Friday, March 15, 2013

It's snowing again!

Camera App: PureShot

Additional apps used for post processing:

Four days ago it started snowing again as I went out for a walk with our dog. It was snowing for about 24 hours, causing chaos on the roads again. I believed Winter was finally fading away but I was wrong. Winter was striking back at it's worst. 3-8" of snow was enough to raise hell again in Europe. Especially in northern France and Germany many traffic accidents happened, people got injured, people died.... I took the photo for this picture as snow had just started to fall again. Buddy, our dog, loves snow! It's a nice region where we live. From our house it's only a 10min walk to get into the woods. After snowfall finally stopped, the temperatures dropped down to as cold as -17°C (1.4°F) at night. Now Buddy loves it to run around like mad in the meadows, snapping at the snow and rolling in it. So at least some dogs are happy about the snow. I'm not! I hate snow because it makes roads dangerous and prevents me from riding my bike...

I edited the original PureShot photo with SnapSeed, TouchRetouchHD, SnowDazeHD and Blender. The true snow flakes in the photo turned out black in the center of the picture so I removed them with Touch Retouch. Then I added artificial snow in SnowDazeHD. SnowDaze is one of the brilliant apps made by JixiPix. All of their art apps are highly recommended. 

This is the original PureShot photo, a little underexposed because I could only point and shoot as there was a  crazy dog on the other end of the leach that I had to hold. I like the photo nevertheless because it shows the natural light of that moment quite well. 

This was the stage saved in SnapSeed after applying "Ambience" and "Structure" filters. For "Ambience", tap on "Tune Image", touch the screen so the menu appears, and move your finger up to activate "Ambience". I applied the filter at 100%. For "Structure", go to "Details", and choose "Structure" from the menu. You must be careful with this because it will make a noisy picture even noisier but if there's no noise you can usually pull the slider to 100%. "Ambience" in combination with "Details" and/or "Drama" gives a better HDR effect than most HDR apps can do. Before I decided to use SnapSeed for it I also tried iCameraHDR, ProHDR and even Mobile HDR, but none of the results looked as good as the result from SnapSeed did. What is important in this picture are the dark snowflakes. Like an HDR effect enhances noise it also enhances small details but in this case the natural snowflakes didn't look good so I decided to load the picture in TouchRetouchHD to remove them from the center, where they were most visible.

This is the result after removing the snowflakes in TouchRetouchHD. It as a simple task to mask them off with the brush tool.

With the natural snowflakes now gone I was ready to add artificial snowflakes in SnowDazeHD. I created two versions with identical settings with the exception of the snow effect where I used two different settings. Then I was blending both versions in Blender to mix the snowflakes. Settings was Normal blending mode with slider to 65% to let some snowflakes appear a bit more faded than the other which gave the effect a more natural look.

After the snow was added I re-opened the picture in SnapSeed to play around with it. This is a black and white version whee I applied a red filter. I tried other filters too indeed but the red filter looked best. In then I was most happy with vintage effect #9 plus frame #19. If you tap the crossed arrows on a chosen frame, the frame changes. That's a clever way to include more variations for a single frame design. The same applies to any effect where the crossed arrows appear. I did two versions with frame #19 to blend them in Blender because I wanted a more even frame. Blending settings was normal blending mode 50/50 = slider in the middle.

This is the first result from Blender after blending both frame versions to obtain a more even frame.

To create a very unique frame for my picture I flattened my layers by touching and holding my finger in the center of the screen in Blender until the menu appeared to chose the "flatten" option from. The flattened picture then appears down left in Blender. I opened the SnapSeed version with the retro effect but without frame on the right side. Now I painted the mask to let the outer part of the unframed picture shine through the black frame. After applying the mask I adjusted the level of transparency of the black frame by pulling the slider to 65%. Copyright watermark was added in A+Signature.

The finished picture.



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