Levels and Curves

Within Pixelmator and Photoshop, there are often unused tools called levels and curves adjustments. They are not often used because they have a overwhelming exterior interface which looks much too complicated for the average user. However, the levels and curves adjustments are simple, yet powerful toning tools that can take images from looking static, to vibrant and dynamic.
Basically, They both control contrast, but they are much more robust then your typical contrast slider. They allow you to have much more control over your image then a contrast or brightness slider would.

Levels and Curves Adjustments from Josh Koiro on Vimeo.

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Pixelmator tutorial: Retouching Portraits

As I’ve been learning about and creating art, I’ve realized that no art is void of worldview. In other words, every piece of art I see, hear, or create is somehow shaping or testing my worldview. I am doing this tutorial about retouching portrait photography, and I am forced to ask questions about my worldview. What is beauty? What makes something or someone beautiful?

In order to answer these questions, we have to look at our worldview and what we believe. In popular culture today, beauty is categorized by a certain look. A certain height, weight, hair, skin-tone and voice. As a Christian, I seek to look for answers to questions of worldview in the Bible. The Bible says that beauty is fleeting (or vain). It says that God is the fulfillment of all that is beautiful. In other words, everything that is beautiful here, is only an imperfect reflection of the beauty that is in him. The Bible also says that beauty is found inside our hearts and actions and that beauty while good, (1 Corinthians 11:15, Proverbs 20:29) it is not to be worshiped or held in supreme honor as the ultimate display of beauty.

Now, let’s learn how to get rid of those annoying zits 🙂

Please note that I’m using a program called Pixelmator, on a Mac, but practically all the shortcuts and interface layout is identical to Photoshop or Photoshop clones. If I say a keyboard shortcut like “Command J”, and you are working on a Windows computer, you typically press the control key instead of the command key. So on a Windows computer, the shortcut would be “Control J”.

This tutorial is designed for moderately experienced users, so please don’t be overwhelmed if you don’t get it right away.

if the video doesn’t show up, try hitting refresh…I don’t know why it does that 😦

Here is the before and after

Image taken by Godfer

Grunge and Abstract art

I’ve been experimenting with creating grunge/abstract compositions in Photoshop. One reason why I really enjoy this style more than the more traditional and balanced styles is that I don’t need to work as hard to get it looking “just right”. Since the style calls for distress and a sense of chaos, I can throw elements together without needing to unify them. Another reason I like this style is that it forces you to look more at the emotion of the composition rather than the content.

Here are some examples

This image started out as just the background and the tree, but after taking the picture of the flower, I decided to just start adding more nature elements.

This was a fun abstract composition which turned out to have a lot of meaning. It symbolically represents the fundamentals of God’s creation. The yellow circles in the top-left represent the sun, and the brown triangle represents the earth. The red shape represents multi-dimensionality, the green triangle, trigonometry and the large circle represents the infinite. I also created the subtle outlines of Pi and infinity on the background.

This is an imaginary movie or video game poster. I wanted to use the picture of this guy’s head, so I just started experimenting the overlay blending mode and different textures.

For this image, I wanted to create a dirty, retro wallpaper. I used Adobe Illustrator to create all the shapes, then added text and overlaid textures to make it look dirty and worn.

Check out my flickr page for more of my artwork