Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Slow songs

In the mood for slow songs...

Melody Gardot - Over The Rainbow

The Bird and The Bee - How Deep Is Your Love

Monday, May 30, 2011

How to add borders to photos in Photoshop CS5

I love black borders, especially the cinematic bars at the top and bottom on the image. Although there are different ways to add black borders to photos, the easiest and fastest (such as the canvas size) isn't always the best way in my opinion. In the following method, I do it once and save it under Photoshop for future use.

Step 1. Frame
  1. Create a new document with width 800, height 630 (a good size if you want to post the image on the web);
  2. Click on paint bucket, and select black color. Then click on the background to change its color to black;
  3. Optional: create a new layer, and add a watermark using text;
  4. Save the file for future use.
Step 2. Insert Image
  1. Under file, place your selected image. If your image is already opened in a separate document, drag and drop it using the move tool;
  2. Select your background and double click it to unlock;
  3. Click CTRL + T to view the center of the background;
  4. Use move tool to align your photo. You can also drag and drop a lines from the horizontal and vertical rulers to help you align the photo to the background. If the lines don't appear, click on CTRL + ; (semicolon) to make them visible;
  5. Save your image in JPeg.
If you want to add borders to more than one image, repeat Step 2.



    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Korean letter opener

    South Korea is in my wish list of places that I hope to visit someday. Meanwhile, I'll be enjoying their cuisine, and products.

    Letter opener

    Business card holder

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    How to create a lomo photo effect in Photoshop CS5

    I followed two different techniques creating a lomo effect with Photosho, and this is my effort with this lovely tutorial from digital-photography-school.com. Here's the after and before lomo photography looks:

    lomo look

    Here's the detailed explanation on how you can create the lomo effect with Photoshop CS5.

    Step 1: create a vignette
    • Select Marquee tool, and set the "feather" to 66px (assuming your image width is 800px). A rule of thumb is to divide the width in pixel by 12 to get the feather number. Draw your box over the image;
    • From the menu chose select ♥ inverse;
    • While the image is still highlighted by the Marquee tool, create a new layer;
    • Select paint bucket tool, and fill the image with black. Press "CRTL D" to deselect;
    • Select "Levels". A levels box with histogram will appear. Adjust the levels by moving the middle grey slider to the right, to darken the edges to create the effect;
    • In addition to the above level adjustment, you can also chose to pull the white slider to the edge of the histogram mountain, where it begins to rise. Do the same to the black slider on the left side.
    Step 2: create lomo effect
    • First flatten the image by selecting all layers, and go to layer ♥ merge layers. Or right click the selected layers and click on "merge layers";
    • Next, add a new curve layer, and create a slanted "S";
    • Create a new layer (on top of the other two layers). Select paint bucket, pick a black color, and fill the new layer with black;
    • In the layer window, at the top left scroll down selection, click "Hue" to change the blending mode. Your image should be grey in color. Reduce the opacity to 40%, and colors will start to appear.
    Step 3: sharpen and save
    • Flatten the photo once again, by selecting all layers, and go to layer ♥ merge layers;
    • Then sharpen by selecting image ♥ mode ♥ lab color;
    • Under "channel" window, click on "lightness channel". The other 3 channels will automatically be deselected.
    • Go back to the "layer" window, select filter ♥ sharpen ♥ unsharp mask. Set "amount" to 50%, "radius" to 50%, and "threshold" to 0;
    • Go to image ♥ mode ♥ RGB color;
    • Save as Jpeg.
    If you'll be using the lomo effect often, you can create and save the actions in Photoshop to save time.

      Monday, May 16, 2011

      How to create a vintage photo effect in Photoshop

      I was searching for Photoshop methods to create a vintage look for my pictures, and found different methods, but couldn't figure which one is the best. They all look good to me. I guess it depends on the vintage mood I want to give.

      The photo selection is important, as some are more suited than others. As you can see, the picture below doesn't do it justice. Anyways, here is the comparison (tutorial link provided), clockwise starting with the upper-left picture being the original, followed by vintage #1, vintage #2, vintage #3.

      The last vintage example has more of a yellow tone, with noise effect. Which one do you prefer? I'm inclined for the first one.

      Saturday, May 14, 2011

      Five fingers shoes

      This Vibram FiveFingers must be the best shoe design I've seen. It looks comfortable and back to being primitive, cool.

      Photo source: vibramfivefingers.com

      Thursday, May 12, 2011


      If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive.
      If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.  
      Unknown Source

      A June 2010 CBC interview with Danny Williams, beloved former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, on claims that Quebec is blocking Newfoundland and Labrador's green and clean hydroelectric project.

      While getting preferential treatments from Canada, Quebec's anti-competitive attitude is unfortunate and to the detriment of the rest of Canada. Can't we all cooperate and work together for a better future?

      Youtube videos:

      Wednesday, May 11, 2011

      How to get rid of blackheads and whiteheads

      This is the only method that works for me. For over a decade, I've tried to leave them alone, and also use expensive skin care, but none of them works! The pores get larger and deeper. Despite the warnings and different opinions on how to get rid of blackheads on your nose, I find that the best solution is to squeeze your nose when the blackheads are visible to the eyes. The pores don't get bigger, on the contrary, they become less visible (at least for me), and my nose skin feels smoother to the touch.

