Despicable me

This is a photo I took for a PowerPoint presentation at work. I took a quick shot with my iPhone 5, picked up the photo from my photo stream on the iPad directly from Photoshop touch. It then took only 5 minutes of editing to get the really evil look.

I am not generally a fan of starring in my own presentations, but I was under a tight deadline to get this on complete. I will leave you to guess the subject of the presentation!


Updating the CV

Revision 2.2 of my CV is now out there – having taken to heart the comments from Nick, a guy who i worked with, and Danica, a friend who works with HR ive done a few things:

  1. Changed the picture. I got told that the old one was horrible! I can’t imagine any picture of me really looking good so I made do – the picture I have looks half human and is reasonable.
  2. Removed a lot of information – cv is now down to 4 pages – kept only the most relevant stuff
  3. Fixed the writing style of each job – so that it is consistent.
  4. Fixed the formatting – there were some old-fashioned bullet styles there, and it just needed tidying
  5. Rewrote the introduction

This is the Photo I used in the end (right). Its been very basically 5 minute Photoshopped. I used quick select with feathering to cut me out, and then created two new layers for the background. The  first layer is a solid colour green.

the second layer I created a fill with a smoke effect – I then set the blending mode to multiply. It’s a quick way to create an interesting background.

I only tampered with the original background because it was really bad – I obviously didn’t really need to do anything else to make me look beautiful…. LOL.

I do wonder if my CV is good enough yet – I am hoping I am not falling into the trap of using too many buzzwords, or doing anything stupid. All comments are welcome.

You can see my cv here!

Aperture issues: File not found on unreferenced images.

Apple Aperture

Apple Aperture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its silly because this issue gave me stress. I switched on referenced image badges the other day because I was quite surprised when I tried to archive my library to a file vault that it told me 133 images could not be archived because it couldn’t find my masters. A bit of googling lead me to believe that this was because the somehow I had imported referenced images rather than managed ones – this was not true! I found the library that had the not found badge icons on (from Disney on Ice) and following instructions I tried to “Locate Referenced Files”. It told me there were no referenced files.

Some people probably wouldn’t be as annoyed as I would – I mean the thumb images that are generated from my raw files are of high enough quality for most people but I don’t like this. and I needed to get rid of the little icon with the warning sign.  Not every image in the project was missing – so I located the directory with the issue by going into terminal and finding it in Unix. I kept Aperture closed throughout the next steps.

I did a cd to my drive – I kind of cheat here:

cd /Volumes
cd Back*
find . -name \*_4915.CR2\*

The first Cd takes you to the place MacOS mounts your volumes – my backup volumes are in an externally mounted drive named Backup Drive – (the Back* thing is laziness). it then iterated though my photo libraries and found the real path from the master files. with aperture if you right-click on the aperture library and select Open Stack you can see its internal structure – within the Masters directory is where the files are kept, the exact path I found with the find statement above.

At this point i discovered files were missing! I had hoped it would just be a permissions issue. I have no idea how. I used to own a time machine before it blew up so i mounted the old drive from that and used pretty much  the same commands as above to locate the missing files within the old time machine archive. I restored the files from the backup by just copying them into the aperture directory and the problem was solved.

I really do not like that this happened. this was one of the few libraries that I had published to mobile me before and I cant help but wonder if it had something to do with the way mobile me was recently decommissioned, but I don’t know anything for sure. I will be keeping an eye out for more strange things!

Playing with Owens Blog logo

Ive been playing a little more with photoshop and logos – in many cases I’ve been taking tutorials that i found on line and messing with them, but some of the results are interesting – its amazing what you can do with text effects in Photoshop. In particular I’ve been messing around a lot with light effects and translucency a lot – below are some of the results.

Update 2012-02-04: I have had these on my site while now and i decided to take down the plastic effect logo from the site – as i didn’t really like it. Instead yesterday i tinkered with a chrome logo which i am please with as i did it single handedly – I’ve put that in.

Cannot find variations in PhotoShop CS5

If you can’t find variations on your photoshop menu (Image > Adjustments > Variations) its probably because the plugin is disabled when CS5 is run in 64 bit mode (which it did for me by default). The way to correct this is to go into your applications folder on your mac – select your Photoshop cs5 icon and do a CMD+I on the file. In there there is a checkbox for open in 32bit mode (in the General pane) – Make sure its selected. You can then start CS5 and magically the menu item reappears!

At what point is it not copying?

If I take a picture that is under copyright and manipulate it in photoshop at what point is it not copying? It could be argued that at the point I have taken the image and imported it into photoshop it’s breaking the law, but is it really that simple? If I take a photo of a brick wall, change its colours and distort it with paint effects then the outputted picture I would save to jpg couldnt possibly be copyright – that would be like saying if you paint your own impression of a picture of someone’s photo that would be violating copyright even though the work is yours.

Applying logic I would think that having the original digital image embedded in your photoshop psd file is a violation of copyright so editing the image is also – so from that perspective as far as I can see the message would be clear – don’t get caught with another persons stuff in your psd file.

But then look at it from an artistic perspective – the two images below are the same picture – the second one was produced in photoshop – it took me about 20 seconds to knock up just to show what i mean. At what point would a manipulated piece of work become a piece or art in its own right?

Sunset Fog.

Sunset fog - Edited in PS

Maybe its not the best example – i wasn’t being really artistic! i changed the colour levels and added a painting effect – it look similar but if you zoom in its not. I don’t know though, I honestly don’t and would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this subject – please post comments.

