Tuesday, June 29, 2010

[Probably superseded]
DSC_6131 [psp wh] - DelurkWrong place for this, but I'm not sure where the right place is. Basically I've been trying to use GIMP 2.6 to replicate a process I use in Paint Shop Pro 6 (why? Because Flickr penalises any image without EXIF data [digital cameras include EXIF, so no EXIF means it's not a photography, just art or advertising], which this ancient version of PSP strips out).

The process is extrapolated from Stairs's technique:
I run it through a couple of adjustment layers - I blend a 70% grayscale (to desaturate non destructively) with a 58% inversion layer above (to increase contrast but reduce depth of shadow) - then a couple of masks to burn and dodge the highlights and shadows. It picks out every little imperfection, so it works better for men than for women.

My take on this is in PSP6 is:
- Open image.
- Take out gunk, hot pixels, straighten.
- Add Hue/Saturation layer, using saturation of -80 with a layer opacity of 25%.
- Add Inversion layer, using a layer opacity of 40% [it's looking pretty grey by this stage].
- Add Curves layer and dump the contrast back in, leaving the shadows a little off absolute-zero.

Yes, I know this veers wildly off-course from Stairs's route, but if I do what I think he says it sort of does the opposite of what I think he says it'll do. Also my version, although it feels desaturated is a lot less so than Stairs's [No. 8 in his Camera folder].

Basically it's a way of damping the shadows while encouraging contrast in the midtones, while avoiding the super-saturated look that is a little frequent on Flickr (I believe it's technically known as 'punchy').

And trying to replicate it in GIMP* just turned the sky pink (seriously, how can an inverted layer with opacity at less than 50% invert the colours? Setting the opacity to 50 shows a slight negative image amid the grey. According to my take on maths +50 + -50 = 0, not somewhere a bit below freezing. PSP with an upper invert layer opacity of 50 becomes one big block of middle-C grey, so it's not just me. So if the mid-point in GIMP is below 50%, what's).

* Which I did by:
- Duplicating the base image to provide the right number of layers.
- Leaving the base as is.
- Desaturating the next (20% opacity should equal my -80x25%opacity, Stairs says 70%).
- Inverting the third and applying 40% opacity.
- Merging the visible layers.
- Applying curves.
- Abandoning it in the preview because the sky is pink.
- Going back and tweaking.
- Getting the same result.

Interestingly turning off the visibility of the desaturated layer stops the 50% inversion layer from being anything but the purest grey. Which is kind of weird.

You'd think that makes it sound like I've applied the the inversion to two layer, except I've reverted and repeated the steps a couple of times to get the same pink result. Most, most weird.

So anyone have the foggiest idea what's going wrong? What am I doing in a really absurd way? What have I forgotten?
So it turns out closing everything and starting again but this time using Hue/Sat within gimp to desaturate works better. Using the same settings still desaturates more in GIMP than it does in PSP though (and inventing layers and then applying non-editable changes to them [you can undo, but you can't tweak] is mighty cumbersome).

Guess who's reverted to the old way.


PS. The image above is not one the technique has been applied to. It's simply one that shows what happens when I don't have some idea of what I'm trying to do.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

DSC_8580 - ServingWhat amounts to a glorified office foyer, ranks drinking, watching football. In the crowd is Anyhoo, here at the behest of fellow ex-UCkLer, with others of that ilk and a disturbing number of his ex-colleagues, many of whom are clearly suffering familiarity dissonance.

While talking, and ignoring the sport (I figure if one just treats it like cricket, so basically sit on the grass at the boundary, or nearest equivalent, talking amongst ones-selves, clapping politely occasionally, being late to a sudden cheer and asking "What did I miss?" repeatedly, and happening to send the landlord's daughter back across the road every so often to top up the Pimm's jug. Basically sport is there to be ignored while chatting and imbibing. Unless it's rugby, but that's because of the thighs) the following occurred.

