Monday, April 30, 2012

Simplicity – 13

I was very happy with the way my roses turned out this time. I first got rid of the thin black irrigation pipe that was snaking out of the wine barrel using Retouch in Picasa 3. You can view my previous pictures to see what it looked like. I’m curious how many people actually noticed it before I took it away. The Retouch application takes a little getting used to. If you apply a lot of patches and then decide you did too many patches, you can click Undo Patch quite a few times. This application seems to have a long memory. If you undo more than you meant to, then you just click the Redo Patch until you’re happy. If you don’t want any of your changes, then just click Reset and start again. Once I was satisfied with the Retouch application, I added Cross Process and that was it.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Simplicity – 12

In my previous post, I turned my roses black and white using the Holga-ish application in Picasa 3. Here they are also in black and white, but with a different application. This time I used the B&W application and added a bit of Boost. I think this combination worked better on my photo.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Simplicity – 11

Here are 3 images using the same application as a starting point. I achieved the white roses with shadowed borders using Holga-ish in Picasa 3. When you click on Holga-ish, you will see 3 slide-bars, Blur Edges, Grain and Fade.

If you want a black and white image, then don’t use any of the Fade slide-bar. To get my roses in black, I added Invert Colors.

If you want your roses to have color, then use the Fade slide-bar. I adjusted mine to the middle. Then I added Sharpen and a bit of Vignette for the shadowed borders.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 3 images in Holga-ish. Don’t forget to choose a favorite application in this series once I’m done. I'm looking forward to reading your comments.

What is Picasa?

Picasa is photo editing, desktop software that runs on Windows and the best part is that it’s for free. Go to download if you want it on your computer and learn more if you want to read a review on it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Simplicity – 10

Do your kids like to read comic books? You can create their own personalized comic books by using photos that tell a story about their lives and apply the Comic Book photo editing tool in Picasa 3 to your images. You can add Text to your images as well. Then print the pictures and scrapbook them or bind them together another way. This would make a great birthday gift idea too.

Here’s how I applied the Comic Book editing tool on this image. I clicked on Comic Book, which opens up to show three slide-bars. The slide-bars are for adjusting Color Brush, Dot Density and Dot Fade. I adjusted all three until I was happy with my result. Now, let's start making some memories!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Simplicity – 9

To get this effect, I used Neon and then added Saturation in Picasa 3. I was quite impressed with the result. Both Neon and Saturation have a slide-bar for you to adjust how much of the application you want to use on your image. The point to photo editing is to have fun.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Simplicity – 8

How to Make Your Own Coloring Paper:

Today I’m going to share with you how to make coloring paper using your own images. You can do this easily in Picasa 3. Not only is it easy, it’s also for free, except for the ink and paper that you will use to print on. What makes this a cool editing tool is that you can give your child personalized coloring pages. It can be pictures of your son, daughter, grandchild, favorite pet, or a holiday you took together. All you need is a special child in your life, a story in your photograph and the rest is making memories by coloring.

Here’s what you do: click on the Pencil Sketch button in Picasa 3. It will open to reveal three bars, one for Radius, one for Strength and one for Fade. You can adjust any of these three to get the effect that you want. I did not use the Fade bar on my image, as it brings the original color back into the picture. I wanted to keep my photo in black and white.

I wish you lots of fun making your own personalized coloring paper!

If you want to get the free download for Picasa 3 or read a review on it, then go to my post “Being Herself – 3.”

When I’ve completed this series, please let me know which your favorite picture was. You can do the same with my earlier posts. I have a series on “Being Herself” and another one on "Kids with Animals.” Perhaps you have a favorite amongst those as well. I’d love to hear from you.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Simplicity - 7

These four colorful images were all done using the same editing tool. I used Heat Map in Picasa 3 to get these results. There is a Hue bar for Heat Map that when moved from left to right changes the colors of the image. I chose just four pictures to share with you from the many different options available using this technique.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Simplicity – 6

How’s this for a fun effect? I chose Pixelate in Picasa 3 and adjusted the Pixel Size and Blend Mode until I was happy with the result. For more information about Picasa 3, you can check out my blog post “Being Herself –3.”

