First Friday of the Month - Oakland HipstaPak

Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film

After making my purchase of the Oakland HipstaPak and taking my first picture, there was a long silence. While my first reaction was sadness, I still went on a 3½ hour trip, taking a number of photographs with the new combo pack.

I wished I had the same weather conditions as the previous day, I accepted a most cloudy day, with a rare moment in which the sun crept through the cloud layer for a brief moment. While shooting with the Oakland HipstaPak, had a quick look from time to time at my camera roll, only to feel disappointed by the results with the Jack London lens and Telegraph film. For it appears once again Hipstamatic has released another HipstaPak which is nothing more than a cyan color filter we already available find in many other applications like VSCOcam, AFilter, and many other applications.

Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film

When I look at Oakland and Yosemite HiptaPak and compare the two, there is little difference between them. There is also no difference when using Helga Viking of Jack London lens, when compared with the Telegraph film. Now to be fair, lenses are usually the weaker part of a HipstaPak and films achieve a greater range when the lens is combined with other films. No other lens then the Lowy stood out as being acceptable for the Telegraph film.

Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film

Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film

You can see the rosy color shift with the Oakland HipstaPak

Before I had ventured out to test the Oakland HipstaPak combo, I normally do a primarily a test using Oggl, by selecting other lenses and films in combination with a new HipstaPak, but that was not possible this time, as our Internet was down, so all photographs taken were with the Oakland HipstaPak on an iPhone 5S.

Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Again notice the rose-pink color shift on the white walls

Oakland Hipstapak - Jack London lens and Telegraph film

Once back home I had a hard look at all the image, then had a quick look using Oggle with a non-Hipstamatic photograph to see how the image converts when applying a lens or film from the Oakland HipstaPak with another film/lens combination.

After testing the Jack London lens with all other films, my findings is that the lens renders all films mostly accurately, as if one were using the Lowy lens, just that Jack London also slightly lightens all images, resulting in faded colors, Lowy does not do this.

Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: camera - PureShot, normal

Look at how Oakland renders the building and sky with the Oakland HipstaPak
when compared with a non-Hipstamatic photograph rendering the image normal

Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film

Notice the shifting of the colors brought on by the bluish-rose tone

Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: camera - 6x6, normal

As for the film Telegraph, it too was disappointing as its lens, Jack London. Now last month the Dalston HipstaPak with the Hackney film, produced a large range of variations when combined with other lenses and therefore made the Dalston HiptaPak a better purchase.

Left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film

Top left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Top right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film
Bottom image: camera - PureShot, rendering the colors normal

Top left image: Jack London lens and Telegraph film
Top right image: Lowy lens and Sussex film

Please look at  the clouds and how they are rendered and look
unnatural especially how the colors shift from one tone to another.


          Final thoughts

I do not like having to say a product is not worthy of your attention and money as in this case, and while these words are my personal opinion, I have done my very best to remain objective.

Several times before I stated that Hipstamatic is intellectually adrift, having lost their creative edge. While they could not continue down the road developing anomalies of special effects as in earlier years, they had to make a change, unfortunately what they produced in 2014 remains mostly uneventful.

Recently Hipstamatic reached out to the Hipsta-Community and asked for suggestions, all I can recommend is that Hipstamatic has a look at the history of photography and the photographers, their equipment and methods for inspiration. I wish Hipstamatic to succeed. I hope that 2015 will find the year the crew will find its creative vision and regain the trust with its customers. 

All photographs taken with an iPhone 5S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

BrushStroke 2 Tutorial - Part 2 of 2 and GiveAway

In the previous two posts, we have reviewed and discussed in a tutorial how to achieve the most from using the new version of BrushStroke 2. Now we will focus on achieving different modes and time of day by using the Adjustment layer category dealing with temperature.  The last example in this post features how the Tone layer category can completely alter the look of an image.

When one clicks on Temperature, the programs default setting is 50% percent and with just a five percent in one direction or the other begins to alter the light value to either warm or cold. This is evident in the following example of a still-life with books.

