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 were almost but not quite in the same place, and the UI (user interface) was 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.

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Singer In A Smoky Room

[Don’t Stop Believin’ – Glee Cast Cover, original by Journey]

I don’t usually post pictures here anymore, but lemme just say, this picture is fueling me to watch all of Lost, ASAP.

Sorry if it’s a bit big for the browser.

I got this off “The Daily Wh.at” on Tumblr, and this was the description:

Make-Believe Map of the Day: The most accurate geographical map of the Lost island ever illustrated, by Professional cartographer Jonah Adkins, who spent the past four years designing and revising this masterpiece.

Ahhhh Video Ezy here we go!

Alex.

P.S. If I ever didn’t give due credit for pictures to their respective owners, I am really sorry. Usually, when I post a picture, if it’s mine, I will have already boasted about it, or it will have my face in it. But from this point on, I will give credit where it’s due to the pictures that are not mine, because saying it’s not mine is not the same as telling people whose it is. And some people (like this dude) had put a crapload of effort into the stuff that they create. This was brought to my attention from Katherine, so there, I credited her as well.

You Said Move On, Where Do I Go?

[Thinking Of You – Katy Perry]

Well, since I (somehow) capped myself, this will be my last post until I uncap (except for Christmas). I put some effort into making this post interesting, okay?

This is mostly for Katherine’s benefit.

One day when we were on MSN I complained to her, “Katherine, you never stalk me anymore. When we first met/got back in touch, you’d stalk me three times a day, at the least. Sometimes you’d drop by and stalk me unexpectedly, just to let me know you still feel that stalk-spark. But now you only stalk when I ask you, and even then I don’t feel like your heart is in the stalking. It’s like you lack the passion you once had for stalking me.”

Katherine replied, “But honey (she didn’t say honey, but for the purpose of this very thinly veiled double entendre she did) I don’t need to stalk you to let you know I still love you. Can’t you just know by me simply giving you a quick hi on MSN?”

“It’s not the same!” I cried, “You used to stalk me so passionately that you knew everything about me. I would look into your eyes and ask you the name of my 3rd grade teacher and you’d be able to reciprocate. But now, now you barely remember my password!”

“Dammit woman! (Again, she didn’t say woman. Why did I make her out to be the guy in this…anyway) Don’t you get I’m trying? I come home everyday exhausted from a long hard day of legitimate information gathering, and I just want to put my feet up, sit back and watch some Bones (oh yes, I noticed what I did there). I love you, baby, but I just need some time to myself. I can’t stalk you all the time.”

“Time to yourself? Oh don’t be coy with me, I know EXACTLY what you get up to!”

“What…what are you talking about sweetie? (She doesn’t call me sweetie either. She’s not a womanizer. She could be if she tried…and had a dick. The point is…)”

“I know about those tumblrs and deviantarts! I know that you spend your ‘free time’ stalking all those pretty girls on those sites instead of me! Do you think I haven’t noticed? What, am I not arty enough for you? I can be arty! I can be anything you want! Here I’ll string some apples onto trees, sit in an awkward yet erotically suggestive pose, and have you take pictures. Do you want that? I can do that! What can I do to make you want to stalk me again?!”

“You don’t understand, baby. It’s not the same.”

“I get it. No, I understand. I’ll just leave. Maybe I’ll delete everything of mine so you won’t ever get to stalk me again.”

“No, baby don’t be like that. Come back. Hey? Baby? Alex? Alex?!

…AAAAAAAALEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEX!!!!!!!!!!”

(I HAD to put a Streetcar reference you in there, you understand.)

The intensely capitalized utterance appeared on my screen just as I moved my mouse cursor towards the close button. Hesitating, I tapped out, “Oh I do love you Stan-I mean, Katherine. I do. But how can I trust you again?”

“I’ll show you,” came the reply. I waited anxiously, not knowing what form of stalking Katherine will bestow upon me. Suddenly a red icon appeared on my Facebook page, and I saw that Katherine had “posted something on my wall”. My heart skipped a beat, half in excitement, half in anticipatory terror. What did she post?

“Hey sup how r u? I see u were playing bejeweled! Kwlzz~~”

And my world became complete once again.

Alex.

Disclaimer: Katherine never ever talks like that. In fact, I am willing to bet a very small amount of money that when she reads what I wrote, she will actually run away crying. She doesn’t type like a tool.

What she does do is stalk people on deviantart and tumblr. That part was true, and was written for her benefit.