Friday, April 20, 2012

Simplicity – 5

No flora has been harmed in any way during this experiment of mine. The roses from my garden have not felt a thing during this process of altering their image. This time I used HDR-ish and then added Vignette in Picasa 3. Each technique certainly creates a new look to my photo. Once I’m finished with this series, I’d love to hear which look was your favorite.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Simplicity - 4

I’ve noticed that the petals of these roses, called Simplicity, have a natural antique look about them once the roses are fully opened. That got me to thinking that the 1960s look in Picasa 3 would work well on this image. So, I clicked on the 1960s editing tool and then chose a dark brown color for the corners. I must say, I’m very satisfied with the result. I hope you are having fun with your photos too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Simplicity – 3

I hope you like the roses from my garden, because you’re going to see them a few more times before I’ve finished this series. At the moment, I’m demonstrating different editing techniques in Picasa 3 using the same image. I said that I would try techniques that I normally wouldn’t use on a picture of mine, but today I’m demonstrating popular editing tools that you might like to use on your favorite photos.

My original photo in Simplicity – 1 was not edited. In this post you can see how I took the “raw” image and gave it more color. I chose the word raw, because in my mind I’m imagining corn on the cob or broccoli before the vegetables have been cooked. Once they’re cooked just right, their color shows more brightly.

Editing a photo is easy. I used Sharpen, Saturation and Vignette in that order. It took me only a few clicks with my mouse and I was done. I love roses no matter what their color and these ones are no exception.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Simplicity – 2

I had a lot of fun with this image. I’m trying out the editing tools in Picasa 3 that I normally wouldn’t use on my photos. My soft pink Simplicity roses have now changed a crazy green color. I layered two techniques to get this result. It was really easy. All I did was to choose Invert Colors and then Lomo-ish and I was done, nothing to it. If you want to see what these roses looked like before I edited them, just scroll down to the previous post, “Simplicity– 1.” If you want to learn more about Picasa 3 then check out “Being Herself –3.”

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Simplicity – 1

These roses, named Simplicity, are from my garden. They are planted inside an old wine barrel. I have a few of these barrels lining our concrete driveway.

I took this picture in March. It’s autumn here in South Africa, south of the equator. My flowers all around my garden have been blooming, so it looks like spring.

All I did to this image was to crop it and resize it smaller. I’m going to play around with some of the fun photo editing techniques that I normally wouldn’t use. You’ll get to see these roses take on a different look every day, but today they are their original, beautiful selves.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kids with Animals – 15

Amanda laughed when the dog tried to nudge her with its nose. I’m so glad that I caught this adorable moment on camera. Actually, I didn’t have my camera with me. I used my husband’s mobile phone to take this picture and the previous one. I hope you are keeping your camera or mobile phone close, so that you also don’t miss capturing the precious moments in your world.

This photo was taken on an outing where we chose to only bring Amanda along. You can read more about this outing and why we didn't bring the other kids along at Family Outings.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kids with Animals – 14

This photo was taken in October 2011 and Amanda was greeting this dog for the first time. I got two really nice pictures of her interacting with the dog that I’m going to post the second one tomorrow. In both photos Amanda turned out a little blurry, but the special effect called Lomo in PicMonkey and Lomo-ish in Picasa 3 helped to mask this.

This photo was taken on an outing where we chose to only bring Amanda along. You can read more about this outing and why we didn't bring the other kids along at Family Outings

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kids with Animals – 13

This is a very recent photo of Amanda with Benny. I was taking pictures of her outside with the pavement paint that I had made, something that I had learned on Pinterest. When she began interacting so sweetly with our dog, I just had to capture the moment.

You don’t need a fancy camera to take great pictures and make memories. Now-a-days, most mobile phones have good enough built in cameras, which is fantastic because you need to be ready at anytime and anywhere not to miss an opportunity. Take a lot of pictures regularly. Try and be natural about it in order to capture your child being his or her true self.

You might encounter resistance from your family members. I certainly have. Show them the pictures you’re taking and explain how it sometimes requires taking a lot of pictures to get that one amazing picture. The more they understand the process, the less they will resist your efforts. If your son or daughter is adamant against having his or her photo taken, then you’ll have to accept defeat and hope for another opportunity on another day.

