Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tutorial: make a drawing from a picture

Trying something new, forces you to grow. So this post is about something that was completely new to me. Until today.
Taking it from the top, I'm showing you how to make a photo into looking like a drawing. And believe me, it's real easy! 

1. It all starts with opening a picture in Photoshop

2. Then you make a copy from the background layer using CMD J (CTRL J in Windows)

3. Now desaturate this layer (layer 1), using CMD + SHIFT + U  (CTRL + SHIFT +U in windows) / menu: Image > Adjustments > Desaturate)

4. Then copy the layer

5. And invert the layer with CMD i (CTRL i in windows)

6. Now change the blending method of the layer to Color Dodge

7. And add Gaussian blur (menu: Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur / It's up to you to choose a radius. To each his own, pick what you think works best for your drawing

Voila! There's your drawing! 

To add a little bit of spice to it, you can add a lined paper as background. I have to say, I did erase some lines I didn't like in the drawing. I used a white brush to do so. 

Now, moving on to adding a lined paper to the drawing: 

1. Open a picture of a lined paper

2. Move the paper, using the move tool, to the drawing

3.  Make the lined paper bigger with the free transform tool (CMD T,CTRL T in windows)

4. Chang the blending mode to Multiply

Now if you want, this is the moment to paint your image. First make a copy of all layers CMD + Opt + SHIFT + E). Now you can paint with a brush with a low flow. Or you can lower the capacity of the layer to create a cool effect. 

I didn't fancy doing some painting in my drawing, so let me show you my end result. 
A drawing of a soccer girl. 

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Travel tip! Swedish pyramids...

A little bit of a different post today. We're taking you to one of those hidden Swedish gems: the pyramids of Jämtland. 

I have to admit, we were kinda surprised to learn that there are actually pyramids only an hour's drive away from where we live. No need to scramble onto a charter to Egypt, just get yourself to Jämtland to visit one of natures beautiful surprises. 

The pyramide in Grönvallen is one of the mountainworld's most interesting places from a geological point of view. You'll find traces of the ice age, including sources, erosion valleys, and kettle holes. The most spectacular signs from former times are usually considered to be the pyramids. Perfectly shaped by glacial erosion residues and isälvssediment, these structures resemble the form of the Egyptian pyramids. 

The pyramides are located in Grönvallen in the county Jämtland, in the north of Sweden.

One of the best known hiking starting points in the vicinity is Vålådalen. You'll find Vålådalen in Åre kommun, about 20 km away from the biggest ski resort in Sweden Åre and about an hour's drive away from Östersund, the winter capital of Sweden. 

Hiking from Vålådalen to the pyramides is a 12 km route (one way) and the trail is relatively easy and very well marked. I started the hike in Vålådalen from the parking lot, but you can also choose to start the hike in Vallbo. 

After about a kilometer you pass a wobbly walking bridge. Having passed the bridge, the trail meanders along the river bank for a while. Then the route goes slightly up through the forrest. Hiking this trail takes you through a whole lot of Jämtland forrest, including boulders and tree roots. Sometimes you pass the open wet fields. Easy to get through because planks have been laid out across the fields. 

9 km after having left the parking lot, I came to Grönvallen. Grönvallen is a well-preserved Sami camp located in the forest between the tree line and civilization. Huts and buildings remain, and shelters are available for those who wish refreshments in the shelter. The trail continues through the birch forests along the winding roads, and is an excellent alternative when the wind is fierce in the mountains.

Only 3 more kilometers to the pyramids. A further 2 kilometers through dense forrest and then suddenly the forrest opens up into a wide open space and you'll get your first view of the pyramides, surrounded by mountains. Only a small river (easy to cross) between you and the pyramids now! 

I spent about an hour walking around the pyramids and taking pictures. It would've been easy to spend even more time there, the views are amazing and it's just so peaceful there. 

You can take the same route back to Vålådalen. Or, as an alternative there's the trail via Issjön to Grönvallen and then back to Vålådalen.  

