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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Photography Lesson - Actions

Actions are tools that you use in processing.  The ones I'm going to talk about here, The Essentials Set from Paint the Moon, can be used with both Photoshop and Elements; and will make a huge difference in your shots with just a few clicks of the mouse. 

Here we have a shot I took at a recent clinic.  It was shot in raw and isn't too bad.  A little dark, but it's alright.

The composition is good and everything is in focus.  Now watch what happens when I use the "Punch it Up" action from the Essentials Set.

Now we're getting there, but still it could be a bit better.  So I'm going to use the "Luxe Color Boost" action.

To do this took me all of five minutes.  Without the actions, it might have taken me hours. 

Now let's go outside.

Our original.

Once again, not too bad. Interesting composition.  In focus.  But I think it's a little too blue.  So I'm going to use the "Warm it Up" action.

Hmm, getting there, so I'm going to use the "Paint on Vibrant Color" action and lower the layer opacity to about 30%.

Now I like it. 

This action set costs $45 and will make a world of difference in your pictures.  They load right into Photoshop and I'm guessing they load right in to Elements as well.  Now I can just hear you guys thinking to yourselves, "Actions, Smacktions, Maia would you please speak English.  I have no idea what you are trying to tell me here.  The Paint the Moon website has great tutorials which will explain exactly what an action is, what a layer is, and how to use them.  Do yourselves a favor and take a look. You won't be sorry.

Monday, January 2, 2012

When The Moon Hits Your Eye ...


Squigg:  "There she is folks.  Isn't she beeutiful."  Sigh. "Her eyes the color of a summer sky.  Each little whisker perfection."

Dweezil sticking claw down throat making gagging noises.

"Everyday I try to visit her.  I could spend hours just gazing at her loveliness."

More gagging noises.

"At least once a week I try to drop off a little present.."

Dweezil interrupting:  "Ah yes, a nosegay of deceased rodents, just the thoughtful gift every young lady wants to receive."  Hmm," tapping claws against cheek.  " Doesn't each nasty little corpse have a special meaning? Oh yes, I have it now., it's ratties for remembrance.  Or more likely in her case, mousies for misgivings might be more apropos. He thought for a minute and then finished with, "See a hare? Do beware."

Squigg laying ears back and looking annoyed.

Clippity clop, "Hi cats, it's me Jolie. Guess what I learned how to do?  Wanna guess, wanna guess?"

Dweezil: "Ignore it and it might go away."

"I can crisscross my front feet while turning, here I go." Jolie says pivoting around. "Well cats wasn't that the coolest thing ever."

Squigg:  "It's time somebody taught you some manners, missy. "It's Mr cats."

Dweezil:  "Why to I have to keep correcting everybody? It's Sir Dweezil and Mr. Squiggman.  I would think by now we would all understand these very clear social distinctions."

Sqigg: "Why do you get to be Sir Dweezil.  Aren't you the one who was born in a barn, while I was born in the lap of luxury, the adored only son of ...

Dweezil: "A woman of the streets and god only knows who."

Sqigg laying ears flat back and switching tail. "Don't you insult my mother.."

Jolie contemplating things:  "I know what a woman is and I know what a street is.  What to you get if you put the woman on the street."

Dweezil rolling, beating paws on the ground, holding stomach and laughing his head off, "snort, cackle, this is too good. If you put a woman on the street what you get is.."

Smack, swat,  smack, smack smack.

Jolie, jumping up and down :  Oh a fight, fight, fight.

Maia:  That's it! Stop this fighting immediately.

Jolie:  What would you be, if you went out on the street Maia?  I don't think it's possible for you to be Squigg's mother.Would you turn into another lady cat?"

Maia: "Enough. Jolie, stop this ridiculous line of conversation this minute. Sqigg, Dweezil, shake paws and stop fighting right now.  What is it with you two?  Why is it whenever I let you post something it always turns into this?  First we had perverted boy coyotes and hairdos down there.  Now we have nosegays of dead rodents and street walkers. I am mortified. Mortified, I tell you.  Sigh, what am I doing wrong.

The animals heads down start slinking away, except for Squigg who turns his head and whispers, "Sir Squiggman here. I think we all realize which one of us brought up nosegays of dead rodents and street walkers.  The lowlife who was born in a barn."