Thursday, November 25, 2010

Great Article on Color Management

Luminous Landscape, a really great photography website, has recently posted an article by Andrew Rodney titled Why Are My Prints Too Dark. It is very current and address some matters that have arisen since the 2005 publication of his excellent book on the subject; Color Management for Photographers. I encourage you to read it and the numerous articles that he links to.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Arduino is a very popular processor that is allowing many otherwise normal folks to get into robotics and hardware programming. Here are some links to some stuff I found interesting.

Atlantic article which does a good job explaining what the Arduino is all about.

Blog article and video on making a programmable robot from a popular cheap kids toy.

Hacking a cheap digital camera for Arduino control.

Controlling a Roomba with an Arduino chip.

Make magazine's intro to robots.

a source for Arduino processors and other related electronics.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Image from a new series I am working on

The only copy of this image to survive the theft of my laptop. It is from the series on foreclosure that I am working on. It is just a little baby image though; so good for FB, email, and web. Not enough info for a good print. Will just have to shoot it again. Next time, it will be even better. If you know of a home that is currently foreclosed or previously foreclosed and have a connection to get me access for a few hours, please let me know.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More thoughts on Scanner Art

In an earlier posting on scanner art, I lamented that scanners don't get enough love. Having used quite a few scanners over the years for purposes for which they were never intended, I have learned a few things in regards to their use as a creative vehicle.
1. Depth of field is the area in front of and behind the plane of focus that is reasonably sharp. You can assume that the plane of focus on a flatbed scanner is the surface of the glass. To be sure, this is not always the case and there are special systems of focus determination which involve shims and such to place film closer to the true plane of focus. I am more concerned with the understanding that as you move things further from the glass, the objects appear less sharp. This can be used to great effect. You can use this to provide a sense of depth in your image. If everything is equally sharp in an image, it tends to looks flat. Since the glass prevents us from utilizing the depth of field in front of the glass, we are limited to moving things further above it to make them less sharp. Of course, you can remove the glass if you would like to, put the design of most scanners is such that the scanning mechanism travels just beneath the glass preventing you from having images situated much below the glass surface.
One of the more interesting things pertaining to scanner depth of field is that it varies greater among various scanner models. It all has to do with the optical design of the scanner. For example, the Canon Lide series of scanners have incredibly shallow depth of field compared to say an Epson Perfection 3170 or a Perfection 4990. This isn't intrinsically bad, it is just to be noted. If you want to make a piece with very shallow depth of field, then get a Canon Lide scanner. If you want greater depth of field, get an Epson. This isn't to say they are all the same though. In the previous post on scanner art, I think I mentioned that everyone should have at least one scanner. Depth of field considerations is just one reason why.
2. Light fall off. Light scatters as it travels away from a light source. Opening or removing the scanner lid, less light will be reflected back onto the object being scanned. Usually, opening up the lit results in a black or very dark background as opposed to white. Depending on what you are going for, you can do either.
More to come soon...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Scribbler Too

Just learned that there is a Scribber Too (I love puns!). Check it out here!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Scribbler - online generative art

Scribbler is one of the cooler things that I have come across lately. I have wanted to introduce students to generative art for some time, but hadn't found a readily accessible means to do so until now.
Generative art is digital art in which various algorithms (math formulas) are used to determine the line, composition, color, etc. Basically, it is art created by software. Some of the earliest digital art was generative art.
Anyways, Scribbler takes a neat approach in that it combines user input with generative output. Essentially, it allows you to anticipate and influence its output.
It may seem like a novelty at first, but there are numerous means of modifying the output of the software as it is "scribbling". You can vary the transcerency of the line, the thickness of the line, and the amount of "Scribbleness" which I interpret as a combination of the size of the scribbles and its randomness.
I have included an example of a piece that I began with just six strokes. As it ran, I paused it and added additional strokes in anticipation of Scribbler's inclusion into the larger composition.
The one thing that is missing is a Save command. You have to take a screen grab in order to have a version of your work.
It is a lot of fun. Give it a try.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just Moved...