Temperature Plus 5% 

Temperature Minus 5% 

The warmer version clearly feels like there is a late afternoon sunlight coming through the window and the second version gives the appearance that outside is a cloudy day, possible even raining. This makes Temperature a very powerful influencer on the over-all results how the converted photograph.

The next image taken in San Francisco Chinatown through a window, of a place which was mostly dark and a little grungy, were only a couple of neon light tubes illuminated the facilities, made it feel cold. By decreasing the percentage to 30, the image may have appeared just right when I was took the picture, yet by increasing 10 to 40% percent, I did achieve a balance more appropriate.

Temperature setting at 40% 

In the alternative version I went to the other extreme and tried 70% percent, but just like the cooler version at 30% was too much and so was seventy percent. Call it poetic licence or artistic interpretation, a warmer setting with an increase to sixty percent made the scene more pleasant and this is my preferred version.

Temperature setting at 60% 

In the next series of images, I will illustrate what just 10% percent incremental adjustments can effect how ones artwork will feel. While eighty percent may feel as an extreme, it can represent Arizona or New Mexico where temperatures can easily rich over 100° degrees, but for a more harmonious and artistic representation, 70% percent certainly is more balanced.

Temperature setting at 80% 

Temperature setting at 70% 

Temperature setting at 60% 

Temperature setting at 50% - program default

With a properly exposed photograph a setting of 50% percent will mostly be right, as we see in the converted image above. There is balance and harmony between the colors and their strengths to each other, yet there still comes artistic interpretation which changes everything.

Temperature setting at 40% 

Once certain can consider that even at 40% percent warmth, this image looks normal and that a setting of 30% percent (next image) truly begins to alter the art work from realistic to probable. 

Temperature setting at 30% 

In my earlier tutorial, I spoke of Density being another one of my favorite controls that is available in the Adjustment layer category, as it develops a little more drama by creating depth through darkening the colors. While I like the 40% percent version in this series, I decided to go with the neutral adjustment and apply some Density for a more dramatic look. Another purpose for readjusting the Density was to intensify the red cloth hanging in the campers window.

Temperature setting at 50% with Density increased to 90%

Personally I am drawn between two versions, the 40% percent with a more intense blue sky or a more grungier look for a place right by the railroad tracks that had the Density increased to 90% percent.

In our next example I will not be using Temperature to adjust the over-all appearance and feel of the converted photograph, rather the focus is on the Tone layer category. A category where the filters can have a variety of results from converting ones painting into a watercolor, a Conté drawing or simply re-adjust all the colors. 

Of course it all depends on the type of subject matter is depicted in ones photograph. In the following example I am using torn fliers found on telephone poles in the city of Berkeley. A subject matter I have been documenting since 2005, because of their abstract nature.

What I am hopping to have illustrated here and with my other images in this post, is that one most not settle for just the first best results, rather go through most, if not all filters to discover what pleases one’s artistic senses. We must also think about how to best utilize other programs in the preparations of a photograph before importing it into BrushStroke 2, including exporting an image treated in BrushStroke 2 into yet another program for final adjustments. 

As we can see from these seven examples were just a different tone filter has been applied, we are able to achieve results that in shifting the color values as did the Temperature adjust meant filter. 

BrushStroke 2 image and combined with matching photograph in ImageBlender

In our last example I re-used one of the previous abstract images of the telephone pole fliers and introduce it into ImageBlender, along with the original photograph. The settings in ImageBlender were 50% percent and the layer set at Multiple. 

The goal was not to end with a realistic painting, for that the painting setting in ImageBlender would have had to be more towards the painted version and not the photograph. The intent was to maintain the look of a photograph but achieved a much richer tones within each piece of paper without using programs like Stackables or Afilter or even VSCOcam, because those programs simply overlay their filter over the entire image. By using a photograph treated in BrushStroke 2 and then introduced to ImageBlender, with proper setting will result in a photograph with more subtle coloration, producing more interest. 

