For the love of Flickr

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I just have to share this most excellent gift I received.

Thank you SO much CraftyKags

My friend, CraftyKags made this gorgeous scrapbook for me.

A page from the scrapbook I A page from the scrapbook II A page from the scrapbook III

Not counting the cover, there are 46 (!) pages of pictures of my sweet girls. What an amazing gift. I'm speechless. Even if we dismiss all the gorgeous paper, stickers, grommets, ribbons, high quality printouts and other accouterments, one can't dismiss the time and love that went into this book. It's a really special gift.


And that's not all my Flickr photos have been doing. I got myself a batch of mini calling cards from MOO.

They come packaged in a cute little recyclable plastic box.

littlebox.jpg opening box.jpg

And inside are 100 little mini-cards with photos on the front and my contact info on the back.

cards_fanned.jpg examples of cards.jpg

I plan to use these as business cards. About 2/3rds have some sort of fiber theme to them, while the other 1/3rd have doggies (oh yes, there is overlap). Depending on the situation, I can pick out a card that is just right for the recipient. Since they are about half the size of normal business cards, they are more environmentally friendly and MOO is committed using sustainable and green manufacturing processes. Yay!

Photoshop Tips II - Levels and Histograms

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Most images can be clicked for a closer view

In our last tutorial, we discussed Curves. Today we'll be talking about Levels. Levels can be used in the exact same way as Curves, though the interface is a little different. The cool thing about Levels is that you can actually see a visual map of your image and the colors displayed within.

As with the last tutorial, all the caveats still apply. Your mileage may vary. I'm no expert, blah blah blah, color correction is subjective, etc.

I've chosen a photo and opened the Levels dialog box by going to the IMAGE menu, to ADJUST and choosing LEVELS. You can also access this option by pressing [CTRL+L] or [CMND+L], depending on your computer platform.

 

This picture of Thea seems a little dark in the three-quarter tones (those between the middle and shadow tones). Her face, next to the couch, seems a bit muddled and lacking in detail. When I pull up the Levels palette, I see my impression confirmed. Let's take a closer look.

Click image to see the tonal ranges

Here we see a graph of the distribution of pixels. On the left, indicated by a black slider, is the shadow area of the image. This image has a large majority of its pixels between the midtones and shadows. At the far right, the highlight point shows absolutely no pixels. We don't have any pure white in this image.

From the Layers palette, I can move those sliders, under the graph, to adjust the tones in the image. We have two sets of sliders we can move. The top set of sliders consists of three tonal ranges. On the left, shadows, in the middle, midtones, and on the right, highlights.

The bottom set of sliders has just a shadow and highlight slider.

Stewie is home!

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Our car, Stewie, is back home after being in the body shop for over a month. It's good to have him back, and the shop did a really fabulous job, both dealing with the insurance company and repairing the damage.

car-is-home.jpg

Thea has been healing up beautifully

a little chilly.jpg

When we give her meds, we wrap them in peanut butter. She finds it both delicious and infuriating, with its tenancy to stick to the roof of her mouth. I find this amusing. I might, possibly, maybe, tend to squish the peanut butter up on the roof of her mouth, maybe, just to make it last a little longer. I might also be a horrible horrible person.

Actually, we've taken her off the sedatives, but we do still give her a little peanut butter just because she loves it so.

slurp_slurp_slurp2.jpg

Both girls got some extra special treats from Leo.

Both approve...heartily.

yummyboneThea2.jpg

However, not to be indelicate, but we have been experiencing a steady flow of eye watering, paint peeling, make a grown person cry level of excess "air" from the little one. I really can't express just how bad it's been. I'm declaring an embargo on all future purchases of this treat. While the rawhide/pork combo appealed to the girls more than almost any treat we've gotten, the consequences have been too brutal to re-live.

Your mileage may vary.

Most images can be clicked for a closer view

A little caveat before we begin. I'm not a color correction expert, though I do need to know the basics for the work I do. Most of what I've studied has been for print, not for web, though many of the concepts remain largely the same.

Furthermore, images look really different on a Mac than they do on a PC. Most people are on PCs and I'm on a Mac, so while may think a picture looks good on my screen, you might not.

And that brings me to the last point. A lot of color correction is subjective. There are some things that are fairly universal. For instance, a light color cast to an image is usually apparent to most people. but the perfect amount of contrast and brightness may be different depending on personal preference, age and monitor. Did you know that many people's vision yellows slightly with time? Older monitors will often display color much differently than newer models, as well, so there are a great many factors that can impact how you view an image.