Adobe Photoshop – not the best service ever

I have a “friend” who is currently buying the educational version of Adobe Photoshop CS5 (as i recommended) and i have to say I’m not so impressed with the service my friend is getting. So a couple of things to know about getting the educational version

  • Its the same as the full version – no features are different
  • You cannot upgrade to the next version from an educational one, BUT, you can upgrade an educational version to a full version, and theres a discount there, so it would still work out cheaper than buying the full version
  • There is a huge difference in cost – educational version is 200USD and full version is 1700USD – although at the moment they are running xmas discounts.

.. so first my friend sent the student ID to adobe as proof of education – on the card it had HT11 which indicates the fact its a 2011 card – adobe however contacted my friend and said this wasn’t enough – adobe are supposed to take between 1-3 days to process a student request – the request was placed on Monday 21st November. On the friday morning they replied that the student ID wasn’t enough so my friend arranged to have a letter from their university sent the following week.

On saturday 26th adobe mailed my friend to say if they didn’t have ID within 24 hours the order would be cancelled – which is just a pain. A quick mail back and adobe extended this deadline – Thanks Adobe!

On monday 28th November my friend scanned and sent a letter from their university – dated, and confirming that my friend is in full time education. On Friday the 2nd December my friend emailed Adobe to find out whats happening.  Its now sunday 4th and still my friend has heard nothing. Do students get a lower priority??

The other really annoying thing is that my friend is english, and only speaks english – they posted their messages in english, in the english adobe portal, with their preferences set for english, and ordered the english version of CS5 – and when adobe mailed my friend – they replied in Swedish. Its kind of embarrassing that i recommended they buy this product given the service they are getting.  That said and done my friend can install the trial version and play with that  for a while which is cool. CS5 isn’t cheap, even when its discounted so i would have expected more.

i hope this gets sorted soon.

Update: On 8th December i phoned them – and they were pretty helpful – the first guy investigated the issue and i had to call back a second guy, who initially tried to tell me there was a new order process which i should go and follow… after i said no, that order has taken a couple of weeks already (in a polite but firm manner) , and told him what i wanted, he was most agreeable. Within an hour the order was approved. So kudos for that.

Selecting things in Photoshop

This is what I did last night. The pic is ok but what was important to me is the learning process. I did this really late at night, as I had just read about some things I could do with refine edge and couldn’t wait! In doing this I learned  several ways of selecting things – the quick select tool is the best – I learned why they call the magic wand the tragic want (I heard a guy from adobe say that). There were several versions of the pic, all of them different refine edge options. Bread and butter workflow seems to be quick select followed by refine edge. I will need to work with this more.

I learned creating layers and solid filling them. So at this point I had cut me out of the original photo and put me on a black background.I then loaded and modified an image of dark wood, created a layer for modifying the brightness of the background.

I then took the picture layer and started trying different effects on it until I found a paint effect I liked, and applied it to both the foreground and background.. i used slightly different effects on both just to see if i could. It’s not an awesome pic – it has me in it, but it was an awesome learning experience. I will continue to tweak it just for fun and then add it to my gravatar.

Its me!

Setting my self some photographic objectives

Ok so during the week i made a point of going to 500px and tagging some pictures in 500px – i saw probably around 1000 pictures and probably didn’t tag more than 20 – i have an RSS feed for my 500px favorites – and you can see the links to them on the right of this site at the moment for anyone who’s interested the feed is at:


I will most likely add more pictures to this in the coming weeks. I am basically doing it to try to get an understanding of what i like and why – its one step on the voyage to become a better photographer. through going through the pictures i discovered a few things about me:

  • I like clear vivid contrasting colors. Theres a pic i saw the other day that i just cannot find which really typifies this.
  • My favorite color is Teal – theres a pic in the feed of a naked blue woman – and the reason i favorites it was because i liked the colors she was.
  • I like girls too – i do like the female form, but there has to be something specific that catches my eye – one of my favorites is a naked woman but i chose her not because i think she’s pretty (she’s OK) but because of the way the light was on her.
  • I like pictures that convey age or history. I am not talking about pics of old people so much as architecture… or pictures that convey immensity of scale.

My next photographic task is going to be to take portrait pictures of 10 different people. This will be a challenge as i only have about 4 friends, and half of those don’t like pictures.

Photoshopping – but not what you think!

I was out shopping yesterday, in the fresh food section, and I couldn’t help but think there would be some cool photos there –  so I did something I never do, and I took out the iPhone and started taking some pictures – you can see them in my Flickr feed. I read a review once from a professional photographer who said the best camera he had was his iPhone – because it was always with him if he saw something interesting – I don’t think I really understood that until yesterday – I am by no means saying I am a professional. The iPhone camera is pretty good – although I am not upgrading to the 4S.

I’m normally fairly happy with a pic if I am going to upload it to flickr, and what makes me happy about these ones is the performance of the cam. If I am to be critical I would say those pics have the following issues:

  • Light balance – they are slightly too orange, and I should perhaps correct them – I didn’t becuase then I wouldn’t be showing off the iPhone picture quality. They were taken in doors.
  • Diffusion – I didn’t have control of the lighting obviously – on the tomatoes and the paprika particularly you see spots of light – and although they make the picture interesting I would have loved to be able to tone the light down, and diffuse it a little. It’s interesting the shop uses spot lighting above all of the glossy fruit & veg to give a new, fresh effect.
  • Imagination – I could have played around with angles and things, but I was there to go shopping, any one of those pics could be used as a wall paper (if you were a vegetable lover). Those pics have been done a million times by other people.
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