Focus on auto-focus

Having finally found the time (and good weather) to do my proper photoshoot of my subject Meg, I thought that my project would be at the 75% mark: get the photos that I want, then it’s off to creation.

I had a whole list of photos that I wanted based on the rough scripts that I’d outlined for the different strips that I wanted. I’d purposefully written them simple and repetitive, using poses that I’ve seen Meg do before.

On the day, I brought my 50mm prime lens. They have manual focus only. I’d been predominantly using this lens for all my previous photos, including the photo project that I’d uploaded earlier.

I also have shortsightedness, and can’t take photos with my glasses on.

What I’m building towards is that, for my first photoshoot, 70% of the images were nearly unusable because they were out of focus.

Nonetheless, I did manage to get some gems. which are usable:

DSC_0324

So the next time, I brought along my 18-55mm, and was able to use its autofocus to take many better photos.

DSC_0517

The only issue is, I hardly managed to get any of the photos that I’d planned for, meaning that most of the scripts that I’d written are entirely un-executable.

This leaves me with a conundrum, which I think I can solve rather easily.

Most of the photos that I took are still natural poses for dogs, so now it becomes a fact of writing a scriptย around the material that I’d procured. Perhaps this should have been my plan from the very start, which would have freed me up to many more photos during the photoshoot.

In the next few days I’ll create a mock up of one of them comics, based on the first image that I uploaded. I’ll also attempt to create it with my publishing format in mind – Tumblr and Medium – to see and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Here, have another Meg:

DSC_0572

Alex.

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Touching on Touchups

In this post, I will engage with Dr Jenny Weight’s introductory post on using photo editing software. In particular, I will draw on my own experiences with both GIMP and Adobe Photoshop, and examine the issues that may come with using said software for image editing.

Before I start, I should clarify that I’d had intermediate knowledge of PS (Photoshop) from a previous VE&T course, and have long since ingrained the knowledge into my brain-space. That means that it’s become a little difficult for me to thoroughly and critically engage with such a basic overview in digital image editing, because none of the knowledge occur to me as new, nor do issues register on my radar because I automatically know how to fix them.

Before I launch on my tirade on GIMP, it is important to note that the software is completely free, and, for most casual intents and purposes, has all the features of the extremely pricey Adobe Photoshop. GIMP also has an extensive community that discuss and help each other out on the forum, where almost all the questions a new user would possibly have (mine usually began with “where can I find…?”) are answered.

In one of Jenny’s lectures, she mentioned that GIMP has a steep learning curve. To that, I say: yes and no. For someone who got used to the way Photoshop worked, and where things were and what they were called, the learning curve wasn’t so much steep as frustratingly ‘almost’. Toolbars and menus wereย almost but not quite in the same place, and the UI (user interface) wasย almost but not quite identical, meaning I sometimes found myself hitting “B” repeatedly to access the Brush tool, only to have nothing happen.

But for users completely new to the image editing scene, I think GIMP would be as confusing as a first session with Photoshop. It’s simply a new skill to think in terms of Layers – “what, you made a mistake drawing on the image, and when you erased it everything was gone? Yeah, should’a used layers” – and all the menus with “Curves”, “Color Balance” and oh, the FILTERS! Not to mention all the doo-dah over Opacity, Layer Styles, Vectors…GIMP doesn’t do anything to ease that initial vertigo, but neither did Photoshop, for me.

The major difference, at least to me, was the way in which Adobe set out an intuitive UI once the ball had successfully been rolled. Once I learned how menus were organized, and some keyboard shortcuts, Photoshop suddenly became quick and easy. GIMP (and again, this is tainted heavily by my PS leanings), on the other hand, was not. The very fact that I had to download and install scripts to use a few functions were testimony to that. (However, the additional script-fu and plug-in community is actually pretty awesome, and I wish I had explored them more.)

There’s not much to engage with in terms of Jenny’s post – the basics are the basics, and there’s not much to say about it. Yes, YouTube tutorials are amazing, but once you find yourself among this league (video below), it’s probably easier to just turn off your computer and go throw a stick for your dog.

One thing I will say: LAYERS! LAYERS LAYERS AND IF YOU’RE NOT SURE, THROW IN ANOTHER LAYER! If you want to test two different types of brush strokes…use two layers! Delete the ugly one! It’s so much easier to delete a layer than to press Ctrl+Shift+Z (er, I use PCs, but I’m pretty sure it’s Apple+Shift+Z on Macs) a million times.

Finally, here’s a (repost) of the images I edited in GIMP, and its counterpart in PS. The focus should be on the colors, not the speech bubbles, because the GIMP version had me do speech bubbles in GIMP, but the PS one had me do them in Illustrator.

GIMP

PHOTOSHOP

Please note that the images are hosted by Tumblr, but are made by me. I didn’t rip off someone else’s work, but the dog isn’t mine personally. I have permission to photograph the dog, who is a minor.

