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Edge and Pugwash's Guide to Photographic Software


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Edge and Pugwash's Guide to Photographic Software:

Part 1 - "Edgewatch's Guide to Photoshop", for the powerhunter.

Part 1 of a mulllti part series from Edgewatches and Pugwash regarding the use of various Photographic Manipulation Software

After the tutorials on how to take expert quality pictures of your watches with little expenditure and a bit of patience, I though that it would be beneficial to have a tutorial for using Photoshop to enhance your images. Pugwash's Tutorials on taking pics are here, Part 1 Part 2

We will go over some of the basic functions of PS to try and alter the image to make it more user friendly. This tutorial will cover the basics, such as, cropping, image resizing and colour enhancement, as well as flipping, rotating and the Magic of being able to zoom in without getting too close to the watch.

First off let’s go for the very basic cropping function. Most of you will be able to do this already but for those of you completely new to PS, here goes:

The crop tool is the square looking tool on the left hand tool bar. If you open an image file from the File-Open menu then we can have a go at cropping it to only include what you want to see.

Below is a picture taken of my MBW 1680, it was taken side on but contains a lot of the background which I don’t want to have. The reason for the amount of background you can see will be explained later(!). As you can see this is just any old image:

2316-7619.jpg

I have clicked on the crop tool, picked where I want to crop from and draged diagonally to where I want to crop to, this gives a square box around the image, as per above. The light portion is what the image will be cropped to and the dark border is what is being cropped off. You can alter the amount of cropping by dragging the lines to suite yourself, one you are happy with the image double click in the illuminated area and the image will be cropped to what you have selected, as below:

2316-7620.jpg

As you can see a lot of the background white has bee illiminated as per the cropping view.

Simple isn’t it.

Now the size alteration and menu is very self explanatory and can be found here:

2316-7621.jpg

It pops up with a dialog box asking for the new dimensions, it by default will set the aspect ratio the same, so that you don’t distort the proportions of the image.

Next is the Brightness/Contrast Menu

The brightness and contrast altering menu can be found here:

2316-7622.jpg

Please also note that there are many other alterations that can be made and I suggest that you have a play with them all, I have found that for the beginner the most important ones are the auto functions (colour, levels) and also the Brightness/Contrast, however if you find you have a tint to your image e.g commonly a yellowy tint, then Hue/Saturation is where you can sort that out. It is usually a case of trial and error.

The Brightness/Contrast filter looks like this when you click on it:

2316-7623.jpg

Notice the box with the sliders, these can be taken to the positive or negative to reach the desired effect.

Rotating and Flipping

This is very handy for images that you take and don’t quite have it steady or are just at the wrong angle, we all do it don’t worry.

If you look at this image you can see where the rotate and flip menus are located:

2316-7624.jpg

This image is going to be rotated by an arbitrary value as it is only slightly off, notice the pearl position. You have set default values that you can alter the image by, 90 CW/CCW and 180 degrees. When you choose the arbitrary menu button you get a dialog box up with an input field to input the desired amount of degrees and also the 2 radio buttons to select either CW or CCW, as per below:

2316-7625.jpg

I chose 4 degrees CCW for this one and this is what happened:

2316-7626.jpg

Pretty much spot on, good enough that I am happy with it. Now it’s time to eliminate the background that we have copious amounts of. This is where your knowledge of cropping comes in handy:

2316-7627.jpg

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Crop it, and have a play with the brightness and contrast to get it how you want as outlined earlier, and you get this:

2320-7612.jpg

Not bad eh??

Flipping

This is a really neat and clever tool which is in the same menu as rotate function. Now here we have a pic below where I have been an idiot and photographed It the wrong way up, stop laughing it was a mistake:

2320-7613.jpg

So now I have to manipulate it to get it the right way round, so here goes select Vertical Flip:

2320-7614.jpg

There you go the right way up, but now it’s the wrong way round so give it a horizontal flip and:

2320-7615.jpg

Hey Presto!!

Now let’s put some of the skills above together, and we will also be able to see how to get zoomed in without having to use the macro function or being super close to the watch. First off, Open an image:

2320-7616.jpg

Then play with the brightness and contrast and anything else you want to:

2320-7617.jpg

Then you want to crop it, here it is ready to crop, with the colour altered to my taste:

2320-7618.jpg

Not much of a change in colour can be seen in these images but trust me it was sufficient to make quite a difference to the image. Then Crop it, now in the next image you will see that I have made the image 100% in size instead of the 25% it was before. This is a big thing, I am taking photos that are in RAW mode and give me big pics, this is the same as using the full megapixel potential of your camera to get as big an image as possible.

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(!) I take my photos as per what TTK has already said, they are taken from a reasonable distance away approx 30-40 cm sometimes slightly further, therefore no need for a macro function/lens. I do this because I can get huge pics and crop them down to give me the close up illusion, you’ll see what I mean very soon. So set the camera up to take as big a picture as possible and then you can be a bit further away and crop down to the image you are looking for.

Here we go with the cropped image in full size, imagine the uncropped image full size lol.

