Tag name:Photo Crafts

MS Paint vs PicMonkey vs Photoscape

February 9, 2015 / No Comments

Photo Editing

I do a LOT of photo editing. On average, I probably spend 5 hours a week resizing, lightening, cropping and troubleshooting pictures. I don’t try for artistic results, just clean, serviceable photos.

Since I haven’t had the patience to learn anything difficult, I use  a combination of three utilities/programs.  They are: MS Paint, PicMonkey and Photoscape. Between the three of them, I can accomplish just about any fixes I care to do.

Why three programs? Because each of them have good and bad points.

MS Paint is a very beginner level program. It has only a few features and the results are frequently pixely. On the other hand, MS Paint is extremely fast.

I use MS Paint primarily for resizing photographs, making quick and  simple line borders and for occasional fix-ups that only require drawing in a few pixels. It works very efficiently for those adjustments and it only takes a few seconds to open, save and close.

For more complicated photo repairs I use my free Photoscape program. Photoscape is a lot harder to use, but it has a lot of useful features. It includes Bloom, Backlight, White Balance, Color Balance and tons more.

The features I use most are often are Contrast Enhancement, Deepen, Brighten, Darken. None of these features require any real knowledge of digital art, because they each have three pre-programmed levels to choose from. Plus, a very useful undo button.

When I want to get a bit artsy, I use PicMonkey. Picmonkey is fun to use and has lots of special effects, fonts, overlays and more.

I have purchased the upgraded plan, in order to get a few more tools. The plan is about $30-$40 dollars a year and you get the addition of collage plus some other extras.  However, the program is quite usable, even without the upgrade.

I use PicMonkey for the nice frame selection, the collage feature and some really cool special effects. PicMonkey is easy to learn and very enjoyable to use.  I sometimes play with it for hours, just for the pure pleasure.

Is it difficult to switch between three programs?

I don’t think so.  85% of my editing is done just using MS Paint. I then switch to one of the other programs only if I need to. So far, I’m quite satisfied.

Nonetheless, satisfied or not, I am considering trying out other programs. My choices are Lightroom, or the free versions of Pixeluvo or  TwistedBrush Pro Studio. If I do start using something new, I’ll post an update to let you know how I incorporate it into my workflow.

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How To Make Garnishing Flags

August 30, 2013 / No Comments

How To Make Garnishing Flags

Several weeks ago, a  distant relative got married and I helped a couple members of the family make a party for him and his wife.  At my niece’s suggestion, I made 50 garnishing flags for the fruit cups we would be serving as appetizers. They could have also been used to decorate brownies, cupcakes or even large serving bowls of potato salad.

Here’s how to make your own garnishing flags:

How To Make Garnishing Flags 1Using Microsoft Paint or a similar program, shrink the picture of your choice to about 103 x 77 pixels. You don’t have be exact, but that size looked very nice on my project.  Try to use a picture without too much detail or the reduced photograph will look much too crowded.

To shrink the photo, click resize>pixels. Uncheck the maintain aspect ratio box. Then enter the value 103 into the horizontal box and 77 into the vertical box. Click the okay button.

How To Make Garnishing Flags 2Line up two copies of the photos, next to each other. 

To do this, click select>select all>cut.

Then click resize and uncheck maintain aspect ratio box. Using the percentage option, change the horizontal box to 200. Leave the vertical box unchanged.  Click the okay button.

Now click paste, to return the original image to the editing box. Left click your mouse and drag the image all the way to the right of the editing box.

Again click paste. This will return another original image to the editing box.  You should now have two side by side copies of the original image.

How To Make Garnishing Flags 3Print out your photos, cut them to size and glue them around the top of a toothpick.

Tip: If you need to create more than one flag, you’ll save a lot of time by crafting them production style. First do all your printing, then all the cutting, and finally, all the gluing.

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