Photo Creativity: Affinity Photo

There is something to be said about an authentic, unretouched, undoctored photo. But, as we look back at many of our photos, do they truly represent the color,s brightness, contrast, clarity and details that we saw, or at least what we remembered seeing?

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Matching Memories

Whether we rely on the camera’s automatic settings or expertly fine tune them before snapping away, often the end result does not live up to our recollection of the scene. Maybe it’s washed out or so dark we cannot see many of the details. Do spots of overexposure that draw your eye away from other areas? Are the colors slightly off, especially in the skin tones, creating a slight alien aura to the shot?

Whether fixing a photo because it’s just off or because it doesn’t live up to our recalled expectations, digital photographers have so many tools available. Almost all free photo software—designed mostly for storing, tagging and logging photos—has some type of editing feature. These are generally limited to the basics of exposure, brightness, hues, contrast and maybe some red-eye corrections.

Once you make the leap to professional software, the number of tools increases exponentially. With infinite ways the tools can be applied, layered, and masked, any photo can be corrected to a more realistic representation of your subject or converted to a less realistic work of art.

So Much To Learn

I am a novice in this arena. I could never get the adjustments right in most of the basic software I have used, although Apple’s current version of their Photos app has far more editing features as well as the ability to add extensions (free or purchased) to further expand these capabilities.

Having so many tools is all well and good, but without some guidance as to what the features do and how to use them, most of us are stuck in a trial and error loop until miraculously the photo comes out as expected, or more likely we repetitively reset and fidget with the adjustments until we get something we think looks better but hasn’t necessarily reached perfection.

A Reasonably Priced Professional Option

When I first saw Affinity Photo demoed I assumed it would be out of my hobbyist budget since its features and technical abilities appeared to be on par with Adobe Photoshop. Then the demo revealed the price—$49.99 in the Mac App store and on their website and it doesn’t require a subscription.

In addition to the reasonable price, Affinity Photo offers a huge library of video tutorials covering everything from basics of using the software and simply adjustments to more complex layering and complete workflows. Most videos are less than ten minutes long but pack a ton of great instructions. What is harder to pull from these and so many tutorials is the reasoning behind applying each tool and the order in which they should be layered. The good news is this limitation does not detract from the usefulness of the tutorials because I was able to apply what I learned to my own photos, usually by following along step by step.

According to the documentation, Affinity Photo can read and export to Photoshop files, so in theory, you could use Affinity Photo and collaborate with Photoshop users or companies that require submissions in Photoshop file formats. I have not done this, so I cannot confirm how well the import or exports work, but many online forum responses indicate this feature works quite well.

The Choice Is Yours

I’ve never used Photoshop so I am not suggesting Affinity Photo is better or worse. I can propose an equitable alternative to the subscription based, top rated graphic and image editing software.

I’ve already learned so much, but have a long way to go until I feel comfortable in my editing. The image above is one of my recent attempts at improving one of my photos. Here is a side by side comparison of the before and after.

And, here is my attempt at a stylized version of the same photo.

PicnicTableStylized

If you are interested in image editing, I encourage you to give Affinity Photo a try. They even offer a free trial of the software on their website.

Are you into image editing? Do you have a software preference? Let me know what you think in the comments.

 

 

I have no relationship with and have not been compensated in any way from Affinity Photo or Serif for this review.

Something New: Video Color Correction

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Photo by Pixabay on Pixabay.com

Today’s post is the first in a series about something new I’ve learned this week.

I’ve been a frequent visitor to Izzy Video for over a year now and relatively recently became a full fledged Mastery Group Member. One of my renewed creative pursuits is videography and editing.

Color Correction

I spent last week taking Izzy’s latest course on Color Correction in Final Cut Pro.  Even if you have been working with Final Cut Pro for a while, using and understanding all the color correction filters, effects and features may be something you have skipped over or haven’t had time to learn.

The new color correction course is awesome.  Izzy demonstrates the basic color correction techniques before plunging into more advanced topics including blending, masking and setting up your own presets that can be used on different clips or even completely separate projects.  I love Izzy’s training style.  He doesn’t just show you how to use the tools but weaves the whys and whens of an experienced editor so you can also understand the thought process in play with each color adjustment.

If you have been looking to add Color a Correction skills to your digital editing bag of tricks, I highly recommend checking out this course. Even if you don’t use Final Cut Pro, many of the skills will likely cross over to other editing software.  I even learned a few things that I am certain can translate to photo editing, too.

How I Found Izzy

I’ve been creating the annual fundraising video for the animal rescue where my wife works for the past couple of years.  I used Final Cut Express years ago and various versions of iMovie more recently.  For last year’s video, I made the leap to professional software.  I wanted finer control and added flexibility so I could produce a more professional and engaging final product.

Although I’ve had a decent amount of experience with digital editing, I needed a quick course to familiarize myself with Final Cut Pro.  That’s when I discovered Izzy Video.

Izzy offers a free Basic Final Cut Pro course covering everything from understanding the interface to exporting your final project in thirty-six video clips spanning over two and a half hours.  The intro course got me up to speed enough to complete my project while showing me there was so much more to learn.

If you have a chance to jump over to Izzy’s site, check out all his course offerings and his blog.  Occasionally he will offer a new course that includes both prerecorded clips as well as a couple live workshops where you can complete the project along side Izzy while having your questions answered live.  If you cannot make the live sessions, he provides recorded versions so you can follow long on your own schedule.  I loved his Intro to Motion Course and hope he offers an Advanced Motion course soon.

If you want to learn more about Final Cut, Motion or digital editing in general, I encourage you check out Izzy Video.  If you have other sources for digital editing training, I’d love to read your recommendations in the comments section.

If you are interested in the senior pet rescue I mentioned above, please visit Young At Heart Senior Pet Adoptions at  www.adoptaseniorpet.com.  The video I produced last year, There’s No Place Like Home, can be found on Young At Heart’s YouTube page

 

I have no relationship with and have not been compensated in any way from Izzy Video. I just love the work he is doing.