View Full Version : OT: Tweaking digital pictures

09-05-2005, 05:15 PM
I could use a little help getting some pictures looking good enough to put on a website. I would like to blur the background a little bit on a couple of them. Others just need a little creative tweaking.


09-05-2005, 05:28 PM
Yea, those pesky naked chicks running around in the background of my pictures bug me too. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

09-05-2005, 06:08 PM
I use photoshop 7.0 and paint shop pro 7.04.

to do something like that I would have to cut the subject out put it on a different layer then blur the layer with the background leaving the subject not blured.

using layers and mask you can make some realy nice pictures.

Your Old Dog
09-05-2005, 07:28 PM
Tattoo has one way of doing it. You could (using photo shop)

1. create another copy of the layer.
2. apply gaussian blur from the filters menu to appropriate amount of blur is set on the copy.
3. Select the brush tool and choose "clear" as an attribute, set brush pressure to about 40 and opacity about 20 and erase thru the blur till the underlaying sharp layer shows thru where you want it sharp. That's what we sometimes do for correcting ruddy complexions.

This is a pretty fast and through process. If you opt for Tattoo way you could do a CTRL T on the sliced piece, enlarge it a tad to better fit over the hole. Then do the Layer,Matting,Defringe, Remove black mat, Remove white mat and that will clean up the edges before you merge it all down. When you're all done with it hit the filter, sharpen, unsharp mask and start with about 100, 4, 4 and your home!

If you don't have PhotoShop and are serious about your photography, get a copy. It's not really a luxury but a necessity for the serious digital photographer. If you have trouble getting started with it drom me an email and I can get you going with it.

[This message has been edited by Your Old Dog (edited 09-05-2005).]

Mike Burdick
09-05-2005, 08:43 PM

Another nice thing about Adobe Photoshop is that almost anything you want to do you can do a google search and most likely find a tutorial. Adobe also has great community forums with lots of people from all over the world willing to help.

09-05-2005, 08:55 PM
For the Photoshop enthusiasts, any suggestions for dealing with $700 the program costs? Seems like you would have to be extremely interested to dump that much into digiphoto software. For those who want to do lesser things (about 80-90% of Photoshop capabilities) the subset called PhotoShop Elements 3, might do the trick. Photoshop CS (the $700 version) is famous for having a steeep learning curve. If you only use it occasionally you will get frustrated very rapidly (though clearly some posters here are faster studies.) Elements 3 is $70-100 depending.

09-05-2005, 11:44 PM
Some very good ideas, but I don't have photoshop. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

Last Old Dog
09-06-2005, 12:22 AM
SCH, I too use Photoshop CS, the ‘full blown’ version. Although, as you and others have mentioned, it may be overkill for most folks not interested in the technical aspects of image processing. This version of Photoshop does indeed have many features that could/may overwhelm folks that simply want to deal with the immediate task at hand and not have to ‘come back up to speed’ each time. Learning CS is akin to ACAD in that there is a big commitment for both time and frequent use.

PSP, Paint Shop Pro, along with a number of other suggested programmes will indeed perform many tasks for most folks. Last Old Dog

Not affiliated with the revered Your Old Dog

Doc Nickel
09-06-2005, 01:12 AM
I'm still using a copy of PaintShop Pro 5 that I bought at least five years ago. I believe I paid $99.

It's somewhat simpler than newer versions, but for me, it's perfect msince in general use I'm rarely doing more than cropping and resizing.

For some more involved graphics work- I've done some pure-digital art, basically paintings done entirely in the computer using a graphics tablet- there are a few newer options I'd like to have, but so far it's worked just fine. Some things just take me a little longer to complete, is all.

I believe PaintShop can still be had, for considerably less than Photoshop- though if that's the case now, it might not be for much longer as Adobe has bought out JASC, and will probably srop the PSP line. (Mainly since it was a far cheaper and nearly-as-good direct competitor.)

I have an older copy of Photoshop Elements, but I haven't used it much. I didn't like the interface quite as well as PaintShop. I also have an older full copy of PhotoShop- 5, I think. I've used that a couple of times for formats that PSP couldn't open, but even then it was typically just to convert them to .tif, .gif or .jpeg so I could continue working on them in PaintShop.

So I'd say find a copy of PaintShop Pro (5 to 7.0, I think) or get a copy of Photoshop Elements. Either one should be under $100.

There's a freeware app out there called GIMP. I downloaded it and tried it once, on a remote computer that didn't have any graphics applications, and I found it impossible to get started with. The interface was rather too enigmatic. Had I had more time to fool with it, or had I taken the time to read a tutorial or two, I'm sure things would have become clear eventually.

But I'd heard about it from happy users that swore by it, so I'm sure it has it's applications. Might give it a try simply because it's free- and, I'm told, pretty full-featured.


