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smadell

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Everything posted by smadell

  1. Today, let’s have fun with Gradient Maps… Gradient Maps are a great way to color grade photos, since they map dark, light, and midtone values according to a pre-defined gradient. This can easily define a “look” for photos that might otherwise be hard to accomplish. Although I am not a user of Photoshop, our “arch rival” has a wonderful group of gradient maps called “Photographic Toning” that are specifically designed to color grade photos. Although you have to drill down through a few panels and dialog boxes to find them (and you sort of have to know they’re there in the first place) they are a truly nice addition. Also, they are easily obtained by anyone. But, as they say, there’s the rub. Affinity Photo cannot import Photoshop gradient maps. Affinity Photo can store pre-defined gradients in the Swatches studio, but for some unknown reason the stored gradients are not available from the Gradient Map studio panel. Gradient Maps can be stored as presets, and can be chosen from the Adjustments panel, but I don’t believe they can be easily exported from one computer and brought into a different one. So… after a long couple of days of transcription, I have created a set of Macros that apply each of the 38 Photographic Toning gradient maps. Since macros are easy to store, and to share, I am making them available for anyone who wants them. There are actually 2 sets of Macros included - each as an easy-to-import Category from the Library panel. The first group of Macros is called “Photographic Toning Gradients” and these are named according to the gradient map they apply. Each macro creates a Gradient Map layer, applies the appropriate color values, and names the layer according to the gradient map it applied. The second set of macros is called “Photographic Toning Gradients - reduced.” This category also applies the gradient maps in a similar fashion, but then reduces the opacity of the layer to 30%. This reduces the effect of the Gradient Map, and produces a much subtler effect. Here is an image that shows the full-strength versions of all 38 gradient maps. And here is a photo to which I’ve applied a full-strength gradient map, and also a reduced-strength gradient map. These macro categories are included in the ZIP file attached to this post, along with a Letter sized JPG that includes samples of the gradient maps. Also included in the ZIP file is another macro category that includes one more macro. It’s called “Obama Hope Poster” and, as you might have guessed, it turns any photo into an Obama Hope-style poster. Just because… Please enjoy them! Photographic Toning Gradient Maps.zip
  2. You must have been using a really small brush to select just the outline! Nevertheless, I'm glad you figured it all out.
  3. Is there any chance that you had the Option key pressed when you clicked on the "New Mask" button? If you did, you would get the results you've shown. (Choosing New Mask with the Option key pressed is the equivalent of choosing "New Empty Mask" from the menu.) If not, I too am at a lost to explain what's happening here.
  4. For completeness sake, I'll attach a macro I've used on occasion to do this. Like the macro above, it creates two Curves adjustment layers, one for dodging and one for burning. Three differences here: (i) I have not attached separate Mask layers, since this is redundant – the Curves adjustment layers already have a built in mask, and I don't see where anything is gained by duplicating this; (ii) I have set the Blend Mode of each of the Curves layers to Luminosity – this keeps them from affecting saturation and hue, and limits them to changing the lightness or darkness of the areas being affected; and (iii) I have changed the Blend Options on each of the layers, so that (at least in theory) the Burn adjustment layer should preferentially affect the darker areas, and the Dodge adjustment layer should preferentially affect the lighter areas – this is the technique one might use for dodging and burning portraits, for instance. One other thing: when using any form of dodge and burn, I typically use a brush that (i) has a soft edge, so 0% hardness; and (ii) has 100% opacity but only about 1-2% Flow. This way, I know I can eventually build up to a 100% effect, but I only do so very slowly because of the low flow rate. NB - this is an .afmacro file, so import it through the Macro panel, NOT through the Library panel. Dodge & Burn with Curves.afmacro
  5. Sorry, but no one seems to have mentioned the (to me, at least) most obvious answer. Apply a blur using a Live Filter layer, invert the live filter layer (which makes its embedded mask completely black), then paint the blur effect back in where it's wanted. This is completely non-destructive, can be made as strong or as weak as one likes, can be turned on and off at will, can be modified with opacity and/or blend modes, and (best of all) it's so damned easy! Blurring a Face.mp4
  6. Mesh Warp is another possibility. Start in "Source Mode" and map the mesh to the existing light beam. Switching to "Destination Mode" can straighten the line.
  7. smadell