Sorry, it has been awhile since I posted. Within the last year I spent a lot of time figuring out how to get my blog hosted on my own site using FTP (File Transfer Protocol, a standard systems of transferring multiple and large files). I had it all working, then decided to stop supporting FTP transfer beginning in May. So, I have been thinking about how to best go about moving my blog. Ultimately, I decided to have host it for free. The problem is that if you came to his site via, this blog opened in a new window. I really don't think that is ideal, so this is really a stop gap measure. It also required me to modify the navigation on all my pages. As I am planning a major revision of my website for later this summer, I will decide on how to best proceed at that point. I am currently exploring in consideration of moving my blog to that platform. Until that time, I will continue to use Blogger. I am working on a post on focus stacking. Focus stacking is a means to combine the sharp parts of an image, those within the photo's depth of field, into a single image with fantastic depth of field.
Image stacking software such as Helicon and Combine ZM (as well as the capabilities within Photoshop) allow you to digitally combine images for seemingly endless depth of field. You can watch these two videos in preparation:

Focus Stacking Explained


Video on using Photoshop for focus stacking

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Digital Painting

Why digital painting? Digital painting allows you to create works in the same expressive way that painting does. I am not suggesting they are the same; however, I would encourage you to give it a try whether you are new to painting or are very proficient in the medium. One of the advantage of digital painting is the low (often free) price of entry. As long as you have a computer, you can use one of many free painting applications. In my experience, digital painting has encouraged many people to explore traditional painting.
There has also been a recent explosion of digital painting using handheld devices such as iPhones/iPod Touches and Nintendo DS gaming systems. Recently The New Yorker magazine featured an illustration painted using an iPhone on its cover. I have numerous links to this below.
Corel Painter is the granddaddy of digital painting applications. It is by far the most powerful and feature rich. It is a true natural media applicaion which is to say that it mimics how the media actually work. You can think of it as a painting simulator is you want. The software mimics the physics of each medium differently. Painting with watercolors is much different from painting with oil paints or acrylics. Plus, the colors of the paints blend in the same manner that real paint does. This in not true of Photoshop. Photoshop is often used for digital painting, but it is not a natural media application. Colors don't blend as real paints do nor do the colors have any of the qualities of natural media.
Painter is available for only $99 to students and faculty. Otherwise it is $399.

Here is a list of links to commercial (cost involved) and free natural media/painting programs that I have compiled over the years. Also included are a number of links to tutorials and related materials. I will try to sort them better as time allows. Have fun!

Commercial NATURAL MEDIA/PAINT applications


AutoDesk Sketch Book Pro

AutoDesk Sketch Book Mobile-for iPod touch and iPhone

Studio Artist 3.5 - Mac only -has some crazy autographing features

Corel Painter Essentials 4 - simplified/limited version of Painter

Free NATURAL MEDIA/PAINT applications

My Paint- available for Linux and PC

Artweaver- Windows only- supports graphic tablets. Seems very similar to Painter

Art Rage 2.5 Starter Edition - very intuitive. A more featured version is available for a reasonable cost.

Pixarra Twisted Brush- Windows only - Free and

Krita-simple paint program available for Linux, Mac, and PC

Smooth Draw - very simple drawing program for Windows only

Painting applications for handheld devices and related articles

Jorge Colombo - he painted the cover illustration for the June 1, 2009 New Yorker on his iPhone

New Yorker article about Jorge's cover illustration featuring a video showing the process of the painting

LA Times article on Ed Velandria who using ArtRage and a tablet PC to paint quick portraits while riding the subway

Software tailored for Manga and Anime-can't vouch for it, don't know much about it

Deleter Software Comic Works

Here is a link to a website of a magazine that I think many of you would like.
Here is a direct link to numerous tutorials that are posted there:

Figure drawing techniques

Collection of 15 of the best ImagineFX tutorials

Portfolio with some interesting digital paintings

people, here is a new Google 3D program with a free and commercial version. Supposed to be very easy to use. Haven't tried it yet.

Overview of Free Painting Programs

Corel tutorials on the use of Painter

Tutorial on painting with Photoshop

Nice set of tutorials on painting with Photoshop

Blending colors in Photoshop

More tutorials on painting in Photoshop

Corel Painter X/XI Links

Home page of one of the original Painter authors, numerous tutorials on using Painter

Sign up for Corel Painter e-newsletter

Overview of Painter, includes nice breakdown of different brushes

Downloadable Training Movies

Corel tutorials on clone color

Use filters to modify brush strokes, Surface Control>Quick Warp

Numerous Tutorials here at the Designer Today website

Pastel on Black Background

Painting a Loose Style Portrait

Creating Abstract Art in Painter

Mixing Paint

Corel Painter e-newsletter

Watercolor effect

Impasto effect

Op Art- possibly use the movement of the image to make flag look moving even when still. Sense of movement symbolic of dynamic nature of humans?

