Fix It Fridays


Every Friday over at i heart faces, they do a little photo editing exercise called Fix-It Friday, where they provide you with an image, and then you get to, yes, fix it.  The good thing about this exercise is that unlike some of my own straight out of the camera photos, the original image isn’t that botched – Photoshop is miraculous, but a shitty picture is probably going to stay a shitty picture.

Anyway, here’s my attempt:

Here is the original image:

And here’s my fixer upper –

Not perfect – but pretty, right?

So, this is what I did:

1.  I opened the image in Photoshop CS4

2.  Then, I ran Coffee Shops Baby Power Room Action –  This action is nothing short of amazing.  The action opens up several adjustment layers/masks – redness removal, skin smoothening, skin lightening, skin glowy, and an eye fixer thing.  By playing with the opacity of my brush, and the masks, I think I did ok.

3.  After I was finished playing with the skin retouching action, I then applied Paint the Moon’s Creamy Soy Latte Action from her Wonderland Action Set, which is really perfect for babies.  I turned the opacity down, and voila, that’s it!

Nothing to it, that took all of ten minutes.  If these babies were important to me, and this was my picture – I’m sure I would futz around with it for another hour or so – their faces are a tad too smooth, maybe their little chubby cheeks could be a bit rosier – but, for an exercise in Photoshop, good times all around!

Photoshopped Flowers



Pink Flower


Flower Baskets 

So as part of my spring sprucing, I’ve been playing around with a Flickr plugin – Flickr photoalbum.   Before, my Scrapbook page was generated by WPG2, a WordPress Gallery, and I never really got it to work right.  So, now, the page pulls everything directly from my Flickr albums – awesome!  I’m not in love with the template, but it’s ease makes the switch a done deal.  And, these flowers were also slurped up from my Flickr.  Neato!


More flowers to come – check in for Windowbox Wednesday, um . . . on Wednesday!

Lemontines Gets a Makeover!

Photoshop has submitted.  I have defeated the beast.  I am now Beast Master, Slayer of Photoshop.

Well, hardly, but after completing the assignment’s in Kim’s three “week” class, I definitely have a better grasp (although, sometimes, it still feels like that grasp is weak, slipping away – ah!) of what I’m doing, and I decided to give Lemontines a makeover.  

I switched from Blogger (Knit and the City) to my own url and WordPress because at the time, it was hard to find unique templates for Blogger, and every Blogger blog, aside from the header, pretty much looked the same.  I thought, with WordPress, I would have more customizable options – and I do, but to a certain extent it’s limited by code.  To some “code is poetry,” to me, its just code – and some of it is completely baffling and indecipherable.  I would really like to switch to this template, Thesis, which uses it’s own code, “hooks,” is more user friendly, and has a ton of product support, but I can’t bring myself to plunk down money when there are so many free themes out there, that with a little tweaking, could probably give me the look I want.  If this were a business, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second on spending the money, but since this is a tiny enterprise, with a small following, it seems a little over the top (although, you never know – I could have one of those what the heck moments, and hit that paypal button). 

So, what do I want?  Well, I want it to work.  And, while my last theme was for the most part functional, it was really really hard to get my Scrapbook page to work, there was no double spacing between paragraphs (which is an easy fixed – which I thought I had fixed, but then the fix somehow disappeared), there was a huge gap between any slideshow and text and the end of the posts, and the posts often ran together at the bottom.

So functionality is key, as is a customizable header.  You can throw your own header in just about any theme, but some are just easier than others.  And, I wanted a nice, roomie header – and header real estate in WordPress templates is surprisingly hard to find.  When I look at Blogger templates these days, I’m actually a little sorry I switched over – Blogger allows for just about any size header, and backgrounds are easily changed with a click of a button as well.  My old theme, Paalm, is by this guy Sadish; all of his themes have a healthy sized, customizable header that to change is simply a click of a button.  He has a few new themes that I hadn’t seen before I picked this one to play with – so you may see more changes in the coming weeks.  But, after looking at what felt like a gazillion free WordPress themes, this header seemed the biggest, and easiest to change. 

But, sigh, I’ve become picky – there are problems with this theme too – I don’t especially love the color scheme, I don’t like how there is no border space in the side bar boxes (that the text is scrunched up against the edge of the box), I don’t like how the footer doesn’t line up at the bottom, and I don’t like the text, lack of buttons, on the page navigation bar above.  There are also two search bars, and I’m not sure why.  Anyway, I will be working on fixing all of these things in the next couple of days, and if I don’t figure it out – I’ll probably be looking in themeland again, sigh.

