Craig Royal: Blind Photographer Creates Visionary Art
This man is an inspiration to many. Even at the face of adversity, he continues to do what he loves!
Craig Royal, a fine art photographer, was born with vision loss due to a congenital form of optic atrophy. He has been practicing photography for the last four years and his subject matter is wide and far; nature, architecture, objects and their potential for abstraction and a philosophical perspective that explores the human condition. Royal believes, “Photography is more than a form of artistic expression but also a visual aide that allows me to revel in the exquisite detail that surrounds us.” - Source
With her recent launch, she has opened up a contest so you can have a chance at winning a copy.
Entering is easy:
So here are the details:
You need to send me ONE photograph, not two or three or ten, but ONE photograph depicting one of the 4 elements: Earth, Air, Fire or Water. This is an assignment just like you’d get from a client. It can ONLY be a fashion or beauty image. It can be an image you already took or you can go out and shoot it and send it to me. But it must convey one of the above mentioned elements and it should be a strong image!!
Entering is Easy:
1. All you have to do to enter is tweet 1 picture @FPblog and use the hashtag#FPDVDContest
You could follow me as well, but that part is optional
2. Like an assignment from any client, there is a deadline so you have 1 week from today on:December 7th 2011
3. At that time I will announce the winner of the contest, post their picture, and they will be sent the DVD directly from us here in NYC!
So you have ONE week to send me that ONE killer shot to win ONE phenomenal DVD!
From an outsiders point of view, it’s hard to understand how we get our prices, whether it be hourly rates that sound “so high”, or prices for artwork that are “too much” or our package rates. I saw this and wanted to share it with the community.
If you ask yourself why ARTISTS (Photographers, Designers, Musicians, Tattoo artists, Painters, Makeup artists, or anyone who falls under the artist category) charge “so much” for services:
We don’t get paid vacation
we don’t get paid sick days
we don’t get bonuses for outstanding performances nor for Christmas.
We don’t have insurance plans.
We sacrifice our family on special days so that we can bring fond memories and happiness to others.
Illness or personal affairs are not excuses for a bad performance.
Next time you ask, remember that ARTISTS are ARTISTS because of the love of their craft, but that love doesn’t pay debts.
Happy Artists Day!
And not to mention we mostly also work on weekends as well. We’re also expected to be available anytime and any day of the week.
The truth of the matter is, I don’t work a day in my life because to me it’s all so much fun. Remember, when you can read all that and still think it’s worth it, then you know you’re in the right place.
When you can wake up on Christmas day and check your e-mail because you’re excited to ‘work’ more than the gifts you’ll be getting that day, you know you’re meant to be doing what you’re doing.
I love my job and you should loves yours too. You deserve at least that much in life.
The Holburne Museum in Bath in the United Kingdom is giving its visitors a new winter experience – and it makes a very cool change from the usual decorative lights we see at this time of year!
Field of Light, the artwork of acclaimed lighting artist Bruce Munro, was yesterday switched on in the grounds of the Museum.
Field of Light at the Holburne consists of over 5,000 bulbs of light planted in the grounds of the Museum and flowing into the Garden Cafe. Acrylic stems are topped by frosted spheres which are threaded with fibre optic cables and lit by a colour projector. The result is quite magical, as both colour and light flow through the bulbs to create a uniquely captivating experience.
I was recently approached and asked to do an analysis and breakdown of this before/after by photographer, Hennadiy Kvasov.
Instead of going step by step about the video in particular (as I can’t speak on behalf of Hennadiy’s way of what he did), I want to elaborate on the anatomy of a clean retouch so it allows you to take away something that can be usable in your own workflow. It will allow you to get to where he ended up at as well. Remember, there are no shortcuts to beautiful results. Don’t be lazy!
There are many ways to get to the same point as Photoshop presents many tools to do the same thing, so here is one way. This was also the workflow I used to use before I found a better and faster method that I teach in my classes.
Also, keep in mind that this is not a “how to retouch” but a mere demonstration of a workflow to attain the results needed. This will require you to have some base knowledge. Remember, google is your friend!
The time-lapse video at the bottom with my demonstration should aid you in visually showing you most of the steps shown here.
A few things this workflow will help you achieve:
Keeping skin quality in tact
Keeping a very light PSD file (size wise)
Beautiful and natural transitions without blurring
Bringing out the best clarity and contrast of the image
Results similar to the before/after
Follow this image as I elaborate below
1. Healing and Cloning (Blue Folder)
One of the first things we do in this folder is all your healing and cloning work. Essentially any flaw you want to remove, must be done here. I suggest you set a blank layer set to “current and below” or “all layers” and start your process. Remember to keep your brush as small as possible and continue to re-sample very often. I do it for each stroke. The reason is that skin has a distinct pattern that changes in every area of the skin. It’s like a thumbprint!
If you do not sample often, it will be very obvious. Again, keep your brush small and only the size of the blemish you need to remove. Keep your heal, clone, and brush size keyboard shortcuts memorized here, you will be using them often. Or if you use a pen tablet, make use of the buttons so you can customize them. It will speed up the process. Clean healing and cloning sets up for how clean your overall retouch will look. You can’t have a solid house with a plastic base! Cement only, please.
2. Dodge and Burn (Green Folder)
In this folder you will see essentially 5 layers. Your dodge and burn (first 2 layers) should be curve adjustment layers that are masked in black. Disregard the color correction layer for now.
The next two above that is a hue/saturation adjustment layer and another curve adjustment layer titled ‘contrast mask’.
After you set your first two (dodge and burn) adjustment layers, you want to add a hue/saturation adjustment layer, desaturate your image and leave it visible.
