point for post-processing.

retouched image
touchRetouch was used to remove the light post and its reflection because I found it distracting. A combination of the 'eraser' brush and cloning tool was used. Retouch (app icon name after installation) is fairly straightforward to use and has built-in help and tutorials. (look for the basic tutorial, advanced tutorial and help topics under the i in the upper right hand corner after opening an image) The one setting I would encourage you to turn on is Always Use Max Resolution.

polarizer effect screen shot
This screen shot shows the first effect that was applied in Photo fx Ultra to the retouched image. The Polarizer/Polarizer 5 effect in the Special Effects set was applied using the Default settings for the effect. Note that the categories of effects are across the bottom; the options shown on the left change depending on which of the bottom categories and which subset of each category you choose. ANY of the effects can be modified to suit you (using the various sliders that appear when you choose an effect) and those modifications may be saved as a personal effect. To continue modifying an image after an effect has been applied, select Add Layer from the options that appear when you click on the upper right corner arrow to save (or otherwise handle) your image.

soft light effect screen shot
The screen shot for the second effect shows Soft Light/Soft Light 5 in the Light category being applied on top of the previous layer. I cannot recall if I changed the settings from the default settings for this effect. I continued by choosing Add Layer and choosing a third category of effects to apply.

black vignette screen shot
Because I wanted to focus attention on the boat, I chose to apply a vignette next, using the Lens/Vignette/Black Circle effect. I adjusted the sliders for this effect to soften it a bit from how it appeared with the default settings.

diffusion warm center spot screen shot
Again, to continue the processing with the intent of drawing the viewer in to the center of the image to focus on the boat, I applied the Diffusion/Warm Center Spot/Warm Spot 2 effect and adjusted the default settings so that the overall image remained sharp but was warmer in the middle. (I did not want to blur the edges.) This Photo fx Ultra image was saved and was the image used for later blending as will be described.

collage of images as described
At this point, I'm including a collage of the main steps used in processing from start to finish of this image. (click any link to see larger views of each image; to return here, use Back in your browser) The upper left image is the True HDR merged image after retouching; the upper right image is after the previously described four effects had been applied in Photo fx Ultra; the lower left image is the Auto Painter Van Gogh effect applied to the True HDR image; and the bottom right is the blended, final image. (more detail on the steps to achieve the final image is given below)

The final image was blended several times to achieve the result I was going for and to restore the image size which had suffered some downsizing throughout the processing steps. The first blending step involved blending the Van Gogh effect image with the image after application of the Photo fx Ultra effects. I used a normal blend and blended in only 20% of the Van Gogh image so as not to overpower the effects I'd achieved with Photo fx Ultra. I wasn't 100% satisfied so I blended the result with the original True HDR image using masking with opacity to bring back some of the detail on just the boat. This image was signed using A+ Signature, Allura text.

And last, since I noticed some loss of pixels in the signed, final image, I loaded the dark exposure of the two HDR images as the background image in Blender, reduced the background opacity so that it did not affect the blend and blended that original image with the signed final image which effectively returned the image size to the same as the original and would allow me to print it as large as 12x16 inches without appreciable loss of detail.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Processing an SLR image on an iPad with iOS apps

I had an SLR image that I wanted to edit and could not figure out how to do it on my computer. So I moved a JPG of the image to my iPad after "assembling" the HDR image from 3 SLR shots. And then I proceeded to work on it with various iPad apps... the first of which was retouch to remove the overhead wires. The scene is from just outside the hotel in Dingle, Ireland where we stayed the first 3 nights of a Photography Tour led by John Barclay, Peter Cox and Dan Sniffin.

HDR image from computer...

farm field under cloudy skies

Retouched (Touch/Retouch app) to remove overhead wires.

retouched image

Glaze app effect applied... Glaze is one of those apps where you just have to experiment to see which of the effects you like.

glazed image

Screen shot of Blender app settings when blending Glaze treated image with Retouched image.

screen shot of Blender settings

Image saved after blending as shown above.

blended image

Screen shot of DynaLight HD treatment applied to the previous image.

screen shot from DynaLight HD

Image saved after DynaLight HD effect had been applied as shown above.

saved image with DynaLight HD effect

PhotoToaster used to frame image with settings shown in the screen shot below.

screen shot from PhotoToaster showing frame

Final image after framing and signing in A+ Signature.

framed and signed image

So there you have it... the best of both worlds in my opinion. An SLR image with high resolution and lots of detail treated with iOS apps to turn it into something other than a literal interpretation of the scene. Perhaps you prefer the unedited image but I sure am having fun being creative with my photos.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Seattle Sunset post processing revealed

Apps used in this tutorial include some that have been already discussed in more detail on separate pages devoted to each of the apps. They will appear as links in the tutorial below.