So, the one thing I am really happy with about this makeover is my new header!  You can look at the header as basically my “final” from Kim’s class — it pretty much incorporates all of the things she covers in the clas.  It uses layers — there are textured layers, blending layers, color fill layers, and text layers.  The photo of Lemon is cropped from another photo, and I applied an artistic filter – paint dabs I think, and it has it’s own layers pf texture and color before I ever placed it in the banner.  And, once placed in the banner, there was only a little patch of grass, so I used some copying and pasting to have grass cover the entire banner.  Then I used a patch tool and a smudge brush to hide the splice marks.  It has special brushes (the butterfly stamps – free!) that I downloaded and installed, as well as a special font (also free!), that again, she teaches you how to install.   

If anyone is interested in Kim’s class – which obviously, I can’t recommend enough, you can still sign up for it, and she has a new class opening up, “The Art of Texture” which I’m sure will be an awesome follow up to the Skinny, the beginner’s need to know course.  As you may have noticed, I put “weeks” in quotes above, because you can do the class at your own pace.  For instance, week 1 has five lessons, and a couple of bonuses.  Working through those assignments took me most of the weekend (I did devote a lot of time to them – kind of obsessively), and then Week 2 and Week 3 went much faster because of the time spent practicing the skills from Week 1.  Anyway, I’m all set for the next class!

I love class – and I’m thinking of taking another online e-course.  This one, Bloom, a photo ecourse, is not photoshop, but actually photography.  Photoshop is magic, but what comes out of your camera is where it all starts. 

So, happy spring cleaning everyone – a makeover is always fun for everyone, even if it’s just a sweet lipstick!

Take That Photoshop! I’ll Get You Yet!

I’m not really a very handy person.  Change a lightbulb – okey doke, check, I can do that.  Hang a picture?  Perhaps pushing it.  Plumbing?  No.  Just no.

So, it’s somewhat surprising that I’ve always been a bit tech savy.  I had a Commodore computer back in the day, and was off and running on the Internet early on with Q-link.  I used WordPerfect in DOS long before Windows, and had no problem adjusting to MSWord, Excel, Powerpoint or any other host of programs.

That is, until Photoshop.

Photoshop, seriously, kicks my ass.  I bought books, I took a 2 night class at Temple University, I played with it, and all I really got was aggravation.  My MS Digital Image Pro software was so much easier, so much more intuitive, and of course, so much less effective.  After the Temple class I bought another book, and thought about committing myself to really learning how to use the program.  Thought about it, but that’s about it.  First, the book sat on the desk next to the computer.  Then, I moved the book to my nightstand.  Then, I moved it under the t.v. stand, and there it became a forgotten, dustbunny catcher.  And, our very expensive software sat unloved and unused. 

Until this weekend, when I discovered Kim Klassen’s online Photoshop class, The Skinny, a hands on collection of video tutorials which allow you to jump right in with Photoshop on a need to know basis – there’s no overload of information, no professional processing jargon, just a straightforward, do this, then to this, and then, ta da!  I found Kim’s blog through Somerset Studio’s Artful Blogging – a really lovely magazine, highlighting art blogs on the web, and showcasing really creative photographers, painters, textile artists, and others who have taken personal, introspective blog journeys.  I’ve gotten the last four or five issues, and I really love paging through it before I go to bed.  On one hand, it’s like my writing – I know I’m a perfectly fine writer, but when I read really truly brilliant writing, I never want to write again — if I can’t write like that, why write at all?  On the other hand, it’s really, I hate to sound all schmaltzy, inspirational – ordinary women (I don’t think I’ve seen a featured male blog yet) creating extraordinary posts with a few words and a few images. 

So, here are a few of the my projects from Week 1’s Lessons –

So, as you can see, in the second, Photoshopped a la Kim, photo, the color pops, and I’ve added a ttv frame, something I had never heard of, and it certainly would never have occurred to me to add one to anything before.  And, the text is also Kim’s from the classwork.  How much more attractive and appealing would my Sheepy Cardigan post have been if it had the second picture as opposed to the first?

In the next lesson, we learned to dream it up – turning a very bright, vibrant photo into something very dreamy.  What’s more dreamy than a wedding, right?

These are my wedding shoes and my bouquet.  I had no idea why my photographer was so obsessed with taking pictures of my shoes, but now I’m glad she did — I think the dreamed up photo is a lovely memento of my getting ready morning.  And, it kind of reflects the weather we had as well, a kind of misty day.

And, here’s one of Joe and I –

How sweet are we????

So, that’s my work for today.  Hopefully, as I practice, practice will make artful.