Bridge Riley

Digital Painting Links

How to paint an eye - simple tutorial and a simple looking result-nothing fancy

How to paint an eye - involved, but very nice results

Some nice realistic brushes for Photoshop

How to paint a realistic eye

Pixel Brush - popular site for digital painting

Introduction to painting (fantasy art)

Introductory tutorials has some good tutorials including this Incredibly detailed tutorial on how to draw a rose in PS

Digital Painting for Beginners PS

Nice, long video on Digital Painting for Beginners PS

Overview of Painting Process

How to Paint Clouds

Galleries for the guy who wrote the two previous tutorials

Overview of elaborate painting-be sure to check out the other postings as they are interesting

Wacom tablet Tutorials
How to set up Wacom Intuos 4 for painting with PS

How to configure Wacom tablet on a Mac

ArtRage Tutorials

Nice set of video tutorials, demonstrates paint blending

How to Paint Clouds

Hack a Nintendo DS to Make an Awesome Digital Sketchbook

Colors! - free painting program for Nintendo DS, inexpensive version for iPod/iPhone also available - some nice digital paintings here

More tutorials
Downloadable Training Movies (correct link this time) - good content and good production quality

Super Awesome online color wheel-you can use it to create your color scheme

Color Harmony- good examples, includes many related links

Divine Proportion/Golden Ration/Phi information- The Abstract Painter Piet Mondrian was said to have made use of the Golden Ration

Monday, April 5, 2010

Drawing fur in Illustrator

Let's say you want to draw a cat in Illustrator (who wouldn't want to do that?), how do you make the fur?
Here is a few tutorials on how to do so.
This one is drawing fur for a stuffed animal bear. Doesn't look ultra realistic, but you might be able to modify it to make it look more realistic if that is your desire. It is well written.

These are Photoshop tutorials, but you should be able to apply most/some of the techniques to Illustrator. ... l-22997085 ... -104939086 ... l-25125510 ... D-32253741 ... l-36338777

Here is one on drawing hair in Illustrator. What is fur after all?

Here is a link to create "cute" looking fur. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

vector portraits - examples

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kuler - a sweat online "color ruler"

It can be a challenge to create a color scheme. Often times, people add color as they create their images. Some people have great success with this. Others benefit from planning ahead. Adobe has a website which is really fantastic for this purpose. It is name Kuler. You can select from thousands of color schemes that other users have created or create your own. You can create your own following suggested rules, or just wing it. You can even create your own color scheme by uploading and image or selecting and image from Flickr. It is really awesome to create a color scheme from your own image! You can save your color schemes as well using and account. If you have ever downloaded a trial version of an Adobe product, you probably already have an account. The numerical data for the colors is provided in five different color models; RGB, CMYK, HSB/HSV, hex, and even LAB. Kuler is really one of the truly great design tools on the web.

How to take a screen grab

A screen grab or screen capture is a recording of what appears on your computer screen. There are innumerous uses for screen grabs. For example, my students are working on a project in which they need to pull a screen grab of a map into Illustrator for use as a template. I use them to record purchase receipts and to take images for use in tutorials and handouts. Depending on your operating system, the means of creating screen grabs varies widely. Below are links on how to take screen grabs with the most popular operating systems.

How to take a screen grab on a Mac

Monday, March 15, 2010

Vector Maps...What's your Vector, Victor?

This is a rough write-up of your assignment. I will refine it ASAP. 

Vector Maps...What's your Vector, Victor?
UT, Spring 2010, ART 2150
This assignment is meant to introduce you to vector graphics. You will be creating a personal map by creating a vector map and combining raster images with it.
Over break, record the routes that you go. Take photos along the way and at your destinations. Photos can be of anything that you want. Make them interesting though.
When you get back from break, you will use Map Quest, Google Maps, or Bing Maps to trace your route/routes. You will take a screen grab of the maps. You will bring that screen grab into Illustrator. You will then Trace parts of it depending on your grand vision. You will add in your photos to create a person map.
Assign names to memorable roads. Rather than name a street “Maple Street,” you can name it “Bumpiest Road in Toledo” or whatever.
Ultimately, prints of 16x20 or larger will made from your images. This requires a lot of detail to remain interesting at that scale.
On the first day back after break, I expect you to bring in enough work to spend the entire class period working on your map. If you are failing to come up with anything, look up maps and mappae mundi. Also consider going to the library and looking at the books on maps and actual maps they have there.