I've been told the best period to hike here is from June to September when the days are long. And if you'd like to spend some more time at the pyramids, it's also possible to pitch your tent near the pyramids or a little bit further along the trail and then hike back the next day. 

And you might just bump into Swedish royalty whilst out on the trail, as the king of Sweden has his hunting lodge close to the pyramids! 

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Basics: about metadata and keywords

I guess it'll come as no surprise that I love shooting and editing pictures. And in this day and age, it's really useful to know how to present your images on the net too. I want people to find our images relatively easy. 

Almost everyone searches the net using Google. So let's look at that first. If you search for Hamperium, you'll find quite a lot of our images:

In order for Google to be able to present you with your images, you've gotta add keywords to your images (tagging).

One way to do that is add them during the import in Lightroom. But before you do that it's most practical to a preset with your information and copyright.

Click on a photo in your libary and click on Metadata

Click on the small arrows next to 'preset' 

Choose 'edit presets'

Fill in the following fields

Now save the preset by click on the arrows next to preset Custom and choose 'Save current settings as New Preset..'
Give your preset a name and voila! You're done! 

Now you can add keywords during the import of your pictures in Ligthroom. Choose the pictures you want to import and - before you start - look at the right side of your screen. Here can you find the section 'Apply During Import': 

Here you can add your copyright by selecting the metadata preset (the one you created before) and you can add keywords to your file.

Fill in other fields like the destination of your files and start the import. When you look into the Libary and click on a photo, you can see that all the information is actually in the image. 

The copyright information: 

The keyword:

By clicking on Add the keyword, you can modify the keywords if needed.

It's also handy to know that you can look into all the info of your picture in your finder (Mac): 

Adding those keywords facilitates your search in Lightroom. The keyword list gives you an overview of all the keywords you used. By clicking on a keyword you'll see all the images tagged with that keywords. 

Or you can look for one specific keyword:  

One more thing: 
You also might want to check your image online to see if it's got all the data in it. 

First export your picture. Then go this website. Here you can upload a picture and check all the information that comes with it.
Drop the image and check the information:

Believe me, it's worth the effort to incorporate this in your editing routine. It saves you from having to 'stamp' every image you lay out with a clearly visible watermark. And it greatly facilitates the search for your cool pictures on the net.  

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tutorial: cropping in Lightroom CC

When post processing your pictures, there will be a time when you'll ask yourself: should I crop this picture? If the answer is 'yes', what is a good crop ratio?

In Lightroom you can start cropping using the Crop Overlay icon in the Develop Module.

Alternative is using the shortcut 'R'. It sure speeds up the editing when you know your keyboard shortcuts. You can find the shortcuts in the help menu of by hitting CMD / or CTRL / if you are using Windows.

When you're in the crop overlay mode you'll see these lines around your picture. You can drag the lines in the way you want to crop your picture.
I know I talked about it before, but I'll say it again: in 99 out of 100 images you'll want to have a straight horizontal line. Lightroom has an easy tool to establish just that: the straighten tool. 
Click on the icon and draw a straight line over the horizon. Your image is now perfectly straightened.

So now you know the technicalities on how to crop your picture. But what is a good ratio? Lightroom can also help you out here. Using the shortcut O gives you several crop ratios as options.

Each time you hit the O another ratio is displayed in your image.

For example rule of thirds:

Golden Spiral
By clicking SHIFT + O you can rotate the spiral 90 degrees


You can add or delete ratio's in the menu Tools > Crop Guide Overlay > Choose Aspect Ratios

This leaves you with a lot of possibilities to crop your image. And let me say this once again: there's no right or wrong here. Just try several things and see what works best for the image. 

If I'm really honest, I crop by just looking at the image and feeling what fits best. For landscape images for example, I like it to have a panoramic look and feel. And for sports it's real easy: crop as tight as possible. 

Last but certainly not least: don't forget to make a good composition when you are actually taking pictures. You can do your cropping with your camera, like when I shot the image of this triathlete, I worked with my 400mm and waited until the athlete filled the frame before I shot the image.   

So go out there and have fun shooting great images! 

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