Friday, January 17, 2014

GIMP Your Photos!

To me, photography has got several steps. Those steps, I learned in the beginning of the 1980s, when I was learning B&W-photography the classical way.
  • taking the shot by
    - measuring your lighting
    - deciding of aperture and shutter speed
    - framing the picture
  • developing the film, according to the "exposure compensation" (A.A.'s Zone System)
  • enlarging the print by
    - taking exposure test strips
    - thinking of effects and cutting out masks from paper
    - exposing the print and potentially using said paper masks
    - developing & fixing
    - drying the prints
Yes, that was a lot of work to get a photo at that time!

Today we have computers and software like Adobe Photoshop. And there is also GIMP is a pretty powerful replacement for Photoshop. The advantage of GIMP is, not only is it entirely free, it is also available for all popular platforms. I have to admit, it is not the easiest program to use and the user manual is pretty massive.

Occasionally, I learn a trick, e.g. when people demonstrate the use of Photoshop, which can be transferred to GIMP.

Here is one, it is pretty simple and allows for some artistic improvement of photos, I hope that blogger does not "improve" the images too much (although it ugly-fied the plain image pretty good).

plain shot

after the little trick
Here is the workflow:
  1. duplicate the layer (drag&drop layer icon to the duplicate icon)
  2. set the layer mode to "multiply" (pull down menu on top)
  3. add a layer mask to the top layer (right-click on the top layer icon)
    => select "white"
  4. activate the layer mask (by clicking on the white icon)
  5. select the airbrush tool with a soft brush and adjust the size
  6. be sure the color selected is black (!)
  7. selectively paint your talent with the airbrush 

In the above example, blogger helped me to make the unmodified photo look even more terrible and flat as is originally.

I decided to add more depth to the statute by bringing the forehead and the close shoulder more to the attention of the viewer by lighten it. This is done by removing the influence of the top layer by masking parts out.

You will see, this little trick will help you to make dull photos a lot more interesting.

BTW, in the good old wet darkroom times, I would have done more or less the same! I would have screened portions of an image, which I wanted brighter, with a little mask, so that said portions would be less exposed (the test-strips are your friends!), creating the effect I was after.

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