Thursday, October 27, 2011

Photo Editing - Scripts (My best discovery about PSP yet!)

So I know I haven't exactly kept up with my goal of learning one new technique each week but last weekend I learned LOTS while working on editing some pictures that I took for my brother’s family.  (Aren't my nephew and neice too cute?? Okay - I might be a little basis...)

First thing I learned was that Paint Shop Pro scripts are equivalent to Photoshop actions.  Why is this a big deal you might ask?  Well because you can edit a photo a million times faster!! (Okay maybe not a million but I was so thrilled by learning what a script was that I showed my husband, who really has not interest in photo editing but I had to show someone!)

A script is a recorded set of steps for editing photos. Instead of manually adding new layers, filling a layer with color, adjusting the opacity, etc. you just "play" a script and it automatically does it for you.  You may have to click an "ok" here or there but it cuts down on the time it took me to edit photos drastically.

To run a script you will need to go into your toolbars and select to view your Script Toolbar.  On your Script Toolbar you select the script that you would like to run and then you click the play button.  Easy!!

Your program comes with scripts but you can find more online.  I found one online called Chocolate that I downloaded and added to my PSP restricted file, that I used in the above example.  I haven't found lots of PSP scripts online yet but I am not sure if I am searching for them correctly or not.  So far I have been Googling "psp scripts free" and have found a couple that I like.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Ghosties" Halloween Treats

So Anna is going to her first Halloween Party tonight and I decided to make some treats to bring along.  I decided to make some "Ghosties" which are Nutter Butters dipped in white almond bark with two mini chocolate chips used for ghost eyes.  I previously made these when I lived in South Dakota with my good friend and her daughter.  Her daughter called them Ghosties and that name stuck. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bath Time Routine

So like most kids, Nugget LOVES bath time.  Eric and I have stopped saying the word bath if she isn't going to be getting one.  We have a routine that we have been doing awhile with her now.  If she is in the living room we will sign to her and say "Do you want to take a bath Anna?"  She then gets excited and starts crawling with gusto to the bath room.  I tried recording this routine but I am not sure what I did wrong with the sound so I will narrate the video for you. 

Anna starts off sitting - Eric asks "bath?" she starts crawling but get slightly distracted by me videotaping (she gets this ADD from her dad) but then soon remembers that dad said bath.  She starts crawling and then takes a break to see what I am up to until she hears dad turning on the water and then she presumes crawling, this time full steam ahead.  She rounds the corner into the bed room and then gets distracted by her toy ball (again a trait from her dad) but decides to continue on her quest to the tub. 

The original video shows Anna crawling up to the tub in the bathroom but for whatever reason the whole "bath time routine" was too large of a file to send via Eric's phone so I guess this is what I get.  Oh well.

I really enjoy seeing how excited Anna gets for her bath - I hope she maintains this excitement for years to come!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Customized Storage - My Mod Podge Project

So the whole reason why I decided to try and make my own Mod Podge was because I found this super cute idea on Pinterest where they Mod Podged paper on to plastic drawers.  I like this idea because it would hide the junk I have in my drawers and add a little color into my craft closet.  I had found some oversized paper during my recent adventure to Chicago which made this project easy to do since standard 12x12 paper is just a little bit too small for the size of drawers I was working with.  I haven't tried it yet but I am sure a really cute wrapping paper would also work prefect for this project.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Photography - White Balance

So I recently joined a photography group called Rebel Rousers.  I am very excited about the group and even more excited to learn more about photography.  I just start shooting in manual mode so I have so much to learn!  Actually I have so much to learn that I simply feel overwhelmed by everything I don't know. 

I got to pick a topic to present on for October's meeting and I decided to choose something that I didn't understand - white balance.  I found it very helpful to concentrate on a single topic.  I check out several websites and this is what I presented to the Rebel Rousers group. 

Why I choose white balance? Since our days are getting shorter and colder we will be doing a lot of indoor shooting over the next couple of months – I want to take better indoor pictures in all kinds of light.  I wanted to learn how to adjust my white balance so I can capture the colors in my pictures as accurately as possible.