Having stayed in the flat of two friends while, er, between homes [never, ever move in somewhere where the contract finishes at Christmas], I left as a thank-you (ignoring the bit where I was told I could stay until date X, which suddenly became date about M, when friend A returned to the flat after Christmas while friend B was still away and within 24 hours invited three sets of people to stay, each sooner than the last, so basically giving me two days to get out, this while the country is literally snowed under, um, yeah, there might have been a permanent downgrading of her trustworthiness) two prints. Friend A was there last night. Friend A mentioned that one of her friends had been in the flat, and had really liked the prints. I asked if she had passed on my details, you know, in case he wanted a copy or something similarly outlandish, it kind of being a significant source of income for me now.

Reply came thus:
"No, why would I? Why would he want that? He's an architect, but he also has a camera; he's an artist."
Well, FYVM too.

Maybe I should have entered something into the RA Summer Exhibition just to have a rejoinder (spite is a wonderful motivator).

Or maybe I should just remember that I do tend to tolerate her presence because it means I get to see her flatmate (who wasn't there). And to judge by her actions the only positive she finds in me is that sometimes I'm quicker and more accessible than Google. Somehow I suspect that despite really not getting on well with the whole football thing (I was always the penultimate pick, always in defence, so basically could sit making daisy chains for most of the game, but wouldn't because that wouldn't be fitting*, and then occasionally get sworn at [ah, the joys of middle school] because I didn't stop a ball eight-foot above my head) I may be about to become an ardent support of Paraguay. Or Slovakia. Or even those crazy fools, New Zealand.

* Ok, so sometimes I did, weather and daisies permitting. It's not like anyone was going to notice. Anyway, the other defender was usually feeding the horses that leant over from the next field.

And yet Friend A later looked surprised that I wasn't joining her for dinner, despite her using half-time to check her text messages in preference to talking to me (I ended up talking to the smokers).

Sometimes (basically all instances I can remember) I don't get her. Sometimes (not all instances) I remember that this really, really doesn't matter. And then sometimes she decides she knows everything there is to know about me and dictates what I must do (oddly, what with the whole silent seething and loathing going on, I don't tend to, especially when her diatribe [between the two halves of her brain] makes it pretty damn apparently that she's lapsed into woefully misguided comedy).

As I say, the F of a whole load of Fs, so kinda hard to excise.

Still, I'm not wholly sure one of the high-ups at this do wasn't making slightly too much eye contact, so perhaps not a complete write-off (or maybe it is, outcome A being unlikely, outcome B being unlikely to be a good idea given the existence of the possibility of A).

I think I've lost where this was going.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

DSC_2710 [psp] - Just Hold OnThe Thames by Tommies. Four people, one walking, three on a bench drinking, one male, three female.

A: Hey sexy! Show us your nipples.
B: *faint dismissive snort, carries on walking*
A: Nipples!
A: Come on!
A: What, are you gay or something?
A: You look it.
B: *fails to fire back witheringly bitchy yet witty retort finished with a snap, carries on walking*
A: [Indecipherable shouting then laughter]

I think I need to practice so I can be like the guy on the upper-deck of some late night bus, who when accused of being 'fucking queer' by one of crowd headed towards the back replied, with a sweep of the hand towards his static, seated body "if this looks like fucking then I pity your girlfriend". Rapidly stifled laughs. De dissed simmers, riled. Another member of the aisle-bound posse points out that DD can't get a girlfriend. Cue flouncing towards the back, finding the back seats taken and slamming into an empty seat, arraying himself widely, trying to look tough, evil, managing gangly and not that far off tears.

Of course it probably was about yea far off someone being stabbed, but at the time it worked.

Anyway, back to the nipples, I can't help wondering if perhaps they trio were in the wrong city (and probably country) for that sort of thing (seriously? At the mid-point between Sogo and Voxhall?). But chief instigator is probably doomed anyway given [by her statements] she finds gay men sexually attractive. Can't ever really see that working to her advantage.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

DSC_3873 - I Know I Shouldn't (291/366)From Tesco.com:
Dear Mr Anyhoo,

This week at Tesco.com we're celebrating the highly anticipated release of Sex and the City 2 with these fantastic offers to help you have the perfect girl's night in.

Highly anticipated?


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