A panorama image from 9 images shot with Bracket Mode (an HDR camera) where only the darker of each image pair was selected to merge in AutoStitch was used as the starting point. AutoPainter was used to apply the Benson effect to the panorama and the paint version was then blended (using Blender; tutorial) at 50% with the untreated panoramic image to give the image shown below which is where this tutorial starts.

panorama image starting point

Steps in brief (not all images are shown) follow:
  1. Apply the Lindale effect at reduced strength in PhotoStudioHD (tutorial).
  2. Apply the Vintage effect in PhotoStudioHD and save the image.
  3. Load the image into Wood Camera and apply Frame 5 to it and Save it. (Frame 5 adds bird silhouettes to an image; an excellent tutorial for Wood Camera is available elsewhere.
  4. Load the saved image into A+ Signature (tutorial), sign and save.

seattle sunset with Lindale and Vintage effects
Image with PhotoStudioHD Lindale and Vintage effects applied; PhotoStudio HD tutorial.

Image after applying Frame 5 in Wood Camera (tutorial elsewhere) and signing in A+ Signature (tutorial).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hydrangea post processing with Painteresque, Moku Hanga and Blender...

This tutorial demonstrates use of Moku Hanga and Painteresque to create a couple of layers (images) that are then blended using Blender to achieve a final result that I found pleasing. It is a very simple tutorial. As always, the steps will be summarized first and then a series of images showing the process will be included below the outline.

  1. The starting point for this tutorial is a cropped and sharpened image (see the PerfectPhoto app guide for steps) obtained from merging HDR images (TrueHDR) shot with the iPhone 4 native camera.
  2. The image was loaded into Painteresque for one "layer" to be used later (Image 1).
  3. The Portrait preset in Moku Hanga was applied to the cropped, sharpened image and the image saved (Image 2).
  4. Image 1 and Image 2 were brought into Blender and blended with Luminosity at 50% and the image was saved.
  5. The saved, blended image was signed with A+ Signature.
  6. Two other images were created for possible future blends, one from AutoPainter Benson effect and one from using "My flower preset" in Moku Hanga. (My flower preset is based on Landscape 2 with the border removed and makes a very nice flower painting.)

cropped and sharpened image
This tutorial starts where the app guide for PerfectPhoto left off, with the cropped and sharpened Hydrangea image.

Painteresque effect
Painteresque effect applied to the cropped, sharpened image.

Moku Hanga screen shot
Several preset effects are available in Moku Hanga. It is worth your time to play around with the presets and discover what works best for your image and the effect you are trying to achieve. For example, the preset I chose for my Hydrangea image is labeled "Portrait" and I just happened to like the effect achieved here. At some point, I might write a mini-tutorial on Moku Hanga but it is pretty straightforward to use. Any image loaded into it will have an effect applied automatically but I never know WHICH effect is applied. Since I like to know what effect is being applied, I always experiment a bit. If you find an effect you like, you can save it out as a Preset with a name that makes sense to you. Use the Share button and select Save Preset instead of Save; presets are organized alphabetically in Moku Hanga so yours will appear according to that organization the next time you open Moku Hanga.

Portrait effect image from Moku Hanga
Saved image after application of the Portrait effect in Moku Hanga.

screen shot of Blender process
Screen shot of Blender showing 50% Luminosity blend of the Moku Hanga Portrait image with the Painteresque image.

signed image
Signed image (signed with A+ Signature; usage covered elsewhere after blending as described above.)

These last three images are included to show a screen shot after using "My flower preset" in Moku Hanga, the saved image after applying that preset, and last, AutoPainter 3 Monet effect applied to the cropped, sharpened image. I often save multiple versions of an image for later experimentation, even after I've found one combination I like well enough to sign it.

my flower preset in Moku Hanga
The preset I've saved in Moku Hanga as "My flower preset" is based on the supplied Landscape 2 preset with the border removed.

Moku Hanga saved with my flower preset effect applied
Image saved from Moku Hanga after applying "My flower preset."

AutoPainter 3 Monet effect applied to image
AutoPainter 3 Monet effect.