Wow. This post is long overdue. The last time CRDESIGNLAB featured any new text was seven days ago, when Kyle discussed elections. Over these seven days of darkness, I have been busy reworking old images that have been neglected or could be improved. I have taken some already posted images and improved them as well as started working on some completely new (never been touched) ones. In total, there are 12 new images for the galleries, and not a single one is less than a three weeks old. It is amazing how when browsing through old work you find that there are gems hidden amongst the madness. So that is what I have been doing: separating the gems from the madness. Grab a soda because there is a lot of reading ahead of you.
Image Number 1: The Dip, Version 4
For the fourth time, I have put serious effort towards improving this image, which is dubbed “Dip” because of a dip in the road just before the entrance to the Horton Plaza mall. I tried my best to whiten the building in the back and achieve color correctness while bringing out as much color as I can. There are still things that need to be fixed, like granulation in the road and the trees, but overall, I call it an improvement.
Image Number 2: Street 01, Version 3
Like the Dip, this image has seen its share of time in Photoshop. I spent so much time staring at Version 2, that I became blind to the horrible over-sharpening and excessive color. So, I decided to start all over with the original file and try to produce a less painful-to-look-at image. I think I succeeded. Although it looks dull when compared to the previous version, I think that Version 3 is much better and doesn’t have that awful look of over-proccessing.
Image Number 3: The Parking Lot, Version 1
This is a completely new image from the latest batch of light paintings, which Kyle, my sister, and I created on February 26. I took the picture as Kyle and my sister outlined the parking lot of the Monarch Ridge community pool with lightsabers. The original was deplorably over-exposed, but I saved the image in Photoshop.
Image Number 4: Street 03, Version 1
This is also a completely new image from the latest batch of light paintings. Captured just a few minutes before the Parking Lot image, Kyle manned the camera as my sister and I showed Kyle how to paint like a Jedi.
Image Number 5: Spiral 03, Version 2
Kyle and I took this picture on February 5 when we hung a flashlight from a ceiling fan. I originally wrote this image off as a dud because it looked sloppy and not interesting, but Kyle had a different idea. Over the past few days, he has been playing with it in Photoshop and has produced a really cool image. He took a poor test shot and turned it into gallery-worthy work. Not bad at all.
Image Number 6: Spiral 04, Version 1
While going through our old files, I found this spiral and decided to add it to our collection. After a little Photoshop work, it was up to par.
Image Number 7: The Tennis Court 01, Version 1
This image was taken the same day as the Parking Lot and Street 03 images and just a few yards away in my neighborhood tennis court. I manned the camera as Kyle and my sister traced the court lines with lightsabers. This is the first of two tennis court pictures, but the second one is on my iMac at school.
Image Number 8: Cactus 03, Version 1
This is another really old picture, dating back all the way to January 16, when Kyle and I spent a few hours photographing his backyard. I played with it in Camera Raw and am pleased with the result. It is interesting, in that I had to make the image all fuzzy and distorted and then negate that in order to avoid some strange red blotches that appeared wherever there are colors close to white. Basically, I blurred the image and then sharpened it enough to make the blur go away (in way more steps than that).
Image Number 9: The Leaf, Version 1
I have no idea where this image came from, just that it was in my files, so I decided to Photoshop it. I messed with the color of the leaf and kind of like the result. I had to gaussian-blur the background in order to remove distortion and I think I need to go back and mask the blur out of the focused areas with more precision.
Image Number 10: The Purple Cactus 01, Version 1
This image also came from January 16, and I decided to take a drastically different route in Photoshop. In Camera Raw, I completely blew out the colors as far as I could, taking the Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation sliders all the way to the right. I am not sure if I like it or not, but I wanted to try something different, so I did.
Image Number 11: The Purple Flower, Version 1
This purple flower was not meant for success. I can’t remember who took the picture (I think it was me), but I do remember that Kyle and I weren’t really trying and just burning time as we waited for it to get dark. Kyle found the picture in our files and saved it from digital death. He took it through Photoshop and managed to turn a good image into a great image. If you zoom in all the way, you can tell that it is extremely sharp, perhaps the sharpest picture we have ever taken. I added a couple of things in Photoshop (cropped it, and Dodge and Burned), but the vast majority of the work is Kyle’s. I really like it.
Image Number 12: The Red Berry, Version 1
Also a result of January 16, this image’s stay in our galleries might be very short, as I think it is over-sharpened and needs to be reworked. Kyle really liked it when we originally took the picture, so I decided to work on it in Photoshop. I think I worked a little too hard.
Well, that’s it. If I remember correctly, there are a few more images that I could have added, but they aren’t on my home iMac or MacBook Pro, so I can’t post them. I “took a break” from posting for a week, and think I might be better for it. I spent some time evaluating the future of CRDESIGNLAB and made some decisions about this blog’s, and my own, future. More of that is coming later.