Alex.

P.S. It would seem that my broad “RMIT” category will soon be insufficient. If any tutor reads this before the final due date, but sees no extra categories, please note that I will be adding and organizing more specific categories extremely soon. I know in a professional space that this is inexcusable, because once it’s out it’s out. I apologize.

Papa I Know You’re Gonna Be Upset

[Papa Don’t Preach – Glee Cast (Dianna Agron), Original by Madonna]

…You’re gonna be upset if I’d burned down my mom’s bed.

Read my 365 for day 16, and you’ll see how close I came to being killed.

To cut a long story short: I played with matches near my mother’s bed. AHH!

I’m an idiot.

Alex.

P.S. Net uncapped, and so I put work aside for Glee. This is a bad trend.

Project 365 – 2

Okay, my excuse is that all good things started twice.

I have decided to restart my 365, starting today, the 10th of April 2010. Because the previous 9 days were sort of a confused bunch, and, to be honest, I took some on the wrong days.

I decided to start it today, because I’d just gotten a haircut (the previous haircut was getting really long and, in Josh’s words “mullet” like).

I have decided to hell with the calendar concept. I don’t have the time for that (yeah, I’m that lazy) so basically, I will take 1 picture each day, and post them up individually on my 365 page with a small description on the bottom of what happened that day.

If I happen to write about that day here, on my WordPress, I will link the picture to here (and perhaps, if I can be bothered, post the 365 picture here as well). Not every picture will have an accompanying WordPress post, because some days are just plain boring. But every picture WILL have an accompanying caption on the Tumblr page.

I hope I don’t have to start for the 3rd time haha.

Alex.

P.S. Group dynamics have had an interesting bashing this week. And I’m not just talking about my Uni group.

P.P.S. Mani, I just had the Two-Face conversation with you. I wish you luck!

Project 365

I don’t remember if I mentioned it here, but here’s a quick overview of Project 365:

Taken off my Tumblr…of course. I just remembered I’d blogged about it there (I only want to write official stuff on here. And since now this is official…)

I’ve had this laptop for about half a month now, but I’ve decided to start on an interesting day. Thus, I shall start my project on April 1st.

I will display it as a weekly thing. Calendar layout. I don’t know WHERE I’ll display it – I might just make a new page on here first, or put it on Deviant Art, or, dare I say, get a Flickr.

So, let’s hope I can keep this up!

Alex.

P.S. I have added a category: Project 365. That will include maybe a short story about the picture, and what it stands for. I also want to be able to link each photo to the corresponding day here, but I don’t know how I’d do that. Mani, you read this, can you suggest anything?

We Were Just Kids In Love

I actually sat here for a long time trying to think of a suitable title, and then I gave up. So I just wrote in the first line of the chorus of the song I’m currently playing. I think maybe for this whole summer I’ll do just that, and I’ll pick songs from my summer playlist (that I haven’t made yet but I will, and I know this song will be on it).

So this song is:

Kids In Love – Mayday Parade

Sorry, Mai, but you inspired me to do this.

The downside of me doing this, of course, is that at a glance you wouldn’t know what the post will be about, just (if you happen to like my type of music) what song I was listening to.

This post will be a photo post. I just cleaned out my study and decided to take pictures of stuff I discover hidden away in piles of paper and books. Since in my study I basically chuck everything that I come across during the course the year (and, apparently, last year and some from the year before) I thought it would be a fun memory lane trip thing. (It also means that the page might take a while to load for people with slower internet. Although I’ve compressed all the pictures, they’re still over 100 kb each.)

pileofcrapThat’s what I started with.

pileofcrap2The crap I had in front of my computer. Note the 3 cool gadgets, in size order.

jokernametagMy English teacher needed to learn names. I thought the Joker thing was really snazzy.

jack'snotesAh, I couldn’t bring myself to throw out the folder of notes from Jack’s. It’s actually really heavy now.

htfailOmgsh, 31/50, FAIL SAC!

iloveaprilHere’s a visual of what I was writing about a few weeks back. April, as you can see, signed her name very “bigly”.

jess'scdOh, Pooki, Eunice, if you still read this…I still have it.

oorahMy lack of mid-year exams.

gadgetsandpolaroidJust. Plain. Awesome. Also, ignore the huge scratch on my screen protector.

<3beeI love it. I forgot what was in the letter (I didn’t re-read it) but I remember it was nice.

timetableSee those blanks? They were me walking around the library making people talk to me.

sodium12I = the entire known physical universe.

hardcoreSee, proof that I’m hardcore. Highlighted in bright pink are my misdemeanors.

