Of Pictures And Text

Why don’t I add text to pictures?

Quite simple.

I don’t have a lot of fonts, so Photoshop loads faster, and if I typed “Pink Honda Jazz” in the picture, instead of typing it out in text, I would not be able to do a text search on it.

I don’t like watermarking my pictures either, not that I’m encouraging that people steal, but often I see great pictures plastered with alpha-transparency text, obstructing the beauty of the picture. If your girlfriend was a model, you wouldn’t tattoo your name on her cheeks would you?

That said, I don’t hate watermarking people, just the bad watermarking. A logo in a corner is better.

There are also different levels of Photoshopping.
1) Resize
2) Resize and auto-levels
3) Resize, color balance adjustment, contrast (at this stage all adjustments are done on the entire image, not specific parts of the image)
4) Resize, color balance adjustment, contrast, sharpening
5) Resize, color balance adjustment, contrast, sharpening and retouching (actual color adjustment, surgical enhancements)

I usually do 1) when the picture is perfect, 2) for normal shots, 3) for darker shots and shots where I want to put emphasis on a certain object, or isolate by mildly desaturating the background, and 4) for when it’s blur. I take pride in the fact that my pictures look plausible, given the right settings. At most, I am merely covering for exposure/color mistakes done when taking the picture.

I’m relatively good at retouching, but I abhor it. I respect the purity of the image as it was captured, and step 4) is just to adjust the picture to what your eyes would see, or your brain would see, like a white paper in a yellow-lighted room. Also notice that the human eye has very big aperture (I did an experiment) and it is hard to focus on two objects far from each other at the same time. When you want to look at the other object, you have to refocus on the other object.

If taking a picture back then meant stealing your soul, then I can see why we like to steal souls. Guys with cameras, I know, want to take a hot chick’s picture with their own camera. Sure, they can probably stalk her on Friendster and download and save pictures, but it’s not the same. You take her picture, it’s like you snapped a bit of her soul. You feel proud. A conquest. A capture, even if the methods were sneaky. All the more to be proud if you are in that same picture, so you can show off to friends. “Look I’m in the same picture with her!“, you beam.

Okay, now that you’ve braved my text, I shall reward you (sic) with pictures.

Left: A man is hard at work pumping. Argh motion blur! Right: I flash him, and he flashes me back.

One morning I didn’t sleep through the night, so I took my tripod out to the porch at 6:20am and took this stitched shot. (Picture has been turned to monochrome for clarity.)

Deja Voodoo Spells album launch, 26th January 2006: This is where I tried to sneak a shot in The Actors’ Studio Bangsar. The band played, with hot dancers in between each song. Whoa. First of its kind.

Here’s a customary shot of the KLCC Twin Towers. But it is just so pretty.

Left to right, top to bottom: Davina is truly a space cowgirl; sticky melted honey sweets stick to your teeth; lobsters in the lower ground floor of Starhill sing, “I Want To Break Free“; Starhill toilets feature a complex, nifty old-school mechanism to activate the tap, more Starhill ornaments.

Left to right, top to bottom: I can play without even touching the grand piano at J.W. Mariott; more Starhill ornaments; interesting lights arranged in a pattern; interesting bricks arranged in a pattern; I couldn’t believe my eyes, she looked so real from afar; trees project a shadow on the fog.

Left to right, top to bottom: The rope and the hole that broke Kevin‘s arm; the secret passageway underneath; the by-invite-only special screening of Khai‘s full-length movie, Ciplak; Khai the man giving a speech.

Ciplak features about everybody close to him in the scene, including the otai putih Peter Hassan Brown in a juicy role. There were elements of British humor, and while the introduction does try to slowly educate you on piracy, it quickly picks up into a very fun, accessible chase movie, with Khai the hero trying to get pirated DVDs to save his life, while spewing his trademark wit.

The only complaints I had were technical issues, like the camera going in and out of focus in the darker scenes, greenish white balance and horrible digital noise from an expensive camera. I’d say, better with fake lighting then, than to have a okay-lit but noisy scene. As for the greenish tint, it wasn’t in the trailer, so I blame the projector, or Paul’s Place’s lighting. 😛 But hey Khai, if you could sort those niggles out, it would make a subconsciously better quality film to watch in GSC International Theatres. If the quality could be fixed, it would be a heck more fun to watch than Sepet. The story doesn’t indulge in indie-film style, so the only thing indie is the film quality.

Left to right, top to bottom: Waterfall, duh; the rich versus the poor (okay, okay, so Astro dishes need to face one direction, I know); freaky green-lighted bus stop; caused by a pedestrian traffic light.

And now, for some obscenely big infrared pictures of me and my pupils.

I hope nobody steals this for Friendster.

4 thoughts on “Of Pictures And Text

  1. Lainie Post author

    Usually, if I can be bothered to, this bunch happens:

    rop, resize, noise removal / gaussian blur if necessary, sharpen / highpass, auto levels, brightness-contrast, hue-sat / color balance if tweaking ‘feel’ of photo.

    then, for some artsier stuff, additional tweaking to bring out certain points of piece that needs to be highiighted.

    for an arts student, i have very few fonts, never did get around to replacing them after my laptop reformat (which is, increasingly so, a loooong time back). Sigh.

  2. Jaymee Post author

    The KLCC pic is GORGEOUS! Wonderful contrast!

    And bloody hell, that last pic makes you look like the tamer version of Marilyn Manson! XD


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