Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tiny Aliens

Camera Apps: Hipstamatic, CCD,
Extras: Ollo Clip 3in1 Lens System, Macro Lens

Additional Apps used for post processing:
PhotoForge2 - for the usual High Pass versions needed for re-sharpening the photos.
PhotoWizard - for the Emboss effect needed to work out the structure in the main picture. I was blending the embossed version 4x with the previous version in Blender to get the structure effect that you can see in the main picture (top)
Photo fx Ultra - for various enhancements and cropping operations. but especially for the Day for Night effect.
Blender - for many blending operations.
ArtistaSketch HD - for clean sketches of the photos needed to blend in Blender to bring out details in the picture. Pencil sketches are very useful to enhance the outlining in pictures. I usually blend them in either Multiply mode or Overlay mode. You must play around with it and see for yourself what works for your picture. I cannot provide you a basic recipe here. What works for one picture does not necessarily work for another picture as well. That's the experience I made.
TouchRetouch HD - for touch-ups. Strangely there had been some ugly spots left on the drawings created with ArtistaSketch so I removed them before using the sketch version in Blender.
Laminar - for it's great light system used in the picture where the mother plant deploys an egg from one of the cocoons.
iPhoto - for local softening. I love iPhoto for it's "brushes" that can be used locally in pictures. If you want to apply an effect on the whole picture you can choose that option in the brush settings.
LensFlare HD - for the light effects in the blue pictures. Sadly, working with LensFlare is a pain in the ass because it has no undo function which is very annoying to me, but in the end I managed to obtain some useful results nevertheless.
Pixlromatic - for some of the frames.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermarks

Well.... two days ago I looked at one of my wife's flower pots purely by chance which let me discover a beautiful miniature "forest" of some strange little plant I never saw before. So I decided to photograph it. I made over 200 photos, but only few had been really useful. First I shot with the 645pro - the camera app that currently provides you the very best picture quality available on the iPhone. But the 645pro pissed me off once more because it ruined a countless number of really good shots as it crashed again and again. It might provide the best picture quality, but that's useless if the app is crashing that often. So I switched to CCD, which is the other app that saves dRAWs in TIFF format. It's a pure and rather simple camera app without all the fancy camera-simulator-wannabe-pro stuff that comes with the 645pro, but at least it works reliably. It never crashed.

The night scene of that little jungle of alien plants... I really love that miniature world in that flower pot! The night effect had been created with the "Day for Night" effect in Photo fx Ultra. The rays of light had been added with LensFlare HD. The frame was added in Pixlromatic.

Alien Mother deploys an egg from one of the cocoons... Donno what strange little plant that is but isn't it fascinating how it grows in sort of a miniature jungle and how it multiplies itself? Other plants use the wind to distribute their seeds in the world, or use even living animals to carry the seeds to a location far from the mother plant. But this little plant deploys the seeds from cocoons it carries underneath. I only discovered this as I did some shots with the macro lens of the Ollo Clip. Here the iPhone plaid out it's big advantage of being slim and small, compared to other cameras, because there was only little space left in the flower pot to put the camera down enough for shooting from the ant view low over ground. The light effects had been created with Laminar first, then with LensFlare HD.

Hipstamatic shot of the tiny jungle. Combo used was John S lens with Ina's 1982 film

Another Hipstamatic shot made with the Ollo Clip Macro Lens. Combo John S / Ina's 1982.

The original CCD photo used to create the main picture on this page. I cropped it to 1:1 format using Squaready.

The flower pot, where that tiny little alien plant grows... Photo made with CCD, cropped and framed with Pixlromatic.

I'm sorry for not being able to provide you in depth step-by-step instructions about the making of of the pictures on this page but I really plaid around a lot with many different apps until I obtained satisfying results. But don't hesitate to contact me in case you got questions. I'll be happy to assist you with anything you want to know.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Causing Scandal

Camera App: 645pro

Additional Apps used for post processing:
Superimpose - to blend the b/w picture with the color picture in Multiply mode. I set the 645pro to picture format 645 and H5 b/w film as I took this photo. Like I have set it to save also the dRAW version of my photo I also got the colored RAW version in TIFF format. In Superimpose I was blending both versions, which enhanced color contrast nicely. Usually Picture Blender is my preferred app for blending, but in this case the result I got from Blender did not satisfy me. Also a disadvantage of Blender is that it cannot handle TIFF file format. But Superimpose can handle it so it was no problem to blend the colored sRAW TIFF with the b/w JPG.
SimplyHDR - I was loading using SimplyHDR to create two HDR versions from the blended result in Superimpose and the original b/w JPG file. I created two versions, a normal one and one with brightness and contrast sliders pulled fully to the left = 0. Then I was loading both versions in SimplyHDR again to create an HDR picture from it, which worked just fine.
Ripped HD - for the ripped frame.
A+Signature - for the copyright watermark

This morning at work as I was on the way to my vehicle, which was electrical railcar Z2201, I came along the old shed #2 where I discovered good old 1816, "decorated" with some shitty Graffiti. It looks good, in some way, but on the other hand I must say I hate it to see how respectless people disgrace such old engines that served us well for more than five decades. The first Diesel engine of the 1800 series got delivered to our railroad company in 1964. I drove that type too, from the early 1990s 'til the early 2000s. I must say I hated the noise of the V16 two-stroke Diesel engine sometimes, but on the other hand I also enjoyed hauling freight trains with it. Now, as there are only 3 engines of this type left running in active service and the official good-bye ride beeing made last week-end, the type will soon vanish from our railroad network forever. One will be kept for museum rides, but the remaining rest is meant to be sold to an country unknown to me. Donno what 1816 was at the workshops today. I did some interesting testing of the new ETCS train safety system today with Z2201. As soon as the remaining problems are solved, all of our Z2200 series railcars will be equipped with the modern European Train Control System ETCS.