Al Campbell, Field Editor

February 3rd, 2003

Digital Imaging Part 5
Different Program, Different Moves
By Al Campbell

Remember the last image we looked at in part 4 of this series? If you recall, I created that overlay with an imaging program from Microsoft called Picture It Publishing Platinum. This time I want to start with that program and show you how I created that picture.

Most digital imaging programs share some common features, but accessing and applying those features often differs, sometimes to a great degree. Another thing that often differs is how each program applies its features to the image. Some programs merge their features into one image while others keep each layer separate and simply stack each layer on top of the others. Those differences often produce very different results in the final image.

Picture It Publishing (PIP) uses a more layered approach to overlays than Photo Impact 8 (PI8), so the final images usually look different, even though they started with the same components. Also, each of those programs has features not found in the other program, and each of them does certain tasks easier than the other. Although PIP is quite limited in the number of features it has compared to PI8, using those features is more of an easy click and drag game in PIP and a click the feature and apply it game in PI8. Like I said several issues ago, they both have their strong and weak points.

Enough comparing, let's do something fun. Starting with a picture of my buddy Steve on a local stream, let's try that overlay we saw last week.

Using the "cutouts and pictures" feature of PIP, we'll cut the edges off this picture in an elliptical pattern.

Remember how many steps it took to do this in PI8? Here we just stretch the circle to the edges and click when we are done. We can create the cutout in many different shapes too; many more than offered in PI8.

Next, we click on "edge effects"

and soften the edges to the desired level.

Now we take the same picture of the Royal Stimulator that we used last time,

and drag it from the tray on top of the picture of Steve.

Sizing is as simple as clicking the corners of the picture and stretching them until the top picture completely covers the bottom picture.

Then we click on "effects and illusions" and use the "transparent fade" tool to make the top picture transparent.

When we finally achieve the effects we want, we can save it under its own name as a new picture.

This is the finished image.

Remember this picture of Paul Dieter? Do you think he'd mind if we picked on him a little bit more?

Let's fade the picture on one side using a version of the same "transparent fade" tool we used to fade the fly picture in the last image. Only this time, we'll fade the picture gradually instead of evenly.

Next we open another picture of Paul and flip it horizontally.

Then we fade that picture on the other side.

And drag the first picture on top of the second one.

Then we adjust the brightness of each picture so they match.

And then stretch the first picture to cover the second one. Notice that the faded area becomes transparent when placed over another picture?

You can move each picture forward or backward in the stack to achieve the look you want.

Next I drag the first picture from the right-hand bar, on top of the composite picture we have been creating and move it into the position I want.

Then I soften the edges of that picture and use the "even transparent fade" tool to blend it into the picture a little better. I also adjust the layers so the person closest to me is on top and the one furthest from me is on the bottom. It just wouldn't look right if the fly line of the close person disappeared behind someone farther away.

Once I have the layers situated the way I want them in PIP, I save the whole image and open it in PI8. Then I can use other tools that PIP doesn't have to further blend all the images together into one picture.

Here I'm using the "burn tool" to darken areas of the picture. If I need to, I can use the "dodge tool" (just left of the burn tool on the tool bar), to lighten areas of the picture as needed.

The end result is a picture created by using tools in two programs to adjust several images and merge them into one picture. How do you like the final result?

While most of the things we've been doing are just fun stuff to look at, keep in mind that these are the same tools and types of manipulations magazine publishers use to create cover pages and advertisements for their magazines. You might just want to have some fun, but somebody somewhere is using these types of programs to make a living. Compared to their skills, I'm probably a novice; but I'm having some fun, and as I play I'm learning a skill that might someday make me some money. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ] © Notice