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Film Emulation in RawTherapee

This is old news but I just realized that I hadn’t really addressed it before.

The previous work I had done on Film Emulation with G’MIC in GIMP (here and here) are also now available in RawTherapee directly! You’ll want to visit this page on the RawTherapee wiki to see how it works, and to download the film emulation collection to use.

This is handy for those that may work purely in RawTherapee or that don’t want to jump into GIMP just to do some color toning. It’s a pretty big collection of emulations, so hopefully you’ll be able to find something that you like. Here’s the list of what I think is in the package (there may be more there now):

Have fun with these, and don’t forget to show off your results if you get a chance! It’s always neat to see what folks do with these! :)


Luminosity Masking in darktable (Ian Hex)

Photographer Ian Hex was kind enough to be a guest writer over on PIXLS.US with a fantastic tutorial on creating and using Luminosity Masks in the raw processing software darktable.

You can find the new tutorial over on PIXLS.US:

PIXLS.US: Luminosity Masking in darktable

Read more...

Mairi Trois

Mairi Troisième

Readers who’ve been here for a little while might recognize my friend Mairi, who has modeled for me before. This time I had a brief opportunity for her to sit for me again for a few shots before she jet-setted her way over to Italy for a while.

I was specifically looking to produce the lede image you see above, Mairi Troisième. In particular, I was chasing some chiaroscuro portrait lighting that I had in mind for a while and I was quite happy with the final result!

Of course, I also had a large new light modifier, so bigger shots were fun to play with as well:

Mairi Color (in Black) ƒ/6.3 1/200s ISO200
Mairi B&W ƒ/8.0 1/200s ISO200

Those two shots were done using a big Photek Softlighter II [amazon] that I treated myself to late last year. (I believe the speedlight was firing @3/4 power for these shots).

It wasn’t all serious, there were some funny moments as well…

My Eyes Are Up Here ƒ/7.1 1/200s ISO200

Of course, I like to work up close to a subject personally. I think it gives a nicer sense of intimacy to an image.

More Mairi Experiments ƒ/11.0 1/200s ISO200
Mairi Trois ƒ/8.0 1/200s ISO200

Culminating at one of my favorites from the shoot, this nice chiaroscuro image up close:

Mairi (Closer) ƒ/10.0 1/200s ISO200

It’s always a pleasure to get a chance to shoot with Mairi. She’s a natural in front of the camera, and has these huge expressive eyes that are always a draw.

Later this week, an update on PIXLS.US!


Wikipedia #Edit2014 Video

About a two months ago I was approached by Victor Grigas, a video producer for the Wikimedia Foundation (the non-profit that supports Wikipedia), about using some of the techniques I had previously discussed to create 2.5D parallax video images from single photographs. The intention was to use these 2.5D videos as part of their first ever “Year in Review” video:

For reference, this was my previous result using F/OSS to create the 2.5D parallax effect with still images:

For the Wikipedia video, Victor asked if I could use some images from Wiki Loves Monuments (apparently the worlds largest photo competition according to the Guiness World Records). How could I say no? (Disclaimer: I donate every year during their funding drives).

So I agreed, and after a short wait for the finalists from the competition to be chosen, was sent these two awesome images to turn into 2.5D parallax videos:

Wat Phra That Khao Noi.jpg
Wat Phra That Khao Noi“ by K.Phothiwijit - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Faisal Mosque Photography by Ali Mujtaba 12.jpg
Faisal Mosque Photography by Ali Mujtaba 12“ by Alimujtaba79 (Ali Mujtaba) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

After a bit of slicing and dicing, I ended up with these short segments that ended up in the final video. As before, I did the main plane separations in GIMP manually. I divided the planes to best accommodate the anticipated camera movement through the scene (simple dolly pans). Once I had the planes separated, it was a simple process to bring them into Blender and offset the planes as the camera tracked across the scene:

This was a fun project to work on, and I want to thank the Wikimedia Foundation for giving me a chance to play with some gorgeous images and hopefully to help out in my own small way with the final outcome!

Also, Victor does a nice interview with the Wikimedia blog about producing the overall video. Great work everyone!


David Tschumperlé and OpenSource.graphics

Some of you may be familiar with G’MIC, the rather extensive image processing language created by David Tschumperlé that has a very popular plug-in for GIMP.

If you’re a fan, here’s a nice little treat for you. David has started a blog about image processing with open source software:

http://opensource.graphics

If you’d like a front seat to some of the more technically interesting things going on behind the scenes at G’MIC, this would be a good blog to follow I think. He’s already come out of the gate with a neat 3D colorcube investigation of some images (seen above, Mairi).


The 2015 Libre Calendar

So Jehan Pages contacted me a little while ago about participating in a project to produce a “Libre Calendar“. Once he described the idea, it was an easy choice to join up and help out!