Maps are due in digital form ?. Due as prints on Monday the ?.
Below are a number of links. They also describe and illustrate some unconventional maps which may serve to inspire you.

Ohio maps from the department of transportation, you need a plug in to view some of them

Mental Map,M1

Raster versus Vector

Excellent tutorials by Ken Hulsey, a real technical master of Illustrator

Awesome use of blend tool to make backgrounds
Fancy vector techniques
Tutorial on creating a roadmap- class tutorial was based on this

Different take on maps:
The ones I showed you (world map of internet) ( square map of internet ) (space)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Night Photographers

Excellent Aperture web feature on Gregory Crewdson. His work is amazing. I thought my process of shooting my Three Minute Series was complex, but his process makes me feel inadequate.

Equally fantastic is the night series by Jan Staller. Check out the Frontier New York series. Like Crewdson, they make images as opposed to taking them. Unlike Crewdson, he doesn't phsically construct the scene. Rather, he explored the familiar areas around him and photographed them in a manner which makes them seem simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar. One of the significant things about Staller is the seeming insignificance of what he photographs. He doesn't seek out the most obvious chooses. There are no photos of the Statute of Liberty or Times Square. In most of his photos, there aren't people. This adds to the otherworldliness of his photos. The color is amazing. Most of his images contain large elements of neutrality to which the colors offer a counter point.

Here is a link to a guy who blogs about night photography. There are some links to some really good work from here. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Night Photography

In a much earlier posting from 2007, I talked about shooting Sunsets. I am currently teaching a Digital Photography course and the next project involved night photography. So, for their benefit and yours, here is some things to keep in mind when shooting at night:

-If you are including the moon, sunset, or sunrise, consider where it will be at the time of your shoot. OF course, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west (changes a little throughout the year, but not much). So, you will get a vastly different photo when shooting sunrises to the east or sunsets to the west.

-It is going to be very dark. Bring a flashlight. This will help you see your camera as well as see where you are going.

-You must use a tripod as exposure times will be long

-Use a remote release to trigger your camera. Or use the self timer if the timing of the shutter release isn't critical. You may want to invest in a cable release which has a timer function. This will allow you to use a shutter speed longer than what the camera otherwise offers. For example, the longest shutter speed my Nikon D300 offers is 30 seconds. If I need a shutter speed longer than that, I have to use the Bulb setting. In that mode, you have to hold the shutter release button down to keep the shutter open. This is not conducive to sharp photos. Higher end cable releases have timer functions built in that will allow you to set longer times and hold them with a single press of the cable release button.

-Use the mirror lock up or anti-shock feature of your camera. This will help insure that the photo won't be soft due to vibrations from the mirror (Only applies to those using DSLRs as compact digital cameras don't make use of a mirror).

-Turn on long exposure noise reduction if your camera has it. Most DSLRs and some compact cameras do. May have dig through the custom menus to activate it. The problem with this is your longer exposures will take a very long time to complete. Let’s say you take a 30 second exposure. First the camera takes the normal shot, and then it takes another 30 second shot in which the shutter doesn’t open. It takes the resulting noise pattern and subtracts it from the original exposure. It is very effective, but it really slows shooting down. Not a big deal when it is 80 degrees out, but it really stinks when it is 25 degrees out.

-Bring your camera’s instruction manual. You should always carry it with you anyways. If you are using a seldom used feature like long exposure noise reduction, then it is likely that you will have to look up how to activate it.

-Use your cameras lowest ISO. This assumes that you can use a very slow shutter speed as needed. For most of you this will require that you use the bulb mode in which the shutter will remain open as long as you keep the shutter release button pressed. Many of the remote releases have a provision to lock the button down until you release it. If your camera doesn’t have a slow enough shutter speed, then you may have to increase the ISO in order to obtain a correct exposure even when the aperture is lens all the way open.

-You may have to manually focus. All autofocus cameras require a certain light level to autofocus. If you are setting up in the dark, you will have precious little (if any light) so you may have to manually focus. If you have a DSLR, you can set the lens on infinity. You should note that the lens will likely allow you to focus past infinity. Past infinity?!? This is to take into account the expansion of the lens due to different weather, humidity, and pressure. So, you make have to take a few photos to insure that it is really set at infinity. Almost all compact digital cameras have a manual focus provision that entails selecting a distance from a distance scale. I simply set mine for infinity when using a compact camera. I was happy with the results. Another neat trick is to utilize an external flash. They often have a much more powerful autofocus assist light built in that will allow your camera to focus in pitch black night. So, you would use it focus, then turn the flash off.

