Such a sweet day - who can resist celebrating Valentine's Day?
Photojojo has a great fun idea for celebrating and with a little tiny bit of preparation this could be really fun. It would work well for kids too - all ages seem to love hide and seek. You could just print them out on card stock or even paper and hide them .
Of course, this is a supremely chocolate holiday. And in celebration I have a few recipes. Let's start with dessert first!
Credits: papers, clips, tags and stamp from Plain Brown Wrapper by Christine Smith; recipe cards from Artsmack Cards by Tracey Ann Digital Art; ribbons from Ribbons Galore by Kim Hill; alpha brush by Michelle Coleman; glitter brush and heart from Eccentricities by Joanne Brisebois; font is Augie.
For anyone on your gift list with a digital camera, here are some gift ideas. Or maybe I should say everyone since you will find ideas for cellphones, compact cameras and even SLRs. And when you count cell phones, just about everyone has a camera.
In no particular order....
Jelly Lenses let you do some interesting special effects from your compact digital camera or cellphone.A lens with repositional adhesive that you put over your camera lens to give you some cool effects – starburst, diamond or heart.$5.99 each or $17.97 for all three from The Container Store
This is a great idea and much safer than a plastic bag – a waterproof pouch for your camera.I’m not sure I have the gumption to test it but they say is is waterproof to 16 feet.Even if you don’t planning on shooting underwater, this would be handy for beach trips, skiing (water or snow) or taking your camera anywhere near water like the beach, water park or even your local bath tub.It comes in a couple of different sizes for different cameras$33 to $35 depending on size. I found it at Amazon but you might also try your local camera store.
At your local camera or scrapbooking store or online. Panasonic is offering Digital Photo Academy which offers courses in many cities throughout the US. Any brand camera will do and there are three levels.
Wallet PixI haven’t seen this in person but the concept intrigues me…a credit card sized digital photo album. The flyer from Bed, Bath and Beyond showed one so maybe I will vetnure out to see it later this weekend. $29.99
Need some easy to use photo software?I may be a bit biased but this is what I use …FxFoto Creative Edition.Order the CD ($65.95) and you will get ten digital scrapbooking kits and templates.Or order the downloadversion for $59.96 (without digital kits).Either way, the software is intuitive and quite powerful.
In the category of maybe not very exciting but definitely appreciated…
a stack of DVDs or CDs
Backing up photos is always a good thing – encourage it by giving CDs or DVDs.And if you need DVD burning software, here’s an easy to use free software for burning DVDs. Final Burner Free
Going over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house?How about amemory stick/flash driveto bring all your photos along? They are everywhere, even in our local grocery store and have huge amounts of storage -you can get 4GB for about $40 now.
One hint – get one where the clip or key ring is on the drive part not on the cap.Take it from me, you don’t want pull out your key ring only to find the cap is there but the drive is missing.Not a pretty sight.
Lastly, the LCD screens on camera take a real beating especially if you carry yours around in a purse or pocket. A screen protectoris a great and inexpensive idea - Giottos 1.5" LCD Protector with Microfiber Cleaning Cloth is a great gift for cleaning and protecting that screen. Find if at a camera store or at well known NYC store B&H Photo for $7.50 or so.
Up and down I-93 at (approximately) 65 mph every day.The trees are gorgeous and my camera is at hand.A few shots from the car looked interesting when I downloaded them, so the next days I took a few more, playing with the manual settings.
Here’s my travelogue – picturelogue – of New Hampshire’s fall foliage at at 65 mph:
My camera is Panasonic DMC-FZ5
Manual setting withISO of 100 and I used two diferent settings - an exposure of 1/20 and aperture of f/7.1 or exposure 1/40 with aperture of f/4.5
If you don’t have a manual setting, try zooming in which will create the blur nicely or use the macro or close-up mode.At 65 mph it should create an cool blur.
But it did let me write some new tutorials and today mine was featured - Teacher's Presents : Custom Postcards. And by the way, custom postcards would make a lovely Mother's Day gift in case you are still wondering what to get Mom. Just change the quotes a bit - how about gardening quotes for a mom who likes to garden along with flowery kit? Or maybe cooking or motherhood quotes. The possibilities are endless. And the best part is you can print them up at home, tie them with a pretty bow and avoid all the crowds at the mall on Saturday.