I do not own Streetcar Named Desire, Tumblr, DeviantArt, Facebook or Bones in any way. Aha, now you can’t sue me.

And I’m very sorry, Katherine, for that thing about the dick…. ._.

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.

Somebody To Lean On

Ah, thus my 3rd installment of one of the most awesomest weeks of my life.

Now, as you may remember I went to sleep at 1 am on the Wednesday night (Thursday morning, whatever) and I had a 5 am wake up on Thursday morning in order to catch a 6:25 train so we could be at school by 7:30. Saw Eunice at Glen Waverley which I didn’t expect because she’d previously said she wouldn’t. But meh.

She was in brown overalls and later bandaged up her head, because as Jack from Jack and Jill, she fell down and broke her crown.

More MacRob people arrived, and then some MHS guys in UNIFORM as well. Annie came on at Mount Waverley with a huge spoon. I thought it was a dirty metaphor until she said that Jen T is a fork, and they’re the famous (if not stuffed up) “dish and spoon” (you can see the stuff up because Jen T was a fork).

I was in this huge cape as Phantom Of The Opera (Yeah, I gave up on Mojo Jojo or the whole Powerpuff Girls thing, for that matter). The mask stuck out weirdly so I didn’t wear it. People thought I was Dracula. I was okay with that.

Eunice, Fel and I got off at Melb Central to go to Coles, and I thought it would be a good idea to buy a small box of tissues. Met up with Carmaine who was the train after us, and we took the tram up to school, getting off at Bowen (I’m just using these terms because I won’t really use them  much after this….sad) and going over the overpass. There were no bras on there, much to Eunice’s disappointment (there was a prank or something planned where we all tied a bra to the overpass…I don’t know). We went around to the Lakeside Courtyard where we were celebrating, and there were teachers standing around making sure we didn’t have fun.

Had some pancakes and fairy floss for breakfast, and then went on to start camwhoring. THERE WAS A JUMPING CASTLE! Went onto it 2 times, once with Sonam who landed butt first on my face, and the 2nd time with Julia and co., with the former deciding to test the side safety nets by pushing me repeatedly onto it.

Took photos for the first 20 minutes until woe woe woe my batteries ran out. I relied on other people for photos. And, of course, I became the camera mule, taking pictures for other people.

There were many amazing costumed groups, some of the memorable ones were:

The Powerpuff Girls (of course) and the Rowdy Rough Boys

The Soft Drinks Cans (they made these huge cans that they wore, and Huey especially wobbled in them)

The 2 Rubiks Cubes (I tried solving them. The girls inside asked what I was doing. I said solving them. They laughed.)

Bridezillas (it was freaking scary)

Snow White and the 7 Dwarves (Nug was a dwarf. I got to laugh) and of course the entourage of Evil Witches and whatnots

Bumblebee arm on Optimus Prime from Transformers (here’s looking at Bel)

Madeline and the French Nun Woman Whose Name I Forgot! Someone remind me.

Firemen.

The French Revolution people (I have no idea who they were meant to be, but they had good facial hair)

And of course, the Oompa Loompas and Willy Wonka, which scared the crap out of me. I meant the orange people though.

There were many others unnamed, and all of them were good and you could tell everyone put a lot of effort into it.

After much excitement and photos, it was time to go to the hall for the assembly. We yelled, we cheered, and of course we…but back up…background first.

For the previous week, it has been known that the clocks have been disappearing from every single classroom in school. While most of the year level knew that was happening, we didn’t actually know WHY. This wasn’t revealed until at assembly, Saf stood up there onstage and said, “Okay girls, on the count of 3 sing with me.” No one knew what song, and Saf said, “Just go with it ladies.”

“1…2…3…”

“I want one moment in…time!” And at that exact moment every clock that we had (which was every clock the school had) were raised to face the rest of the school behind us, and we all joined in a heartfelt, off-key, screeched out and by all means AWESOME rendition of One Moment In Time (the high-high-highlight being “when I’m racing with destiny” when everyone forgot EB’s advice to let the note envelope us and instead tried to shoot it from the top of our heads…it was nasty).

Then, the first act came on, and it was a lovely little dance number. I can’t recall all of the songs, but I just remember 2 scenes. 1, the first scene, when Mishie and Rach Tan (the former being a MacRob girl the latter being an “ENTER score” sought each other out through the crowd to Swift’s Love Story (“we were both young when I first saw you”). And then the 2nd scene was when Mishie was left by herself when ENTER abandoned her, and she sobbed out “ALL BY MYSELF!”