2323-7607.jpg

Now you can select the portion of the image that you want, I have decided on the right half of the image:

2323-7608.jpg

You can then crop that to look like this:

2323-7609.jpg

Then what you want to do, seeing as how this is HUGE, resize it back down to the size you want, and the quality of the pic is increased as you are not stretching the pixels to capacity, like this:

2323-7610.jpg

Looks like I got really close in to the watch doesn’t it, well you all know better now don’t you, I was 50 cm away to be precise so you can make it look like you have macro shots when you don’t and the quality is actually better as the pixel resolution goes from a stretched ratio in the thousands of pixel range, to a nice compact high definition res in the range of mid hundreds.

This is also the method I use for taking pics of my CG's:

2323-7611.jpg

I hope that you have enjoyed this intro to photoshop, and it is my aim to enhance the quality of the pics we have so please feel free to experiment and post your newly enhanced pics here.

Massive thanks to Pugwash for his Photographic tutorials they have been amazing.

Look forward to Pugwash's Guide Part 2....Coming Soon......

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I forgot to add that with all the time we spend generating pictures for this fourm I am hoping this will be pinned somewhere. :D

I would love to see this and the first to photo tutorials by Pugwash pinned just so that we can try and get the quality of the pics enhanced and for some folks it has already been noticable. Thanks for the thought Kruzer.

Chris

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I would love to see this and the first to photo tutorials by Pugwash pinned just so that we can try and get the quality of the pics enhanced and for some folks it has already been noticable. Thanks for the thought Kruzer.

Chris

You want me to repost the photo tutorials here as well?

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You want me to repost the photo tutorials here as well?

Sounds like a plan, unless you dont want to? Makes for a progression? Then there will be all 3 threads for photography help.

Chris

@Stac

Thanks for the compliment however Pugwash's tutorial's are fantastic on photography and I can't wait to see the Photo design part 2, which will be on free software.

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Great topics Edge and Pugwash! :thumbsupsmileyanim:

I also find it helpful to check the levels and move the arrows in to the edges of the histogram.... hard to explain without the pics, how do you take screenshots?

Then theres healing tools to remove dust, selecting dial for seperate contrast, colour balance if your camera cant set white balance..... etc etc

Some of these programmes can be a daunting at first but just muck about on them after all its digital (free)so take lots of pics and have a go at manipulating them... you maybe surprised at the results.

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Thanks for the compliment however Pugwash's tutorial's are fantastic on photography and I can't wait to see the Photo design part 2, which will be on free software.

Thank you for the compliment, too. I've reposted the ubiquitous articles here (linked in my sig for those who can't find them) and am working on part 3 as well as part 2 of your post-processing one.

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Great topics Edge and Pugwash! :thumbsupsmileyanim:

I also find it helpful to check the levels and move the arrows in to the edges of the histogram.... hard to explain without the pics, how do you take screenshots?

Then theres healing tools to remove dust, selecting dial for seperate contrast, colour balance if your camera cant set white balance..... etc etc

Some of these programmes can be a daunting at first but just muck about on them after all its digital (free)so take lots of pics and have a go at manipulating them... you maybe surprised at the results.

Screenshots can be taken with screenshot utilitie 1.0, Get a trial copy and then PM me, if you want of course.

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Whilst Photoshop is a fantastic program, most people are not willing/able to lay out £500 or so for the software.

Can I recommend you take a look at Paint.net, a freeware mini Photoshop clone developed at Washington State University. Although I have Photoshop on my pc, I often use paint.net for little jobs since it's not the memory grabbing beast that Photoshop is. Home page is here... Paint.net

Taken from the site...

"Paint.NET is image and photo manipulation software designed to be used on computers that run Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or Server 2003. It supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.

It started development at Washington State University as an undergraduate senior design project mentored by Microsoft, and is currently being maintained by some of the alumni that originally worked on it. Originally intended as a free replacement for the MS Paint software that comes with Windows, it has grown into a powerful yet simple tool for photo and image editing."

Alternatively, try The Gimp which has Linux/Mac versions as well as Windows. Personally, I've never got to grips with it but it is supposed to be as powerful as Photoshop.

Last tip, especially for those who are somewhat daunted by Edge's guide is the Digital Camera Enhancer from Mediaware. A single click can dramatically improve your photos without having to understand colour balance, gaussian blur, alpha chanels and all the other high end tools in Photoshop. I use it for my Ebay pix which need to be good rather than great. Find it here Mediaware

Dozens of other freeware graphics programs can be found here Snapfiles

So now you've saved all that money, treat yourself to a new watch to practice on :D

Have fun!

Paul/f4juk

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Whilst Photoshop is a fantastic program, most people are not willing/able to lay out £500 or so for the software.

... which is why I wrote the cheapskate's version here. As one of the few people I know with a legal Photoshop license, albeit for v7, I find that ... damn, here I go again.

I'll precis: Photoshop is good, but only necessary if you can't get the photo right in the lens. I prefer stuff like Aperture or Lightroom on the Mac for photos, or Picasa when I'm armed with a PC laptop and a camera.

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