Friday, November 11, 2011

The Beauty of Destruction, part 1

iPhone Model: 4
Camera App: BracketMode

Addtional Apps used for post processing:
ProHDR - to create a HDR picture from the shots made with BracketMode.
SimplyHDR - to enhance the previously created HDR picture. SimplyHDR provides a lot of settings, thus permitting to adjust a picture precisely after one's taste.
ArtistaHaiku - to create two ink versions of my SimplyHDR version. Like all the great apps made by Jixipix also ArtistaHaiku provides a lot of settings to control the effects. After I found what was looking for I created another version with less colors but a stronger structure effect.
Blender - as usual, Blender is one of the most important apps in the process of creation of my pictures. I used it many times again to try different blending effects with different versions of my picture. First I used it to blend the two ink versions in Overlay mode, then I was blending that result again with the HDR version in Overlay mode which gave me a structured ink version with enhanced colors. Then I blend that one again with the original HDR, this time in Normal mode, to reduce the ink effect again, because I wanted more of the original colors in my picture. Sometimes you'll have to play a lot with slider and blending effects in Blender until you found what you like. You should always save a result that you liked so you can use it again to try something different with it. If the result of an effect appears to be too strong for your taste, then just blend that result again with the previous version to reduce it again. You will mostly, but not necessarily use Normal mode to reduce an effect, adjusting the slider until you are satisfied with the result. 
Tip: To see the differences clearly just move the slider quickly from one side to the other, then adjust it to the desired intensity level.
VintageScene - after I was happy with my picture I was looking for a suitable frame. I rarely like standard frames provided by the apps but prefer to create my own. So I created a Grunge version of my picture in VintageScene. That version had a greenish-gray color. 
Snapseed - to create another frame with an irregular black line and a white outer frame. My idea was it to replace that white frame with a structured frame again. The base for the structured frame was the Grunge version I previously created in VintageScene.
FilterStorm3 -  is one of the best apps available to deal with layers and masks. In FilterStorm I imported the Grunge version as a second exposure, then I applied a mask over the white border to bring out the edge of the Grunge layer. One of the nice features in FilterStorm is the option to show the painted mask in a red translucent color which gives you pixel precise control over its application. If you run a bit too far with your Brush, don't worry. Just use the Eraser to paint that part back.

After I had finally painted my frame I had to discover that the greenish-gray tone didn't go well with the colors of my picture so I decided to de-saturate the frame. In FilterStorm3 this is easily done. Just choose the Hue/Saturation option from the list of filters, pull the slider down to a value that you like (in my case -65%) then choose the Brush in the right side to paint on your mask. Confirm the operation after painting and you're done (Don't forget to save your result indeed).
A+Signature - to add my copyright watermark. It's my favorite app to add such watermarks, especially because it comes with a huge number of fonts and because you can create any objects or words to use. Just paint hearts, flowers, handwritten words or whatever with your finger, then add it to the database for later use if you want to re-use it again. You can easily adjust the size and color of your object, add an outline of shadow and turn it any way around.

Before transferring my pictures to my laptop comuter (I prefer using PhotoSync for this) I checked if the picture size was still anything close to original size by using the very handy little tool app called PhotoSize. I discovered that a handfull of pixels got lost on the way from the original photos to the final picture. Size was down from 2592x1935px to 2588x1927px. This happened as a result of ProHDR aligning the photos that served to create the HDR version of my picture because I didn't use a tripod as I made the photos and no matter how steady one's holding a camera in one's hand, the human body is always moving a bit. I brought picture size back to original size by using Iris, which is my favorite, but you may also use FilterStorm or any other app that offers that option. I prefer Iris for that kind of operation since it allows me to type in the dimensions by numbers, which allows to define picture size on the pixel precise.

After transferring the pictures to my laptop computer I wasn't satisfied with the look of the colors yet. For that reason I opened my final picture in Perfectly Clear to enhance it, which worked well for me. Again I transferred that picture to the laptop computer to check it on the big screen. Checking your work is important because on a big screen you can see things you can't see on the tiny iPhone screen. Also pictures displayed on the iPhone are being optimized for best possible viewing experience so they usually look better on the iPhone than they look like on any other computer. To enhance colors I opened my last version - the one that I optimized in Perfectly Clear - in FilterStorm again. I applied two different saturation settings, one with 27% and one with 45% and saved both, then I transferred both to the laptop computer to compare them. I finally decided to stick with the richer colors, hence I used the version saturated by 45%. 

Do you like it? The most important thing about creativity of any kind, be it photography, iPhoneography, real painting and drawing, sculpting... whatever you do, the most important thing is that YOU are happy with your creation, no matter what the rest of the world says. It is of course even more satisfying to receive positive feedback from other people, especially those you share your passion with, but it's not a must. Just think over the question if you want to produce artwork for the masses, or artwork for your happiness? Frankly, my own happiness matters more to me than the taste of the masses does and the creation of this picture was giving me much fun.

This composition shows you only 8 of the steps it took to create my final picture (on the low right) from the two original photos (on the top left).

Sadly, the reasons behind this picture are not that fun at all, especially not for railroad fans. Currently there's important transformation work going on in the Railroad Yard of Luxembourg-City. The old roundhouse is being demolished and two of the old electrical engines, numbers 3609 and 3612 fell victim to the cutting torches. I made quite a bucket full of pictures of the remains of the two old engines yesterday as my work of the day was done and daylight was still good enough to make pictures. Sadly I had no time for photographing as the slaughter begun. Only the night before I came along the place on the end of my shift and I saw this:


1 comment:

  1. Oh how sad about the demolition, Gaston.
    But thank you for sharing your wonderful images and also your wealth of knowledge.