09-06-2005, 05:58 AM
Joel, What works for me is to put the object to be photographed some distance in front of the background, usually some 6 to 8 inches or more does it. Then focus on (the closest to the camera lens) the part of the object. By doing this it will automaticly make the background out of focus. Good luck and try moving the camera to different positions and taking 6 or so shots of the same subject. When you compare them it will help you to frame and compose so that what you are trying to convey comes across readily. Jim

Your Old Dog
09-06-2005, 07:48 AM
I may have several copies of Photoshop Lite. It's a program that is frequently included with new digital cameras and it's a give away. It operates similar to PhotoShop so if you decide to get more involved the learning curve is less than normal.

Photoshop CS versions are seldom mastered. I'm told that by a guy who teaches a course in PS CS at Uiversity of Buffalo. He says the most you can hope for is to control the program to do what you want to do.

But as others have said, PS is like hunting canarys with an elephant gun if you just want to resize.

Paul Alciatore
09-06-2005, 11:54 AM
The Photoshop Lite is a good deal.

I have also been able to get copies of older versions of Photoshop from work. We use it there and when they buy new versions the older ones become available. Perhaps others could be persuaided to part with older versions for a affordable price.

Yes, it is overpriced.

Paul A.

09-06-2005, 11:56 AM
The best thing to do was to use selective focus on your camera with the appropriate F stop. Oh, your digital doesnt do that?

09-06-2005, 12:06 PM
I recommend Paint Shop Pro version 7. There is also version 8 and 9. Those I cannot recommend. I worked as a private beta tester on those two versions and they simply are not stable enough to use. That happened for a number of reasons that I won't go into here even though the non-disclosure agreement has expired. It had to do with JASC being bought out by Corel.

PSP 7 is very powerful and I prefer it to Photoshop which I also have.

There are tons of PSP tutorials online including a few I have written. Here is one on how to make a semi-transparent gif image. This is a neat little trick that I thought of myself.


[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 09-06-2005).]

Doc Nickel
09-06-2005, 02:28 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by BillH:
The best thing to do was to use selective focus on your camera with the appropriate F stop. Oh, your digital doesnt do that?</font>

-Mine does. Works great, too.

You might also keep in mind that there's plenty of cheap mid-range film cameras that are fixed-focus and have no apparent depth-of-field. Who said he was using a digital? Might be a scanned Polaroid...


09-06-2005, 02:50 PM
Yeh Doc, I cant assume people read my mind, only film cameras I use are SLR, for point and shoot, I like my canon digital A40. I should of said, "So your camera cant do that?"

09-06-2005, 04:45 PM
Or you could have offered helpful advice to someone who specifically asked for it. Criticizing a type of camera isn’t contributing much of use. The camera in question is indeed a digital with a myriad of options. Unfortunately, its owner has yet to learn how to use them, and as the receiver of a favor from a busy person, I wasn’t about to criticize. I know that the background can be blurred by depth of focus and I will get someone who knows what they are doing at a later date. Right now, I have a minor problem that I need help solving.

Bill, I get the impression that you enjoy the ‘romance’ of slides and film. That’s great, but some of us just don’t have the time or inclination to go much beyond the parameters of practicality. Most of us here grew up in a time before digital cameras were ever dreamed of. A camera is just another tool and when digital came along, we gleefully made the switch for many, many practical reasons. I used to know how to do a few things with my SLR, but they are apparently long forgotten. Perhaps one day I will take the time to better learn the art of photography, but time doesn’t currently permit that luxury.

While I am not really interested in debating the advantages of film vs digital, I will say that I take at least 10 times the number of photos that I did when I had to rely exclusively on a film camera. Even though I only own a rather cheap digital, the advantages it offers me for my normal uses are enormous by comparison.

Thank you for the assistance gentlemen.

John Stevenson
09-06-2005, 05:36 PM
No one has mentioned Irfanview

Similar to PSP but free.
Can't comment on it as I have never used it.
I'm currenly using PSP 9 but find it very slow and bloatware for the very simple things I need it for.

I'd like to take Evans advise and drop back to V7 but I have no idea where the install disks are or password.
That's the troble with software by web sales.

John S.

09-06-2005, 08:55 PM
Im sorry Joel, the others did a excellent job in telling you how to do it, I in a jack ass sort of way suggested for future use that one can use selective focus using a large as possible aperture setting. I always think the more work you do with the camera, the less cleanup work, the better.
And I must admit, deep down, I know digital is superior in just about every way... EXCEPT color slides.
I do like the romance of old things, Steam locomotives, my cone head South Bend, and film cameras. Hell, im a History major, what do you expect?
Speaking of color slides, I had a photo lab utterly destroy my roll of film, the roll of film that was due for Thursdays class, arghhhh. They lost my buisness over that one.

09-06-2005, 11:05 PM
How about something free!


Doc Nickel
09-07-2005, 12:38 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And I must admit, deep down, I know digital is superior in just about every way... </font>

-Prime example: This guy (http://sigmund.biz/0904/index.html) took hundreds of photos of downtown New Orleans on Sunday, including around- but not inside- the infamous Superdome.

Not only would that have been forty of fifty rolls of film, but where the hell would he have gotten them developed in downtown New Orleans right now?

To say nothing of scanning about three hundred photos before being able to upload them so that those of us thousands of miles away can see for ourselves what's going on.