Want some more ideas?
Credit- Truly Delightful by Carrie Stevens at Fishscraps
The first time I ever saw Creative TECHniques magazine was at CHA when the editor, Natalie Rhinesmith, dropped by our booth. We didn't even get a chance to glance at the copy ( just a tad busy at CHA!) until the plane ride home, and then Mary and I both devoured it. I read it cover to cover which is unusual for me.
This is a truly unique and amazing magazine. You have to see it to believe it.
A bit different from Digital Scrapbooking magazine and Scrapbook Dimensions, it features all sorts of article and projects that fall in the realm of digital scrapbooking. I'm finding it hard to describe but the projects are quite artistic and digital so maybe it it best described as digital art. Maybe a few pictures would help....these are from the Creative TECHniques website....
The jeans above is a free project which you can see on their website with complete directions and all. Now I can see my Teen and Tween definitely getting into making these! Maybe on a jacket too?
How about these coasters? These might make a very cool Father's Day gift....
And there are a few more which you can find under Free Stuff on their website.
Plus the issues I've read have nice technical articles - everything from creating art with your scanner to using a clone brush. I made some cute little zippered bags for my girls which required sewing and I must say the directions were very complete. So if you see it, you might want to pick up a copy - or put it on your wish list for Mother's Day....
On my trip to Staples yesterday I noticed some interesting papers including Magnet Sheets which are designed to be used with an inkjet printer. The package said you could print photos and make your own magnets. I had to try it out.
I used our new Recipes Project CD (more coming soon about it!) and two recipe card layouts I did recently. Very easy - stuck the magnet paper in the printer and viola! Recipe card magnets!
Here's the paper I used and the cards printed out. I was just experimenting here but you could certainly put more cards on a paper so you don't waste magnet paper.
And here they are all cut out and clinging to some stainless steel...
Is that cool or what? You can't really tell with my photos but the print quality is really great. Wouldn't this be a great thing for your favorite recipes? You could stick them on your refrigerator and you wouldn't have to get your cookbook out. Plus these are durable and easy to clean.
This, or variations on it, happens to be the one of the most frequently asked support questions... how do I put my kid's head on the dog's body? How do I get Aunt Emma into the family group picture when she wasn't there? How do I get rid of my ex- ______ (fill in the blank - wife, boyfriend, husband)? We often get asked this and it is actually quite easy to do. Though I will tell you to do it well takes some time and patience.
Today's question involved replacing Tobey Maguire on the Spiderman poster with a friend and it seemed to work particularly well so I decided to make a tutorial out of it. That and I wasn't feeling well so this made it seem like I was working hard when I was really just keeping myself busy so I wouldn't keep worrying about whether what I have is really the flu or not.
Here is the Spiderman poster -
First you need to have the two photos you want to work on in main pane of FxFoto side by side. To do this, first click on the Collage Button which is located under the navigation joy stick in the top tool box. It looks like two squares on top of two squares. Click on it and then click on the two photos. Now you can add more than one photo to the right main pane.
Now I am going to assume you are familiar with the clone brush. If you aren't then I have a Clone Brush Tutorial which will help you learn to use it.
Essentially what you are going to do is clone brush a part of one photo onto the other photo. With the example, we'll have some fine tuning to do with the Color Brush and Smudge Brush. You may need to use these on your photo too. I'll be using the Spiderman example, but you apply this to any photo.
Now your screen should look like this:
Note that I have made the girl's face about as large as the one I want to replace. That makes it easy to simply sweep the clone brush across and the features will be the right size. I used eye size and kept the ear the same level. To make a photo slide under another photo, right click on the photo you want to slide over and choose Show Image on Top.