Since I began blogging about Amanda, I’ve been taking more pictures of her. She was one of the family members that I needed to have come on board. The last time Amanda joined my husband, me and our dog for a walk, she asked me to take pictures of some of the flowers along the way. How cute is that?!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kids with Animals – 12

I took this photo of Amanda with Benny just a few weeks ago. I love watching Amanda give our dog affection. I used a few editing tools in Picasa 3 to help enhance the child-like sweetness of this photograph. I clicked on the green sky with black paintbrush icon and chose Orton-ish. Then I clicked on the plain, black paintbrush icon and chose Saturation. Lastly, I clicked on the blue sky with black paintbrush icon and chose Vignette. That’s it!

I recommend you check out my blog post “Why We Don’t Have a Cat” for a bit of humor.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kids with Animals - 11

Earlier in this series, I introduced our dog Benny as a puppy. He’s one of the best dogs that I’ve ever known. We adopted him from the local animal shelter. He’s 100% mutt and perfect. I love his personality and he has this amazing long hair like a spaniel. In this photo, he has a summer haircut. When the days are hot, it’s the kindest thing that we can do for him; besides making sure he has plenty of fresh water and shade.

I’ve got three pictures of Amanda with Benny that I want to share in this series. Amanda is our youngest child. She is my inspiration for my parenting blog at Amanda’s Books and More.

I edited this photo in Picasa 3. I used saturation and boost. I’m not sure what the difference is, but I was trying to bring out more color as Amanda was nearly pure white. The warmify tool didn’t work for me. If it had a bar where I could choose how much warmth, then it probably would have worked.

One neat option that Picasa 3 has with text is that you can outline your letters. I did just that using gray for the inside and black for the outline.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kids with Animals – 10

As you can see in this photo, Jessica is petting the same rabbit and she’s wearing an identical outfit as her younger sister in the previous image. I used to enjoy dressing them the same, but I couldn’t do it forever. The girls have grown up now and decide on their own fashion. All I did to this picture was to apply a bit of saturation and sharpness.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kids with Animals – 9

We went on a family holiday in 2005. One of the places we visited was the Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. Their focus is on the preservation of endangered species  including cheetahs, white tigers and pygmy hippos. There is also a petting zoo for the kids. In this photo Samantha is petting a rabbit.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kids with Animals - 8

This is a photo of Samantha with her grandma’s kitten. It’s the same kitten as in Kids with Animals – 4 that Jessica was holding, only the kitten is now a little bigger. I love the setting of this shot with the bench and the green grass and green flowering bushes. I also like how Samantha’s laugh is not directed at me, which gives it that not-staged appeal.

How to Straighten a Photo:
I used Picasa 3 to edit this shot. The photo needed more color and straightening. The straighten tool is at the spanner icon and I think it’s one of the most important editing tools that Picasa 3 has to offer. When using this application, locate items in your image to help you line up the picture to the grid. This one was easy for me, because I had the bench to work with. I adjusted the image until the bench was parallel with the grid lines. I then went to the black paintbrush icon and applied a bit of Sharpen to my image. After that, I added the Orton-ish effect at the green sky icon. Previously I called this the green paintbrush icon, but now I realize that it’s actually a green sky with a black paintbrush. Editing a photo is really easy. The hard part is writing about it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Kids with Animals - 7

This photo is of Samantha with our puppies in 2005. It’s a bittersweet photograph, because it was taken when we still had both Sasha and Benny. The orphaned pups grew up with us, but for certain reasons we felt that Sasha would be better off with another family. She adjusted to her new family so well that when my husband went to visit, she didn’t want to go to him. He realized that she was afraid that he would take her away and this was a good sign.

How to Edit a Photo Using Picasa 3:
I used Picasa 3 to edit this photo. I chose the black paintbrush icon and clicked on Sharpen. This tool has to be used very carefully, because it can quickly turn a smooth image into a grainy one. I then went to the blue paintbrush icon and added a bit of Boost to bring out the colors and Vignette to add the dark border. That’s all the editing I did, but I still had one more application left and that was Text, which is the spanner icon. This was my first time using Picasa 3’s text on one of my images. It takes a little getting used to. Also, the font that I normally used in Picnik was not on the list, so I went with Segeo Print in bold. I think I like this font better.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kids with Animals - 6

I’ve been having a lot of fun with this series of photos. This picture of Samantha with our puppy Sasha was taken at the same time as the one with Jeremiah and our puppy Benny. The puppies were an orphaned brother and sister, which we adopted from our local animal shelter. We don’t have Sasha anymore. We gave her to an elderly couple who adored her and gave her the affection she craved.

