Monday, May 23, 2016

"How To: Double Embarrassment" PicsArt Plus

Double Embarrassment


I began today's image with a photograph of a Young Lady with her Guitar. Her hand is covering her face in a gesture of embarrassment. I opened it in PicsArt Photo Studio on my computer. I applied the Effects tool HDR2 to it. This gave me a base image to work with.

I opened another image of a Group of Trees for Texture and adjusted the property and opacity of it to allow the main image of the Young Lady show through. I merged these together. I used the Curves Tool to add some depth. Next, I used the Mask Border Tool for a border to the image. It was coming out as a Sepia toned visual.

I added the clipart of an old Camera in the corner. Then using the Clone Tool I duplicated the Young Lady, thus the title, "Double Embarrassment."

I added the image of my signature and date in PicsArt. I merged all layers and saved the large piece.

I used Corel Painter Essentials 5 (PE5) next. I chose the Watercolor Sketch setting with a Dry Brush and painted the scene. I used the Soft Cloner Brush to add back in details to the face, hands, and guitar. I saved with a new name.

Now I reopened the image in Paint.NET to Adjust the Saturation to about 175. This brought out many additional colors in the image. I saved again as a large image.

For display size, I used Corel PhotoPaint and resampled the image. 96dpi, 1220 X 813 pixels, 75 Compression, 25 Smoothing, saving the smaller image with a new name.

I have recently found out that when viewing my blog page on my Android Tablet, using the Chrome browser, I can no longer play any of the songs on the CDBaby Kiosks. This may be Adobe Flash Player related, as I can play them with no trouble on my computer using Firefox, and I have an updated version of Flash Player. So I apologize in advance if you also have similar problems with playing the songs Full Previews. (May also be a JavaScript problem.)

I looked for HTML5 music player code on CDBaby's site but they haven't changed any of it. If you have any difficulty please leave a note on the blog about this issue. Thank you.

Monday, May 16, 2016

"How to: Alone with Her Thoughts" PicsArt Plus and Recording Setup Noise

Alone with Her Thoughts


I recently found this photograph of a young gal "Alone with Her Thoughts," by this magnificent Tree. I wanted to try some experiments on it with my computer software. I first chose the PicsArt App and used a Local Boost Tool (enhance,) next I applied the Effects FX HDR1 tool. With this tool, I upped the Unsharp Mask and upped the Saturation. Then I used the Curves tool to add color depth. I adjusted the Brightness to -20, and the Hue to -23.

I went to Mask, to add some Texture using the property Multiply reducing the Opacity. Again in Mask I added the Black Border. I used the Text tool to select my font and added my name and year.

I saved that iteration and opened it in Corel's PhotoPaint. Here, I increased the saturation again by 25. I saved the file. I Resampled for display at 72dpi, 1220 X 813, an Optimized JPG with 75 Compression, 25 Smoothing. I saved with a new name.

I did have some time this Sunday afternoon to practice playing scales on my Martin DRS1 6-String Guitar. I again was using QuistJam Backing Tracks on YouTube through my Line 6 PodXT Live and headphones as to not disturb my wife or the neighbors.

I also did some reading on "Electronic Noise," that troubles my PC setup with the PodXT Live. I believe, through my reading that I have two culprits for noise. My RCA cables are not shielded and the fans of my PC add noise when I use the Microphone. I may have another problem with unshielded USB cables and the main USB cable from the PodXT Live to the PC may add to noise or hum problems. Interesting reading with some expensive solutions ranging from $20.00 to $630.00.

I learned that proper Grounding is also an important key to reduction of noise with electronic components. I have some investigating to do now with my current setup. 1) I have the PodXT Live connected with a basic quality USB cable. 2) I have the Speakers and Headphones connected to a Technics SA EX320 amplifier, using the Phono Aux output with the unshielded RCA cables.

I can either plug in the Shure PG58 Microphone in (on a boom stand,) or plug in my Guitar into the PodXT Live. I can't do both at the same time. I have two other input jacks on the PodXT Live, one for an additional guitar pedal, and an Aux input for playing MP3's through the system. The MP3's would not be recorded onto the DAW or recording software I use.

Curiouser and curiouser.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Step by Step: Bluegrass Guitar Session at the Library" PE5 Plus

Bluegrass Guitar Session at the Library


I have another Guitarists photograph to share after I worked on it digitally. The "Bluegrass Guitar Session at the Library," is the image for today's post.

Working on my computer I opened the large photograph in Windows 10 Photos. I enhanced the image and added some shadows to it, saving it with a new name.

My next step was to open it in Corel Painter Essentials 5 (PE5.) Here I selected the Illustration settings. I grabbed a brush from the Pencils, Pens and Markers called the Thick N Thin Marker Brush. I digitally painted the image as an Illustration.

I then added back in some details, like the strings of the guitars, the hands, and faces, painting by hand using the Soft Cloner Brush. I wanted to add some texture to the image so I applied the Apply Surface Texture tool.

I selected a coarse paper type, adjusting the Lighting with a quiet flesh tone color. This added warmth as well as the texture to the piece. I saved this large iteration at 300dpi using the same name.

Now I opened the file in Corel's PhotoPaint. I adjusted the Hue to 0, the Saturation to 25, and the Lightness to -10. I added my signature layer to the file, sized and placed it and merged the layers. I saved that iteration with a new name.

For my final steps, I used PicsArt. I applied a black lines border Mask from PicsArt. I used the Tool Curves to add depth to the colors just a bit. I saved that file with a new name.

I had used the large file to make changes in PicsArt, so I had to resize the image for display. I did this in Paint.NET 72dpi, 1220 X 813, 75 Compression, I saved this with a new name.

Be sure to click on the image to observe it at the large size for detail and texture. 


Musically, I have been practicing on my new Martin DRS1 6-String Acoustic Electric Guitar, acoustically without amplification. I have been working on accurate finger placement for my chord playing. Along with that, I listen to Backing Tracks from QuistJam on YouTube, playing scales by ear trying out differing keys and leads. It is improving my playing as I do this, really enjoying the time spent.