Archive for the Editorial Category

The WebP Image Format

Posted in Editorial with tags , , , , , , , on April 25, 2013 by Art of Photography

Did you know there is a new image format in the digital world? Google released *.webp in November of last year as a way to store images in a smaller file size. While the format is more efficient than JPEG (25% to 34% smaller), it has the same abilities as PNG and GIF (Lossless & lossy compression, alpha channels, and animation support). So far this new format is only intended for the web. It is supported (meaning you can see pictures formatted this way) in Chrome and Opera. Facebook recently switched to this format which caused some users concern for images that suddenly didn’t render (looks like they have switched back).

Can you see this (a webP formatted image)?

Google provides a plug in for Internet Explorer, and Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) via their Frame plug-in. They also offer a WebP converter (free download) for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Other software that can convert these files includes Picasa, Pixelmator, ImageMagick, Konvertor, ReaConverter, XnView, and of course my favorite, IrfanView! There are also free plug-ins for Photoshop and GIMP too (if history is any example, expect Photoshop to soon have a Camera Raw update for this).

It will take time but I think this format is going to catch on. Google does not restrict its use and it will make web pages load much faster (think phones). In the example above (that you may or may not see) the original jpg version was 443 KB jpg while the webp version in the link is only 213 KB.

It’s About The Displaying

Posted in Editorial, Photoshop Composition with tags , , , , , , on March 24, 2013 by Art of Photography

Here is a picture of Marilyn Monroe. She certainly was a beauty.
My efforts here this morning were not about her picture but how to display it.
(Click the image, thumbnails hid a lot of important detail)
Not saying this is the best way, just experimenting.
I think this would work if there were several pictures to display.
I’ll work on that next.

ScotchTape & Marilyn

What Is Good Art

Posted in Editorial, Photoshop Composition with tags , , , , on March 23, 2013 by Art of Photography

This is possibly the most complicated Photoshop composition I have done to date. It contains over 25 layers and used approximately 100 Photoshop tools.


I like the finished product a lot. But that is not too surprising as one of my interests is Typeface. However, for some, this is dumb. For others, this is okay but not worth more than a one or two second glance (time to click the mouse). Some will see this as pretentious and others genius. Some will have reactions I cannot imagine.

So, with all these views, which one(s) are the right ones? Is this good art, average at best, or was it all just a supreme waste of time?

I discovered art later in life which tends to make me more reflective of the gestalt in artistry. One aspect noticeable from this out-of-flow observing is that when artists get together they do an odd thing that most groups don’t. They criticise each others work, something most would consider anywhere from rude to hostile.

The reason for this lies in all those “views.” Praise, while nice, seldom contains information useful to an artist. Of value are conversations that say if you like a thing, why. If you don’t, why. The more specific, the better. Statements like that are not taken as judgmental. Nor do they often lead to reactive changes. The piece under discussion will not be changed nor is it likely that the next creation will be profoundly different (although sometimes…). Yet, it is understanding “what works and what doesn’t” that is the measure of skill used internally by the artist.

Someone once said that an image of mine could make me famous. I don’t think artists show their work for that reason (I know I don’t). The works that get displayed are already pleasing to the artist (or else they would not be considered finished). You share your best works with the people you like and maybe your peers. But general public displays have to be about the feedback and resulting knowledge that such events bring. An artist will engage in many conversations about displayed pieces. Going in, the artist already knows some are going to like it and some won’t (some will be unimpressed and not talk at all and are liked least for it). However, the balance of the overall resulting reactions is going to provide a better understanding of human (and societal) standards. I like to think that just as the artist learns from going through this, so do we all.

It might be fair to say that no artist has ever produced a bad work of art. Those that didn’t have mass appeal were still loved by a few.

Enjoy your weekend.

Glow – Light and Dark

Posted in Editorial with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by Art of Photography

I’m on a roll this week!
While reviewing my Flickr account I noticed a couple of pictures that used a glow technique I have worked out for myself. Since this blog is about what can be done as well as what has been done, I thought I’d share these two images and talk a little about some of the issues in making them.

