Friday, January 26, 2007

Quickly Thrown Together Alternate Post

I had written a post, edited it, and whittled it down some more, but I decided not to post it.

It was a political post, but I get the butterflies in my stomach when I do political things for this blog. I really got nervous over this one, so I'm not going to post it.

The last thing I want is for this blog to become a burden and source of stress.

Instead, I'm showing y'all this:

Something neat instead. (Potentially boring, but less divisive.)

I've put a lot of photos on this blog, but I've been experimenting with some features of Adobe Photoshop Element 4 that I have never used before now.

Remember Silly Putty? How you could flatten it, press it onto a newspaper comic and when you peeled it back, you had the image on the Silly Putty, which you could then stretch and distort in funny ways?

The feature of Photoshop Elements I have been playing with is the Free Transform function. It operates just like the Silly Putty example I just described.

Open a picture, enable the Free Transform tool, and then stretch or move the corners of the photo so that the image in the photo changes shape.

You may ask, so what?

Have you ever taken a photo of a building while standing at ground level such that you must tilt the camera up to fit the building into the frame of the photo?

When you later look at your photos, the building appears to be tilted back away from the camera. The base of the building is wider than the upper portions in the final shot.

This falling away look of buildings in photos is called "keystoning."

The Free Transform tool in Elements will do exactly the same thing to your photo as Silly Putty.

You can use the Free Transform tool to make your photo look silly, but what I have been trying to learn to use it for is to correct the keystoning effect of the falling over look that buildings get in photos.

I'll just leave the explanation at that, it's as good as I can do. I'll leave y'all with four photos, two each of the same image. One "before" and one "after" of each shot.

I haven't gotten the process down very well yet, but the possibilities are blowing my mind. Now that I know I can do this, I'll have to start taking photos with a different thought process on the framing as I shoot the photo.

In the second photo especially, you can see how the "after" image has lost some of the interesting details at the top of the photo. They were stretched outside the edges of the photo, and are lost.

From now on when I'm taking photographs, I need to start leaving room all the way around the building when I take the photo so that I can have room to play with it using the Free Transform tool and still have the whole building, or at least the important parts, not stretch out of the frame like in the second photo.


silverneurotic said...

Imagine what a person could do with the leaning tower of Pisa....

Travis said...

That's cool. I just got a new digital camera for Christmas. I'll have to look into this Photoshop thingy.

JAM said...

silverneurotic, good one. Maybe if a person stood in the proper place with the right focal length lens, they could straighten up the Tower of Pisa without Photoshop. Hmmm.

Travis, "real" Photoshop costs hundreds of dollars, but Adobe Photoshop Elements is around $70 and is incredibly versatile. For my own home use (I'm not a pro) I couldn't justify the price of Photoshop CS2. It's made by the same people, and one day when I can buy it, I'll be familiar with many Photoshop tools, commands, and file formats from using the little brother, Elements. I have Elements 4.0, but they released 5.0 a couple of months ago. If you eventually get Elements, get a Scott Kelby book on whatever version you buy. He's the best, and is plain-spoken. No theory, all steps to achieve whatever look you want. Do this, then do that, the book is a marvel.

Travis said...

Thanks for the info.

Hey - hope you don't mind, but I linked you over at my blog. I really enjoy what you write here.