Use the square brush shape because the lines are easier to match up. Think of the clone brush tool as paint. You will be painting over Tobey Maguire's face with the paint of the girl's face. If the paint and the brush are at the same place and level on both photos, then the girl will just replace Tobey and her eye will be where his was and her nose will replace his etc. So you want the green square (the paint) and the blue square (the brush) to be in the same place in each photo. Right click to set the paint on the girl and then move to the same area on Tobey, click and hold the brush down. Once you have the paint set do NOT move it until all the cloning is done! This will let you transfer the face without streaking it. I used a square brush of 17 and no feather and swept my brush across horizontally. Below you can see I have started to clone the girl onto Tobey - the bangs are on his forehead (cute huh?)-
Keep sweeping across until her face has replaced his face as you can see below:
A couple of notes - I didn't go all the way to the center of the Spiderman face - I'll take care of that later. And I cloned in the background behind the girl too but don't worry, I 'll take care of that later too. Just be sure to keep sweeping your brush horizontally and don't re-adjust the paint.
Now let's take care of the center line. When I cloned the face, I did not use a feathered edge. This is because I wanted to replace the face pixel by pixel and not lose any. An feathered edge would have also caused streaking - you would be able to see my brush strokes - which was not desirable either. Now, however, there is a line with a sharp edge running down the center of the spider girl's face. If you look at the original poster, you will notice that the center line is blurred and blended so the face and mask blend into each other. To do that on our spider girl photo, I changed to from a square to a circle brush and added feathering. I chose heavy feathering of 30 because the original poster has heavy feathering but you might have to adjust yours to suit your situation.
I dragged the Clone brush vertically along the center of the photo. I did not reset the clone brush paint so I am still cloning in the exactly the same place as I did earlier so everything matches perfectly. If you look at the photo below, you can see the edge is smooth above the blue circle where it has been feathered and rough below it where it has not been feathered.
We aren't quite done with that center line and we will work on it again below. But now it is blended in better so let's pretend we are done with it and move on. The next step is to remove the background behind the girl and replace it with the Spiderman background. We could clone brush it in but there is an easier way.
We are going to place another Spiderman poster below our cloned one. Then we are going to erase the background next to the girl so the poster below shows through. This is a neat trick to use when you want to replace one face with another. If you add feathering to the edge, then the areas blend quite well.
Add an untouched Spiderman poster to the main pane. Right click on it and choose Show Image on Bottom. Now slide it under the picture you have been working on, making sure it is lined up perfectly.
Now click on Correct and then Color Brush. Choose Circle Brush and slide the Transparency slider all the way to the right (255). Now where ever you brush on the photo, it will turn clear and show the photo below it. Here I'm brushing away the background to let the poster show through:
Note that on first pass I removed lots of the background but I didn't go near the edge of the head. Now I'll zoom in, add some feathering and work my way along where the head meets the poster underneath. Working with small strokes, the feathering allows the photo above to blend in with the photo underneath it. Here's what it looks like now. The top part of the ear is pretty good but I still have some work to do around the earlobe.
And here is what it looks like once I've cleaned all the background edge up. It turns out Tobey Maguire's face is longer than the girl's face so there is a shadow below her chin but I'll fix that later.
Now comes the fussing around part. In order to make this or whatever you are working on look real, you need to study the photo carefully. Here there are some details I need to fill in to make spider girl look more real -
the mask extends into a shadow that blends into Tobey's hair on the top. Tobey's hair is the same color as the shadow so this works really well.
the center shadow line isn't exactly in the center - the tip of Tobey's nose shows and it arcs across his forehead
at the bottom, his lips are in shadow but do show as does his chin
You need to take a careful look at your project - where is the light coming from? Where are the shadows falling? Is there shading on the clothing or on the ground? To correct some of these things you may want to learn to used partial transparency when cloning and to use the smudge brush.
To correct the neck/chin problem, I opened another untouched photo of the girl and clone brushed her neck color onto Tobey's neck. Her neck was smaller so it meant I had to clone brush the areas of shadows on her neck onto his neck in several different places to create a bigger shadow. Then to blend it in, I clicked on Correct > Stamp Brush and clicked the Smudge Brush button. This is a cool little tool that smudges the area that you brush over and therefore really helps with blending. There's a tutorial on using the Smudge Brush at DigiScrapping Tutorials.
For the forehead and head shadow, I clone brushed the shadow found on the mask half of the poster onto the girl's head and forehead. But I added some transparency to it so it didn't look quite so dark. It would have been better if her hair was the same color as the shadow but alas, that was not the case. I set the Transparency Slider on the clone brush to 124 with an edge feathering of 4 and carefully tried to re-create the arc. Then I used the Smudge Brush to blend it in.
