Back to Photography, Happy Again

Years and years ago I had a job as the Easter Bunny’s Helper in a big department store (remember those?). I was the person who wrangled the kids and took the pictures. The camera was a massive box and had to be put inside a dense cloth bag so that I could take the film out to send it away for processing. The bag had zippers and arm sleeves, all designed to keep the light out. The job – aside from the occasional screaming kid – was fascinating! A few years later I had a job that suddenly included writing on-the-job training scripts for employees at our pharmaceutical manufacturing company AND taking pictures that demonstrated the activities. I needed to learn how to use an SLR  fast. The camera was an ancient Pentax that used film (this was pre-digital photography) and had no automatic settings. I took lessons from a local photographer and read as many books on photography as I could find. I loved taking pictures and never stopped after that. 

But paint and paper and clay turned out to be interesting, too. Over time I took fewer pictures. Cameras changed. I changed – LOL. Even though I still “capture” things it’s been a while since I filled a camera card. But I still have lots of photos I can offer the world. Today I took some time to upload the 5 photos above to my “ART BY ROBIN KING” Redbubble site to join the others are already there in my Photography Collection. They’re now available on various Redbubble products (journals, clothing, magnets, stickers, masks, prints, stationery, etc.).

In the weeks to come I’ll add more photography, work that hasn’t been seen yet.

And, as soon as I can sort out a camera that functions well enough I’m going to start shooting pix again. What fun!

Good news! Affinity Photo likes me!! ::happydance::

Just a test (nothing special, but good enough for the purpose: it worked!!) 🤗    (©️Robin King)

Yes! See that image above? Affinity Photo let me create it. It’s a multi-layered piece made up of two photos, one scan, and digital painting/editing. Here are the photos and scan: 

Scan of an acrylic mess I made several years ago. (©️Robin King)
Photo of an industrial trash bin (©️Robin King)
Photo of my eyes, from before the dawn of selfies.   (©️Robin King)

I was able to easily turn the component images into layers – then blend, edit, and paint them. Combining the layers to export wasn’t intuitively obvious so I did it wrong a couple of times but finally figured it out. Unfortunately, when I attempted to create a smaller web-friendly image to post here, I accidentally clicked wrong and destroyed the large original. I should’ve made a duplicate first but didn’t. It’s OK: entirely my error, not Affinity Photo’s. And not a big loss. 

So there it is: I can use Affinity Photo the way I need to. YAY!!! As soon as I check a few more things I’ll pay the $24.99 to buy it. Pixelmator Pro was terrific but it costs more and money rules sometimes. 

Pixelmator Pro: Quick Look

EDITED VERSION (©️Robin King)
Original (©️Robin King)

Three days ago I downloaded a 15-day free trial of Pixelmator Pro. Because of a leg injury I can’t sit at a computer for more than a few minutes at a time, so I’ve been trying to explore (and learn how to use) Pixelmator Pro fast.  

My first quickety-split discovery was how to resize an image for web use. Excellent! 

The second thing I found – and figured out how to use – was a set of editing tools that included the usual curves and slides. What surprised me was the fascinating array of presets that can also be adjusted. It’s this set of tools that enabled me to make the first photo, above, from the second. Quick clicks, easy slides: big changes.

Even though Pixelmator Pro isn’t Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (which I’ve used for years) I’m loving it so far. But I need it to work well when I create digital mixed media multi-layered images, so tomorrow I’ll try to make and edit layers.

…….

Here’s the Pixelmator Pro site: https://www.pixelmator.com/pro/

I Dream of Sunshine

Brusho Sunburst Lemon sitting on a work-in-process

Where are you, sunshine? Where’s your twinkly kiss? I dream of you in the morning. I need your light. You can vanish in the afternoon; I don’t care. But don’t be shy in the morning. Dazzle me! Sparkle me! Give me hope for the day. 

Some people are night creatures, others are at their best mid-day. I’m a very early morning person. My day is front-loaded. Everything useful I’ll do, I’ll do before noon. But I need sunshine! Unfortunately, our recent weather has been murky glop. Humid, warm, dark. 

