This being October, the month of one of my favorite holidays, I thought I’d share a little Photoshop magic with you. Most everyone pretty much knows what Photoshop is; a mainstream program used by graphic designers to create and manipulate images. I use Photoshop extensively for retouching pictures and creating my own graphics. I also use Photoshop to create a variety of graphics and do photo restorations, but that’s an article for another day.
In this article, I would like to showcase my infamous vampire pictures that seem to get mixed reviews from people who see it. Some people think it’s cool photoshopping, and I thank them, and others think it’s down right creepy, and I thank them too. So how is it done? Well, you first start off with a photograph. For my vampire, I used a simple picture that my daughter Laurel took of me at the Kubota Gardens in Seattle a couple of summers ago. It’s hard to get a regular, straight picture of me, as was the case in this picture.
(Click on the images to see a larger image)
When I saw the picture Laurel took of me, I thought “hmm, I wonder how I’d look with fangs?” So, I went to my Photoshop, and created fangs. I use layers when I work in Photoshop so I can have complete control of what ever element I am working with. After I made my fangs, I created a couple other layers. One to remove all but the black and white tones from my skin, one for my eyes, and one for my mouth. When I was done, this is what I had.
Cool, but why stop there? A few more layers, and I have snake eyes, bloody gums, a new background, and some shading to intensify my inner evil self. I’m just kidding about the inner evil self part, or am I?
Alternative Graphic Editors
As you can see, Photoshop gives the ability to create just about anything the imagination can conceive. The only drawback to Photoshop is that it is an expensive piece of software, and it is a complex program to learn to use. If you are interested in trying your hand at creating graphics or retouching photographs, there are free alternatives, that will give you enough capabilities to explore your creative side.
Gimp – This open source Photoshop alternative can do most of what Photoshop can do, such as working with layers and masks, and creating special effects. Like Photoshop, Gimp requires some time and dedication to learn, but it is free, and there are great forums on the web with tons of how-to tutorials to help you get going.
Paint.net – This is one of the best free programs for beginners. Paint.net offers a huge selection of special effects and it is fairly easy to use.
Of course, if you’d rather not spend your time and resources learning how to create your own photographic retouches, you can always drop me a line. My rates are reasonable and my work is guaranteed to satisfy.
No time or tolerance for other people’s drama? Well, this sign is for you! This print-ready sign will let friends and co-workers know to take their drama somewhere else, or maybe just to leave it at home. This No Drama sign is printable in standard 8.5 by 11 paper.
On a Serious Note:
The workplace is no place for drama, personal or otherwise. Drama creates a hostile work environment and hampers productivity. If drama is fluent in your work environment, check out these resources below. They may provide you and your workmates with a solution to reduce drama in the workplace.
Leadershipnow.com – “Gossip. Power struggles. Poor team coordination. These are all symptoms of workplace drama. They’re the obstacles that can drain your company of its best talent, get in the way of true productivity and profit, and eat away at the effectiveness of your organization—that is, unless a leader steps up and takes responsibility for changing course. Communications consultant and national speaker Marlene Chism has created an eight-step methodology that breaks through negative thinking that can contribute to drama in organizations of every kind and size. She has identified the gaps that drama creates—a gap between where your company is and where it aims to be and the psychological gap that occurs when people are faced with change and the fear that goes with it.”
Stop Workplace Drama – This book is available at Amazon. Stop Workplace Drama offers down-to-earth, practical methods to help business owners, entrepreneurs, and private practice professionals maximize success, increase productivity, and improve teamwork and personal performance. Identify “drama” barriers and help your employees break free to experience higher personal effectiveness and increased productivity
Each of the eight points is full of universal and practical principles any business leader, sales director or entrepreneur can put to use immediately. Author Marlene Chism has shared her signature process with organizations such as McDonalds and NASA. When you’re in the thick of business competition, you and your team need to function freely without internal conflicts, confusions, or rivalries. Stop Workplace Drama ensures that your employees will be able to give their best to create a healthy, profitable workplace.
7 Ways to Stop Workplace Drama – “Negativity is the number one productivity problem in the workplace. Signs of negativity include backstabbing, gossiping, power struggles and lack of teamwork. The end result is absenteeism, low morale and turnover. Here are seven tips for improving workplace relationships and reducing negativity.”
Years ago, before my Uncle Rick passed away, he gave me a picture of our family coat of arms, the original image on the left. I rebuilt the image element by element in Photoshop until I completely redesigned the crest. I think I am going to take my design and have it made in a 3 dimensional metal wall plaque.
(Click on either image for a larger view)
I created my Coat of Arms using Adobe Photoshop, with a separate layer for each element. In my design, I made the arm and sword larger, as this represents strength and a willingness to fight for justice. I changed the helmet simply because I didn’t like the original helmet. I also changed the leaves so they frame the shield. My design also displays the O’Brien family Tartan.
Download the O’Brien Family Coat of Arms files
Since I obviously do not own the copyright to the O’Brien Family coat of Arms, I am making my design available to the world. My only stipulations are:
1) My design is not to be used in any way that would defame or discredit the O’Brien name.
2) My design is not to be used in any way that would promote hate or discrimination against any person or persons based on race, political affiliation, religious affiliation, sex, or sexual orientation. Nor is my design to be used to promote or in affiliation with any activity deemed illegal in the United States of America.
3) Although not required, a link back to my website would be appreciated.
History of the O’Brien Surname
O’Brien is a surname of Irish origins meaning descendant of Brien (the Brien in this case being Brian Boru). O’Brien is in Irish Ó Briain, from the personal name Brian.