For the lips and nose, I used the Clone Brush and an untouched photo of the girl to paint on the tip of her nose and lips. But I used partial transparency of 150 so that the lips had a deep shadow. And then I used the Smudge brush to blend again.
And....drum roll please....here's Spider Girl! (hmmm wonder what font they are using and if I can change the title too....maybe later)
Credits - Spiderman poster from the movie Spiderman 2; stock photo from stock.xchge
Resolutions have a way of coming and going, don't they? I thought this thread which was called "What so you want to accomplish in the new year?" was an interesting spin on the resolution issue. My resolutions seem to have a slightly negative tone - as in I resolve to lose weight or exercise more. While not directly negative, there is an undertone which suggests that I'm too heavy or I don't exercise enough now. So when Kathy Moore asked what we wanted to accomplish this year it got me to thinking...
I'd like to be a better photographer and to learn to use my camera better. Figure out aperture and f stops and shutter speed and all that. Maybe even learn to use the manual setting. So often I just set it to automatic or simple mode.
One way to do that is to take more photos of course. So I'm going to try carrying it around with me and take at least one photo every day. And I was amply rewarded on day 2...check out this photo I took at DD's bus stop!
I guess that's a positive sign!
I'm not the originator of this idea - I saw a post about this on the Photojojo blog and have been toying with idea for awhile. January 1 just seemed like a good day to start! Taylor McKnight did one in 2004 and you can see it on his Photo 365 blog. Where to post? Well, obviously, on your blog if you have one. Another thought is to use a blog which is set up for primarily photos such as Flickr or Photoblog For now, I think I'll stick with posting them here...since my other resolution is to use this blog more effectively. LOL! So here is my Photo 365 album.
It turns out there are several Photo A Day blogs out in web-land so here are a few links - just to get you going. And I'll post some more ideas as I go along.
Any other takers? Maybe we can link to each other and follow our year along. Email me and let's see what we come up with - email@example.com You don't have to be a digital scrapbooker or an FxFoto user - this is a pure photography challenge. Jump in!
It is that time of year to make lists - things to give and to get - and we all have them! Since my list has some quite cool things for digital photographers as well as digital scrapbookers I thought I'd share it with you. So...in no particular order....here is my list....
One way to get those photos and layouts off your computer and out into the real world is with a digital frame. I haven't done a complete review of these but I can tell you about the Phillips Digital Frame which I have used.
We bought it for the Memory Trends show so we could show off digital scrapbooking layouts and it did a great job of that (and it was a big hit). Nice clean crisp images with 800 x 480 pixels. And it was easy to load. Two cool things about this one - it has a rechargeable battery (but you can plug it in too) and you can set the time to turn on and off so it won't run all night. The frame got lots of good comments at the show. At Amazon it is $189.99 which isn't exactly cheap but still would make a very cool way to show off your photos or layouts. I've also seen them at places like Best Buy, Comp USA and the Discovery Store.
If you have ever tried taking photos at night or with a large zoom, then you know camera shake can make your photos blurry. And you don't have to have really shaky hands - just the normal movement is a problem. Actually my friend and pro-photographer (and FxFoto user and amazing digiscrapper) Mary Canavan gave me this tip - use the view finder and hold it up to your eye just like a film camera. That will let your camera and hands rest on your face which stabilizes the camera and minimizes camera shake.
Of course the best way to stabilize your camera is to use a tripod. I don't know about you but I am rarely organized enough to bring mine and besides it doesn't exactly fit into my purse, you know what I mean? And sometimes there just isn't space to set one up. So this little tripod is definitely on my wish list ...Gorillapod which you can find at Think Geek...
See the bendy three legged thing below the camera? Yup, its a tripod that you can bend and twist and wrap and otherwise attach to all sorts of places
How cool is that? The Think Geek website even has tons of photos people have sent in showing where they have used their Gorillapod. Now this is a tripod you can actually carry around and use. The price is good too - $21.99 for compact cameras and $39.99 for SLRs and heavier cameras.
