Chop off Grandad’s head for Christmas
Are you secretly slightly not looking forward to watching Morecambe and Wise this Christmas? Apologies to our non-UK readers, but suffice to say, it’s a show from the 70s shown every Christmas Day in the UK which it is against the law not to watch. But provided you are in the same room as a television showing the show, you are technically within the law. And so you are legally free to fiddle around with whatever useless gadget you received for Christmas - or with a photo app on your iPhone!
So here are three mobile photo tricks that might help to ease the boredom and impress your snooty cousins over the festive period:
1) Headless grandad. Elements required: Juxtaposer, paper hat, grandad. Take a photo of grandad with outstretched hands with his paper hat on and then use Juxtaposer to chop off his head and paste it onto his hands. Ask him to give a demonic cackle for effect. Basic steps: 1) Take photo of grandad as indicated above; 2) take a photo of the same scene without grandad; 3) Make a stamp in Juxtaposer from grandad’s demonic head in photo 1; 4) Open photo 2 as your base image, and photo 1 on top, delete grandad’s head. Save; 5) In new session, open photo from 4, and place demonic head stamp, ideally enlarged, on grandad’s hands. Guaranteed to get a chuckle from anyone, even Auntie Maud. Also try alternative of grafting turkey onto grandad’s headless body.
2) Action! Elements required: Action Shot, excitable teenager, new toy providing movement (eg skateboard, roller blades, bike). Go outside (good excuse to escape the sauna-like environment of the overly-centrally-heated family home) and ask your teenager to skateboard/roller-blade/cycle on the road in front of you (be sure to check for traffic - accidental fatalities are not the best on Christmas Day). The instructions on Action Shot are pretty easy. Resulting image is sure to ellicit a “That’s sick, uncle/auntie/mum/dad/grandad/grandma!”
3) The triplets trick. Elements required: Image Blender, one small child, empty dining room. After Mum has cleared the dining room and retired to her bedroom exhausted and slightly resentful that no-one helped, take your small child and ask it to pose in three different non-overlapping places in the room, being careful to make sure the camera is in exactly the same position for each shot. Ideally one shot should be with the child standing precariously on the dining table (tell them, it’s OK, it’s for art) and one with their face up close to the camera, again a demonic expression is good. Steps: 1) open photo 1 on left and photo 2 on right; move slider to far right; 2) delete all of photo 2 apart from the small child; save; 3) repeat steps with photo from step 2 and photo 3.
A very Merry Christmas to all iphoggy bloggy readers - see you in the new year!
The triplets trick: sure to brighten up the dullest Christmas
My name is @rugfoot and I’m a decim8aholic
The other day I was dismayed to find day that Decim8 (an app that mashes up images and rearranges the pixels in various different processes) kept on crashing. A quick check on Instagram confirmed it wasn’t just me. So I googled “decim8 alternative”. I was like an alcoholic riffling through the kitchen cupboards in search of that bottle of dark orange stuff that Auntie Margaret brought back from Bulgaria last year. I found a couple of apps that raised my hopes but they turned out to be the equivalent of turps. I was amazed that no-one had tried to copy decim8. Usually when someone comes up with a mind-blowingly brilliant product, it immediately gets copied. And decim8 is just that.
Sometime ago I happened across the derivation of the word “decimate”. In Latin it literally meant to remove a tenth. A Roman military term, if a batallion was mutinous or cowardly, one in every ten soldiers would be randomly selected for execution. Nasty. And I’ve been decim8ing about 10% of my iPhone photos in the last few months. I’m not a purist though: I’ve been decim8ing an image and then blending it with its original so that only part of the image is distorted. I like the unnerving effect of suggesting that there is something not quite right in an otherwise normal looking scene.
Turns out Decim8 was another victim of the new iOS. Why oh why can’t they just leave things as they are? Well, actually, scrub that. Mobile photography has often been criticised for using faux antique filters and indulging in nostalgia, but Decim8 is one of the few iphoneography apps that looks resolutely forward. Go forth and do amazing new stuff, it says. And for me, our exciting photography genre is all about the apping. So it’s worrying that it’s still in the app hospital. But the app’s developer @movax says a fix is on the way. Let’s hope so: my shakes are getting worse and I don’t like the look of that orange stuff.
Get well soon decim8
Where’s a seagull when you need one?
I went down to Brighton last weekend and, as on many other visits there, I found myself drawn to the seagulls. They are great majestic animals and their sleek grace seems to add a touch of melancholy to any seaside image. The Hipstamatic John S Lens and the Ina’s 1982 film also seemed to work well with the mood. But it’s quite difficult to get a shot of one just where you want him. Standing on one of the piers, I lined up quite a nice composition of the beach and the waves coming into shore. All I needed was a seagull to complete the picture. And as they swooped overhead, they seemed to be taunting me: yeah, we know that shot, you just want us to fly in front of you so you can get your cool seaside shot, don’t you. Yeah, right. I got a couple of close-ups of the blighters in the sky, but none in that killer position inside the frame.
But not so fast Mr Seagull, I thought. I have Image Blender on my side. I put the shot of the seagull in the air on top of the the beach image, deleted all the sky around the seagull and, kiss me quick, we have our perfect shot. (The steps to do that are: choose the beach photo as your left photo, choose the seagull photo on the right; tap bottom right and choose Mask; delete everything around the seagull (zoom up for the details); click Use; move the slider to the far right and Save).
Blender is used by some amazing artists to create some stunning surreal images. But you can also use it as a simple tool (as I did in another blog) for putting that seagull just where you want it.
Here’s the seagull (rotated in the final version)
Here’s the beach
And here’s the two harmoniously together