Final results of blended BrushStroke image with photograph

Remember, any software program has limitations but we should not be confined by any of those limitations, rather we need to explore what other possibilities there are within these confines. 

Shifting perspective for a moment, I like BrushStroke 2 because it offers me the opportunity as a painter to see other possible executions for approaching a blank canvas and the palettes various color combinations in achieving the look I prefer to paint. 

Give BrushStroke 2 a try and see how far your imagination will take you.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


BrushStroke 2 Tutorial - Part 1 of 2 and GiveAway

In my previous post I reviewed the new version of BrushStroke 2 and now I will demonstrate how to get the most out of BrushStroke 2, including how to combine the application with others and announce another GiveAway for BrushStroke 2.

While the new version of BrushStroke has been given many new filters, including more control over these filters, it should be noted that in preparing a file prior to introducing it to BrushStroke 2, can and will have an impact as to the outcome of how the image appears after post processing in BrushStroke 2 or any other special effect post processing program. It also should be noted that since BrushStroke 2 is a special effect program with a distinctive purpose, the image itself needs to be considered, along with what the users intentions are in what the images final appearance is like.

Prior to introducing ones photograph into BrushStroke 2, adjusting ones image over all appearance should be done. Making sure there are details in the highlight areas, as well as in the shadows, along with a good over-all exposure balance. Consider any possible retouching should this be an issue along with sharpening or blurring the image any. 

The iOS purists believe that only an iOS post processed image qualifies as an iPhoneography image, other may wish to use PhotoShop to simply improve the images over all appearance. If you do stay within the iOS system, there are a number of programs like SnapSeed, Photogene, iPhoto, PS Touch, Handy Photo, Leonardo, and a number of other programs. No matter how you go about it, the better the image prior to introducing into BrushStroke 2, the better the results.

You may even divide to go a step further and enhance your photograph with layers of textures with programs like Stackables, Mextures, VSCOcam, AFilter or ALayer. Even a program like ColorThief, which alters the colors of a photograph with the introduction of another could be considered helpful in the preparations of ones image before introducing it into BrushStroke 2.  

Now that we have prepared our photograph for BrushStroke 2, let’s have a look at the following various steps within the program. In order to remain truthful as to the results achieved with BrushStroke 2, I have made no alteration to the original image prior to introducing with in BrushStroke 2.

Once an image has been selected and introduced to BrushStroke 2, the program will apply a default paint style, which is Oil #01. From here the user then chooses from a variety of paint filters.

After trying a number of various filters and settings, I have selected Oil #05 and tried these at different strengths from zero to 50 and then 100%. This is to see how much effect the filter has upon the photograph and have chosen the strongest strength in order to maintain greater detail.

The next step in the process is the Tone layer category and it is here we can add a color mood or in addition change the appearance of the altered photograph from a painting towards a watercolor or drawing.

After trying a number of different categories as Tones, filter Fulton. From there I tried category Heavy with filter Amber; and in the next screen shots, two filters in category Varied, with Willow, then Amaranth

I finally settle on Themes and filter Scream. For the look I am going after is an early morning light in which the rising sun has little to no affect upon the color of the light, therefore a moderate shift towards the blue tones. When the filter is applied at 100%, it is too much blue and the scene appears more like late even after the sun has set. When the setting is changed to 30%, we see that the leaves change from a bluish tone to more its natural color, green and still yet having the feel of early morning.

The 3D category layer deals with canvas textures, various types of paper and color, and the last category consist of different hard surfaces. The default for this category layer is Auto

Because of the subject matter and what I’m trying to be achieve, I try to use the Primed filter in the Canvas category, then one of the colored papers. We see that the selection of Blue now colors in the sky, while also pronouncing the area undesirable. In the end, my choice is to select None

We now head into a very powerful layer category where we are given the opportunity to make final changes as to the appearance of our converted photograph. 

