'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Friday 29 June 2012

In print!

For the first - and probably last - time, I am in print, together with my fellow students. We appear on pages 40 - 43 of the current edition of 'Workbox' magazine. Ignore my deathless prose, I can do better, but the photos look good - and you can admire my colleagues' words and pictures. There are also details of the show, should you wish to attend.

The downside of it all is that we had our last ever class on Wednesday - a combination of chocolate, stress, and some tears. But we are planning on staying together as a group - and will be showing at the Graduate Showcase at ICHF at the NEC in March. Scary!

I am in an advanced state of panic, as I won't be setting up for the show till Wednesday afternoon (not my choice) and I am convinced that what can go wrong, will go wrong. I'm on top of the work, apart from some last-minute mind changes about books of photographs (photo corners appear to be an endangered species) and Moo cards (expensive but cute), but I think we have all got to the stage where we all want it to be over.

So it has been a relief to turn to apps. Today's is a little more expensive than ArtCamera - and a whole lot better. It's called PhotoArtista Oil - no relation to my sewing machine - and it's one of a series of covetable apps from Jixipix.

I can't now remember which filters I used for the samples: there are three ranges, 'Oil', 'Impressionism' and 'Abstract' (which isn't very). Each can be adjusted, and you can also change the edge of the image, as in the camellia.



This app is relatively expensive, but I love it! Dedicated i-thingy users will know that the prices can godown as well as up, so it's worth setting up a wish list on an app like AppShopper and waiting...





The other drawback is that, for my high-resolution images, it works s-l-o-w-l-y, but the results are worth waiting for.


I've decided to stop awarding INTUTS -they confuse me, so they probably confuse you too. But PhotoArtista Oil is relatively straightforward to use and is strongly recommended if you want to add a painterly quality to your photos.

Be warned that there will probably be even more photography on this blog come September - I have signed up for BTEC Photography at college next term. Well, I had to do something- and I decide it was time to learn how to do my camera justice...


Monday 25 June 2012

Art Camera?

Today's app is Art Camera.

This one.

- there are at least two others. Its strengths are that it is free, easy to use [1 INTUTs], and you can hand write on your images. Its weaknesses are that it has a small range of not amazingly interesting, untweakable filters, and is low-res.

I like the first of these, [HT filter + blur] though the writing is in the wrong place. It is fairly easy to move and rescale the writing, one you've worked out how to get it the right way up - hence the award of one INTUT.

I like the handwriting [or, more accurately, finger writing] bit, so I may keep it for that - I'm thinking of starting a folder on Paddy named '1 Hit Wonders' and putting in it the apps that might come in useful one day, like this one.

But 'Art'? I think not, though 'Camera' is justified, as you can take photos using it. [I came across the name for that on some techy site but of course I can't remember it...]

Friday 22 June 2012

It seems quiet around here...

I have some finishing off to do before handing in 'the final body of work' on Wednesday, but that is in the diary for the weekend. There is the usual household routine, of course, but that isn't what you might call exciting.

Actually, it's been quite nice.

There's been time for a little more playing around with iPad apps - this time with addLib.


At £1.99, this is probably one of the most expensive apps I've bought, and you have very little control over what it does, but I love it.

You can choose where to centre your image, and what text to add - either your own or random. The app does the rest - colour, layout, arbitrary letters. You just keep clicking the 'random' button till you get something you like, which isn't hard. I would like some control over colour and letters, but the font is plain, and the colours interesting.

It's Japanese, and I think that shows in the choice of colours, but I prefer them to a rather brighter palette. I think some of these would make classy greetings cards, or a print it yourself calendar, with very little effort on my part - now there's an idea...

P.S. I forgot to award INTUTs - this gets 0.5 as it requires very little intelligence to use, which is another reason I like it. It is not quite no stars because finding the customising details is a bit tricky [pinch an image, they are hiding behind it].

Wednesday 20 June 2012

The road to hell...

So much for my good intentions - to post more regularly. In my own defence, hand-in day for the penultimate three modules of the Degree is tomorrow, and I have been chasing my tail completing everything I needed to do. Now I have a box full of stuff, a headache and other flu-like symptoms, and a lingering feeling that I've forgotten something.

Next week we hand in our 'final body of work' for marking, then set up the degree show and it's all over. Hard to believe it's been three years! If you want to come and see us, information here: http://www.susanchapman.com/.

I have managed to play with another iPad photgraphy app, as promised. This one is aremaC, a general photo editing app. Like 1-Bit, you can either take a new photo while you are using it, or download a pre-existing photo. There are a wide range of filters, most of them in the section headed 'On-Line Library' on the right, with a number of different categories. This one is 'Banksy', for obvious reasons, from the art category.

There is another section, accessed by the + sign bottom left, which allows you to select new presets. This is Colour Splash.

