Why Image Masking Is Necessary

In Post-processing, it is nearly impossible for a designer to avoid using the image masking features and methods. Image masking opens up a new window of endless editing effects and a dedicated designer is bent on taking every single opportunity.

Sound knowledge about these options and functions will ensure a satisfying end result. Now to address the question at hand:

Non-Destructive: As opposed to erasing a background using the Eraser Tool, masking technique does not obliterate the image details. They are cleverly hidden below various layers so that they can help us out in case we need to make changes. On the contrary, the Eraser tool permanently deletes these pixels and it is close to impossible to bring those back in case a tweaking is required.

Transitions: The basic or simplest function of image masking technique is to have a “hide and seek” effect in some areas of the photo. This transitioning effect can be created using brushes and gradients for soft masking. This requires delicate strokes and soft brushes. This transparency of pictures can be controlled. The opacity level can be adjusted to suit the photo and its background. This is not the only technique for achieving this effect, but it is the simplest.

Editing Specific Areas: Many times we are faced with projects where we need to edit a small portion of the photo; such as, changing the color of someone’s clothes in a photo and fixing shadow/light issues. You can use masking techniques to highlight the portion and edit it as you wish e.g. color correction, brightness, contrast, exposure, shadows etc.

Removing / Replacing Background of Translucent Objects: Masking is an easy option when it comes to removing backgrounds of translucent objects. Any object with any level of transparency can be isolated from its background by careful masking. Even in cases of semi-transparent clothes’ photos, this technique can be applied.

Single Advantage of Clipping Mask: Clipping mask, when compared to Layer Mask, has the advantage of making different areas visible by simply moving the clipped image. It can be determined by the user which part of the background they want to be visible and which part they don’t by using clipping mask. Other than this one advantage, regular layer masking is more than good enough for most masking work.

Creating Collage Photos: Collage images are fun and it is even more interesting when you play with the masking tools while making a collage. Interesting and cool effects can be made by using a number of pictures and masking them. Soft brushes in varying gradients and hues of gray will definitely make these blending smooth.

Steinbeck Hitchcock and Yes, Lifeboat

What on earth do Steinbeck and Hitchcock have in common? Well, nothing except that they made a film together called Lifeboat. They did not even share any common interests in terms of their work. John Steinbeck created novels such as Grapes of Wrath which is still considered as a literary masterpiece even by modern critics. The novel was highly controversial at the time it was first published in 1939 due to the anti-capitalist sentiments. But it also won the Pulitzer Prize. This and his work later were instrumental in getting John Steinbeck his maiden Nobel Prize for literature. Steinbeck also wrote some comedies such as Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat but thrillers, not any that I know of.

Alfred Hitchcock lived thrillers and absolutely thrillers. However, he did take some diversions into other genres such as comedies in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and also some nonfiction films just before the Second World War. After the war, he mostly stuck to what he knew best and that was making thriller movies. I don’t know what Steinbeck was thinking about while writing Lifeboat. Was he intentionally making a thriller or just an interracial film with a hypothetical situation about people from various communities of German and allied forces getting together and having to do battle together? I think it’s later and that’s where Steinbeck came into the picture.

Originally the screenplay of Lifeboat was credited to John Steinbeck. But after the film was released Steinbeck requested his name to be removed from the credits because he felt the film had unkind words against organized labor. However, the British and American press at the time thought the film glorified German characters and denigrating the US and British characters. Modern critics see things differently though. Hitchcock defended his characterization because he respected his movie villains. Characterization of a villain has been the hallmark of Hitchcock films over the years. The moral of the story in his opinion was to get the allies together to fight against Nazis.

Lifeboat was nominated for 3 Oscars but received none and it was not commercially very successful either due to the negative publicity and controversies surrounding the film. It was Hitchcock who came up with the idea for the film and considered several top writers at the time for the project including Ernest Hemingway and A J Cronin. Hitchcock didn’t use music in the film as he thought it was imprudent to do so. Where would music come from in the sea? He retorted when asked about it. He was countered with where would the cameras come from in the middle of the sea?

I am a diehard Hitch fan and have seen all his best work and more. I never felt him being racist or unkind to any community unless it is for the characterization. The very fact that he chose Steinbeck for this project confirms this fact for me. But it is a strange combination all the same. After so many years of Hitchcock, it is difficult to associate him with a writer who is not at all a thriller writer. It is a lonesome but great alliance all the same.