    Fifty word science fiction stories

    I will leave the "meaning" of the story to the reader. I can tell you that, although I have not read a great many of Phillip Dick's works, I have always enjoyed his themes. Chief among them, how do we know that we are real, and are we defined by our own memories (two of the questions in those stories that became "Blade Runner" and "Total Recall")? To me, tracking is just "plural" kerning – instead of changing the space between two letters, this is the wholesale changing of space between larger tracts of text. As to the questions about font choice and negative tracking, these were based on my subjective opinion of the "look" of the typeface. I found Perpetua to be rather formal and it seemed to fit the story, which had a philosophical bent. The negative tracking was applied because, without it, the text just appeared too "airy."
  8. smadell

    Graphic Novel Effect

    Based on a recent thread started by user Steps, I have finalized and am attaching a macro called "Graphic Novel Effect." It is similar to the "Paint by Numbers" macro I created a while back, but offers better control of the black outlines that are needed in a cartoon or a graphic novel illustration. The attached file is a macros category (not a single macro) and can be imported through the Affinity Photo Library panel. Once inside Affinity Photo, the category contains a single macro which can be moved into a different category (by dragging it) if desired. Since it is provided as a category, it can also be imported into the iPad version of AP. When you use the macro, it creates a number of layers inside a group (which can be turned on and off to show or hide the effect entirely). The user is presented with 5 options in a dialog: 1) Posterize - How Many Colors? The macro is preset to 5 color levels, but anywhere between 4 and 6 generally gives a decent result. 2) Outlines - Adjust Black [line thickness] This option is preset to 50%, but changing the value will make the black outlines more or less prominent. 3) Outlines - Adjust White [fill smoothness] This option is preset to 90%. Changing the value will affect the fill (inside the outlines). Keep the value above the value set in option #2 (line thickness). 4) Finish - Adjust the Brightness 5) Finish - Adjust the Contrast These are preset to Brightness = -15% and Contrast = +30%. Changes made here will have the obvious results, and should be considered a finishing touch. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * As always, I am one person with one computer and have not tested this in every possible scenario. Try it and, if you like it, keep it and enjoy it. This forum has provided me with so many good ideas and answers to questions; this macro is another attempt to “pay it forward.” Graphic Novel Effect.afmacros
  9. smadell

    Graphic Novel Effect

    Or, to be completely non-destructive, put the “outlines” layer above the posterized photo layer, then set the Blend Mode of the outlines layer to Multiply. This will get rid of the white entirely without erasing anything.
  10. I doubt that you've found a bug. Maybe this will help... Selective Blur.m4v
  11. smadell

    Fifty word science fiction stories

    Visions of sugarplums danced in my head. Merry Christmas to all (and to all, a good night). NB - for those who want to know these things, the font is Perpetua 21 points with -10% tracking.
  12. smadell

    Fifty word science fiction stories

    Since you "invaded" this space, and in keeping with the sci-fi theme, does that make you a Space Invader?
  13. smadell

    Fifty word science fiction stories

    You're absolute right, MikeW. The font is Warnock Pro.
  14. smadell

    Fifty word science fiction stories

    William... I wish you had asked sooner. I trashed the original document in which the "troll story" was written, and I just don't remember the font that I used. Sorry!
  15. smadell

