Picture Perfect Flowers – Anticipation

Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.
– A. A. Milne –

In a month or two, my flower beds should look like this…

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.
– W. E. Johns –

Before that, though, there will be lots of non-gardening weather…

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
– John Ruskin –

which gives me sufficient time to put the photo through my filter factory.

A Digital Marble
Topaz Studio Fantasy Filter
Topaz Studio Impasto Filter
Topaz Studio Quad Tone filter

A Spanish magician prepares the audience for his final trick…
He yells “UNO!”
The crowd falls silent in anticipation.
“DOS!”
Everyone’s eyes are wide, laser focused on the performer.
Then, the magician vanishes… without a tres.
– Author Unknown –

What are you looking forward to in the next few months?

Digital Marble – Desert Chicory

I was going to do a blog post called ‘Circle Quotations’‘ but funny or interesting quotes about a mathematical concept are few and far between. Then I found this one-

Why is a polar bear never lost in the Arctic Circle?
Because it uses Polar Coordinates.

I think you have to be a math person to appreciate the wit, and that isn’t normally me, except I know that the ‘Digital Marbles’ I make in my photo program use a polar coordinate filter to turn square photos into circles.

I don’t know how the polar coordinate  filter works, but I like the result. The circles remind me of the marbles I played with as a child.

Are you old enough to remember when marbles and jacks were popular games? How about skipping and hop scotch; tag, hide and seek, leap frog, and yo-yos? Hula hoops! In the winter, fox and hounds, red rover (skating version), crack the whip, snowball fights and tobogganing!

I made the following two ‘marbles’ from photos of Desert Chicory.

How many degrees does a circle have?
Depends on how long it’s been in school.
-Author Unknown –

These is the original photo. Desert Chicory is a wild flower growing in Arizona.

 

Here are some of the other ‘marbles’ I’ve made:

Digital Marble – Christmas Tree Ornaments

A Digital Marble (Amazing Circle) made from a photo of a decorated Christmas Tree.

Original photo

Photo manipulating programs have a polar coordinate filter that can turn a photo into a circular shape that is reminiscent of a fortune teller’s orb or marble – or a Christmas Tree ornament! They are also commonly called Amazing Circles. I found a post by Russel Ray with full directions and illustrations for how to create An orb in Photoshop. Be sure to go to his post to see his intriguing results!

I’m very excited with my marble photos, though I will soon have so many of them that I expect the novelty will wear off – for you. I don’t think I will tire of it soon because each one is so unpredictable. I never know what will be inside the marble photo until it is complete! Here are the directions for making these using one purchased program and one freeware program.

1. Photoshop Elements 10:

a. Open your picture in Photoshop Elements or Photoshop and enhance it as desired. I usually adjust the lighting levels and sharpen.

b. Crop it to a square, or a ratio of 1:1

c. Click on Filter – Distort – Polar Coordinates – Polar to Rectangular – OK

d. Click on Image – Rotate – Flip Vertical

e. Click on Filter – Distort – Polar Coordinates – Rectangular to Polar – OK. Then I opened FastStone Image Viewer to add borders and text, and also to resize it to fit my blog. This finished marble is 778X778 pixels.   (photo above)

2. GIMP: is a freely distributed program.

The technique for making Amazing Circles is similar to above.

a. Enhance the photo as desired.
b. Choose the Crop Tool (looks like a knife, sort of). Select a Fixed Aspect ratio of 1:1 and select the area you want to use.
c. From the menu bar, choose Filters- Distorts- Polar Coordinates. Uncheck the “To Polar” button. Okay.
d. From the menu bar, choose Image- Transform- Flip Vertically.
e. From the menu bar, choose Filters- Distorts- Polar Coordinates again. Check the “To Polar” button. OK.
f. The resulting circle may not have the background color you desire. Use the Color Picker Tool to select a color from the image. Then use the Paint Bucket Tool to fill the background.

Darla-Amazing Circles

GIMP also has a plug-in that you can download and use – it automates most of the task for you. It is called Darla-Amazing Circles. You crop the photo as before, then select the Script-Fu Darla-Amazing Circles script. I use these settings:

a. set to the maximum size of 2000 or whatever setting is closest to the original
b. set border size to 10
c. set border % to 10
d. set edges: border growth 1; border feather 1
e. run script
f. add color to background – use paint fill on the white section
g. save as jpg

This isn’t a new technique. It has been around for a few years. Click on this link to see a large number of Amazing Circles that have been submitted to flickr.

Digital Marble – The Hay Field Flowers

Original photo

I decided to try an HDR technique to add more “dynamic range” (the ratio of light to dark) to the photo. I used a program called Topaz Studio and applied one of their filters to add the increased depth I was looking for. (Have you test driven Topaz Studio yet?)

Then I tried another filter – the field rendered as a drawing!

Back in GIMP (my standard editing program) I cropped the photo into a square, and applied the Darla Amazing Circle filter.