The next thing you want to do is add the ‘contrast mask’ curve layer and do an ‘S-curve’ with it so you see a high contrast range. Or instead, you can also add a brightness/contrast curve adjustment layer too if you prefer.
The reason why we add these two adjustment layers is so it brings out all the flaws that you will be dodging and burning.
Now the image should look like a high contrast and black and white version of your own image. With everything visible, start dodging and burning.
The overall key to dodging and burning is when you start painting white on your black masks, you want to ensure you are not too zoomed in to start. If you look at the big picture, you get an idea of what you need to even out, it will become apparent to you. Any interrupted transitions where there are blotchy areas need to be fixed. Essentially you want to get as close as possible to it being a perfect gradient from dark to light areas. You want to be sure your brush settings are very gentle so each stroke doesn’t dodge or burn too much at once.
Remember, be gentle, start wide and go in closer later. If you start too close, you are going to be overwhelemed and everything will look like it needs to be fixed! Start at approximately web view size (30%) and try dodging and burning there, then 50% and so on.
Once you’re done, de-activate your contrast and desaturation masks on top of the dodge and burn layers. You will notice things look much better and there is now some discoloration. Here is where the ‘color correction’ blank layer comes into play. Set that to the ‘color’ blend mode and you will begin painting over every discolored spot by selecting a good sample color next to it. This should start taking care of any discoloration issues in general. Again, remember to select a good skin tone color next to the discolored area, then start painting over it. Because it is set to color, it will blend in with the surroundings. Be sure your brush has a low opacity to it so it comes in slowly.
3. Carve and Contour (Yellow Folder)
The first blank layer in this set, you want to keep it set to soft light or overlay.
Now with white and black, start painting on areas you want to really pop. White will brighten and black will darken in soft light. If you put it to overlay, it will do the same as soft light but also add a bit of saturation and contrast (from visually looking at it).
I usually have two blank layers, one for the eyes and makeup set to overlay, and one for the skin set to soft light. It makes eyes pop and black eyeliner stand out more but that is personal choice.
The end goal is to big strokes in the direction of light and shadow to bring out the natural contrast of the image. It’s like a manual contrast effect if you want to call it that.
Next, above that we have a levels adjustment layer. Once you open your levels adjustment layer, depending on the image, you want to bring in the end points closer together if most of the data starts a little inside. This is very useful for images with very little contrast. You can then either set it to luminosity or leave it as is. You also have the option of masking our certain areas that may have gotten clipped in the process.
Do not abuse levels, it’s really easy to get carried away with it.
4. Color Correction (Orange Folder)
I found a way to color correct using the gradient map. You can follow those directions here:
I have a more advanced version I go over in my classes but this will suffice and should really only be needed for minor transitional corrections needed.
5. Liquify and Sharpen (Red Folder)
The first layer in this set is representative of a merge visible placed on top of all your work so far.
To do that, it is Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E (PC) or Command-Option-Shift-E (Mac).
What this will do is create a stamp of what you’re looking at, merge it into one layer, and place it on top of your layer stack while leaving everything else unflattened.
With this, you want to liquify whatever you want here. I do this at the end because my clients may not like the liquify work or may want to go in another direction. If I had done it in the beginning, it would be near impossible to undo everything. This keeps it non-destructive for me.
Finally, I do another merge visible stamp for the next two layers and apply a high pass to them, set to soft light. The settings vary based on how far you want to take it. As long as there is no color showing through in the high pass preview, you are good to go. The second high pass is in case you want to add any additional clarity to certain areas for emphasis (eyes, lips, makeup, etc).
I have an old video of my workflow in action. It’s similar to what is described above except for a few steps that are different and/or not included. Feel free to watch it if it helps any.
This is just an amazing story. Mark Thompson found a camera at the bottom of the ocean and here is the story that progressed:
For Sale: Canon EOS 1000D Description: only used underwater once, in the Pacific Ocean, for approximately one year.
Actual story: found off the end of a wharf in Deep Bay, BC while I was diving on a job for the harbour. I removed the SD card, cleaned it up, stuck it in a card reader and after being underwater in a corroding camera since August 2010 - it works! Approximately 50 pictures on the card from a family vacation. If you know a fire fighter from British Columbia whose team won the Pacific Regional Firefit competition, has a lovely wife and (now) 2 year old daughter - let me know. I would love to get them their vacation photos :)
There are other clues on within the pictures - I think we should be able to track them down (not sure he’ll want the camera back tho).
After this was posted, there was an overwhelming amount of feedback which allowed him to locate the owner.
What’s amazing is that the original data still works! So at least you know, if your camera ever decides to go for a swim, or you decide to drown it in anger, your data will still have a good chance of working.
After graduating from the Tasmanian School of Art in 2002, Sean Edward Whelan left Australia to discover the mysteries of Japan, settling in Joetsu, Niigata where he began working as an English teacher and now works as an illustrator and artist. His lovely pencil drawings depicting a rich texture of traditional Japanese buildings, bridges and lanterns, create singular super structures in the shape of people. I can’t tell you how much I love these. Whelan had his first solo show earlier this year at No Vacancy Galleryin Melbourne, and you can see much more of his work here and here.
If you like these illustrations, you might also like the works of Vasco Mourao and Sagaki Keita. All images courtesy the artist.
Have you ever wanted to feel like one of those hackers in the movies, like the Matrix of Swordfish? Now you can. Click the link and start typing. Make sure you’re friends are around, so you can state how awesome you are when they see you thumb through lines of text with ease.
Whether you like the famous cartoon or not, this replica of the Simpson’s fictional home is delightful. It really is in the details. The house was made for a contest sponsored by Pepsi and Fox in 1997. Sadly, it had to be repainted shortly thereafter to comply with the homeowner’s association of Springfield South Valley Ranch subdivision, in Henderson, Nevada.