The first of many adjustments is Brightness and the default setting here is 50%. Since the goal I am trying to achieve is early morning and a little more brightness in the highlights which will cause a slight blur, I move the slider to 70%.

Brightness is followed by Contrast. The default setting here is also 50%, which I bumped to 65%.  

Saturation default setting is 50% and here I make no adjustments at all, but may come back after I completed with this Adjustment layer category. Now we come to one of my favorite controls in this category, Density. This is one of the few filters that does not default at 50%, but rather 39%. I normally like to bump up Density to over 50% and in this case I settle for 75%.

Though I like using Vibrance from time to time, I decided to bypass this filter because early morning colors are cool and so if I would apply some degree of vibrancy, the color of light shifts and would now appear more like morning then early morning.

Because increase in Density rendered the scene darker, I now need to alter the exposure to retain my earlier editing. The default Exposure setting is 50%, which I then increased to 66%.

The Shadow filter is another one that does not default at 50%, rather 0%. Since there are going to be no adjustments made here, the next filter, Highlights, defaults at !00% and once again I make no adjustments.

Last Saturday, when I reviewed BrushStoke 2, I said that of all the adjustment filters, Density and especially Temperature were my favorite ones. In the next tutorial, we will look at the awesome power of Temperature with a variety of images. As you can see that a slight shift from the default setting of 50% to only 45%, the scene takes on a more cool morning appearance.

As we come to the last two filters in the Adjustment category, one is given the option to alter the thickness of the painting’s brushstroke surface . The default setting for Thickness is 50% and I elect to reduce the amount to 35%, as this softens the edges of the brushstrokes.

The last adjustment available in this category is Sharpness, with a default setting of 0%. Again I elect not to make any changes here, especially since I lowered the thickness in the previous filter. While we are given the opportunity to sharpen the  image, we are not provided with a Blur filter and this I have mentioned in my review of BrushStroke 2 and asked the developers to consider adding this to future updates.

We now have arrived to the final category layer, Signature and this one has also been updated in version 2 of BrushStroke. We are now able rotate our signature and even add a shade of color. Of the five colors, two are default and these are white and black. The remaining colors are sampled form the transformed photograph and in this case, a dark green, then a cool shade of blue, with the fifth color sample being picked up from the leaves on the ground and rendering this sample camel color.

After resizing the signature and moving it around on the bottom of the image, I felt it was lost and since I did not wish to have it any larger, the decision was made to leave it out from the final art work.

As we come to the end of our post work efforts, it is time to save our new art work. The first options we are given is to either Save, Share, or Ship. Obviously one will choose Save first before deciding to move on to either Share or Ship.

The sharing options are to Twitter, FaceBook,Instagram, eMail and to add the image as a text message. What one is not given is a link to Pinterest, which I already remarked on in my review.

Our last option is to have the item printed as a poster, made into a canvas print or have the artwork professionally framed. The developers of BrushStroke have teamed up with CanvasPop.

Here is the final version of our transformed photograph into a BrushStroke 2 painting. In our next tutorial we will look at using specific tools in the Adjustment category layer as Density and Temperature, to achieve a variety of moods from a single image.


BrushStroke 2 and more GiveAway Announcement

The people at Code Organa are going to provide me with a number of redemption codes for there newly updated program BrushStroke, including ToonCamera.

ToonCamera is an amazing video and photography app that turns your world into a live cartoon. Apply real-time cartoon and art effects to your camera feed, record video, snap photos, and convert existing video and photos from your albums to create instant works of art. See the ToonCamera video at YouTube.
Here is how you can get you copy of BrushStroke 2 and ToonCamera. Leave a comment on this post and make sure I am able to reach you when winners are announced. 
Contest ends on Sunday, November 23 at midnight Pacific Time. Drawing will be random and winners are announce on Monday, November 24. Good Luck !

iOS software programs  and vendor mentioned:

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S. Srceen shots on an iPad 4 by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...