    Fifty word science fiction stories

    Somebody make it stop!
  16. smadell

    Fifty word science fiction stories

    I stumbled upon your (ultra) short science fiction stories – what a fascinating idea. I just had to try. Here's my contribution. For info's sake, this is a 6x4 inch page with 1/4-inch margins all around. The font is ITC Korinna, and the paragraph was set to justified (both left and right, and vertically). The word count was done in Nisus Writer Pro, my word processor of choice.
  17. Here's what (I assume) you are trying to do. Open your photo (in my case, it's the "Dragon Photo"). Draw a Rounded Rectangle as a new layer – use the Shape tool to do this. The rounded rectangle should be a layer above the photo. Now, drag the photo onto the rounded rectangle layer until a blue rectangle appears just below the rectangle layer in the Layers panel. You have just "clipped" the photo to the rounded rectangle. The result is shown below. As an aside, the "magic selection" tool is probably the "Selection Brush" and the reason it failed is more than likely that your initial rounded rectangle is a vector object, and the Selection Brush will only work on a Pixel object.
  18. Maybe this? https://player.vimeo.com/video/130966523 Also, here is a link to the “old” video tutorials
  19. 1] On YouTube, search for “Affinity Revolution.” Ezra Anderson and his wife do a lot of free tutorials, including some beginner videos. 2] Also onYouTube, look for InAffinity. It’s a channel from Dave Straker (dmstraker on this forum). Loads of good stuff in 4-8 minute chunks. Sometimes a little nerdy, but really good info. Also free. 3] Simon Foster’s courses on Udemy.com are well-regarded. Most of them are not free, but there is a beginner series that is free. 4] Prior to version 1.7, Serif had well over 100 video tutorials that they deprecated and replaced with the current ones. I think they are still available online, but I’m not sure where. Maybe someone else can chime in here. 5) Many (perhaps most) of the online Photoshop tutorials can be duplicated in Affinity Photo, with a few notable exceptions (like “smart objects”).
  20. You can adjust saturation (as well as Hue and Luminance) for the entire photo, but also for individual colors (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Magenta) with the HSL Adjustment. You can also choose one of the color ranges and click the "Picker" button, then choose a color directly from your photo; you can change hue, saturation, and luminosity for that specific color as well. In the picture below, I've clicked on the Reds color range. Any changes made to Hue, Saturation, and Luminosity will only affect that color range. You can also use the Split Toning adjustment to add color to shadows and/or highlights. Alternately, use the Selective Color adjustment to modify specific colors, or to modify the color quality of the Whites, Neutrals, and/or Blacks.
  21. I used the Selection Brush and clicked once in the middle of each eye to select the irises. With the selection active, I added (i) a Black and White adjustment, in which I darkened the green component; and (ii) a Levels adjustment, in which I raised the Gamma. Here's the result. Also, a very quick fix...
  22. Sometime in the next 6 months, I expect to purchase a new iMac. I'm currently running a late-2015 model, and most of my work is done in Affinity Photo (even though I own Designer and Publisher also). Financial considerations aside, what benefit(s) should I see if I choose the upgraded GPU processor instead of the standard one? Specifically, which operations are GPU intensive and will I see any noticeable improvements with a more powerful GPU? Also, on a related note, how stable is "Metal" processing these days? As soon as it was available in Preferences, I turned it on. But, it seemed a bit buggy and I got (I think) better performance when it was switched off. What's the current take on that? Thanks in advance.
  23. James... Please do not apologize for your "wall of text" – it was incredibly helpful. This is exactly the answer I was hoping to get! In response to your questions, I am definitely looking at a 27" monitor, and am considering a slew of upgrades (including a faster CPU, an SSD instead of a Fusion drive, and an increased amount of RAM - probably from Other World Computing, which I've used before). Based on the current offerings, the maxed-out 27" iMac can have its graphics card upgraded to a Vega 48, with 8GB of VRAM, and this is actually the option (from the current line) that I was considering. Also, as you mention, Apple is certainly likely to refresh its iMac lineup sometime next year. This is the reason for the 6-month time frame. (I'm also waiting for another software company to release its database software in 64 bits, since their program is one I use every day for some important issues.) Your comments make me quite likely to look at an upgraded graphics card when I get a new machine. They also seem to explain some of the bottleneck that seems to be occasionally present when I turn on Metal on my current machine (whose Radeon R9 M395 has only 2GB of VRAM). Thank you again.
  24. I think it is fair to conclude, then, that performance improvements will be felt more from (i) a more powerful CPU; (ii) a fully solid state drive; and (iii) more RAM. After that, a more powerful GPU may provide better performance (and experience) but on a more marginal basis. This is what I suspected, and I appreciate the help of v_kyr and carl123 in confirming those suspicions. Thank you, all.
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