Old dog, new tricks (1) – Photoshop 活到老, 學到老 (一)

This post is dedicated to show Amy, my sister in law and an artist, my first experience of using Photoshop.

One of the item on top of my to-do list is to teach myself  Photoshop or to  attend a class.  I had heard about this software for years and never had a chance to learn to use it until the summer of 2007.  My boss needed some photos to show off our newly merged group to the outside world.  I was given the task to show our best.  My boss mentioned that it would be nice to make them more  “gooier” (informal) than the regular group pictures.  I gave it some thoughts and came to the conclusion that it would be boring to present some cookie-cutter group photos of a bunch of people standing or sitting together, I wanted to create something that could spark some interest. After all, the function of these pictures were to promote ourselves. The following photos are two of my designs, and I spent 3-4 days (we were in a rush) to teach myself  Photoshop-123  to generate these effects.

夲部落格常有新朋友來訪, 相逢何必曾相識, 能相逢也是一種緣份。 有時間的話, 我會用双語寫出, 希望太平洋两邊的朋友都可以看到。 限於文字水平, 我就我手寫我心好了。 由於不是翻譯, 中英內容也不盡相同。
說起來你也許不相信, 來美”混”了ニ十多年, 學不致用。之所以用”混”, 就是想指出這ニ十多年裡所做一切, 竟然是與我在大學和研究所裡所學的完全是風馬牛。甚麼都是現買現賣, 就是連學photoshop也是一樣。我一直都想學 photoshop 這軟件(現在還是在想), 但內容非常複雜, 自學談何容易。這裡記下2007年為拍一輯照片, 向公司同人介紹我們組在改組後的結構和能力。 新老板只知我喜歡攝影, 隨口叫我幫忙。 他並問我能否不落俗套行之。 這裡就是記下如何製作其中两張不落俗套的照片。尤其是要在極短的時間內完成。我就在一周內”學會了” Photoshop 的皮毛来製作這些照片。那星期, 年紀一大把還要夙興夜寐, 累死了還要上highway, 未發生意外算是走運了。當然, 完成之後那種滿足感和成功感可真是不可言諭。

Lab photo -1 : This was the picture that I had spent more time thinking about the design and later on doing it. What you see down here is pretty much the original design.  The inspiration came from the name of the team –  Liquid Handling Team. And since we moved to Waltham, a new location, we have been using blue lab coats instead of the white ones. My idea was to create a picture to show their faces with a reflection.  I knew that I needed a picture that all the heads were on  more-or-less  the same level. The two gentlemen in the picture are 6’+ tall, much taller than those ladies, so I asked everybody to “sit down” to a chair or a box of appropriate heights that put all the heads on the same level.  Everybody was tight at the beginning, I had to try hard to say something funny and finally I got this. I don’t remember what I had said or did, but obviously it was working. That evening I used a picture of  a “calm blue sea” and pasted that to the lower half of the picture, then created a “reflection”; adjusting the transparency of the two pictures making them like a true reflection on the water. To blend in the upper half of the background,  I  created a blue water film and use a tool to mess it up to give a dripping “feel”.

照片一: 這一組同事屬於 Liquid Handling. 顧名思義,他們是負責實騐堂內所有與液體處理有關的儀器, 那些儀器都是處理ul體積的精確儀器。凑巧我們剛搬到新建的大樓,傳統的白色實騐衣換成新的藍袍。我就想到藍色的海洋, 下面的成品圖跟原來的構思頗接近。我首先要求两位六呎三、四的男士坐在矮箱子上, 女士們也按高矮坐在不同的椅子上, 構成高度差不多的水平線。由於設計有倒影和組名, 所以胸口就在照片的中央。拍了幾張, 效果不好, 最右邊的Marko是很嚴肅的scientist, 不大會笑。右ニ的俄國女孩Natalie是個實習的學生,有點腼腆。Marko+Natalie 加起來與左邊開朗的Gary和漂亮、黑髮的Trish成強烈的對比。我只好施出渾身解數, 說了些平常珍藏的笑話, 引得大家開懷, 終於給我拍得一張全體都在笑的照片。這只是第一部。 回家就用一張早两天找到的北極海洋照, 水平面就在相片中間, 上半部就用photoshop工具把冰山拖拉变形。下半部copy人物像倒轉放在下面, 與海洋重叠,調整透明度, 再加上白色的字。大家一看就有液體的feel. 算是頗成功的一張。

I like this picture very much. Firstly, the expression on everybody’s face is good. You can really  see the “joy of discovery” on their faces. Secondly, I don’t think I could ask for a better expression of the “liquid phase”, considering the fact that I had just begun to learn to use the program. I wasn’t that smart to have learned and created this picture in one evening. As a matter of fact, two days prior to this group picture, I took some pictures of the two ladies on the left, and went home to “play” with the technical feasibility of the “liquid phase” construction.

