Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Example of "Focus B&W" function in Picasa

Continuing my crusade for wide spread use of Google's Picasa program, again a FREE program, here is an example of its function called "Focus B&W". It gives you means to convert an image to black and white overall, but leaves an adjustable area of the image untouched in color. You can control the location of the color focus point, as well as size and blending sharpness of the untouched area. It's quick and easy, so it isn't perfect and image selection is the most critical part of applying this feature successfully. Let's see how you like this one.

This is Manhattan in NYC with Manhattan Bridge in the foreground.

I was able to leave out fairly well defined orange structure of the tug boat and convert the rest of the image to B&W. The key to having this feature look natural (and in many cases, like there was a lot of touch up work involved) is the image selection. The area intended to remain in color, must be well defined and not have "busy" surroundings, so as to avoid the "spill over" effect. Keep in mind, that in order to have such a feature applied in auto, programmer's used a circle as a basic shape. While the blending sharpness (or feathering effect of the transition) can be adjusted, it's still far from flexible enough for many cases. So be judicious in choosing the image and you will like the outcome. Bottom line: there is a lot to appreciate about Picasa. In the very least, it will show you the potential of digital manipulation. Sophisticated programs (like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and perhaps most importantly the free GIMP) give an actual total control of what can be done, with an appropriate learning curve to go along of course.

If you would like to see some of other Picasa features applied, check out this short piece with examples of focus and tonal changes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Adding a new feature

Oh, don't be scared, that's just me looking after you.

I've been hearing about the great photographs I take on occasions, so great in fact, they're even worth putting on a computer screen. So from now on, I will give access to "monitorialised" versions of some of my photographs in 2 or 3 popular screen resolutions. Why?

One: to prevent unnecessary manipulation of my images by unrelated parties, or

Two: to minimize unnecessary manipulation of my images by unrelated parties, or

Three: to discourage unnecessary manipulation of my images by unrelated parties, and

Four: to entice the interested to my images, which have NOT been manipulated by unrelated parties

How is this going to work? I won't go too fancy, but if any of my posts contains a photograph that I deem worth wider exposure, I will post links to proper resolutions. I will also tag such posts as "wallpaper", so one can quickly find all of them in the future. You can email me of course with a specific image request and I shall oblige at my earliest convenience.

The Brooklyn Bridge in the post prior has been chosen to initiate this deal (just wait for it a few please). A free deal by the way, but give credit where credit is due. I always do. Thank you.

I've been away, I've been busy, I've been ... well, still shootn'

Not so long ago, I had a chance to enter the New York harbor from the sea side and click at some of the most known features of NYC. I could not control the path of entry, so some may be disappointed, but here is my choice (always matured in Google's Picasa program, on that a bit later).

The engineering marvel of its time, the Brooklyn Bridge.

and the monument of the free World, Statue of Liberty