There are lots of good reasons to have (and use) a camera bag. It cushions your camera in case you drop it and prevents scratching of lens and the display panel. And it lets you keep everything in one place so you can grab it and go and you will have extra batteries, memory cards and the all important USB cord with you. The only trouble is that camera bags....well, most of them aren't exactly fashion accessories. Usually they are black and made of that ballistic nylon fabric that is indestructible - practical for sure but boring. Plus carrying a camera bag that looks like a camera bag invites theft.
So....enter Crumpler Bags. These are wicked cool bags in nice colors with a funky look. Definitely not your everyday camera bag. Made in Australia, they are available in the US too and come in a bunch of colors and sizes. I put two pictures below - the big one is the 1Million Dollar Home and the smaller one is the Bundle (which comes in small, medium and large). And despite the names, the cost is fairly reasonable at $20.00 to $35.00. And they have a full range of all sorts of sizes and style. One of my favorite blogs has ChipChick has nice review of Crumpler bags too.
Laptop Bags for Digital Scrapbookers
I've got two suggestions for this very important piece of equipment - one specific and one general.
First the specific one - Mimi makes a Digiscrap Laptop Tote which I saw at Memory Trends and I must say it looks fun and functional. If you've ever shopped for laptop bags you know how rare that is - most are that lovely black ballistic nylon and very masculine. Not this one - it is available in lots of fun colors like green, pink and purple as well as black. What I liked was the separate zippered pouch for storing a mouse and cords - I hate that mine get all tangled up. Brilliant idea! Lots of pockets for all the digital doodads you need to carry. They made the laptop compartment separate and zippered which prevents the laptop from falling out and makes it easy to get through airport security without repacking your bag each time. And finally there are both shoulder and hand handles so you have a choice of how you want to carry it. You can buy it on line at the Mimi website for $64.99 or check your local scrapbooking store.
Now a more general recommendation - eBagsis a great place to look for laptop bags. They have a huge number of choices with all sorts of styles - messenger, wheeled, backpack, funky, serious, colorful, business - you name it and they probably have it. They even have a special section for women :-) and best of all, they can tell you if your laptop will fit into the bag you have picked. Use their Laptop Bag Finder to find the perfect fit - this is really important if you have a widescreen. It would be a bummer to get a bag and find your laptop won't fit! The prices are good - sometimes amazing great and sometimes just average but the selection is what makes it worthwhile. Certainly better than combing the mall especially at this time of year!
Software for Digital Photography and Digital Scrapbooking
If you are looking for software for editing and organizing your myriad of digital photos, take a look at FxFoto Creative Edition. It offers powerful features which rival those of much more expensive software (can you guess who?) but is much easier to use. For digital photographers, the software offers folder organization with keyword searching, over 50 filters or actions and drag and drop templates. And for digital scrapbookers, the collage feature makes it easy to make layered scrapbook layouts plus it comes with 10 digital kits, over 100 die cut cropping shapes and text in shapes like circles and waves and lots more. You can get a full list of FxFoto features. With a price of $45.94 and a low learning curve, this makes a wonderful gift. You can order it through the FxFoto website or at Scrap Outside the Box or 3Scrapateers.
From the folks at Photojojo come two fun products - Fotoclips and the Magnet String below. First the FotoClips. Remember building houses with cards? Well, these clips let you do this with your photos in a much more permanent fashion than with cards. Each box has 110 clear plastic clips which will hold one photo to another so you can create a mosaic tapestry of your kids. Or make a 3D sculpture of your recent trip. At $10 these make a wonderful gift...hmmm....I've been wondering what to get the guys.... You can buy them at Photojojo
Magnetic Photo Rope
Another fun thing from the Photojojo blog. They call it the Astounding Magnetic Photo Rope and it is really a clever idea! This is a great way to show off photos in a very simple and unobtrusive way. Basically it is a 43 inch thin metal cable that comes with 8 tiny magnets to hold your photos to the string. It makes is easy to change photos. I'm not sure how well it would work on a fridge with the door opening and closing but this is a great way to put photos up on a wall without tape or tacks. Great for the office. especially if you are in one of those cubicles and can't mess up the wall. At home this could turn a wall into a small gallery instantly especially if you used a few of them. At $12 ( 2 for $20 or 3 for $28) these make a terrific stocking stuffer too. You can get them at Photojojo.
So I hope you get everything on your list! Happy Holidays!