The meaning of this is problematic. It may come from bran, meaning “raven”, or, more likely, from Brion, a borrowing from the Celtic ancestor of the Welsh which contains the element bre-, meaning “hill” or “high place”. By association, the name would then mean “lofty’ or “eminent”. Whatever the initial meaning of the word, the historic origin of the surname containing it is clear. It simply denotes a descendant of Brian Boramha Boru, “Brian of the Tributes”, High King of Ireland in 1002, and victor at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.
Brian was member of the relatively obscure Ui Toirdealbhaigh, part of the Dal gCais tribal grouping based in the Clare/Limerick area. The O’Brien name will be forever linked with the town of Killaloe because it was there that Brian Boru had his palace of Kincora, “Ceann Cora’dh”. He was the grandson of Lorcan and the son of MacCinneide (Kennedy and his wife Bebinn). Their home was near the mountain called Slieve Beragh, where the guardian spirit of his tribe, the banshee Arval was said to watch over them from her lofty brooding crag.. Lough Derg was nearby as was the River Shannon. He was educated at Clonmacois. In 959, his father was crowned king on the Rock of Cashel.
The traditional inauguration site of the, O’Briens is outside the village of Quin at a place called Magh Adhair. All that remains is a large mound of earth but to the discerning eye of the historian or genealogist traces of former glory can still be seen.
Having secured control of the Dal gCais in 976, Brian defeated and killed the Eoghanacht king of Munster two years later, and proceeded to wage deadly war against the kingdoms of Connacht, Meath, Leinster and Breifne. Eventually he secured submission (and tributes) from all but the northern Ui Neill, the Leinsterman and the Vikings. His victory at Clontarf united all of Ireland, nominally at least, under a single leader, though Brian himself was slain. The first individual clearly to use O’Brien as a genuinely hereditary surname was Donogh Cairbre O’Brien, son of the king of Munster, Donal Mor. His descendants split into a number of branches, including the O’Briens of Aherlow, the O’Briens of Waterford, the O’Briens of Arra in north Tipperary, and the O’Briens of Limerick, where the surname is perpetuated in the name of the barony of Pubblebrien.
Sometime between 1206 and 1216 Donnchadha Cairbreach O’Brien established his capital in Ennis – now the principal town in Clare. In 1247 this same O’Brien gave shelter to some wandering friars and they proceeded over the years to build the magnificent Ennis Abbey (now a ruin).
The Inchiquin Tomb here houses the bodies of King Turlough O’Brien who died in 1306, Murrough who died in 1551 and the later Barons of Inchiquin. In 1460 Bishop Donnchadha O’Brien of Killaloe (now the cathedral town of Clare) was killed here by Brian O’Brien.
The O’Briens were of the clan of Dal gCais as were many other powerful Claremen. Originally to be a Dalcassian meant that you came from the area around the border of Clare and Tipperary but nowadays it is used to cover all of County Clare.
The O’Brien name is also famous for its association with Maire Rua McMahon who first married a Neylon of Dysert O’Dea and on his death married Conor O’Brien who was killed by Parliamentary forces in 1651. This Maire Rua O’Brien is the stuff of legends as she is remembered in the countryside for her outstanding courage and also for her temper. She is reputed to have hung her maidservants by the hair and her menservants by the neck from the corbels of her castle. She always rode a black stallion who objected to anyone else on his back. Legend says that Maria Rua used to get rid of unwanted suitors by letting them ride the horse at great speed to the 700 foot high Cliffs of Moher, here the horse would stop suddenly and you can guess the rest. Maria Rua’s ghost is supposed to be imprisoned in a hollow tree on the avenue of Carnelly House in Clarecastle. Visit there on a windy night if you dare!
From the “Annals of the Four Masters”
Everybody like to look their best, especially when it comes to pictures. And everyone knows that the camera isn’t shy about capturing every detail, including puffy eyes, blemishes, wrinkles and other signs of aging, and well, you get the idea. I’ve been learning photograph retouching techniques in conjunctions to learning how to restore old or damaged photographs, and I have been working at it for about a year.
The old saying about the camera doesn’t lie is very true. Shadows under our eyes are going to stand out like red flags. the same is true for blemishes, and discolorations. Equally true, a camera isn’t always spot on about getting the lighting and white balance right, along with a few other parameters. That’s where the human eye comes in.
In most cases, as with the above and below pictures, a little smoothing and reshaping is all that is needed to enhance natural beauty. This type of retouching doesn’t take very long, maybe 5 to 10 minutes per image, but the results are impressive. In the picture below, I took an extra step and dimmed down the white counter-top because I thought it was too bright and distracting.
Another Example: Besides the obvious exposure issue with this picture, this young lady looks like she just got off a very long flight and could do with a few more hours of sleep. I also shifted the position of her right-facing eyebrow a bit, brightened her teeth, and just slightly adjusted her jaw line to make her face look more balanced.
Retouching is also used to glamorize photographs, which involves more processes than I would do in a typical retouching process. Glamorizing removes all of life’s little defects and enhances focused elements of the photograph. In the image below, my focus was primarily on the model’s eyes. If you look closely, you also see that I reshaped the model’s face and facial features.
I will be adding more content to this post very soon. This will include changing backgrounds, and removing and adding objects or people to photographs.
This gallery contains 2 photos.
Anytime you can get family together is a perfect opportunity for a photograph, even when it’s a company holiday party. But does the picture have to look like it was taken at a company holiday party? No!
A little Photoshop magic, and your impromptu family picture can take on a whole new look. With the picture above, I I really like the family and the tree, but I didn’t like the chair full of personal items, and I didn’t like the man walking through the door in the background. There were a few other minor issues, such as light glare off the young man’s glasses.
I the end, we end up with a picture that prints perfectly on 5 by 7 photo paper, and looks good enough for Christmas cards!
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