What is white balance?  Ever notice when you take your pictures that they have a funny color to them like orange, blue, or yellow? Here are some from my collection:
Here is picture of Anna in her bed room. Normally I let in all the natural light that I can before I take a picture but I wanted to capture her first morning waking up with a bad hairdo.  Since it was nice and early in the morning – there was no natural light to be let in.  Notice how this picture has a funny tint to it.
Here is also one from my nephew’s birthday party – notice how everything seems to be orange.  His birthday party theme was orange but I wasn’t thrilled when this picture turned out orange.
You can fix these “tints” or “casts” in an editing program if you shoot in raw format but you can take some steps while taking your pictures so you will have one less thing to edit. But before I get to that – I am going to try and explain why pictures look like this.
In a nutshell – different sources of light have different “color” or temperature to them and our cameras cannot always determine what type of light temperature we are shooting in.  For example fluorescent lighting adds a bluish cast to your pictures where as tungsten lightening (regular light bulbs) adds a yellowish color to your pictures.  Each type of light gives off a different temperature thus the different color of tints.

The lower the Kelvin temperature the warmer the light.
The higher the Kelvin temperature the cooler the light
When shooting in a cool light (bluish) you need to tell the camera to warm things up
When shooting in a warm light (yellowish) need to tell the camera to cool things down

What "color" or temperatures are different light sources?

Light Source            Avg. Temp (in Kelvin)
Noon Daylight        5000K
Cloudy                    6000K
Shade                     7000K
Tungsten Lighting   2700K-33000  
Fluorescent              4000K 
How to adjust white balance? From what I have found there are two ways to adjust your white balance, use the preset white balance setting on your camera OR do a manual white balance adjustment

Preset White Balance Settings  

             Auto – 90% camera will get the correct white balance on this setting

Tungsten - is for shooting indoors, especially under warmer (yellowish) tungsten lighting (such as bulb lighting). It generally cools down the colors in photos.

Fluorescent – this compensates for the ‘cool’ or bluish light of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots.

Cloudythis setting generally warms things up a touch

Shade – the light in shade is generally cooler (bluer) than shooting in direct sunlight so this mode will warm things up a little

Manual White Balance Adjustment

            Press WB button on back of camera and select Custom White Balance

Take a white sheet of paper in the lighting that you will be shooting in, fill the frame of your camera with the paper and take a picture. HINT: Hold the paper angled so that it is reflecting the light you are shooting in.

Press your Menu button, go to the shooting page second menu and select Custom White Balance, the picture you just took should appear.  Select Set, then OK, and Select one last time.


Here are my examples of my adventures in white balance:

Incandescent Lighting

Here is what my custom white balance shot looked like for my Tide picture.

 I am really impressed with the final result using the custom white balance setting.

Fluorescent Lighting


Here is what my custom white balance shot looked like for my work picture. 

At first when I tried doing this white balance shoot my customer picture was turning out green.  I think it was because I had laid my paper against my pen holder and took the shot.  So I then took the white balance shot again holding the paper and then it worked out great.


Overcast Day

Here is what my custom white balance shot looked like for my cloudy picture. 
It was really windy when I took the picture and that is why I don’t think my custom shot was reading correctly.  So with the inability to hold my white sheet of paper with both hand and still take a picture, I just gave up.

Cloudy / Sunny Day PM
I think I prefer how the cloudy white balance setting - sun was constantly coming out and going behind the clouds this afternoon. 
 Sunny Day Early Afternoon
I think that any of these four setting for white balance give okay results for my "Chicago" picture.  I do however find myself prefering the warmth that shows on the shade setting.

Sunny Day Late Afternoon
In this example I would have to say that the auto white balance would be the least favorite of the four shots.  Daylight definately gives me the most true colors but again I love the warmth with the shade setting.

Shade Early Afternoon

Shade Late Afternoon

For both of my shade samples I am pretty happy with the auto white balance setting but I do feel like I get a better picture when the white balance is set to shade. 

Challenge Time:
My challenge to you is to take the time to try multiple white balance settings in all the different types of light you take pictures in. Take the same picture multiple times with only changing your white balance setting and then compare them and then decide which setting your prefer for different light sources.

Make your own Mod Podge?

While I was browsing Pinterest the other day I came across a tutorial on how to make your own Mod Podge - I certainly was intrigued since according to the tutorial all you need is school glue and water.  I was certainly was not pleased with my first results so here is my recipe and my lessons learned.

Mod Podge Recipe
1 bottle regular school glue (see lesson 1)
water (amount at your discretion - see lesson 3) 
Combine glue and water in a container and shake.

Lesson 1 for Homemade Mod Podge - Be careful on what type of school glue you buy.

My husband was kind enough to pick up our growing shopping list of items from Wal-Mart one night after work - which included school glue.  I noticed that the bottle of glue that he brought home for me was "washable".  I questioned whether washable glue would work for Mod Podge so I reference the tutorial that I had found and it appeared like they had used washable glue.  MAKE SURE USE A NON-WASHABLE SCHOOL GLUE (Want to know why??  See lesson 2)

Lesson 2 for Homemade Mod Podge - Do a test run.