Some basic stuff that makes me sound like I know what I'm talking about

While there are quite a few different color spaces, the two you are most likely to deal with and work in are RGB [red, green, blue] and CMYK [cyan, magenta, yellow, black]. RGB colors are those that display on monitors. It's the means by which light produces color. CMYK space is what your home printer generally uses (though some contain additional colors to produce a wider range of shades). If you are familiar with the old color wheel, containing primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, you understand the basics of how CMYK colors work. While the primaries are a little different (not red yellow and blue, but cyan, magenta and yellow,) the way in which colors combine remains largely the same. Add the right amount of yellow the right amount of cyan and you will get shades of green. RGB works in the opposite manner. In RGB, when you have 100% of each color, you get white. Do the same in CMYK you get black. Most of us find this counter intuitive, but when you are making your edits you should not switch to CMYK and back to RGB. You must learn to modify your colors in RGB if you wish to maintain the detail of your image.

I've made this little graphic to help you understand how the RGB colors relate to the CMY colors (don't worry about black)

There are 6 color swatches below. every other swatch is an RGB shade and the alternate are CMY colors. Colors located across from each other are related. When working in RGB, reducing the amount of the RGB shade will increase the CMY shade. For instance, let's say your image has a red cast to it. In some images, this might be interesting, but if you are photographing a lush summer landscape in the day, the red cast will make your gorgeous greens look muddy. Reducing the amount of red in the image will make those greens pop.

So how do you apply this novel bit of trivia? Well, I'm glad you asked. (You asked, right?) I apply this, most frequently in the CURVES dialog box.

For the most part, when I spin, I grab my fiber, pick a whorl and go for it. I think this has worked out for me, largely because I tend to spin small quantities (generally around 2-4 ounces) and I have a pretty limited skill set and comfort zone with spinning. Even my last batch of fiber, which was closer to 7 ounces, came out pretty consistent despite my making little effort to check consistency along the way.

But, like the person who has reasonable success knitting patterns without making a gauge swatch, past successes do not mean future success. I've been holding onto a pound of fiber my parents got me, for over a year, awaiting a time when I felt I had the skill and patience to spin up the whole lot into enough yarn to make something substantial. I'm not sure that I've actually met either of those qualification but dammit, the fiber is gorgeous and I want to spin it.

Spurred on by Amy's great article in Knitty, I decided to try to approach this project with a semblance of a plan and, perhaps, some organization.

A while back, I ordered these Spinning Project Cards (I refuse to spell the last word with a "k" unless someone can give me a good reason for it being spelled that way) by mistake, thinking they were something else.

spinningcard.jpg

They are basically index cards with preprinted areas for information you might wish to include about your yarn. I don't think I'll be ordering them again. For the same price, one could buy a pack of 100 index cards and only include the info relevant for the project. I am not saying these are poorly designed. If you like the look of clean, unlined cards, and spin enough that you don't want to have to write out all the labels, this might be totally worth it for you, just not for me.

Even so, I had no normal index cards lying around and no need to waste these. Surprisingly, despite the myriad of fields preprinted, there didn't seem to be a spot to indicate the whorl used so I just slapped that info in wherever.

new project yarn.jpg

If all goes according to plan, I should be producing a 3ply yarn (off of three bobbins, not Navajo plying) that works up to, oh, 14-15 WPI. The fiber is corriedale in a beautiful deep olive shade.

So far, it's spinning up quite nicely. The fiber is well prepared and needs only minimal predrafting. We'll see how long I can spin a plain green fiber before I get bored. Luckily, I always have my spindles.


In doggy news, Thea seems to be healing up well enough. She's still a bundle of energy and I think I'll be as excited to be able to let her play as she will.

Our vet is quite awesome. Check out what we got in the mail yesterday:

award for getting broken.jpg

They took a picture of the little girl, before her surgery and printed out this lovely award. If you click the image, you can go to flickr and find a higher resolution version. Check out the text below the Vet's signature.

We pulled the crate out of the bedroom for use when the two of us have to leave the girls unattended. Theoretically, the crate should be for Thea, when she needs some quiet time.

panda loves her crate.jpg

Panda, however, seems to think it's all hers. Could you say no to that face?


As for the Photoshop tutorial, it sounds like there's enough interest that it's definitely worth my doing it. Getting stuff together, I'm thinking I may have to break it out into a couple smaller, more digestible pieces. Hopefully, the first tutorial will be posted by the end of the week.

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