Where to Buy Shiitake Logs at the Best Price

The mushrooms grow on logs and these logs can be prepared by you. The Shiitake mushroom is easy to grow by anyone as it does not need soil of different layers and nutrition. They grow on logs. You may plan to grow a huge quantity of Shiitake fruits and for this – it is better to buy the logs. You will need logs with 4″ diameter and the log should have its bark intact. The woods that are preferred are oak, poplar, alder and maple variety. The hardwoods are to be avoided. The conifers like fir or cedar are also of no use for you. When you have a 4 feet long log, it will be better to handle and you can put 10 to 12 plugs in it.

Online stores

There are different online sites where you can buy these Shiitake Logs to grow your fruits on them. You will have to find out the way these logs are used for using them for growing the fruits. These fruits are grown widely and are second to the most common button mushrooms. You can use the Shiitake Mushroom Logs for these fruits so that you can raise certified and organic sprouts. These can be used to create a commercial operation if you have some space for the hardwood logs and shady place to keep these logs for a good production. You just need to get a reference from any friends who grow these mushrooms and go to the site to buy the logs for sale.

Stores with guidance and instructions

These stores will have logs containing a substrate that are inoculated with spawn for proper growth. These stores often will have mycelium for colonizing the substrate. The mycelium will be kept in some bags and used until the substrate is completely colonized. The store will ship you the Mushroom logs for sale so that you can harvest your crop within 10 – 12 days. You can grow the fresh fruits and sell to the proper outlets. Often the online stores will give you instructions to grow the fruits and save time for your crop harvest. The logs are of high yield and stable quality. They will also have a high conversion rate.

Farms with mushroom logs

There are farms that will have Oaks, hornbeams, sweet gum and ironwood for mushroom cultivating base. These farms will sell you the hardwood tree logs and you can start cultivating the fruits on them. The trees are cut after the leaves have turned brown and sap migrate downwards to work as antifreeze. These farms often take the logs from firewood suppliers or farmers too. They stack the logs in their storehouse in the proper shade. Loosely kept logs are handled with care and are mostly kept covered with cloth.

Prepare a Shiitake log

You can start preparing a log for growing the mushrooms on them. These logs must be hardwood and they are to be inserted with plugs. These plugs will have the mycelium growing there. The logs are bored with holes so that the mycelium starts colonizing. They will soon grow into Shiitake sprouts for you to take off and sell. You need to drill in the logs for the plugs and then rubber mallet the plugs. Use beeswax for sealing the plugs. Store the log in a shady place until it is ready for cultivation.

Find Your Success Sweet Spot!

Most people don’t show anyone their scars and bruises or share their “up to their eyeballs in the dirty stuff”, real and RAW stories of what the journey to success is sometimes like.

They usually reveal the rainbows and glitz of it instead.

The pretty and SHINY version.

When only the SHINY and glammed-up version, smelling like roses is revealed it seems off and PHONEY, like they’re disingenuous or hiding something.

And truth is an empowering act — because the Universe only works in the truth of the matter. So, while someone only shows mostly pretty and SHINY stuff she/he has one foot in a false reality and the other foot in some of the truth. The Universe only works in the truth of all matters. Truth be known the Universe led you to speak to this person because she/he has been through what you are struggling with and would share their solution, if she/he knew the truth of what you are experiencing.

That aside, Success comes wrapped up in something called ‘WORK’.

Are you resisting the idea of HARD work in your business or career?

The “Law of Attraction” doesn’t mean that successful people are sitting behind a mahogany desk all day and aren’t PUSHING themselves, breaking a sweat or putting out fires.

And when you resist HARD work you are keeping yourself from LEANING in and getting the dirty work done.

Are you believing the pretty and SHINY version of the Law of Attraction – that successful people had some lucky break or were especially talented or gifted in some magical way and were somehow omitted from the heavy TASK of working?

If so, accept my empathy for the misinformation!

You can decide to make a change and get to work and commit to your success no matter how difficult or afraid of failing you are, and no matter what – LEAN in and figure it out you need to do. You can adopts a ‘Do or die mode. Beast mode’.

That’s the real secret to success.

A persistent “I will figure it out AND WIN no matter what” attitude.

