Saturday, April 27, 2013

Photo Editing - Color Workflow and Clipping Masks...

Finally had some time to work on more Photoshop stuff tonight for my workshop on JessicaSprague.com!  Yay!  Tonight the plan was to continue to playing with color and fit the photo to a clipping mask (in this particular case, giving it a softer, smudgy edge).  This mask was part of the class materials, and as it's the only one I have, I'm applying it on whatever I'm practicing on.  I'm going to need to look into how to get and/or create more masks, because a girl's gotta have choices, but for now, this will work :)  lol.  I'm continuing to work on cropping to the rule of thirds too, so I'm getting lots of chances to put things I've learned so far into practice.  Anyway, the color is sort of out of control, but in a good way, I think.  Here's my thinking:  I probably wouldn't want to edit photos for a photo album or scrapbook, unless there was a special reason to do so...partly because I sort of like how it's captured as it is, and partly because I rarely do formal scrapbooking anyway.  I think the kind of color I'm doing here would probably be way too much for a scrapbook...it would seem weird and out of place.  However, my intent with most of my photo edits is to be able to use them in wall d├ęcor pieces, in which case I think the highly saturated color kind of works.  Obviously, that's all to each his own...just my personal preference :)  Anyway, here's what I came up with:

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And that's all for tonight!  Have a good one!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Photo Edits - Rule of Thirds...

More Photoshop fun!  Woot!  I did some more practicing on the rule of thirds and adding frames and working on the black & white workflow tonight.  Here's something interesting I realized...there's something to that rule of thirds thing and your eye naturally seeking it out.  The "Rule of Thirds" is as follows: If you think of a picture being gridded out by splitting it in thirds both horizontally and vertically, you'll notice your eye naturally gravitates toward the places where those gridlines intersect...and therefore, that should be where your focal points are, to be most pleasing to the eye.  So what I realized when I was going through photos on my computer to crop down to fit that criteria, was that most of the favorite photos that I've taken ALREADY fit that criteria.  I have, to a point, naturally been doing that anyway.  Weird, huh?  I guess my eyes know the drill, whether I realize it or not.  lol :)  So anyway, here's the edits I worked on tonight:

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So that's all for tonight...more soon, I'm sure :)

Flooding and Photo Edits...

Well, this week has been crazy.  I think I'm glad I wasn't still living in Zion this week, cuz I'm pretty sure my apartment complex there was under water.  That said, I did a lot of driving this weekend, and saw a whoooole lot of water where it wasn't supposed to be.  It's kind of surreal knowing that there should be acres and acres of field where you're looking, and at the moment it's just water as far as the eye can see.  Anyway, I took a couple pics while I was driving and still had a little light.  I just got home a little while ago and figured I'd do a quick edit to see if I could make a real difference on a picture from my crappy camera phone.  All in all, I think it turned out pretty good.  I cropped it and changed the orientation and then fit it to "The Rule of Thirds" that I'm learning in my Photoshop workshop right now.  I'm going to do some more practicing (and probably posting) tomorrow, but I figured I'd get this one up here tonight.  Also, below that is another color correction I did to an old photo I had scanned from the negative.  I really can't believe how much of a difference it makes.  Anyway, here we go:

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And that's all for tonight!  More soon!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Photo Editing Workshop - Cropping and Before & Afters

Well, Lesson 3 in my photo editing workshop on JessicaSprague.com was about cropping directly to specific sizes and creating before & after side-by-sides.  The cropping was a little more challenging than I had anticipated, but I'm getting it down.  I think my most favorite thing might be the before & afters, cuz it's going to save me a ton of pages in my workshop binder...now I can just put one pic in for each change instead of two!  Woot!  Anyway, here's what I came up with:

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AFTER  (I was trying to see if I could make it look stormy with the color and adding the vignette, but it turned out kind of weird...HOWEVER, I successfully cropped out all the dashboard stuff, so I still consider it a win!)
















