Monday, August 9, 2010

Alexander 6, V119.

Well, finished almost all the books at hand now, and nothing to pass my day with except of surfing, music and thinking of something to do with my webpage. I thought of adding one my photos into the webpage design but changed my mind. There is a logo already for Ayvarith and I will put it as a background. The thing that stops me from proceeding now is my ambition to include voice clips in between the webpages to let people hear how Ayvarith sounds, but in the same time I want the design to be plain and simple. This is why I wanted to avoid doing it by Flash in the first place. Flash is a time-consuming venture for someone like me who needs to read tutorials just to go through and experiment several times to do exactly what is needed.

My trials now to print some photos on the newly-purchased glossy papers had sort of failed, because the ink in my printer was over, and the prints I've made (4 photos on 2 pages) sounded more like smudged. I have a spare ink cartridges, but I'm afraid that this smudge effect was not because of the ink level being low, but mainly because of the paper quality itself. I'm not so sure how to solve this problem, but the least I can do so far is just to replace the cartridges and try my luck out. The images were large as well, with 2 images being in one A4 paper, thus I think I will shrink them to fit in 4 images in just one page. I think this is more reasonable that way.

Been working a little with the panorama I took back last Friday again and trying to figure out a way to over come the many glitches in it. Finally, I came up with some solution that sort of solved a major problem concerning the light difference on the scene caused by the sun raising so fast while my workflow was so slow.

The Beach Silhouette (Unfinished)

As you can see it is another silhouette image, and I tried hard to make it that way. Because the trees and branches made really no interesting colors or ventures in the image itself. The main problem was in the sands; some of it were dark (to the left) and the rest was light (to the right), and despite my effort to neglect the HDR approach and stitch several single brackets together of difference exposures just to balance the scene, but all was to fail. Also, I tried to manipulate the HDR file by using Exposure adjustment layer and darkening the light part of the scene on the right, but it was hard to be done and time-consuming as well (and sight consuming too!) because of the many delicate corners. Finally, I've figured out that since the image is almost in a square shape (not perfectly square anyway) maybe it is better to crop the lower part (and sacrificing the base of the shed on the right) to remove a big portion of that light sand. Also, that got me rid of the trash and stones that were under and around the shed. There is some difference in luminance in the sky, but I'm reluctant to fix this and make it all under one exposure (with dodge tool) or just keep it like that as a matter of color play. I can't decide yet. 
Despite the fact that it was an HDR image, I really didn't feel the need to "tone-map" it within the typical way. The file was simply manipulated by adjustment layers in 32-bit status and then converted to 16-bit with minimum manual tone-mapping as possible (some exposure and gamma manipulation without using the adaptive approach). I saved a version of this image as TIFF-16bit for later work of course, since it is not finished yet and needs some cleaning and some sharpening, and to remove some unwanted objects still. Here, I think it is important to know what we want from an image. In many occasions in fact, I would just open this image up in photomatix and go on playing with my sliders until I have to kind of impressive effect. But here the situation was different. I wanted a silhouette effect with a colorful sunrise sky, and that's it. This approach only, saved me time on tone-mapping like endlessly arriving to some satisfaction.

Speaking again now about TIFF 16-bit format, and after reading Alain Briot's book Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity, and Personal Style, it seems that I've been doing something wrong all that time. Alain opened my eyes to the fact that I must "document" or keep and archive of my images. That is, finalized images after processing.
The story stems from my typical workflow; load RAW files, combine HDRs, convert to 16bit with tone-mapping, add little adjustments then convert to 8bit and save as JPGs (large and small if necessary). I think this flow is wrong. I should keep a single TIFF 16-bit file and FROM that file, I should be producing many versions in many formats (usually lower 8bit JPEGs) as I wish. Because TIFF 16-bit are the higher in resolution and color quality (naturally!), thus, they must be the base. Before this time I used to (frequently) clean my harddisk of the TIFF files that I've used in the middle of my workflow. This was mainly because of my aim to produce JPEGs rather than TIFFs with higher resolution, to upload into stock sites for sale. They don't accept TIFFs and some of them accept other 16-bit formats (such as PNG or PSD) but for vector images only. HDR and OpenEXR files I do delete from time to time but not as frequent. Sometimes I just keep them specially if they were part of a panorama. The question now is, what shall I do with JPEG files? Shall I keep them like that to take space, or delete them after uploading (which doesn't sound good either)? I can't decide yet. Most probably, I'm going to keep all.

I leave you now with one song, and I just like it so...

2833. Alexander stared at the mirror curiously and carefully
2834. then Agdalán touched the mirror gently with his fingers
2835. and the image on the mirror changed slowly and faded
2836. then new images started to come over the mirror slowly
2837. fierce, violence, blood, all was fast in the eyes of Alexander
2838. he raised his voice and asked Agdalán: what is that?!
2839. Agdalán remained silent and did not answer directly
2840. the images continued to show up and massacres appeared
2841. old people, children, women, all are the same under the sword
2842. Alexander then yelled: AGDALÁN! what is going on?!
2843. Agdalán answered slowly: what you see is Daynur now,
2844. this is what has been happening since you left them,
2845. one hundred years of scattering and painful memories,
2846. your generals divided the lands among themselves,
2847. then fought against each other to take up more and more,
2848. and no one to take care of these people now as you see,
2849. you can see that the human greed has no limitations
2850. Alexander then shouted: and Hoshea? what about it?!
2851. Agdalán touched the mirror again and the image changed
2852. it shows now the image of Hoshea after he left his men there
2853. destruction, massacres, and the great wall is knocked down
2854. all are done by the hands of his one hundred loyal followers
2855. thus Alexander struck his forehead so hard with his palm
2856. and this he said: woe to you, O mischievous Alexander!

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