Liquid handling team

Liquid handling team

Lab photo – 2:  I was a member of the Sphingolipid Team. For this group, the idea was to layer the group picture on top of a diagram of the sphingolipid pathway, pretty straight forward.  A colleague gave me an e-copy of the pathway, the blue one in the middle. I loaded it to my memory stick and went home.  When I sat in front of the screen after dinner, I realized that the file of the diagram was very small, meaning that the diagram couldn’t be blown up. I searched the web for a better one, and I found the white one on the right side. It was only slightly better. If my memory serves me well, I had to finish all the photos that night. I had no choice but to add something to fill the blank. The blue rays came in handy. I also added a personal touch to my own face.  I always find myself look weird in pictures. So I posterized a picture of myself and pasted to my head. After that,  I learned to use the “rubber” to clean up the area that met the T-shirt. It was surprisingly good. Considering the time frame, my technical level of using Photoshop, I was so proud of myself and feeling happy by the time I went to bed four hours later.

照片二: 這一張原來的構想十分簡單, 那就是拍一張全家福, 然後叠在 Sphingolipid pathway 的圖上就算了。我自己是這一組的成員, 所以架起三脚架, 按了自拍掣拍攝。夲來有一两張是不錯的, 但左邊的Mike是白人中少見的矮個子, 他不喜歡自己’凹’了下來,找個箱子墊得比六呎三吋的Marko還要高半截。前面三個漂亮的女生都沒有問題。Marko給了我一個copy的背景圖, 我就放在memory stick內帶回家。吃完晚飯, 以為十五分鐘就可完工的, 結果攪到半夜。

第一個難題是pathway的圖(中央藍色那張)的解像度很低, 不可能放大, 只好google去找, 找到白色那張, 還是太小。夲來當然可以第二天上班再找。可是明天就要交貨, 老板後天就要在两佰多人的部門會議 show off了, 今晚必須完工。第ニ個難題就是我自已的尊容, 可能因為勞累了一個星期, 加上三脚架自拍, 得跑來跑去, 所以我的表情怪異。想一想自己失禮事小, 讓整個亞洲沒面子事大。所以就利用以前一張 posterized 的’玉照’貼上去。後面就用黑底, 加上在網上找到的藍光朿, 讓人有high tech之感。由於沒時間, 我在擦除原來人像淺米色的背景時, 只粗略的繞着人頭的周邊抹過去, 留了一淡淡的’光芒’, 誰知有人還特別讚賞, 以為我是刻意營造的手法, 真是不好意思。這張照片跟原先的設想南轅北轍, 實在是權宜之作, 沒想到很多人喜歡, 他們尤喜歡我貼上去的 posterized小照, 覺得很 cool 云云(可能是我的樣貌真的不怎麼好看)。

Sphingolipid Team

Sphingolipid Team

These two pictures were the highlight of that assignment. It was tiring but it was a lot of fun. 這两張照片很有意思, 第一張真的是設計的, 以我對photoshop的皮毛知識(連幼稚園低班都夠不上)能做到這樣, 真的是蠻開心的。第ニ張不是設計出來的, 只是神來之筆, 運氣之作。不管如何, 為了一輯照片, 那十天的日子竟然過得像個職業攝影師一樣,  連實騐都不做, 會也不用開,”過癮”極了。

This entry was posted in My Collection 自選集, Old dog new trick 學到老, Trivial but fun 閑居記趣 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Old dog, new tricks (1) – Photoshop 活到老, 學到老 (一)

  1. Martin K. says:

    I swear I have seen those pictures before….
    I don’t think ANYONE appreciated how much work you put into them.
    I made a Japanese Soba nodle soup last night with shittake mushrooms and spinach..not bad.

  2. bluepapillon says:

    That’s fine. I really enjoyed it. It felt so good when the picture was put together the way I’d wanted, priceless! When are you going to start your blog and show us something, like Soba noodle soup with shittake and spinach ???….mmm…yum!

  3. Mike says:

    Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

  4. bluepapillon says:

    Thanks a lot.

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