Thursday, April 18, 2013

Screen Saver Programs

One way I have discovered of determining whether a photo I have taken is any good, is how long I am willing to endure looking at it. And a good way of doing that is through a screen saver program on a computer. Most computers allow you to pick a folder containing pictures and display them like a slide program when the computer is not being used.

There are some photos that I initially like. By incorporating them into a slide program, however, I find that I quickly tire of looking at them or worse, actually cringe when they appear. Others cause me to have the opposite reaction.

There use to be a wide assortment of "plug-ins" for photo editing software. I think maybe competition over the years has shaken a lot of them out of the market. I don't seem to see nearly as many as there once were. Plug-ins will do a specific function that the photo editing program may not be able to do itself or that it can do easier than "doing it by hand."

Early on, I used a plug-in on a photo of Black-eyed Susans. I think the plug-in was called Van Gogh, but I could be mistaken. I liked the effect. Ten or twelve years later, I still like the image. I'm not sure whether that means the photo was good or that I am one messed up photographer. The jury is still out.

Here is an example of creating an effect "by hand." I took a photo - again this was years ago - of a crepe myrtle weighed down by wet snow. In looking at it later on, I realized it was a good candidate for creating a kaleidoscopic effect. By taking the original image - which would be any one of the four quarters of the picture, and turning it and, in some cases, flipping it (digitally) - I created this somewhat bizarre image. Now this one, I couldn't stand to look at more than once in a blue snow.

Corel Painter (a wonderful software program for the more artistic amongst us) has a kaleidoscope plug-in. It is the only program I know that has one. You tell it how large an area in pixels you want to make it and then place it over a photograph and move it around until you see something you really like and then hit enter to close the deal. It is such a fascinating plug-in. It is downright addictive and I have to stay away from it because I could easily spend hours fooling with it. I'll have to make an example that I can show in a future post so you can see what I am talking about. It is just very, very cool.

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