Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Before & After: A Restoration Story

Let me get a little personal...
In 2006 my brother was diagnosed with cancer. His tumor was located in an area where it could not be removed surgically so radiation and chemo were his only treatment options. Because they had to replace surgery rather than enhance it, my brother's treatments were intense and debilitating; his battle was difficult. It also happens that he lives far enough away that I don't see him very often. Another brother was "appointed" the supportive sibling so as not to overwhelm Jim with visitors. We are seven children. While I understood that this was the best way for Jim and his family, it left me feeling helpless. I kept wishing I could just hug him. Instead I sent that message along through other channels and prayed.

The good news is that Jim's cancer is now in remission and his prognosis is excellent. In celebration of his victory, Jim hosted Thanksgiving dinner at his house this past November. While sitting in his living room, I noticed his baby picture on display. I remembered it from our childhood when Mom used to display it, but I was surprised by how badly faded and damaged it had become. Jim's not that old! But then I believe the photo was done by a bargain basement door to door salesman. I actually remember my Mom turning one away once! (Did I just date myself? LOL) Anyway to get back to the story, I am a photo retoucher and restorer, and this job not only looked interesting but it immediately appealed to me as a nice gift that I could surprise my brother with. My way of saying, I am glad he is alive. So I asked my sister-in-law if I took it home with me to scan and restore, would Jim notice the photo was missing. She thought it unlikely he would notice, so while Jim was busy elsewhere I wrapped up the photo and put it in my bag.

Now as I mentioned before I don't get to see Jim that often and I wanted to give him his new photo in person rather than mail it to him. Well it took a few months, but I recently presented Jim with his surprise. His response was more than I had anticipated. He was deeply touched and I felt wonderful to be able to touch him so. He had never noticed the photo missing but one of his daughter's exclaimed, "I'd wondered what had happened to that!"

When my Mom saw the new photo, she joked, "Jim can't have it anymore. I want it back." Oh, the beauty of digital, I easily made another copy so now they both have it.

Here is the before and after...

I share this story to remind us, scrapbooking is not just a fun hobby because photographs are so much more than just pictures.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Some Silliness

You know how we all love to send jokes in our emails? My brother sent this to me yesterday...

Well the prose made me giggle but to me there was an obvious missed opportunity on the illustration. So I loaded it into Photoshop and....voila...

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Cool Photoshop Discovery - "Make" Your Own Landscape Stamp

Recently I was viewing some of the wonderful artwork on my favorite blogs and egroups, when I came across a card that I wished I could CASE. The trouble was it called for a kind of stamp that I don't own yet (notice the operative word..."yet" lol).
So if you know me then you know not having what I need is like throwing me a challenge. It's an invitation to get creative.
In this case the problem was I didn't have any highly detailed landscape stamps. I began to think, "can I create an image that looks like a landscape stamp using photoshop?" I sat down at my computer and began to play. This is the photo I started with. It is a stock image I purchased at istockphoto.

Do you know how exciting it feels when you're just stumbling around, experimenting with ideas and you discover something you think is really cool AND IT'S EASY? Well that's what happened! After I succeeded in making it look like a stamped image, I stretched it and printed it onto 12x12 cardstock. This is what the cardstock looked like.

And here's the scrapbook page I made with it. It was perfect for these photos of my daughters on St. Pete's beach in Florida, taken way back in February of 2000!

Intrigued? Want to learn how to do this? There are only two simple steps! NOW do you want to know? Oh, and it works in Elements too!!

Open the image you wish to turn into your "stamp"
1.Go to Filters>stylize>find edges...
(This looks pretty cool but it's not a stamp yet)
2.This step is a little different in Elements and CS
ELEMENTS: Go to Filter>adjustments>threshold...
CS: Go to Image>adjustments>threshold...
a box with a little graphy thingy that has a slider under it will pop up. The graph usually looks like a hill. I find sliding the arrow until it is under the uphill slope usually works well. Where to put the slider varies depending on the image you are working with. Moving to the left makes it whiter; to the right makes it blacker. I've found the final image will be a bit darker than the preview, so you may need to experiment to get it just the way you want it. If you don't like it the first time just undo the threshold step and try again!

That's it! It's ready to print and play. You will see more of this technique on my blog! I LOVE it!!

If you try it I'd love to see what you do! Post a link here or email me and I'll post for you.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Adobe Releases Photoshop Express Beta

Hi all. If you read my blog because you think you might want to get into Photoshop, then you must check out Adobe's new website. It's a cross between a photo storing site like Photobucket or Picasa and Photoshop "lite". For FREE you can store up to 2GB of photos and link to them from your blog, Facebook or whatever. But the really cool part is there are a host of editing tools also available. You'll find the standards like cropping, rotating, sharpening, and red eye removal. But even more fun are the one button special effects. If you've ever done spot color with Photoshop (you know the look, everything is black and white except one color) you'll be amazed with the Pop Color feature. Just click on the color you want to "pop" and everything else goes black & white. How cool is that? And its FREE! No software to buy and never learn. I urge you to go play! Here's the link

Photoshop Express Beta