Thursday, January 22, 2015


Again, I'll try to wrap this quick. I'm seriously suffering this winter, with lack of enough sleep and the tiresome body, along with some weather conditions; I don't mind the coldness, but there were few rains here and there and the situation was not encouraging to explore the beach at night as I usually do.
Thus, not much was going on this week except for my usual work with shots and specifically panoramas from Ireland trying to do more experimenting with various touches and projection styles. Meanwhile, I devised a plan to invest my time in doing various things at work (since no real work is running). Thus, I dedicate some time to typing an article, and then to read some Irish grammar lessons as much as I can or reading a book, and finally spending the last hour at work watching some cartoons. I know, fancy workplace you might be saying right now but no, it's not. It's filled with stupidity to the neck and what I'm doing is just my methodology to payback and vent. As a rule: I don't respect those who don't respect me.

Now back to the images, and specifically panoramas. I'm trying to keep on the schedule with doing one single image a day, and one panorama day (both from Ireland's collection of 2014). Panoramas specifically had been a target for my "extreme Mercator" methods which I've mentioned in my previous post. There were some interesting results, specially after the help of Mr Photoshop in doing a bit of effects.

An Ais
(the axis)
One of the panoramas, An Ais, was easily shaped into a twirling surreal environment; probably what really helped here is the semi-conic structure of the tower inside. My hardships here, though, were the color adjustments and balancing (it had a greenish shade mixed with yellow).
There is a lot of empty space in An Ais and I was going to crop that down and make a square, but some features would be cropped as well and there was a great chance that it might look unbalanced more. Anyway, I had to exaggerate just a little bit in the twirl at center by using the wrap command in Photoshop and twirling the central points a bit. All that was done in HDR mode before tone-mapping. However, it wasn't always as easy and simple as that.

Gaoth agus Gaoithe
(wind and winds)

Some other panoramas like Gaoth agus Gaoithe were large, and definitely a simple wrap wouldn't work. Thus, the only solution available was to use the Twirl command under Filters menu. However, this command was not available for 32-bit (HDR) mode, nor 16-bit mode. It was all rolled back to good ol' 8-bit. Most of the adjustments were done in 16-bit mode of course, but to do the twirl command, I had to move back to 8-bit mode (which I will use anyway to save it as JPEG). This panorama in particular gained some popularity in 500px and the count went down after a day or so; I will never understand how this website works. Yet, the more difficult panorama was yet to come.

Is é ag titim Ashford
(Ashford is falling)

Along with the extreme Mercator trend lately, I've started also an off-the-center trend, mainly dedicated to tunnel view panoramas and planets. It is an approach to give a more dramatic look to the otherwise dull planets or tunnels, specially if there is no strong symmetry involved. In this panorama particularly, Is é ag titim Ashford, I wanted to add something extra other than just tilting the globe to the corner. Suddenly the idea of moving the clouds occurred to me. The perfect command for this was the Radial Blur, which can mimic an effect of zooming into (and thus adding some depth). The Motion Blur might be capable of that too but here, this command moves the pixels horizontal only without any "focal" point to direct the lines of pixels to. According to Christian Bloch (Blochi), the author of the HDR Handbook, such blurs are more beneficial if they were to be done in HDR format, because in HDR mode you don't control the pixels only, but also the luminance data accompanying them!

Source: Amazon
Well, the challenge here is how to do it? The square panorama after some tilting and cropping, was a bit more than 9000x9000 pixels! Selecting the sky portion was a bit lengthy work to do but it was done with some considerable effort and "eating" around some edges. Even with selecting a portion of the image (almost half of it), Photoshop machine couldn't apply the effect because of RAMs problem. Solution? Switch to the 64-bit Photoshop version. It has access to more RAM space to do the job. The only awkward thing about it is, no plugins are installed to be used for this version. Thus, I had to run this version JUST to do a radial blur! A radial blur of degree 5, took around few minutes to be done here.Saved the file (as PSB) and then back to the 32-bit version and the work was done the usual way; tone-mapping, enhancing, reduction!

Now, I've officially made another Instagram account for my Ayvarith (@ayvarith) and I'm posting a picture per day so far. I'm starting with the alphabet for the time being. Probably later I will get deeper with themes like "word of the day" or some grammatical issues? Who knows! The cumbersome point here is trying to log-in and out of my 2 accounts and posting here and there (and then re-posting from one into the other).

This is it for now and I wish if I can handle this weekend properly and do further out-goings at night. I just need to think of a proper location. Not counting on my luck here…

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