BEFORE & AFTER  (Awww...my ex-dog.   I may have three little canine monsters already, but I still miss lil' Bailey sometimes...what a cutie)
















BEFORE & AFTER  (The resolution wasn't really good enough on this pic to crop in as far as I did, but I was more trying to get the frame that I wanted than a super sharp pic)




All in all, I think pretty good success.  Gonna try to continue practicing what I've already learned so I can integrate it into new lessons...woot!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

March Recipe Update...

Okay, I'm running a little behind this month...things have been a bit crazy lately.  Consequently, I'm just finally getting to the update from the past month's cooking, and it'll be a remix month in April, so no new recipes this month (hopefully next month!).  Anyway, here's the deal for last month's recipes:

- Baked Chicken Chimichangas - were AWESOME.  Pretty easy to make, delicious to eat, and filling.  I had it with cream cheese corn, but I think you probably wouldn't need the side dish for it to feel like a meal.  Definitely a keeper!

- Philly Cheesesteak Rolls - were delicious.  However, they lost a quite a lot of their texture on the reheating.  I'll probably be making them again, but I might save them for a time when they'll be eaten right away instead of reheating.  Either way...yum :)

- Biscuit Cheeseburger Casserole - This was shockingly cheeseburger-y.  lol :)  Sounds silly, but sometimes you get  a hankering for a cheeseburger and just nothing else will do...I'm pretty sure this casserole would.  Reheated well, and the biscuits on top stayed fluffy.  Definitely a winner, and I'll be making it in the future. 

- Grands Taco Melts - These were very tasty, and I'll definitely be making them again.  They kept texture really well upon the reheating, and were very satisfying...lots of flavor packed into a nice little pocket.  I'll probably switch up the side dish next time I make them...something about the potato cups just didn't work with it.

- Italian Crescent Casserole - This one just didn't ring my bell.  It wasn't bad...it just wasn't great either.  There were some texture issues...I think crescents just don't hold up to reheating as well as biscuits, and it all ended up sort of soggy and bland.  I'll cross this one off the list for the future.

All in all, a very successful month.  Like I said, no new recipes/menu plan this month...just remixing old stuff.  More crafty stuff to come, and we'll start with new recipes again in May (hopefully...if my life slows down for five minutes between now and then!)  Good night all!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Photo Editing Workshop - Black & Whites...

Yay!  More Photoshop workshop time!  First off, can I just say that I love Jessica Sprague?  If even a handful of people told me I was awesome as much as Jessica Sprague has said I was awesome (albeit, she's saying it to everyone who takes this workshop, but still...lol), I couldn't possibly maintain the foul mood I've managed for the last couple of weeks.  Anyway, the second lesson in class was getting high contrast black and whites out of your color photos AND adding vignettes.  It's interesting...Photoshop seems so overwhelming (and yeah, it probably is...if you were trying to learn every piece of it at once), but it's shockingly manageable to get results that you want, once you know what you're looking for.  Here's what I came up with:

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Not too shabby  :)  I just want to open every picture I've ever saved on my computer and tinker with it!  I think I'll avoid that and just work on tweeking NEW pictures once I'm done with the workshop...and maybe a few old favorites.  Anyway, gonna probably work on another unit tonight, so maybe more tomorrow.  And I swear I'm going to get up the recipe update for March and the new menu plan for April up at some point in the not-so-distant future.  Have a good one all!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fantastic Photoshop...

I'm taking a Photoshop workshop on JessicaSprague.com!  Photo Editing 1: Good to Great...I'm so excited!  I finally bit the bullet and bought Photoshop Elements 11, because I keep seeing these fantastic pictures on all of these dang artsy websites, and they just keep saying they're using Photoshop to get these beautiful pictures perfect.  And I kept thinking, "It'd be so much cheaper to buy Photoshop than a new camera!"  lol.  Not really, because I like my lil' point-n-shoot, but you know what I mean...I want those gorgeous pictures!  So yeah...here we are.  I finished lesson one last night, and I finally had a chance to play around with my own pictures tonight.  Here's my results so far:

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Soooo much fun :)  Some of it is a little over the top, but in a good, wall-art kinda way, I think.  Either way, it's cool to figure out what all CAN be done :)  That's all for tonight...black and white lesson comes next!