Hello, hello! My data is back, my computer is all up and running on my new hard drive, and I’m excited to be sharing a mobile tutorial with you today. Turns out, these Mobile Tutorial posts are easier to prepare on the computer than on the iPad, which I didn’t even realize until I was in the throes of my hard drive crash last week. Now that everything is back and running well, I can share a new tutorial with you.
I posted another version of this photograph last week, called Quiet. Later I started playing with a new-to-me app, Fragment, and discovered that there was more to do with this image! Here is the new version, called Quiet, Revised.
I’ll step you through the process of creating it. Here’s the original image, captured using ProCamera 7, on a walk during our big snowstorm two weeks ago. I saw this bird perched atop the tree and got as close as I could without scaring it away. Of course, without a zoom he’s pretty small in the original image:
So the first step is a crop, using Snapseed:
I like the placement of the tree and bird in this much better now! The next step is still in Snapseed, using a Vintage filter to start to shift the color, add a bit of texture, and create the vignette that works so well in this image, highlighting the bird atop the tree:
I was liking the vignette and texture, so I pulled it into XnView FX for some more texture work. I liked the addition of one texture:
But I wanted more. I liked where this was going, but wanted more dramatic texture and color. I played around with it in XnView FX for a while, looking at more color processing and textures. Unfortunately, I can’t remember exactly what I did within the app in sequence to share with you. The details aren’t so important, because if you follow this recipe you will have a different image and need to do different things. The important thing to take away is the incredible functionality that exists within a single app to transform your photographs. I know people who use only Snapseed to create amazing photographic work. XnView FX is another app with an amazing range of options for processing. Here’s the final image out of XnView FX:
This is Quiet. Originally, this is where I thought I was done. I loved the way the tree seemed to pop off the background. I loved the hushed feel, as if I was holding my breath, trying not to scare the bird away. Since I had cropped pretty substantially, from the 2448x2448px original to ~1700x1700px, I ran it through the Big Photo app to increase the resolution to ~3000x3000px. Having a high resolution file gives me flexibility in my printing options later.
Turns out I wasn’t done with this image, though. I purchased a new app, Fragment, which looked interesting for it’s ability to add geometric shapes to an image. Since I love to play with the combination of geometric and organic shapes, it seemed a good fit. I pulled “Quiet” into the app, just to play with its capabilities. In this app, the shapes you add are filled in with the original image you are working with. You can change the sizing and rotation of this “ghost” image within the added shape, which allows you control over the graphic impact of the shape relative to the original image.
As I played, suddenly a new version of Quiet emerged:
I loved the way the square shape framed the bird yet also creates some different dimensionality within the image. While the tree was popping off of the background before, now it is placed behind the frame. The rotation of the image within the square frame provides some great light/dark contrast against the background and some interest against the tree. You can’t quite tell what’s going on at first glance, and have to look closer. I like that. All in all, I think it added a nice dynamic element to an otherwise quiet scene. For me, this elevated the image from “nice” to “interesting,” but still with a peaceful, harmonious feel.
Here’s the mobile recipe for this edit, to remind you of the steps. You can download and save this recipe for later inspiration:
I am constantly amazed at how I can continue to create a wide variety of effects with just a few different apps. Find those apps you love, and really get to know them. It will pay off in the quality and consistency of your work.
I want to leave you with one final edit I did to this photograph, but discarded in the end. I took the original “Quiet” into Image Blender, and blended the new “Quiet, Revised” on top of it with blending mode Normal at 100%. Then I masked the frame over the tree:
I thought it would make the tree pop off of the background better, which it did. But it also lost it’s “interestingness” to me. In “Quiet, Revised,” the visual impact of the lines moving into and through the tree, and the bit of visual confusion it creates, make the image work for me. This last version doesn’t quite have the same energy, and goes back to “nice.”
Which version do you like best? Would you choose “Quiet,” “Quiet, Revised” or “Quiet, Discarded” as your favorite? Why? You know my choice, but take a moment to make your own, and sort through the reasons. Comparing similar images like this is a great way to discover your own personal aesthetic.