Today in class, Mr. Skocko revealed that the Paint the World With Light project had been extended a month, and I am very happy that it has. To be honest, I don’t think a single one of our images has utilized our full potential as photographers and digital artists. This next month, and especially Spring Break, will be filled with light painting of a caliber not yet seen in the Mac Lab, and I intend for CRDESIGNLAB to be leading the way.
Also, Mr. Skocko has been pushing me towards creating light painting tutorials for Mac Lab students and students in the other two classrooms involved in the Paint the World With Light Project. I have been struggling with how I should make tutorials for light painting, and have decided that I will just do screen recordings using QuickTime X and see how it goes.
On another note, I have been thinking for a while that the Mac Lab light painters need to all work together on a massive light painting project somewhere away from school. At the same time, Mr. Skocko has been hinting (and saying) that I need to teach him how to light paint, and so I thought I would combine these two ideas. I was thinking that some day over Spring Break, anybody interesting in learning light painting and all those who already know how could meet somewhere of significance in the community and share skills and ideas while creating a masterpiece that would be the highlight of the Paint the World With Light book. Anyone would be invited. I think it is a good idea, but I want opinions.
If anyone has actually read this far, I must give you a round of applause. I have been writing this post for an hour and a half now, have typed out 1503 words, and am just now nearing the end of the rough draft.
There is just one last thing, a last-minute tech update. The Mac Lab will be getting new 21.5 inch iMacs to replace the old white ones, so all of you who are sick of waiting ten minutes for a single small picture of a brick wall to Live Trace will soon have the best computers in the room.
So as not to make your eyes bleed any more, I will call this post completed. Hey, I haven’t posted anything in seven days, so I have a lot to say. This has to be some kind of record.
Well, yesterday was quite the day. Kyle and I spent eight and a half hours in the Mac Lab, and it wasn’t even a school day. In the last post, I talked about our plans to install Snow Leopard on all the Mac Lab computers, as well as new fonts, and set up a new workstation. We met these goals, and it took us from 8 am to 4:30 pm to do so.
We arrived at school just before 8 am and Mr. Skocko took a break from a teacher meeting to let us into the Lab. The day before, we had updated all the computers, so as soon as we were in, we were ready to go. Kyle and I started with Snow Leopard. It took us the better part of two hours to install it on the 44 remaining computers (we installed it on #8 on Thursday as a test). During the time we spent waiting for the installation to be completed, we took the opportunity to continue our work organizing the lab. We started on the corner where the projector is, and basically tore it apart. By the time it was finished, nothing was left, but two things were added. Those two things are two new computers, maclab46 and maclab47. The first is an old PowerPC G4 that is quite a few years old, but still powerful enough to be useful. It once was the server for most of the Grossmont Union High School District. The second of the two computers is a newer PowerPC G5, which on the exterior looks like a Mac Pro (we opened up the computer to clean it, and found out what it was that way). Both computers are hooked up to very large screens, but I am not sure what the actual measurements are. The G5 has a also has a second screen, which is smaller. The two other computer we found on Thursday, another G4 and another G5, are broken beyond repair and so we sent them to be disposed of by the district. Due to legal issues, we are not allowed to dispose of them ourselves; the district has to do it, as the computers are GUHSD property. We also set up the $2,500 scanner that Mr. Skocko bought, which will be accessible from ANY computer in the room (once we finish the setup).
After the Snow Leopard install was done, we updated the Adobe products on every computer, as well as Perian. We also disabled the automatic login to the admin account. Last, we installed the fonts, but I am not sure exactly how many. These last steps were completed a long time after the Snow Leopard install, because we were so busy setting of the computers and organizing that we didn’t have time until the very end.
By the time it was 4 pm and Skocko was ready to leave, the Mac Lab was a very different-looking place. The corner with the projector (where we spent the majority of our time) is completely different, and very much better. The two new computers are not completely finished being set up, so they are not yet open for business, and are still running Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger. We will update them to Leopard as soon as we find out if the software they have is compatible with Leopard. Their processors, PowerPC’s, do not work with Snow Leopard. They are more likely just new work stations rather than new high-end work stations, but it is still good to have two new computers in the room, and having two screens is really cool.
(I had to go back and edit the after image, because the serial number for the CS4 Master Collection was written on that paper!)
About a month ago, my sister came to me and asked for help on her English Lit Circle project. I have spent many hours helping her group work in iMovie and build the best presentation that a group of annoying Freshmen can make. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so good with computers.
However, this is not the point. The point is that it is good to help people. This goes back to the whole “With great power comes great responsibility” quote. I know I am good at making movies and working with digital content, so why wouldn’t I lend a helping hand? The point is that if you can help someone, why not? If you know how to do something, why not tell someone else? Why not use your skills for the betterment of the people around you. Plus, you might actually learn something in the process. I have learned that no matter how fast your processor (3.06 GHz Quad Core) or how much Random Access Memory (8GB) you have, it still takes forever to render something.
And so I slave on, writing this as I wait for two different things to render, because I know that in the end, my sister will get an “A,” like she always does, and her friends will be happy.
By the way, I hate iMovie.