-Consider all the ambient light sources unless. Even a very weak light adds up during a long exposure.

-Set your white balance to daylight. This will preserve the unique colors at that time of day. There is no point at getting up at 2am if you just want to take a photo that looks like it was taken at noon.

-Start taking photos before you even see the sun. There is usually a lot of color in the sky that you don't even notice until you take a long exposure photo and see it. Try it.

-Remember to expose for the highlights. Ensure that you are taking in enough light so that the histogram is very close to the right most wall without touching it. On a recent outing I noticed that some of my students were not doing that because it looked better on the LCD when it was underexposed. That is true. However, it will not look nearly as good as the image that was properly exposed once you begin editing on it the computer.

-Shoot RAW file format (assuming your camera supports it). If it is worth shooting, then it is worth shooting as a RAW file.

-Consider creating a HDR image from multiple, varying exposure (I will soon post more on HDR).

-Look for reflections in water (assuming there is water) that will give you twice the color.

-Bring a cell phone or a buddy; preferably both. If you are trouncing around in the dark it is a good idea to have a way of getting some help should you run into any trouble. Please take this seriously.

Displacement Maps

I am sure you have see images where the texture of a brick wall is seemingly applied to a person. Or an image appears to be reflected or mirrored on water. This is usually done using a Displacement Map in Photoshop.

Here is a super fast summary of the process (I will add photos when I get a chance):
Select an image that you want to distort to make it appear as though it was printed on a piece of fabric. Open up the fabric image. Go go Image > Duplicate to make an exact copy of it. Convert it to grayscale by going to Image > Mode > Grayscale. Zoom into the image until you are are 100%. Then to go Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius until the texture of the image disappears. Apply a Curves or a Levels to greatly increase the contrast. You must have a high contrast image in order for this to work. Then save the image as a Photoshop document (it will then have the default .PSD extension). Close the file.
Place the image of the person (just an example) on the image of the fabric (the original color version). Then select the face layer. Go to Filter > Distort > Displace. Start with a value of 10 for both input fields. Click okay then select the grayscale version of the image. This will then load the image as a displacement map and distort the shirt image. Basically, the darker the part of the displacement map image, the more distorted the face image will be. Try playing with the blending modes. Multiply Mode generally makes them blend together pretty well. You will likely have to use Curves or Levels to lighten the image after you apply the Blending Mode change.
Here are some other tutorials, but I think they both miss a few steps.
Have fun.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quick Draft Post about Photoshop Tutorials and Textures

Great list of tutorials about making fire in PS

Computer Security

Okay, you probably know that you should have an anti-virus program running on your computer that you keep up to date and regularly use it to perform a scan of your system.
Unfortunately, that is the very least that you should be doing to insure you and your data is safe on your computer. PC World magazine recently published the best article on computer security I have ever read. You should definelty read it. I guarantee there are real threats out there that you never even thought of.
PC World article "11 Hidden Security Threats".

Back to this issue of anti-virus software, with numerous excellent, free options now available, there is no legitimate excuse not to use one. If you think that it isn't necessary, then just ask a room full of people how many of them have had a virus of other malicious software cause havoc on their system. I currently use Microsoft Security Essentials on my laptop. It is non instructive. I have used AVG Free for years and currently have it on my desktop computer, but it constantly tries to convince you to "upgrade" to a paid version. I have also used Avast Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware in the past, but was annoyed by the audio alerts to scan my system. That being said, if you like to be reminded to run the scans, you will really like Avast!
Of course, there are plenty of other commercial products on the market that may offer additional features and possibly better protection. That being said, I have been using free products for years and have been very happy with their performance which is to say, I haven't had any virus problems.

If you are having weird computer problem, I would suggest your using an online safety scanner. There are two that I am aware one. I have used Microsofts's Windows Live OneCare safety scanner a number of times. It will search for virus, all manner of malware, registry errors, and it will also defragment your hard drive and give you the option of deleting unnecessary temporary files.