Through his non-profit LILA in France, he has assembled 6 artists to produce works specifically for this calendar (Disclaimer: I’m one of the artists):

Aryeom Han
Henri Hebeisen
Gustavo Deveze
Brian Beck

The proceeds from the calendar will be split evenly between the artists, the LILA non-profit, and various F/OSS projects that the artists used (GIMP, Blender, Inkscape, etc…). The full list is on the site. (Second disclaimer: I’m deferring any of my proceeds to the projects).

This is a really nice way to donate a bit to the various projects and get a neat gift for it.

Head over to the site to see some sample images from the artists, and consider buying a calendar! Jehan is looking to meet a minimum order before moving forward (around 100 I believe).


Woodcut/Hedcut(ish) Effect

Rolf as a woodcut/hedcut

I was working on the About page over on PIXLS.US the other night. I was including some headshots of myself and one of Rolf Steinort when I got pulled off onto yet another tangent (this happens often to me).

This time I was thinking of those awesome hand-painted(!) portraits used by the Wall Street Journal by the artist Randy Glass.

Of course, the problem was that I had neither the time or skill to hand paint a portrait in this style.

What I did have was a rudimentary understanding of a general effect that I thought would look neat. So I started playing around. I finally got to something that I thought looked neat (see lede image), but I didn’t take very good notes while I was playing.

This meant that I had to go back and re-trace my steps and settings a couple of times before I could describe exactly what it was I did.

So after some trial and error, here is what I did to create the effect you see.

Desaturate

Starting with your base image, desaturate using a method you like. I’m going to use an old favorite of mine, Mairi:

The base image, desaturated.

Duplicate this layer, and on the duplicate run the G’MIC filter, “Graphic Novel” by Photocomix.

Filters → G’MIC

Artistic → Graphic Novel

Check the box to “Skip this step” for “Apply Local Normalization”, and adjust the “Pencil amplitude” to taste (I ended up at about 66). This gives me this result:

After running G’MIC/Graphic Novel

I then adjusted the opacity to taste on the G’MIC layer, reducing it to about 75%. Then create a new layer from visible (Right-click layer, “New from visible”).

Here is what I have so far:

On this new new layer (should be called “Visible” by default), run the GIMP filter:

Filters → Artistic → Engrave

If you don’t have the filter, you can find the .scm at the registry here.

The only settings I change are the “Line width”, which I set to about 1/100 of the image height, and make sure the “Line type” is set to “Black on bottom”. Oh, and I set the “Blur radius” to 1.

This leaves me with a top layer looking like this:

After running Engrave

(If you want to see something cool, step back a few feet from your monitor and look at this image - the Engrave plugin is neat).

Now on this layer, I will run the G’MIC deformation filter “random” to give some variety to the lines:

G’MIC → Deformations → Random

I used an amplitude of about 2.35 in my image. We are looking to just add some random waviness to the engrave lines. Adjust to taste.

I ended up with:

Results after applying G’MIC/Random deformation to the engrave layer.

At this point I will apply a layer mask to the layer. I will then copy the starting desaturated layer and paste it into the layer mask.

I added a layer mask to the engraved layer (Right-click the layer, “Add layer mask…” - initialize it to white). I then selected the lowest layer, copied it (Ctrl/Cmd + C), selected the layer mask and pasted (Ctrl/Cmd + V). Once pasted, anchor the selection to apply it to the mask.

This is what it looks like with the layer mask applied:

The engrave layer with the mask applied

At this point I will use a brush and paint over the background with black to mask more of the effect, particularly from the background and edges of her face and hair. Once I’m done, I’m left with this:

After cleaning up the edges of the mask with black

I’ll now set the layer blending mode to “Darken Only”, and create a new layer from visible again.

Add a layer mask to the new visible layer (should be the top layer), copy the layer mask from the layer below it (the engrave layer), and paste it into the top layer mask:

Now adjust the levels of the top layer (not the mask!), by selecting it, and opening the levels dialog:

Colors → Levels…

Adjust to taste. In my image I pulled the white point down to about 175.

At this point, my image looks like this:

After adjusting levels to brighten up the face a bit

At this point, create a new layer from visible again.

Now make sure that your background color is white.

On this new layer, I’ll run a strange filter that I’ve never used before:

Filters → Distorts → Erase Every Other Row…

In the dialog, I’ll set it to use “Columns”, and “Fill with BG”. Once it’s done running, set the layer mode to “Overlay”. This leaves me with this:

After running “Erase Every Other Row…”

At this point, all that’s left is to do any touchups you may want to do. I like to paint with white and a low opacity in a similar way to dodging an image. That is, I’ll paint white with a soft brush on areas of highlights to accentuate them.

Here is my final result after doing this:

I’d recommend playing with each of the steps to suit your images. On some images, it helps to modify the parameters of the “Graphic Novel” filter to get a good effect. After you’ve tried it a couple of times through you should get a good feel for how the different steps change the final outcome.