How to Edit a Photo Using PicMonkey:
This photo was edited using PicMonkey. I clicked on Exposure and reduced brightness. Then I went to Colors and slightly increased the saturation and temperature. I noticed there was a stain on Sammy’s shorts, so I chose the lipstick icon to the left and clicked the Blemish fix a couple of times at that exact spot. Satisfied with my results, I saved it.

Now that I know there are great editing tools out there, I’ll have less regrets with the photos I take. I wish you joy in taking pictures of your kids and lots of fun editing them too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kids with Animals - 5

Yesterday, I didn’t have much time to photoshop Jessica with the kitten, so I chose one effect (one click) and presto… I was done. Today, I took my time trying out the different special effects by PicMonkey. They certainly have a variety of editing tools available. So, before I tell you what I used on this picture, I thought I’d let you take a guess first. What do you think?

Well, I got both my husband and my son involved in helping me choose just the right effect. In the end, we all agreed that none was best. That’s right… I didn’t use anything. The only thing I did to this photo was to crop it, resize it smaller and add text. The lesson in this is that sometimes it’s too easy to get photoshop happy, forgetting that the original is sometimes the better choice.

This photo is of my son, Jeremiah, and our puppy, Benny. It was taken in 2005.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kids with Animals - 4

I hope you’ve been enjoying this site. If you’ve just joined me now, then I’d like to invite you to check out my previous posts. They are all special to me and I’m sure you’ll find them informative.

This photo was taken at Christmas in 2003. Jessica was holding one of the two kittens that her grandpa bought at the animal shelter for her grandma as a Christmas gift. Jessica gave both those kittens so much love. I especially like all the brown colors from the kitten to Jessica’s hair, clothes and the sofa chair. To create this effect, I used Lomo-ish. It also looks good in black and white, but I didn’t want to lose the browns.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kids with Animals - 3

I decided that it’s time I edit one of my photos using PicMonkey, a fantastic new online photo-editing program brought to us by the creators of Picnik. Since it’s this team’s second time around, they’ve improved the experience and they’re even in the process of adding more editing tools like “collage.” How cool is that?

I'm going to walk you through the steps of how to turn a blah photo into an awesome photo. I took this picture of Jessica and Samantha in 2007 with Jessica holding the rabbit. If you look closely, you’ll see a male peacock in the background. The lighting was poor (it was taken at dusk), so the shutter speed on my camera was slow making the images fuzzy. Thank goodness for great editing tools. PicMonkey’s slogan is, “Your photos could get awesome. We’re just saying.”

How to Edit a Photo using PicMonkey:
So, how did I apply some of that awesomeness here? I first cropped the photo, then applied sharpen and clarity (only a little bit, otherwise the picture turns too grainy). Next, I resized it (for this photo blog I use web large) and with “keep proportions” I typed 600 in the first rectangle and the second rectangle’s number adjusted itself automatically. Always remember to save/apply each step as you add a new technique to your image. I then went to colors and added a bit of saturation and temperature.

On the side bar to the left are more options. I chose effects (the chemistry beaker) and used cross process in green. I felt that this was the best option for this picture. I then went back to the side bar and chose text (the letter P). I couldn’t get the same text that I normally use for my images on this blog, so I went with Francois One and used lighten with a light peach color. Finally, I saved my image in best quality 10 since I had already resized the photo and didn’t want to reduce the quality further. That's how I turned a blah photo into an awesome photo!

For more about PicMonkey, go to my post "Being Herself - 4."

Since posting this, PicMonkey has changed the way to save a photo. When you click on the Save button, you will see a rectangle with three categories: Mel, Ewan and Russell. If you choose Mel, you will save your photo in a tiny file size. If you choose Ewan, it will be a good file size. If you choose Russell, it will be a large file size. Since I usually have already re-sized my photos before saving, I would go with Russell, just so that I don't lose quality.

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