And finally you can use the preset presets, if you know what I mean. Warhol, to the right. There are some interesting effects, but I don't find the app easy to use, so it gets 3.5 INTUTs (intelligence needed to use them).

Tuesday 12 June 2012

I admit it...

I've been getting lazy about posting recently.  So after a trying afternoon persuading Big Mac to talk to  Big Epson after Apple's iPhoto update I gave myself permission to play with Paddy.

During an insomniac couple of hours this morning I decided it was time for another series of doing things to photos and boring you all with the results. [New readers can find out what they are letting themselves in for by typing 'photo manipulation' into that handy little search box on the right.] [There is something about insomnia which leads me to this sort of unwise decision. For an alternative, impressive approach  go here.] [Too many brackets? Too right.]

Since I got Paddy I have downloaded a ridiculous number of photography apps. In my own defence, many were free - I'm a sucker for freebies, and recommend The App Whisperer if you are too.

I decided it was time to work through them, finding out what they can do, and weeding out any that aren't worth the space devoted to them. I'm going to be a little more scientific about it this time, and try each on three types of image

a landscape [Yorkshire in June]

a portrait [Babybel and the VHC last summer]

and, for old times sake, a flower, a camellia [I think].

I'm going to try each app out on each image and see what I think - your comments gratefully accepted. And, given the struggles I've already had with some of them, I shall be rating them for the amount of intelligence needed to use them - or 'INTUT'. [Unlike star ratings, a high INTUT rating is not a good thing.] I figure this way I learn more about my apps and I get motivated to post. And I have a good excuse for playing with Paddy. I keep pointing out to Wensleydale that before I had Paddy I used to sit at the desk playing with Big Mac, and now I sit next to him on the sofa playing with Paddy - so it must be better!

But I digress.

The first app I tried was 'I-Bit Camera'  - or, as I prefer to call it, the 2-trick pony. It has 2 'dithering modes', Atkinson and Bayer, each of which has two settings - high and low contrast. And that's it.

Bayer is the mode which gives squarish blocks, and Atkinson is curvier. If the resolution isn't good enough after the images have been Bloggered, the camellia is Atkinson and Babybel and Yorkshire aren't.

As you can see, the originals got cropped in the process - and they look much better on the retina display, but doesn't everything?

I kind of like the effect, and I think if I had the patience to experiment, perhaps by posterizing the initial image, it might be possible to come up with blackwork patterns, especially from Bayer.

The description on the link suggests that this app probably appeals most to those who understand what dithering modes are. I got it for free [I think...] - whether you think it is worth paying for probably depends on your geekiness/interest in blackwork.

But it's dead easy to use, so it gets only 1.5 INTUTs -the .5 because working out how to save the image taxed my aged brain a bit.

Monday 11 June 2012

Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea

to go on holiday less than a month before the final hand in date for my degree.

Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to allow myself to be sidetracked into mindless embroidery for so long.

Perhaps my organisational skills aren't quite as good as I thought they were.

Whatever the reason, we got back from Yorkshire on Saturday, on Sunday I worked out what I still had to do before hand in day - and a sort of quiet panic ensued,

Big Mac has been getting a thorough work out.

There was another minor panic last night when we realised we were babysitting on Saturday afternoon, in addition to our usual bi-weekly sessions - but all is under control. Swan-like, I am calm on the surface, although paddling like hell below the waterline. [I also have a vicious temper and can break a man's arm with my wing.] [Only half of that is true.]

We did have a relaxing holiday - [no wifi, no phone coverage, no Jubilee celebrations] despite the weather, and there were a few good days. Too much eating, a little culture - Miro at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and a Shakespeare First Folio at Skipton Museum of all places, - some retail therapy,  and a lot of relaxing.

No insult intended to Skipton, I think it's a great place - a First Folio, some great postcards in the Information Centre, a proper market, a good veggie cafe, a canal, a fent shopa craft shop  and lots of other shops where you seem to be able to get anything you want - unlike most of the other towns in the area. [Don't get me started on Hawes. Where do you buy food in Hawes? And where else in the UK still has an early closing day? Apart from Sedbergh.]

If Skipton had a Booths it would be perfect. [Do you lot up north know how lucky you are to have Booths? Like Waitrose but better.]

Miro at the YSP. There is a lovely quote from him in the exhibition, saying his sculpture is 'phantasmagoric' compared to his paintings which are 'more conventional'. I think I'd have to look at Miro's paintings for a very long time before the word 'conventional' crossed my mind...

That. by the way, is a 'concrete tree' on the right - so called because of  a slight misunderstanding between Babybel and her granny. She informed me very graciously that concrete didn't grow on trees, you made it from sand, cement and water.

Time to get back to the grindstone...