Trend Micro, a legitimate provider of computer safety programs, has a similar online scanner service named  Housecall. I haven't used it, but it is highly regarded.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yes, Lightroom is great

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a really great program for photographers. In essence, it is a streamlined image editing and data asset management (DAM) application. If you shoot RAW and work with lots of photos; i.e. weddings, special event photography, or just a passionate hobbyist, you should definitely check out Lightroom. There is a bit of a learning curve, but if you take the time to get through it, you will find editing multiple images to be a much more enjoyable process. Here are some good resources for working with Lightroom (I will update as I find more):

Official Adobe site for Lightroom. You can download the 30 day demo from here.

Nice writeup on working with multiple Lightroom catalogs; one on a laptop and one master catalog at home

Tips and advice from the developers of Lightroom.

Suggested Lightroom catalog settings

Lightroom 3 is currently in beta. There are already a number of resources available for it.

Download the Beta version

Info about Lightroom 3

Photoshop Tutorials by Mark Galer

Julieanne Kost is an Adobe Image Evangelist. She has nice videos and write-ups here.

Blog about LR and related matters

Saturday, February 6, 2010

When things go bad in LR...what to to avoid....

Basically Lightroom is an image database program with image editing capabilities. By default, LR stores all the changes that you make to your images in a database name LRCAT which you can find if you navigate to the folder named Lightroom within your Pictures folder (assuming you are using the default directory for your photos). So, the actual photos are not being changed at all, rather the database makes a record of what changes are to be made. Here is the problem with that: if you lose your database, then all the changes you made to your images have been lost. This includes the keywords, metadata, and all the development settings.
Fortunately, a corrupt LR catalog is uncommon. Additionally, you should regularly be making a backup of the catalog. Each time you launch LR, it prompts you to create a backup of your catalog. I suggest you start doing it. That way if you somehow lose your catalog, you can go back to the most recent version. Also, LR has the ability to "repair" a corrupt catalog. It will prompt you should it find that your catalog is corrupt and ask if you want it to attempt a repair. I have not experienced this myself, so I don't know how effective it is. From reading forums and the like, it doesn't always work.
 Click here to an alternative method of repairing the LR catalog. Again, I haven't tried this as I haven't had the problem. Knock on wood.
Two other things to consider are pushing the edits and metadata to xmp sidecar files. This is to say that little companion files with the edits will be saved alongside the edited RAW files. The advantage of this is that even if you lose your LR catalog altogether, the develop and keyword data will still be available (the collections data won't be though). The disadvantage of this? When you open your images in PS, it will look at the sidecar edits rather than the LR edits from the catalog. This isn't an issue if you occasionally "push" the LR edits to the sidecar files. This happens by itself over time, but you can make it happen immediately.
Lastly, if you convert your RAW files to DNG files upon import, the metadata is saved in the RAW file itself as well as in the catalog. I am pretty sure you would still lose your collection information, but everything else would still be there. This is the route that I have been taking as of late. The only foreseeable problem with that is that you will not be able to edit that file with an RAW file that doesn't support DNG format. For example, you would not be able to edit a DNG file with Nikon Capture even though it was taken with a Nikon camera because it only support NEF files.
Something to chew on. The biggest take away is that you need to regularly backup your LR catalog.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Maggie Taylor

Maggie Taylor is a contemporary artist who creates photo based digital collages. Here work is whimsical and occasionally bizarre. When I show my students here work when presenting a digital collage project, many students are intrigued by her work and her working methodology. So, I have compiled a list of relevant links and resources.
First, you can visit her website at to see a large selection of her work.  You can download a really great PDF detailing her thought process and technique in creating an image from Creative Pro. That article is based on an excerpt from her book Maggie Taylor's Landscape of Dreams. Here is a link to little story about her for an art show.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Editing Raw Files

Like any advice, it is good to hear it from muliple people. Here are some tutorials on the use of Adobe Camera Raw that I highly recommend. If you are a Lightroom user, no worries as nearly everything he says applies to LR as well.

Start with this one:
Adobe TV video featuring Julieanne Kost introduction to ACR. Great step by step tutorial in which she explains the choices she makes. If you like it, and I think you will, it is part of a longer video series featuring her. Click here to see all the episodes of The Complete Picture with Julianne Kost.