Light Glow (Hi Key). If you are adding romantic gauze (haze, fog, blur) to a high key image the area to watch for is highlights. Highlights, when done right, are a razor thin line away from blown out. Very bright, possibly heavily saturated, but with details showing. While it never easy adding any sort of glow to an overly bright composition, when it is done, what usually happens is colors end up desaturated in an unintended way. For Photoshop users, I recommend your last layer always be a Hue and Saturation adjustment applied globally (not clipped to the layer below unless the layer below is a stamped layer).


A low-key, dark image on the other hand wants to hide detail from the viewer. What made Ansel Adams’ rep was his ability to make dark areas very dark without hiding any details. You don’t really romanticize dark areas of a work, you soften the de-facto highlights of the details. By de-facto, I mean brighter areas that may not be traditional highlights but because they show light against dark areas of the composition, they become its highlights.


That’s it, housework and homework is calling. Have a terrific day and I’ll see you soon.


P.S. Stamped layer – making a new layer out of all the visible layers in your Photoshop composition (Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E (Win) Shift + Ctrl + Cmd + E (Mac))

The Art of Photoshop

Posted in Editorial, Image Post, Photoshop Composition with tags , , , on March 13, 2013 by Art of Photography

Photoshop can be used to enhance a photograph but it can also be used to create artistic images. Either use is valid in my opinion so long as you are clear about doing it.

Two pictures; a young woman’s face and a cityscape, is artistically modified and blended in such a way as to create something new. It is completely fictional yet still retains the same qualities as any visual piece of art. Whether you like this composition or not is a matter of personal taste but the process is as valid as any used in the creation of art work.


Photography does not have to be simply the faithful replication of existing visions. For me, there was nothing going on with either original image. Just pictures like so many other taken of cities and women. But transmogrified this way, something more creatively interesting was produced. Gestalt says the sum can be greater than the parts. I hope you find tonight’s work such.


Getting More From Art – Tenebrism

Posted in Editorial, Image Post with tags , , , , , , on March 2, 2013 by Art of Photography

Chiaroscuro is a term used to describe an image with exaggerated contrast between light and dark. It was a method of painting developed during the renaissance by artists such as Tintoretto and was very effective in modeling images to look 3D. Probably the artist most associated with this technique was a fellow named Caravaggio. His style, called Tenebrism, took the contrast between light and dark to such an extreme that everything but the subject of the composition is obscured or heavily opaque. Where early practitioners sought the feeling of divine light on the subject (religion and mythology were the main themes of most early renaissance paintings), Caravaggio and his followers used it more as a local lighting for dramatic effect (usually a candle or lamp). If you like history, this might be a good subject to Google up on. Wikipedia has a very nice introductory article on the subject.

Using the same image as the last post, here is my rendition of chiaroscuro in a photographic composition. Hopefully, if you look up some of the great masters of the art, you will look at my humble creation and say I got it right.


Want to go further with this?
The four canonical painting modes of the Renaissance were Cangiante, Chiaroscuro, Unione, and Sfumato. The most prominent practitioner of sfumato was Leonardo da Vinci, and it is very evident in the Mona Lisa. I personally believe the more you know about art, the more you enjoy life.

Dave Hill Effect

Posted in Editorial, Image Post with tags , , on December 29, 2012 by Art of Photography

You may have heard of the Dave Hill effect but wasn’t sure what that meant. Dave Hill is a digital artist who makes incredible compositions out of hundreds of Photoshop layers. The resulting images have an easily discernible style about them.
Many artists would like to emulate this style but do not have the time, skills, or inclination to do all the work involved. So they have experimented with various Photoshop settings that can make something close in appearance but is easy to apply. So much of this has been done (and displayed) that it is now a known look referred to as the ‘Dave Hill effect’.

A normal image such as this

Becomes something like this


(it is sometimes also referred to as an HDR look).
And so, now you know!

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