Then it was time for the video! Except there was a technical difficulty, so Amee went ahead with her piano improvisation. It brought tears for many of the girls, and started the mood for the video off.

The video was great, even if I do say so myself (and on behalf of my fellow committee-ers). It brought laughter where it was wanted, gasps where it was planned, and tears where it should be. Mr Rus- as Superman was amazing (and it was the first time I saw that skit, so I laughed so hard I teared), and all the other videos were of top-notch standard. People said afterwards that not a single video in it was boring, every one of them was great. That was the best compliment we could have gotten.

After the video, the tissues I bought came in handy, as those around me started bawling (I got the aloe vera kind, so it was good on their noses).

Then Pru- and Mari- went onstage and sang “Lean On Me”, during which Pru- cracked up which cause most of everyone else to cry (I still didn’t cry…which was weird).

Later on, when the rest of the school had left (we all did a standing ovation for the Yr 11s and others who were with us. I NEARLY felt like tearing at the thought of leaving Catherine, Fa and Julia L)  we started on the awards of “Most Likely”. And, true enough, Bel and Julia got “Most likely to be each others bridesmaids”. Mari- got “Friend Whore” because she was the most frequently mentioned person in the 3 categories “Most Compatible Pair” “Most Unlikely Pair” and something else.

After everything, after farewells to everyone, we headed out to leave. The Yr 9s gave us a human tunnel for us to leave by, each of them saying “we’ll miss you! Good luck!” and we all agreed, perhaps this bunch has some hope left yet.

Had a final Form get together at the picnic tables, where Jen and Nay handed out these little envelopes and in it they’ve described each person as an element. I was Sodium. It was a salty (not sweet) description, and it was lovely.

Left with BRuCE, Fel, Dani and Zara to Dani’s place for an impromptu BBQ. I felt sleepy by that point. Called Julia L to wish her a happy birthday and turned out she cried!! What a darl.

And thus ended my career as a high school student. In less than 1 month I will be free. Free from exams. Yet at the same time free of the protective and familiar environment that I’ve grown accustomed to over the last 4 years, and free of the faces that I’ve come taken for granted to see. And I don’t feel like it’s a good thing at all.

Alex.

Gone

So, I got my computer back on Sunday.

Remember how I’d said I may have lost some files, but hopefully they’ve been backed up?

Apparently not. I’ve lost every single one of my files, yet my parents have kept all of their’s. The injustice is that they barely look at their’s, and my files…my files made up a large part of who I am, and what I’ve done to reach this.

I’ve lost all the stories and work I’ve done over the years. (Including Guardian Angel, which I wonder who still has copies of) I’ve lost all my drawings and photos, including a huge Smallville picture database (which means I have to go stalk Tom Welling and Kristen Kreuk on Google Images again), everything that I’ve collected from Carmaine as well as most of the really hard to retrieve pictures from 2006 and 2007.

But.

Most of all.

I’ve lost all my music.

Actually, my music is probably the one thing that I can get back most easily. But that’s not actually my point.

Well, so I suppose the next few  months would consist of me slowly building up my files again. We should be getting a new computer, a new…BETTER computer so I can start again there. I’ll try to find everything again, maybe I still have some of my best short stories on my USB. I’ll stretch my resources thin tryng to get back photos. I’ll have to start recollecting all of my lyrics as well as my guitar tabs and so forth (God that’ll be painful. But at least it means I get an opportunity to start a proper categorized folder for it).

I suppose I can catch everyone up on how my progress in recollecting my past 6 years is. And it’s a good thing I’d posted those 2 chapters up (I hadn’t really written any more than that).

So, whinge over, time to get on with it.

Other than that, things are going well in life. Well, as in, I suppose there are things I want to say, problems I want to have solved, but my saying them wouldn’t necessarily solve the problems, and solving the problems won’t necessarily stop my urge from saying those things, still. I am happy, mostly, so that’s what’s important.

Alex.

Squish & Ko album

I’m aware that, after Dom and Bee told me that the picture didn’t work, the picture doesn’t work.

So, I’ve uploaded them separately onto Facebook as an album just for Squish and Ko, you don’t have to have Facebook to see it the album is set on public.

So, enjoy the adventures of Squish & Ko, and feedback is much appreciated both here and on my Facebook.

Alex.