Friday, February 10, 2012

A Paean to Photoshop, Or Sadie Takes Pictures of Herself in a Green Wig

Photograph is really of Sadie, as bizarre as it looks.

I finally decided that it was time to stop pretending that I’m Carrie Fisher on my various profiles and change my profile pic back to one that is actually me. While I still bear a phenomenal resemblance to Ms. Fisher, I don’t want to irritate her by perpetually passing off her “Return of the Jedi” metal bikini pic as my only. Credulity on the part of viewers only goes so far. No, I wouldn’t step one foot into that bikini. 

So, I came upon a short but interesting article about how to take good photos of yourself, and it had a few tips for Photoshop optimization, backgrounds, and so on. The green wig was a mere impulse accessory, but I don’t think it looks bad. Why wouldn’t I want to look like an anime babe? Anyway, the bright green hair straight from China and the three fighting silhouettes on my shirt made for an interesting set of referents as I played with a function on Photoshop called “curves.” 

Hitting Cntrl-M as the helpful article above directed, I saw a grid with a straight line diagonally across it. I had the choice of altering the shape of the curve (by dragging it at several points) in the RGB or individual red, green or blue. The table at the top will show what fun I had with this function.  The top left photo is the original. Some of them are not curve altered but have been modified with Color Balance on the Adjust menu to yield those funky, unnatural skin tones. (Oddly, my resemblance to Carrie Fisher seems to be amplified when I turn my skin magenta or yellow, wonder why?)

Anyway, the laudatory bit comes now. I have owned my copy of Photoshop since 1999, when I was a part-time student. At the time, it was Photoshop 5.5. Now,  13 years and 4 computers later, I can still run this old copy of Photoshop, meant for Windows 95 or 98 (and I think the brand new Windows ME at the time), on Windows 7 Home Premium, follow relatively up-to-date advice on modifying images in the program and come out with great results. Since I was a student at the time, I got the program for a reduced rate of about $300. It is the best $300 I’ve ever spent on a computer-related item. So, Adobe, want to make me an official cheerleader for Photoshop? I can’t really afford a copy of the new version, but the old version is so robust for what I use it for, I am continually flabbergasted (in a good way) with the results I get.

As an endnote, you see those funny little guys on my shirt, the ones who change color as I play with the color settings in Photoshop? Well, that’s a shirt exclusively from , purveyors of great old samurai flicks that I love to watch and imitate in the shower (j/k). I won the shirt in the 2010 Samurai Fiction contest for a story I wrote entitled, “The Samurai Who Lost His Head But Found Another.” If you enjoy a taste of Edo era bathos, read it here.

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