For my project, I was Mod Podging (not sure if it is a real word but I will go with it) paper onto plastic drawers.  I had done about 8 total drawers before I was interrupted.  When I returned back to my project I noticed that nothing was sticking and the paper was pulling away from the plastic - this is when I came to the conclusion that washable glue does NOT work and that I should have taken the time to do only one drawer and wait for it to dry to see my results.  It sure would have been nice to only have to repodge (again not sure if really a word or not) one drawer instead of eight!  What a waste of my time - oh well - now I know better.

Lesson 3 for Homemade Mod Podge - If you don't think it seems right it isn't.

Lesson 3 has to do with the amount of water you add to your glue. The tutorial I had found said to do a 50/50 mixture.  I followed the direction even though while I was mixing together my Mod Podge solution and thinking it was way too runny and I still had a 1/2 bottle of water to add.  My end result - my 1st recipe was too runny - I should have trusted my instincts and just stopped at a 25% water to 75% glue ratio.  I did this ratio with my second batch that I made and I was super pleased with my results.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Photo Editing - Brightness and Contrast

Well I am still to trying to learn more about Paint Shop Pro.  There seems to be alot of tutorials out there for photo editing but alot of them are for Photoshop.  So again I am working with a Photoshop tutorial and ran until a slight snag.  The tutorial said to adjust the levels.  I do believe the equilivent in PSP would be to select Adjust - then Brightness and Contrast - and then Brightness and Contrast.  I made sure that I had the Preview on Image box selected so could see what my adjustments were doing.

So I know that this isn't a very exciting image to be working with but I did need to edit this picture since it is going to be used used as a cover sheet on a monthly report for work.  I will have a couple of things to adjust before I am completely done editing this picture (I will post later) but I did want to show what each step in the process does.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Wreath Tutorial

I decided I wanted to make a book wreath after being inspired by a tutorial I found on pinterest.  (If you don't know what pinterest is about read my post: Another Favorite Website - Pinterest.)  But after following the tutorial and not successfully attaching my book pages to my wreath using staples, my friend and I came up with a better method.

Supply List:
Old Book
Paint - optional
Paint Brush - optional
Straw Wearth - leave the plastic on
Stick Pins

1. If you desire - take craft paint and dilute with water and paint the book edges.  I painted mine black. Let the paint dry. 
2. Tear your pages out of your book. 
3. Cut several pages into approximately inch to 2 inch wide strips.  Take these strips and wrap around the wreath.  Use tape to secure the strips.  Helpful Hint:  Cut the margins of the pages off before cutting your stips.  This way your will have text only and no blank spots around your wreath.
4. Accordian fold your paper but do not crease your folds.  Take your accordain and place a pin half way in the center of the length of your page.  Then use the pin to secure the page to your wreath.  Repeat until your wreath is full.
5. Attached a ribbon for hanging.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Product Review: Adhesive

I guess there are several things I would say that I have an "addiction" to such as paper, adhesive, fabric, etc. I have a drawer filled with my extra/spare adhesives and I still find a need to still buy more - I just can't resist.  Last time I was visiting my local scrapbooking store I found this Glue Tape which is made by Norino.  I LOVE THIS STUFF.  It is a 4mm x 8m honeycomb dot glue tape that is permanent and it works fantastic when you have little tiny and skinny pieces of paper to glue, such as different shapes and words you cut with your Cricut.  On this scrapbook page I used it to adhere "week 30" and the thin piece of green paper with black polka dots.  I guess I need to go back and buy the refills so I can add them to my stash.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Padded Lens Cover

So during one of my recent Saturday coffee gatherings, I decided that I should possibly be a little bit more careful when transporting my camera and lens in my purse.  I pulled my camera out of my purse with no lens cover and no case when one of the coffee girls practically had a heart attack. 

So one night when I couldn't fall asleep I came up with an idea how I could still just use my purse as a way to carry my camera and lens but in a safer manner - a custom padded cover.

I just used scraps of stuff I had laying around:
    Cute fabric
    Natural cotton batting

It didn't take me very long to sew up my lens caring case - I just put down my lens and cut out my fabric with right sides together with a layer of batting on the bottom.  I left an opening to turn it right side out and then I just tipped in the ends and sewed across the opening.

Here is what my case looks like unwrapped.  You can't see the Velrco that I sewed to the opposite sides of the two "wings" but that is how how I keep the lens from falling out of the cover.