Russel Brown a long time Adobe evangelist and pretty funny guy, has been posting some really great tutorials and scripts to his website for a number of years. I mention it now because he has some nice tutorials on working with Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop CS4. He takes a novel approach in some of the tutorials in which he edits others' files.
The Russel Brown Show

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to Create Images with multiple instances of a subject

In an earlier post, I wrote how much I like the work of Kelli Connell. I have assigned the students in my Digital Photography class at the University of Toledo an assignment inspired by her work. They are creating a series of three images on the theme of Ambiguous Relationship. That is to say, looking at the photos it shouldn't be clear that both roles in each image are portrayed by the same person.

If you are interested in creating work such as this, there are a number of technical/logistical things to be aware of when shooting. Here is a list that I gave to my students:

Must shoot RAW.
Must set exposure once, use same exact setting for each of the two (or more) shots.
Must focus once, don't refocus between shots. This will require you to leave your camera on manual focus after initial focus. Think through where you need to focus at. Consider depth of field issues.
If you have a more compact camera that doesn't offer manual focus, see if you can set your focus by at predetermined distance.
White balance can be synced in Camera Raw, but must be the same for each image.
Must use a tripod. Take care not to bump the camera between exposures. Use a remote release if you have one.

Between shots, you need to change the appearance of your model as much as possible. Consider the following:
jewelry including ear rings, piercings, watches, bracelets, etc.
facial hair?
make up - some then none, do it differently, etc.
shoes, you can change someones apparent height by changing their shoes...
tight fitting and then baggy clothes?
general style of clothing.. street than dress clothes?

Remember, you want to create a series of three in which the relationship of the people is ambiguous. All the rules of design still apply. Avoid flat looking images in whcih he subject is in the same plane each time.
Domestic scenes may work well?

Then you need to edit the RAW images exactly the same. Then you need to combine them.
Here is a link to an tutorial on how to  Combine multiple images into a group portrait.

 Although the intent of the tutorial is different, it is exactly the same thing. Here is a link to a video on Aligning Layers by Content

Avoid the obvious things like a person playing cards with themselves. 

You may want to take three images or more to bring back down to two. Here is Ohio we get a fair amount of snow. I was thinking of an image where the person is walking through the snow with one another. Of course you would create footprints as you leave the scene to go change. If you took a photo before you had your model walk into the scene, then you would have a photo to mask back the snow from. You could do it with just two shots, but it seems like the third one would come in handy.

Mobile Blogging!

Mobile Blogging!, originally uploaded by Seder Burns.

This is a photo i I just took on my phone. I am compsing this message on my phone as well. Nice. Computers are so yesterday...


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scanners as a creative tool - or - Scanner Art -or- I LOVE ME SOME SCANNERS!

Scanners just don't get the love they deserve. They are really incredible. Sure, digital cameras are all the rage, but scanners have been doing their job much longer than digital cameras have been around. In fact, the first digital cameras were modeled after scanners. Some still are. Take a look at my images for example.
Sure, scanners perform many mundane tasks every day. Maybe you even used on earlier today to copy your taxes or scan a photo of you as a kid for Facebook. But have you made art with your scanner today? Art made using scanners, often referred to simply as Scanner Art (or the unfortunate moniker Scannography) has been around since scanners came on the scene.

Caitlin Harrison series of self portraits are great! has some tutorials and a directory of people making art with scanners. Be sure to check out the work that the listed artists are making. Some really great stuff!

Tim Fleming is representative of a number of folks who create floral/botanical imagery. Not my cup of tea, but maybe you will like it and it does show the potential uses.

Flickr Scanner Art Group has a variety of images. Like the rest of Flickr, the quality varies greatly.

Katrin Eismann used to create a lot of work using scanners. It's her work that I like best.

Scanner Magic is a site devoted to mostly botanical scanner art. Includes a directory of people creating scanner art.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Online Photo Editing...the future?

If you don't have a copy of Photoshop, fear not, you can likely do everything you need to do with/to an image using a free online photo/image editing application. I have been watching online image editing programs develop for awhile now. I have utilized them a number of times for classes and person use. I am truly amazed at their capabilities.By the way, these programs are particularly sweet if you are using a netbook with limited memory and processing power.





Photoshop Express 


Some of them such as Aviairy have a number of tutorials available. Give them a try, you will be amazed at how well the work!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kelli Connell's work with multiples

Fantastic body of work combining multiple images creating ambiguous, fictionalized scenes

Digital Photography Tampering

Phototampering through History:

Great blog about bad photo editing

Links to the crazy Ralph Lauren model retouching fiasco: