Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Little Automation In Photoshop

Click image to enlarge.
I've done images similar to today's in the past.  A different cyclist, a baseball batter, a soccer goalie and at least a half dozen others.  I do like to do much of the work on an image "old school".  Rather than running wild with Adobe Photoshop's (PS) built in automations.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for automating things in day to day life.  While I was at Intel I gave a talk (probably about ten years ago) about how we had just bought a new washer and dryer and it was the last appliance I planned to buy that wasn't connected to the internet.  Since then we've bought a condo, redid the kitchen with new stove, refrigerator and microwave.  The clothes washer and dryer are also new.  None are a part of what came to be called "The Internet of Things".  It's still "just around the corner".  If you want to be entertained, get a copy of Bill Gates book "The Road Ahead".  It was written in 1995.  Twenty years ago.  You can see how wrong Gates was with his vision of what "tomorrow" would be like.  If you get a kick out of that, try Michio Kaku's book "The Physics of the Future".  He looks ahead one hundred years (in twenty five year increments) in several fields.  One thing I can tell you about either work.  They're both wrong.  You can grab any book that speculates about "the future" and you'll see --- they're wrong.  Not in concept or vision.  They'll be wrong in time.  Some things will get here slower than estimated and others will get here sooner.  To continue on this ramble, hit the "Read More".

  A much more accurate book is Steven Johnson's book "How We Got To Now".  He, like Gates and Kaku goes through several fields.  The difference is his work is an explanation of what it took to get to today.  His isn't a speculation of what's to be.  It's more of a chronicle of the steps to took to get here.  He does have the advantage of looking back rather than looking forward.  His thinking can be applied to looking at the future.

People in high places do it all the time. Consider NASA.  They are thinking about colonies on Mars.  They can't just say "let's go to Mars".  That may be the grand statement, but there's a hundred or a thousand things that have to fall in place to get there.  Johnson can probably trace a colony on Mars back to the Chinese coming up with gun powder. But, that enough of a tangent (or in Intel speak - "a rat hole".

I've used PS's Auto-Align feature many times, but on today's image it was the first time I used it's Auto-Blend device.  Auto-Align did it's typical good job spreading the four images out.  Auto-Blend?  Not so much.  It was much quicker than doing a bunch of hand work to isolate the rider in four spots, but it made some... interesting masking decisions.  I'd say it got me 80% of the way there.  The rest was cleaning up the areas where it dropped masking points in fairly strange places.  Not a big deal.  I just had to go in and do a little mask painting.

The reason I do hand work in PS is to find out what the process is.  Any thing that can be done to automate what I already know..I'm all for.  I'll be using Auto-Blend more often.