FAilWas tempted to write “FAil” like I did last time but no.

supercandyHaha, April, remember this! This was at the start of Yr 11. The packaging made me rofl.

helpingfriendI drew this way back in 2007. Carmaine had sprained her ankle, and I drew this small comic depicting what would have happened if I had to move her because she couldn’t do it herself. Everything is to scale.

handupbriefDo you see the “hand up brief” one? It made the entire class chortle. That’s what she said.

methodsmessageIt’s blurry, but that message got me through some pretty rough Methods class.

photographsLook what I found! This was end of Yr 10, 2007. When I took the picture of the picture, my camera recognized our faces.

yaaplatesDom, Carmaine, remember these guys? I still haven’t opened mine haha.

anotherpileofcrapJust when I thought I finished, I turned around and saw this.

pileoftextualcrapI cleaned out that pile of textbooks that I couldn’t/didn’t sell. What do I do with them now? Seriously, someone tell me.

Sorry if I just capped someone.

Well, it was a pretty good trip down memory lane. There were heaps of stuff I chucked out that I didn’t take a picture of, for example the stuff we wrote for English at the start of the year that was meant to be about us. That wasn’t used.

2 favorite things I found were the comic of Carmaine and the photographs.

Alex.

Suit up and grab me some boobage

On Wednesday it was dress signing day. And after that was the valedictory.

I couldn’t find my school dress so I nicked a huge bunch of papers from the library printer and got everyone to sign on them, the papers, instead. Thus I didn’t have any Sharpie marks on my skin during Valedictory (here’s looking at you, Julia), and people wrote nicer messages. I still haven’t had the time to sit down and read them yet. (AND CARMAINE! You never got to write a message.)

I signed Spanna’s right boob as a joke from the previous day. In the previous day I took a picture of Spanna’s generous cleavage and told her I’d tag one boob as me and one boob as Julia. Which is why I signed the boob that is me on Wednesday.

When I got to school, I noticed that Dani’s left boob got taken by Andrew already (‘cos that’s where her heart is. Wtflux? Don’t ask.) so I got her right boob with “this is mine mine mine mine mine – Alex”.

That started my mission to get as many right boobs as I can with “this is mine mine mine mine (the number of ‘mine’ depended on the size of said breast) – Alex” as possible. I actually managed about maybe over 100? Hehe.

When the boob was taken, I took the crotch.

When both was taken, as in the case of Anto-, I took the bum. That one was actually surprisingly embarrassing.

During recess, someone boarded up all the windows in the common room and we had a rave party. Loud music, people jumping. It was fantastic.

After Legal (during which we did no work but sat around and were happy and took pictures and hugged Nik-) and our last class ever, Dani, Zara and I went to Dani’s place to get ready for Valedictory. I played with the new kittens (these are much smaller than the ones from last year) and they gave me confused looks. (By the way, I tried uploading photos but it wasn’t working.)

Got all my clothes ready, and Andrew came home, changed, and we were off to the Crown Palladium.

When we had finger food (well, it was MacRob, people were fighting for food) we camwhored and everyone remarked how tall the heels were and so forth. Met Spanna’s mom, and a man who I thought was her dad but turned out to be Chez’s dad. That was bloody embarrassing and not my fault.

Sat down for speeches. Trying to fast forward this because I haven’t had breakfast yet…

Had some great speeches from everyone, and it was quite funny when one half of the room’s lights began to turn on and off. Frank and Caro- performed their song and it was quite heartbreaking and caused quite a few tears when Frank started crying halfway through.

Then came the time for everyone to go up and get their stuff. When I went up I called out Clarkey’s name and gave him a high five. It was awesome (despite my mom telling me that I’m an idiot for it later on. I’m not going into that, by the way…)

After Valedictory BRuCE, Fel and our respective parents and the odd sibling or two went to dinner at The Pub at Crown (I finally went to the place SonJ had so much trouble explaining before, she said “the place with tables and chairs and music and people”). I ordered a steak and chips, and it was tough but very delicious.

Went home. That was a disaster. For the 2nd time in a row we had to catch a replacement bus because they were obviously doing something to the tracks at night. Mom felt too sick to stay on the bus and demanded to get out at MT WAVERLEY where we stood around at 11:40 at night in the cold. Couldn’t get a taxi, so had to call a family friend to come up. Parents argued for so long as to who to call that by the time the family friend came up to Mount Waverley from Wheelers Hill, the next replacement bus had come and gone and it was past midnight.

Got driven back to the Glen where our car was parked, and mom proceeded not to drive and just sit there for the next 2o minutes. Finally got home, and had to do all the other things like shower and clear memory space on my camera, so that when I went to sleep it was 1 am, and I was waiting for a 5 am wake up to get to school for early breakfast.

Now you understand why I was tired.

Otherwise, though, the night was incredibly fun, as was the day.

The next installment, which is our “muck up” day, will be written about tonight.

Alex.