Improving the Photos

Question: What do you do if your photos did not turn out well [due to a low spec camera like mine]?

Answer: You “Photoshop” it

This has been covered by Jeff Ooi sometime ago but I am not talking about “photo-shopping” in that angle. I am looking from the end user point of view.

Photo-shopping a photo may sound easy and sometimes necessary but just how many of us have actually been trained to use the program. Worst still, how many of us are using the original program (not pirated one, come on tell me the truth)? When I bought my Fuji Finepix, it came with software called “FinePix Viewer” which allows some limited adjustments like brightness, contrast, etc to the photos snapped on the camera. It worked fine for most of the time but it was however was limited in usage.

This is where the program “Paint Net” comes in to bridge the gap. It is free (that’s important for me), has almost the capabilities as the high end Photoshop and it has some amazing effects to play around with the quality of photos snapped. Interestingly (from the website), this software started as an undergraduate senior design project at Washington State University and was mentored by Microsoft. It was intended as a free replacement for the MS Paint software that comes with Windows (hmmm so will this make a comeback in Microsoft Vista?). Some quick reviews are here.

* Paint Net in focus. The dashboard is user friendly and there is unlimited “undo” function – important especially when one is experimenting (the screenshot is a bit blur when I cut & paste)

Although I have not really gone into the manipulation features of the program, one important feature that helps me greatly in uploading pictures for my blog is the auto resize capability. It assists to auto resize the size of the photos. I used to resizing using the stretch/skew feature in the Microsoft Paint program to the resizing but sometimes I don’t get the right apportionment. With Paint Net, all I need to do is key-in the width size and the photo is adjusted automatically and without a loss of the picture quality. No more guessing work.

* The “before” picture – standard from my camera (sufficient for most times)

Another unique feature is the layer features – I can add a layer on top of the photo and do what ever I want to do and it will remain on the layer only. I can continue to add more layers and work on those layers. My original photo remains intact until I do the final saving which then all the layers will blend into one. I use this feature often when I adding text on top of the photos & adjusting the spacing before saving.

* The “after” picture – minor adjustments to the shot (brighter & sharper). It may not look better than the “before” picture I know but it looks better on the desktop

There are some cool features in the software which I have yet to explore (one of the coolest is a feature called “relief” which adds a 3D look) but learning how to use it is not a big problem as there are good online forum which has a step by step tutorials. The installation file is much smaller than the Photoshop.

All I need to do now is to set aside some time and start practicing.

Read also: Playing with Oranges

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3 thoughts on “Improving the Photos

  1. aiyoo…you wont believe the number of these photo editing programs i’ve tried – all in vain. i have photoshop (who doesnt??), had photofiltre n a few others which i cant remember anymore. the longest i’ve had these are maybe one or 2 uses n out it goes of my pc.

    can NEVER understand how to use layers…dont even know HOW to manipulate anything – i normal just click n see what happens lar n thats abt it. no patience to learn this lar although i know it’s benefits [to a certain extend]. have to go n cari a photo-editing for dummies book online or something lar. *sigh*

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