Luminosity Masking in darktable (Ian Hex)

Photographer Ian Hex was kind enough to be a guest writer over on PIXLS.US with a fantastic tutorial on creating and using Luminosity Masks in the raw processing software darktable.


You can find the new tutorial over on PIXLS.US:


Mairi Trois


Readers who've been here for a little while might recognize my friend Mairi, who has modeled for me before. This time I had a brief opportunity for her to sit for me again for a few shots before she jet-setted her way over to Italy for a while.

I was specifically looking to produce the lede image you see above, Mairi Troisième. In particular, I was chasing some chiaroscuro portrait lighting that I had in mind for a while and I was quite happy with the final result!

Of course, I also had a large new light modifier, so bigger shots were fun to play with as well:


Mairi Color (in Black)
ƒ/6.3 1/200s ISO200


Mairi B&W
ƒ/8.0 1/200s ISO200

Those two shots were done using a big Photek Softlighter II [amazon] that I treated myself to late last year. (I believe the speedlight was firing @3/4 power for these shots).

It wasn't all serious, there were some funny moments as well...


My Eyes Are Up Here
ƒ/7.1 1/200s ISO200

Of course, I like to work up close to a subject personally. I think it gives a nicer sense of intimacy to an image.


More Mairi Experiments
ƒ/11.0 1/200s ISO200


Mairi Trois
ƒ/8.0 1/200s ISO200

Culminating at one of my favorites from the shoot, this nice chiaroscuro image up close:


Mairi (Closer)
ƒ/10.0 1/200s ISO200

It's always a pleasure to get a chance to shoot with Mairi. She's a natural in front of the camera, and has these huge expressive eyes that are always a draw.

Later this week, an update on PIXLS.US!

Wikipedia #Edit2014 Video

About a two months ago I was approached by Victor Grigas, a video producer for the Wikimedia Foundation (the non-profit that supports Wikipedia), about using some of the techniques I had previously discussed to create 2.5D parallax video images from single photographs. The intention was to use these 2.5D videos as part of their first ever "Year in Review" video:



For reference, this was my previous result using F/OSS to create the 2.5D parallax effect with still images:



For the Wikipedia video, Victor asked if I could use some images from Wiki Loves Monuments (apparently the worlds largest photo competition according to the Guiness World Records). How could I say no? (Disclaimer: I donate every year during their funding drives).

So I agreed, and after a short wait for the finalists from the competition to be chosen, was sent these two awesome images to turn into 2.5D parallax videos:



After a bit of slicing and dicing, I ended up with these short segments that ended up in the final video. As before, I did the main plane separations in GIMP manually. I divided the planes to best accommodate the anticipated camera movement through the scene (simple dolly pans). Once I had the planes separated, it was a simple process to bring them into Blender and offset the planes as the camera tracked across the scene:





This was a fun project to work on, and I want to thank the Wikimedia Foundation for giving me a chance to play with some gorgeous images and hopefully to help out in my own small way with the final outcome!

Also, Victor does a nice interview with the Wikimedia blog about producing the overall video. Great work everyone!

David Tschumperlé and OpenSource.graphics

Some of you may be familiar with G'MIC, the rather extensive image processing language created by David Tschumperlé that has a very popular plug-in for GIMP.

If you're a fan, here's a nice little treat for you. David has started a blog about image processing with open source software:

http://opensource.graphics




If you'd like a front seat to some of the more technically interesting things going on behind the scenes at G'MIC, this would be a good blog to follow I think. He's already come out of the gate with a neat 3D colorcube investigation of some images (seen above, Mairi).

The 2015 Libre Calendar

So Jehan Pages contacted me a little while ago about participating in a project to produce a “Libre Calendar”. Once he described the idea, it was an easy choice to join up and help out!


Through his non-profit LILA in France, he has assembled 6 artists to produce works specifically for this calendar (Disclaimer: I'm one of the artists):


Aryeom Han


Henri Hebeisen


Gustavo Deveze


Brian Beck



The proceeds from the calendar will be split evenly between the artists, the LILA non-profit, and various F/OSS projects that the artists used (GIMP, Blender, Inkscape, etc...). The full list is on the site. (Second disclaimer: I'm deferring any of my proceeds to the projects).

This is a really nice way to donate a bit to the various projects and get a neat gift for it.

Head over to the site to see some sample images from the artists, and consider buying a calendar! Jehan is looking to meet a minimum order before moving forward (around 100 I believe).

Woodcut/Hedcut(ish) Effect



Rolf as a woodcut/hedcut

I was working on the About page over on PIXLS.US the other night. I was including some headshots of myself and one of Rolf Steinort when I got pulled off onto yet another tangent (this happens often to me).

The rest of my GIMP tutorials can be found here:

Something Wicked This Way Comes...

I've been working on something, and I figured that I should share it with anyone who actually reads the stuff I publish here.

I originally started writing here as a small attempt at bringing tutorials for doing high-quality photography using F/OSS to everyone. So far, it's been amazing and I've really loved meeting and getting to know many like-minded folks.

I'm not leaving. Having just re-read that previous paragraph makes it sound like I am. I'm not.

I am, however, working on something new that I'd like to share with you, though. I've called it:


I've been writing to hopefully help fill in some gaps on high-quality photographic processes using all of the amazing F/OSS tools that so many great groups have built, and now I think it's time to move that effort into its own home.

F/OSS photography deserves its own site focused on demonstrating just how amazing these projects are and how fantastic the results can be when using them.

I'm hoping pixls.us can be that home. Pixel-editing for all of us!

I'm been building the site in my spare time over the past couple of weeks (I'm building it from scratch, so it's going a little slower than just slapping up a wordpess/blogger/CMS site). I want the new site to focus on the content above all else, and to make it as accessible and attractive as possible for users. I also want to keep the quality of the content as high as possible.

If anyone would like to contribute anything to help out: expertise, artwork, images, tutorials and more, please feel free to contact me and let me know. I'm in the process of porting my old GIMP tutorials over to the new site (and probably updating/re-writing a bunch of it as well), so we can have at least some content to start out with.

If you want to follow along my progress at the moment while I build out the site, I'm blogging about it on the site itself at http://pixls.us/blog. As mentioned in the comments, I actually do have an RSS feed for the blog posts, I just hadn't linked to it yet (working on it quickly). The location (should your feedreader not pick it up automatically now) is: http://pixls.us/blog/feed.xml.

If you happen to subscribe in a feedreader, please let me know if anything looks off or broken so I can fix it! :)

Things are in a constant state of flux at the moment (did I mention that I'm still building out the back end?), so please bear with me. Please don't hesitate for a moment to let me know if something looks strange, or with any suggestions as well!

When it's ready to go, I'm going to ask for everyones help to get the word out, link to it, talk about it, etc. The sooner I can get it ready to go, the sooner we can help folks find out just how great these projects are and what they can do with them!

Excelsior!