As always, have fun and share your results! :)

Summary

There seems to be many steps, but it’s not so bad once you’ve done it. In a nutshell:

  1. Desaturate the image, and create a duplicate of the layer.
  2. Run G’MIC/Graphic Novel filter, skip local normalization. Set layer opacity to about 40-60% (experiment).
  3. Create new layer from visible.
    1. Run Filters → Artistic → Engrave (not Filters → Distorts → Engrave!).
      • Set the Line Height ~ 1/100 of image height, black on bottom
    2. On the same engrave layer, run G’MIC → Deformation → Random
      • Set amplitude to taste
    3. Change layer mode to “Darken only”
    4. Add a layer mask, use the original desaturated layer for the mask
  4. Create new layer from visible
    1. Add a layer mask, using the original desaturated layer for mask again (or the mask from previous layer)
    2. Adjust levels of layer to brighten it up a bit
  5. Create (another) new layer from visible
    1. Set background color to white
    2. Run Filters → Distorts → Erase Every Other Row…
      • Set to columns, and fill with BG color
    3. Set layer blend mode to “Overlay”

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

I’ve been working on something, and I figured that I should share it with anyone who actually reads the stuff I publish here.

I originally started writing here as a small attempt at bringing tutorials for doing high-quality photography using F/OSS to everyone. So far, it’s been amazing and I’ve really loved meeting and getting to know many like-minded folks.

I’m not leaving. Having just re-read that previous paragraph makes it sound like I am. I’m not.

I am, however, working on something new that I’d like to share with you, though. I’ve called it:

PIXLS.US

I’ve been writing to hopefully help fill in some gaps on high-quality photographic processes using all of the amazing F/OSS tools that so many great groups have built, and now I think it’s time to move that effort into its own home.

F/OSS photography deserves its own site focused on demonstrating just how amazing these projects are and how fantastic the results can be when using them.

I’m hoping pixls.us can be that home. Pixel-editing for all of us!

I’m been building the site in my spare time over the past couple of weeks (I’m building it from scratch, so it’s going a little slower than just slapping up a wordpess/blogger/CMS site). I want the new site to focus on the content above all else, and to make it as accessible and attractive as possible for users. I also want to keep the quality of the content as high as possible.

If anyone would like to contribute anything to help out: expertise, artwork, images, tutorials and more, please feel free to contact me and let me know. I’m in the process of porting my old GIMP tutorials over to the new site (and probably updating/re-writing a bunch of it as well), so we can have at least some content to start out with.

If you want to follow along my progress at the moment while I build out the site, I’m blogging about it on the site itself at http://pixls.us/blog. As mentioned in the comments, I actually do have an RSS feed for the blog posts, I just hadn’t linked to it yet (working on it quickly). The location (should your feedreader not pick it up automatically now) is: http://pixls.us/blog/feed.xml.

If you happen to subscribe in a feedreader, please let me know if anything looks off or broken so I can fix it! :)

Things are in a constant state of flux at the moment (did I mention that I’m still building out the back end?), so please bear with me. Please don’t hesitate for a moment to let me know if something looks strange, or with any suggestions as well!

When it’s ready to go, I’m going to ask for everyones help to get the word out, link to it, talk about it, etc. The sooner I can get it ready to go, the sooner we can help folks find out just how great these projects are and what they can do with them!

Excelsior!


Clarity in GIMP (Local Contrast + Mid Tones)

I was thinking about other ways I fiddle with Luminosity Masks recently, and I thought it might be fun to talk about some other ways to use them when looking at your images.

My previous ramblings about Luminosity Masks:

If you remember from my previous look at Luminosity Masks, the idea is to create masks that correspond to different luminous levels in your image (roughly the lightness of tones). Once you have these masks, you can make adjustments to your image and isolate their effect to particular tonal regions easily.

Read more...

Free From XP (LinuxPro Magazine) GIMP Article

So, the last time I talked about LinuxPro Magazine was about having a simple give-away of the promotional copies I had received of their GIMP Handbook issue. At that time, I joked with the editor that surely it couldn’t be complete without anything written by me. :)

Then he called me out on my joke and asked me if I wanted to write an article for them.

So, I’ve got an article in LinuxPro Magazine Special Edition #18: Free From XP!

The article is aimed at new users switching over from XP to Linux, so the stuff I cover is relatively basic, like:

Still, if you know someone who could use a hand switching, it certainly can’t hurt to pick a copy up! (You can get print and digital copies from their website: LinuxPro Magazine).

Here’s a quick preview of the first page of the article:

My hair doesn’t look anywhere near as fabulous as this image would have you believe…

Also, if anyone sees a copy on a newsstand, it would be awesome if you could send me a quick snap of it.


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