Wednesday, July 6, 2016

How to Replace a Face in Photoshop

In an office space inhabited by five women, not separated by cubicles, there's bound to be a little bit of conversation.  A chat between two often leads to a group discussion that ultimately veers from the original topic until we settle back down, thoughts now miles away from where they started.

The kick-off point for one of these meandering dialogues recently was regarding an uncooperative photo subject.  With our close proximity making it difficult to not eavesdrop, I overheard a colleague, who is also a talented  photographer,  expressing a level of disgruntlement to a co-worker, over a child involved in a family portrait shoot.  It seems the tiny tween felt ruining the results was far more fun than behaving, thus posed with grimace or stuck-out tongue throughout.

There were, the photographer added, a few pictures without this youngster's attitude. However, as life has it, they inevitably weren't  the best pictures of everyone else.

Soon colleagues were chiming in, until ultimately, the question was asked as to whether Photoshop could be used to transfer one good expression for another.

Which brought me into the conversation with a story about an early Photoshop challenge of this type for a former co-worker of mine. Several years ago, a friend of my older daughter make a joke about how putting her head on her tall, leggy sister would make the perfect woman. Since Photoshop was a relatively new feature added to our publishing company, the person who was using it thought it would be fun to give this a try.

The results were incredible. My two girls found the photo hilarious. Their mother, while finding it just a little creepy, was impressed by the potential of this new software. Though this was all for fun, there are times I knew when it could prove to be an invaluable tool.

We've all looked at an almost perfect family photo and thought how much better it would be if Little Billy wasn't looking the wrong way, if Granny didn't have her eyes closed or Uncle Jake wasn't smirking. The ability to replace that one expression with a better one makes everyone happy.

Most Photoshop pros have learned the magic of this. But if you're a novice, here are some great tutorials to guide you through the process:

Digital Photography School — Replace a Face in 6 Easy Steps With Photoshop

YouTube Tutorial on How to Change a Face in Photoshop

WikiHow — Swap Faces in Photoshop

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Thousands of Beautiful Photos of the World for Travel Tuesday

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." — Mark Twain.

There's adventure to be found in this big, wide, wonderful, albeit occasionally scary,  world. Every part has its own uniqueness, its own story.  Where once upon a time the risks of visiting some of these places were understood, today such certainty doesn't exist. There are those who have taken the commonplace, the routine pleasures in life and instilled apprehension in us about them.  We can't any longer accept that darkness won't be waiting around every next corner.

It heartens me, though, to know that we refuse to let terror win. People still pile into places once taken for granted to be safe, now often targeted by those whose hearts are tainted by malicious intent. Millions, after all,  gathered for the July 4th Boston Pops concert. They continue to party in nightclubs, visit entertainment centres and pack stadiums.

Twain would be happy to know that they're also not about to let fear keep them vegetating in their own little corner. Everybody's going places these days. Last evening at a small social gathering, I spoke with a woman who recently returned from a tour of Great Britain. For two weeks, she and her husband scooted across England, Scotland and Ireland, taking in the rich history from medieval castles to the Beatles Story, a museum in Liverpool dedicated to the Fab Four.

Other acquaintances are making tracks over Europe and Asia, dancing in opera houses or backpacking across picturesque terrain. A close friend recently wrapped up an extended stay with her son in Australia, while another has just announced her plan for an Alaskan cruise this summer. And my elder son, with his daughter and a friend, are making a quick jaunt to some Scottish highlights before attending a music festival there this week.

Some stay closer to home but they're certainly not staying put. From east to west, north to south they're discovering or revisiting places all over the continent.

So as thoughts wander to the many places folks are roaming these days, and since it's Travel Tuesday, here are two terrific photo collections of lovely places from all over the world: World Landscape Photos Travel Photos Photos of Beautiful Places

Monday, July 4, 2016

Beautiful Photos of America

Today our friends south of the border are celebrating their most significant holiday. Each year on July 4, citizens of the United States observe Independence Day. It commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on that day in 1776, making a nation of 13 American colonies on the eastern side of the country,  separate from the British Empire.

Having added 37 other states in the years since,  America is an expansive country that is geographically diverse, from deserts and plains to rocky mountains and rolling blue grasses, from theme parks and tropical destinations to sprawling urban landscapes and historic monuments.

I have visited a few of these locations over the years, in passing or for extended stays. There are, however, many to go. The plan is that some day it will happen.

My husband and I have begun talking about various trips we look forward to in retirement. We will fulfil our love of music in the dark intimate blues clubs of Chicago and the deep south. We will indulge our love of nostalgia cruising down the fabled Route 66.  We will savour the feel of California, Hawaiian and Arizona sun on our skin, while comparing it to the Floridian bask.

At least that's our plan. Life, of course, has a way of making things happen, or not happen as expected.  But we are throwing this future out to the universe and anticipating the best for our leisure time together after a life of working.

My brother-in-law and his wife are certainly making the best of that very thing. Since retiring last year they have traversed a lot of this country as well as  managing to get to about a third of the United States thus far. They so enjoyed the first few trips that they ended up buying a motor home so they could have a little more control over where they wander and when.  The experiences have been nothing but positive for them and they've loved taking in the grand American sites they've visited.

At the rate they're moving, there won't be many left to see either. They are barely home before heading out for another road trip to see more of the the great USA.

To celebrate this proud country on July 4th, its beauty and grandeur, let's look at these terrific photo collections: Photos of America Photos of America