This morning is sunny but I have to do things other than art. More murk is headed our way and will move in for nearly a week. What to do?

I’ll have to make my own sunshine.

That’s where those Brusho crystals come in. I bought them in the depth of winter, haven’t had the courage to open the package because even though it was a small expenditure it was still money and there’s a lot of pressure on me to use those crystals well. But that little tub of “Sunburst Lemon” is going to be my dream-come-true in the coming days: sunshine on demand.

……….

The mixed media piece above is acrylic paint, metallic cord, and the holes from hole-punching old advertising circulars. It’s not quite finished. 

Here’s Brusho, if you’re interested: https://www.dickblick.com/products/brusho-crystal-colours/

That’s Not An Alligator

©Robin King

Really! That’s not an alligator up there. It’s a tree limb masquerading as one. I recently found this photo in my files from 2004. Well, I found the original. It’s dark, less saturated, and has no twinkly places where the sun made the water sparkle. What you see here is the newly-edited version.

Background: I’m currently doing a trial of Affinity Photo and, after thousands of years of using Photoshop Elements, I’m at sea with Affinity. It seems to be great and I’m sure that if I could sit at this computer for extended periods of time, frequently, I’d be a whiz using the software before the trial ends. But due to a leg injury, sitting here leads to problems. I can’t do it for more than a few minutes at a time or I can’t walk afterwards. 

In spite of that I’ve done a few things with Affinity – such as edit the non-alligator above to make it more vibrant. Very easy!

But my “normal” work isn’t editing photos. I generally add photos, scanned traditional art (drawings, paintings, collages), and scanned cut paper assemblages as layers into a software program like Photoshop Elements – then edit, digitally paint, etc. the multiple layers until I create something I like. Doing THAT in Affinity Photo doesn’t appear to be straightforward or easy to learn. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what “Develop” means and why I have to adopt certain “Personas” to do certain things. 

Because of those challenges – and the fact that I don’t have Photoshop Elements (too $$$) on this computer, which leaves me unable to make most of my art!!!! – I thought I’d take a look at Pixelmator Pro in a trial, too.

I downloaded Pixelmator Pro a few minutes ago, found the tools and workspace to be deliciously familiar.

I’m hoping that one of these programs will do the job for me and not cost much. Sooo…I’ll be spending time trying to learn the two programs in order to decide which to get. Can’t have both.

AND: If anyone’s wondering where I’ve been for the past few days here’s the scoop: my internet has been out sporadically, intermittently, inexcusably. I’ve spent days/nights troubleshooting the equipment and the signals. No luck yet, but today it’s working! So YAY!!!!

Do you use Affinity Photo or Pixelmator Pro? Both?

What do you find to be the most useful tools? Why?

 

Balancing Act

Stopping to smell the pixels.

For the past few days I’ve been focused on trying to regain whatever skills I developed with pencils, a few years ago. Slow-going, lots of missteps and frustrating messes. I used to be able to draw eyes. Good ones! They looked the way I wanted them to! Now, because I didn’t draw for so long, I draw the eyes I drew when I was learning to draw them the first time. Not good ones! They don’t look the way I wanted them to! 

It’s humbling. It’s also making me want to break a few pencils after I scribble all over those not-good-eyes.

But pencils are expensive and I can’t destroy honest attempts. Instead, I took a break with iPastels and made the silly face above.

Silly is good. I enjoyed my little escape and can now return to pencils, renewed. 

Have You Tried “Image Tricks?”

"Summer Treats" ©️Robin King

I made the “Summer Treats” pattern using “Image Tricks” (BeLight Software). It’s an app designed for Macs and there’s free version that lets you make magic with existing images – and also generate new ones.

Here’s their page: https://www.belightsoft.com/products/imagetricks/

I’ve been using “Image Tricks” for years and have found it to be robust, easy to learn, and packed full of very cool features. Have you ever tried it? 

     (“Summer Treats” is available on the full range of Redbubble products)