Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tablet + Windows 7 x64 = riiiiiiight!

Well... if you have a Trust, Genius, Aiptek, Nisis, etc. tablet, most likely it is made by a Taiwan company called Waltop. That I have said before on a previous entry, I also recommended taking the drivers from Waltop website (they have x86 and x64 versions), that I can still recommend, however if you're using GIMP on Windows 7 x64 (and I guess Photoshop as well, given the number of threads on several forums) you may notice that, no matter how powerful your PC is or what driver version you use, there is a annoying lag between brush strokes, like the mouse pointer is "holding a dog leash to the brush".
If you're using a Wacom Tablet you may have the same issue.
Luckily this seems to be a Windows problem (aren't you glad?), you have to disable the gestures and flicks that Windows 7 activates by default, you just go to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Pen and Touch
There, in Pen Options tab, you go to the avaliable settings for each pen action entry and disable each of them where possible, then un-check the checkboxes under Pen buttons, also, in Flicks tab, disable the flicks usage.
There .... GIMP is working :] Fun fact: Open Canvas 1.1 beta 72 revision 1 works flawlessly even if drivers don't work correctly under windows (this is true for windows XP, Vista and 7 - In XP it worked WITHOUT drivers installed) ... Now that's what i call voodoo software... :]

Friday, December 10, 2010

Xmas list 2.... riiiiiight.... (updated)

Since i did adquire some gadgetery goods since last time, i feel like it's a good idea to update this ...
Obsolete entries from my last xmas list:
  • Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
  • Sony Alpha 350k
  • Sony HDR-SR11E
  • Samsung SyncMaster 2233SW
  • Intuos3 A5 Wide USB "Special Edition"
Current entries in my xmas list:
  • Intuos4 Wireless (for the price this costs i'd rather have the pandora)
  • Pandora Handheld
  • Voigtlaender 25mm f/0.95 for MFT
  • Panasonic G Vario 100-300mm f/4.0-5.6
  • LUMIX G VARIO 7-14mm F4.0 ASPH
  • Lensbaby Composer with Tilt Transformer for Micro 4/3rds
Since this might be a bit overly expensive for most pockets, i'll be putting a cheaper list:
Quoting myself from last time:
So ... anyone with a heavy felling in the pocket? I know, i know: "Keep dreaming...".


It's striked down ... unless your browser sucks or the feeds ignore it (I checked that out to avoid confusion) and you don't see that >_>

At the time A350 was a good camera (and i didn't buy it), Canon had 450D ... and that would be a nice choice as well...

In any case i currently have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 (hacked firmware) + 14-140mm lens + 20mm f/1.7 lens ... a nice small combo for photography that does terrific videos as well - but that Voigtlaender 25mm f/0.95 would sure be handy in extreme low light :]

Currently i actually move away from all Sony and Apple products ... they use several technics to fidelize (not an english word, yay! *sarcasm*) and limit the client to their brands ... and that i cannot accept.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Artificial Bokeh

Bokeh... better use wikipedia explanation: In photography, bokeh is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light." Now, this is often used to enhance a subject or give a dreamy or surreal look to a picture, in portraits is often used to achieve a smooth background, and while it's not always desired it appears because of the so called circle of confusion and depth of field (
For achieve the blur of out of focused areas one must often use lens with big apertures or/and a good focal length, and those are usually expensive, heavy, big or a combination of the three... The other way of achieve that effect is to simulate it artificially... and that it's kinda tricky, mainly because the original image to which you want to apply it doesn't have the entire information to do it....
The simplest way to increase blur or create blur to given out of focus areas would be when create miniature looking photos of a city, this is possible because cities are often layered in a simple plane and an overlayed blured picture using a gradient as mask does the trick in most of the cases....
Extending the concept, one can create a mask to protect focused areas and blur the rest, but bokeh doesn't have a regular radius blur, the bigger the distance from the focus plane is the blurrier the area looks, and that brings us to a depth map/mask ... sadly this is not easy to create, nor easy to apply as a mechanism of interpreting the depth must exist.
Taking care of a mechanism for doing it properly, i introduce you to GIMP Focus Blur Filter Plug-in (windows version)... Now how does that plug-in perform.... wonderfully i must say... sadly my 20mm f/1.7, while has a big aperture, sometimes it's not quite enough to blur the background as i wished it would do... so i searched and found this pearl... it is quite awesome to apply... the drawbacks?
I point two: It will take its time to be applied (in a 8MP image might take like 10mins!) and you really need a depth map if you want to see awesome results :]
By the way, black means focused, white means fully unfocused.... in the middle ... is in the middle :] Well, to help you out with the depth map, i'll point you to another plugin: Depth map Plugin (windows version) ... It will create a depth map, but it has a requirement: You need to take two stereoscopic images, and that on moving stuff is only possible with two cameras (preferably identical)... it works pretty well, but you might want to retouch the depth map a bit for best results... Here goes an example of what you could do (Halloween Gothic Bride for the win): The original (well, not quite original, as this was cropped, noise was reduced, color corrected, details sharpened and reduced on the end for web view): The depth map i drawn (clumsy for the win): The end result using Flat model, 25px radius blur, 5px radius shine: This is simply the best plug-in I've ever found - and i don't even explored everything it has to give - this fella is just above tone mapping filter :]