Bringing Out the Best in Your Digital Images

By Kenny Williams

Digital cameras are one of the coolest inventions to come out of this digital revolution. With quality cameras becoming cheaper and better, you can now produce images with quality that you used to only get with 35mm film cameras. A typical 3-megapixel camera can now produce a 5 x 7 print that will rival any film camera.

In order to bring out the best in your digital images you need to use some type of image editing software to act as your digital darkroom. Good editing software will make the task of removing the dreaded red-eye effect a breeze and can make a zit disappear faster than a cosmetologist with tweezers. In some programs you can take the same tools used to clear up small blemishes and use them to eradicate or replace entire people. This can come in real handy in certain situations. Some other tools that come in handy are cropping a pictures edges to create a focal point, resizing or rotating the entire image, sharpening what is slightly out of focus, and fine-tuning the contrast, brightness, and color balance.

I always like to enhance reality when possible. If you are prone to thinking like me, you usually think more about what could be rather than what is. If this is the case then you are in for a real treat with filters and special effects. A good image editor will provide dozens of ways to end up with a photograph thatís noticeably different from what you started with. You can use filters to cast a sepia or blue tone over the photo. Other tools are more radical, giving the picture a stark, grainy quality, or blurring the image to create a sense of movement, or twisting it with a swirl effect. Still others can morph a photograph until it appears to be rendered in another medium entirely, such as a chalk drawing or pencil sketch. If you have a steady grip on your mouse, you may want to try hand coloring.

I have tried out numerous software programs and have come to develop a fondness for two programs, one free and the other one is far from free.

A friend from down the street named Radar introduced me to a great utility that is free on the web. The program is called IrfanView and is located at http://www.irfanview.com. It has limited capabilities, but it canít be beat for the price.

The far from free program (around $600 in the stores) is Adobe Photoshop and it is recognized as the industry standard for image editing software. Photoshop is an amazingly powerful program with almost no limitations. To find out more about Adobe Photoshop visit them on the web at http://www.adobe.com.

Expertise is gained only through experience and is well worth the effort. There is something uniquely satisfying about capturing an image that no one else has captured before, then further shaping it into a piece of artwork that bears your personality. If you do not have a digital camera yet, quickly go get one and start the fun.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, or are in need of computer lessons, feel free to e-mail me at:  WebServerColumn@yahoo.com.

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