Frequently for some wild reason past clients came out of the woodwork and leave me beautiful grateful email messages and Facebook messages about their success BEYOND working with (some are clients who are from a year or two ago). I treasure each one as if it was the only grateful message I received.

I won’t mislead you that all people show up to work with a committed “all-in” attitude. Many have bought into the ‘secret’ as a magic fix. They are sorely disillusioned when they didn’t create their magical success. Then, I am the one to dispel the myth. I need to help them to Turn On, Tune In and Tap In to the depths of their strength and courage to persevere and do the HARD work.

Somewhere hidden in the recesses of your “contract” is an often overlooked fine-print statement that is quite easily forgotten: The party of the first part (you) to the party of the second part (the Universe), you hereby agree that according to the messages you send out to the Universe, so you shall reap.” This phenomenon is written in the Bible, Galatians VI (King James Version), “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Did you know that every person who has created financial freedom has one or more mentors. Ask Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Sir Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Madam C. J. Walker, first female, self-made millionaire, other self-made female millionaires–Meg Whitman, former eBay owner, first CEO for a hi-tech company, Hewlett-Packard, Beyoncé Knowles, pop singer, Danielle Steele, romance author, Taylor Swift, singer/songwriter, Diane von Furstenberg, clothes designer, and Judge, Judy Shiendlin, TV personality.

Together, we developed a plan, and they fought their own demons and WON.

They strapped their grown-up shoes on when the going got hard, leaned in and embraced new ways of being, discovered new found confidence, stepped beyond their comfort zone, and WON.

And they keep on winning long after their initial mentoring work is over.

Anyway…

If you’re interested in doing the work and committing to your success (because there is no success without commitment) book a call and allow me to assist you to create your success and Financial Freedom.

Marketing Prints

In the past lithography and traditional printing methods were used if the artist wanted to market reproductions of original artwork. While effective, these methods had serious drawbacks:

First and foremost, a high output number would compromise the value of any reproduction. Second, the quality of 4 color copies limited the color rendition of such reproductions. Also, the choice of substrates was dismal compared to giclée. The advent of high-end digital printmaking has opened a new world for artists: more paper choices, better color, limited production.

On a pure marketing standpoint, artists who have shows and lectures can now suggest giclees to potential buyers. Collectors in particular want to buy art that is not made in mass quantities. When buying a giclée they are assured to possess something rare and exquisite.

Giclees are well established in the art world; they are bought and sold in world class auctions as well as in galleries. Many museums display giclees.

Listen to your clients: I recently had a call from a portrait artist. She has a business where customers come to her for family portraits she makes on watercolor paper. She had a few inquiries regarding making copies so that more than one household could have the portrait of their loved ones. At the same time they asked for a quality print, possibly on the same paper. We reproduced the original and it was virtually impossible to distinguish it from the giclée. Now the artist was happy to make additional income and the families had as many portraits as they wanted!

No matter what the market is, whether it consists of commissioned art or not, high quality reproductions can generate an additional stream of income given the proper marketing.

How can you increase the value of your artwork?

One proven method is to create posters (It has been done for a long time by artists and photographers) and sell the posters at art shows. This creates a buzz and facilitates the selling of your work in a poster format to be displayed in various locations. A well designed poster is one of the best advertisements!

Second, create art and make high quality giclée reproductions without ever selling your originals. Make for example an artist proof edition of 25, sign it and release it as the only art available.

If you wish to be able to sell your original you can do so and still increase the value of your art. Start with small limited editions. As soon they are sold out the value will increase. Always establish and maintain a personal relationship with every past, current and potential buyer of your art! Buyers connect emotionally with the art as well as the creator. They will be more receptive to collecting more work if they feel a bond.

Use the Internet

Create a website with a portfolio so people can see the art. Add the URL to business cards, posters, postcards etc. Optimize the site for keywords you want to target (i.e. abstract paintings, oil paintings of flowers, portraits on oil etc.)

The artist is encouraged to pre-sell the complete limited edition if a LE is decided. It is a good idea to track the collectors and notify them when the particular edition is sold out. Another advantage of having a website is to create a newsletter notifying people of limited edition publication as well as accomplishments and new art. These practices reinforce the added value of their current (or potential) purchase. Last but not least, ask for a Certificate of Authenticity from the printmaker.