Al Campbell, Field Editor

February 17th, 2003

Digital Imaging Part 7
Photo Impact 8 Bubbles and Such
By Al Campbell

How are you coming with those contest entries? It's time to think seriously about sending them in if they are ready. This is part seven of a ten part series, and I must have all the entries e-mailed to me by the time part nine goes up. You still have a couple of weeks because there will be one week without any articles at all, but it's time to start those projects and create something new. Remember, one entry per person, so send me your best stuff.

Returning to the Photo Impact software, let's try some unusual optical effects. Do you want to create a special photo of your child's birthday party or another special occasion? Maybe you want to capture several special moments and add them to a photo of a great day on the water. We have already looked at several ways to do that, but let's look a little more at some rather radical effects and ways to use them to capture the thoughts of the moment.

I hate to say it, but this is the moment where I'm going to leave some of you behind. Unless you have Ulead Photo Impact 8 or one of the expensive Adobe programs, you probably won't have the tools I show in this week's article. Take heart though; this series will be available for you to read and learn from for a long time, and when the time and finances are right, you can play along. Remember, the least expensive program I have that will do what I'm showing you today is Photo Impact 8 (boxed version is less than $100), and as far as I've seen, it is the most complete with special effects. It is also the most stable program of its kind I have used.

No, I'm not advertising for one version or brand of software. In fact, other than being a user myself, I have no affiliation with Ulead at all. However, I feel it is my obligation and in your best interests to pass on my observations and experiences with the software I use. I also feel obligated to explain why I prefer one program over the others I use or have used.

Photo Impact has some special effect features that allow you to place a photo or text in a bubble that you can move to any part of a photo you wish. You can change the reflective qualities and the transparency qualities of the bubble until you get the effect you like. You aren't limited to bubbles either. You can select from about a dozen shapes and stretch them beyond that. Let's try a few ideas.

I have a feeling I'm going to owe Paul Dieter a few photos after I finish this series. I keep using his photos because they fit the theme of what I'm trying to show, and partially because he's a good sport and doesn't complain about my using them. So, starting with a now-familiar photo of Paul looking into his awesome fly box, let's get going.

Next I outline, copy and paste a photo of Paul's hand holding a fish he caught. We already looked at how to do this, so I won't show the steps here. If you need to, go back and refresh your memory.

Next, keeping the fish cutout active, I click on the "effects" bar and scroll down to "crystal and glass". Then I click on the round shape, stretch the bubble lengthwise and vertically to cover the fish, and adjust the reflection, transparency and other features to suit my tastes.

Now the fish is in a bubble that I can resize and move to any place I want on the picture. If I save the photo in Ulead's UFO format, the bubble will be available to copy and paste into other photos later too.

I can leave the photo just like this if I want to.

Or, I can continue working with it. Hmmm, let's use the same tools and add a picture of Paul on the water fishing.

Maybe we should add a fly that worked especially well that day (or looks like it would work).

When you resize elliptical shapes in the bubble effect, be sure to uncheck the "keep aspect ratio" box so you can adjust the length and height separately.

Our final view shows a possible thought process leading to a fish.

Let's change the fly and add a grasshopper.

Maybe we should just apply a donut shape to our fish. That feature is in the same effect pallet as the bubble.

What do you think?

Or, maybe we should just keep it simple and limit our special effects to thoughts of fish while we look into that fly box.

I mentioned special occasions before. You can use this program and its special effects to capture a special day (like Christmas) and capture how special that day was to one member of the family. This is my dog Buford sleeping hard after a Christmas day full of play and fun with my son and grandsons. I captured pictures of his day and the people and events that seemed special to him. Then, I turned those moments into dreams he can hold in his sleep. Buford didn't say much about the final photo, but my wife loved it. She has it in a frame in a special place on the wall.

There are a lot more features in the effects pallet that you might want to play with. We just scratched the surface today. We'll play a little harder next week. Until then, practice and don't forget that contest. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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