Archive for graphics

IrfanView In Use

Posted in General Post, Image Post, Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2012 by Art of Photography

While tools like Photoshop and Topaz are very capable programs, because of the number of images I could be processing at any one time, I always look for simple quick tools that can do most the heavy lifting.
My favorite is a free program called IrfanView ( It downloads from third party sites (my link is to by CNet) but they do have their own website (
It is best to download the program and also the plug-ins package (separate item), especially for support with RAW files.

It is free and installs easily. It has been around for a long time and is highly recommended. I use it for navigation as well as initial processing. Although it has a lot of capabilities, it is easy to learn. Start with one skill and once mastered, you try another.

So, what is post-processing, and does it have value? Here are two images. The first is a raw, straight from the camera, picture. The second one has had the contrast adjusted.

As you can see, the horse starts to ‘pop out’. Further adjust gamma and color saturation and you get this…

All of these are the same image but the last one is closest to what I saw when I shot the picture. That should be the goal in all post-processing. To finish with a composition that makes you feel the same way you did when you decided the subject in front of you could be a good photo.

All of these adjustments were made with IrfanView.

I opened the image in the program and in the menu bar selected Image >> Color Corrections…
This opened up the adjustment panel

In the lower right section I set Contrast to 45, Gamma to 1.12, and Saturation to 150.
[Contrast is the difference between light and dark (where they meet).]
[Gamma is basically how bright the image is.]
[Saturation is brightness of color.]

IrfanView can do much more including crop, crop to a ratio, sharpen, blur, change resolution (use 96 dpi for images to be shown on a monitor, 240 dpi if it will be printed), and much more. It also has a decent batch processor to convert and/or rename files quickly.

All-in-all, this is how I start. Either I publish as is, continue tweaking with Photoshop, or use the image to preview things I might want to do with more capable graphics software.

In whatever you do, good luck and keep shooting!


Instagram in Irfanview

Posted in Image Post, Photoshop Tutorial, Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by Art of Photography

I have blogged before about a great free program for image processing with the unusual name of Irfanview. This is, in my opinion, the best image manipulation program you can use until you step up to Photoshop (or possibly GIMP). Today’s blog is about using Irfanview to re-create some classic film and dark-room trick photo effects.
These settings can only be used in Irfanview ( but do not require the extra plug-ins package.
Ready to go!?!
With an image loaded into Irfanview, type a capital G (shift + G) or go to Image >> color corrections … in the menu options. This opens up a dialog with a before and after of your current image. On the left side you will find controls for Brightness and Color balance (Red/Green/Blue). The right side has controls for Contrast, Gamma, and Saturation. We will modify six (6) of these controls (I never touch Brightness, Gamma is way much better).
Note that these settings are not absolutes and you can always tweak them depending on the picture they are being applied to. They are a starting point however I recommend you do apply all the settings for the effect before you start tweaking.
The format for the filter instructions is ; Red, Green, Blue, Contrast, Gamma, Saturation.

Original Image

70’s; -5, 5, -50, 10, 1.1, 50

Chrome; -5, -20, 0, 75, 1.1, -25

Polaroid; 25, 30, 5, 0, 1.1, 0

C-41; 15, 30, 80, 0, .8, 25

CrossProcess; 35, 35, -50, 40, .8, -75

RedScale; 65, 30, -50, -10, .8, -50

Lomish; 35, 10, -60, 75, .75, -100

SkipBleach; 70, 60, 115, 10, .45, -125

Brownie; 30, 5, 100, 0, .9, 35

Chrome is meant to emulate KodaChrome color reversal film
C-41 relates to ‘normal’ color film processing (the main Kodak chemical is named C-41)
Cross Process, Red Scale and Skip Bleach are based on deliberate chemical misapplication techniques.
Brownie is based on 126 films.
70’s is based on time eroded prints.
Polaroid is emulating Polaroid’s emulsion.
Lomish incorporates some of the elements found in the output of the cheap Russian Lomo cameras.

Hope you find these useful and that you have a good time playing with them. Let me know if you run into problems or don’t understand something I wrote.

Working with a Tablet

Posted in Image Post, Photoshop Tutorial with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2012 by Art of Photography

Here is an image with a hand drawn frame.

This was fairly easy to make in Photoshop if you have a tablet.
1. Open a new file to your desired size (I chose 4″ wide and 6″ tall at 240 dpi and CMYK mode because I plan to use these as templates for portraits that will be printed out).
2. Create a new layer and draw your frame (here is where the tablet really helps).
3. Select the magic wand and click in the center of your frame, then inverse. Click with the ALT/OPTION key down to deselect the outer edge and any space between the drawn frame.
4. Create a new layer and fill it with white
5. Back on the Drawn Frame layer, clear the selection and select just the center. Create a new layer and fill with black. [Final layers order top to bottom is Frame, Black-Layer, White-Layer, Background]
Save here if you want this to be a template.
Now bring in any image you want (adjust and resize as needed). Put it just above the Black Layer. Then hold down the ALT/OPTION key and mouse to the line between the image layer and Black layer (the icon will change). Click and this will clip the image to the black center.
Fill the White Layer with the frame color desired, Fill the background if you wish.
All done

Preview Flattening In Photoshop CS4/5

Posted in Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2011 by Art of Photography

You think you are done but you know from past experience that sometimes when you flattened you see something that needs changing. You can Ctrl Z or use the history panel BUT it can be an endless cycle (ctrl Z, make a change, flatten again, find something else, ctrl Z, make a change …). However if you press Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + Shift + E (it is easier than it sounds), all visible layers will be merged into a new layer. Now you can preview the flattened image or even experiment with further changes to a flattened image and just delete the layer when you are done.
Easy Peasy Louisey.

Filters and Photoshop (CS5)

Posted in Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by Art of Photography

There has been more noise than usual about the Filter Gallery in Photoshop CS5 (instead of scrolling though the menu lists). Here are some (hopefully) useful tips for advanced users.

* To apply more than one filter on an image without leaving the Filter Gallery, click the New Filter Button at the bottom of the Wizard.

* Ctrl/Command F fires off the last filter used however make that Ctrl/Command Alt/Option F and you get the dialog box (to make adjustments).

* Ctrl/Command Shift F reduces the amount of effect for the last filter applied.

Going Pro

Posted in General Post, Video Post with tags , , on September 15, 2011 by Art of Photography
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