      This is how I do it. The secret here is to be consistent. Do it once a week, every week.
      1. Wash your face with your regular face cleanser;
      2. Steam your face:
        • Boil water and pour it in a bowl. I bought a new bowl for this purpose only; 
        • With your face bent over the bowl, drape a towel over your head to keep the steam from escaping; 
        • Steam for 5 minutes;
      3. Use a blackhead extractor (or blackhead remover) to squeeze (not scrape nor pop) the comedones out. Apply pressure on one side of the blackhead, to squeeze it out of the pore. The comedones will come out like a toothpaste.
      4. Exfoliate with your regular exfoliator;
      5. This step is optional: you may apply your regular facial mask;
      6. Dab your regular toner to close pores (I'd recommend rose water);
      7. Moisturize.
        Sometimes, I do get annoyed by the blackheads that pop up in between the weekly facial steam, and so I cheat and squeeze them after my shower. I then wash my face and apply toner, followed moisturizer. Moisturizer is important to keep the skin hydrated from all the irritation caused to it.

        Tuesday, May 10, 2011

        Bye bye fondant

        I was surprised fondant can last for very long. As long as you keep them away from sunlight, the colors won't fade. I took pictures of the worm and the frog... before saying good bye to them.

        Friday, May 6, 2011


        My photo shoot experiment with loved Nike shoes.


        Nike Lunarfly


        Nike Lunarfly

        Nike Lunarfly

        Nike Free is the most comfortable

        Nike Free

        Thursday, May 5, 2011

        Liese Bubble Hair Color Dye

        Some time ago, I tried a No.1 best selling hair color dye made in Japan, the Liese (pronounced leecé) Bubble Hair Color owned by the Kao Group.

        Liese advertisement:

        It was my first time dying my hair, and despite the pungent ammonia odor, I liked the result. My hair looked softer too. Sadly I might not want to use it again, because it is not meant for grey hair, which started to grow three years ago. Anyways, here's what was inside the box:

        I used an Ikea garbage bag, and cut holes to slip it over my head. This is to say that it was the wrong move!

        First of all, I didn't cut it properly. Looks like it's meant for an octopus.

        Second, I ended up dirtying my shirt. Luckily it was an old tee that I wore to paint the walls. Next time, I'd do the hair salon way, which is to take that plastic bag and/or an old towel, and roll it over the shirt neckline.

        Remember to open the windows, or try these natural methods to get rid of the dye smell in your house.

        Liese how to instructions video:

        Wednesday, May 4, 2011

        Cannot open Raw file in Photoshop CS5 [solved]

        Finally I got a Secure Digital (SD) memory card with storage capacity of 8GB, which is the least that I should be getting for my Nikon D7000. The transfer speed indicates 15MB per second, which according to the camera shop owner is good enough for my DSLR model. Based on the book I'm currently reading, D7000 can write to a card very quickly, so the SD memory card has to be fast enough to prevent corrupted files.

        That being said, I've encountered a problem when I tried to open RAW files with Photoshop CS5. This message appears:
        Could not complete your request because the file appears to be from a camera model which is not supported by the installed version of Camera Raw. [...]
        Researching for the solution led me to this link in Adobe: kb407110. I read and followed the instructions carefully, and am really glad that it worked!

        Before installing the latest Camera Raw version 6.4, I had to check that the camera model I'm using is supported (kb407111).

        To install Camera Raw version 6.4, click on this link to version 6.4, navigate down and select "Install Camera Raw 6.4 plug-in for Photoshop CS5 and Adobe Creative Suite 5". Remember to exit Photoshop and Adobe Bridge. After downloading the installer, unzip the file before starting the installation by double-click on AbobePatchInstaller.

        Flickr: how to display camera model

        Just love viewing pictures on Flickr through the lens of the photographers' creativity. It's limitless. When I see an amazing picture and know that the person shooting it uses the same gear, it gives me hope that I can also shoot something awesome.

        My earlier photos on Flickr did not have the camera mention, and so I searched high and low on how to show my gear :) Here it is:

        • After resizing your image on Photoshop CS5, click on "Save for Web and Devices" under the "File" tab. 
        • A window will appear. Under "Optimized" tab, select "ALL" for "Metadata".
        After uploading your pictures on Flickr, the camera model will automatically display on the right panel next to the images.

        Tuesday, May 3, 2011

        How to cover a square cake with fondant

        While decorating a cake with fondant, I was getting annoyed at the sharp corners. What is the correct technique of working around those corners? Should I only decorate round shape cakes and refuse all square shapes? That would be a too easy way out. Here is a great video by SweetWise channel on YouTube that shows you how:

        The vinyl food safe mat looks great to work with, and it is not a bad idea too.

        More observations made while decorating the cake with fondant:

        • It is definitely more challenging decorating a cake than cupcakes, which are a piece of cake IMHO;
        • Not enough buttercream on the cake may be the cause of the fondant tearing off. Isn't this the reason to apply buttercream before the fondant? It acts as a glue;
        • Despite the cake eaters' plea to have a less sweater cake, it might not be possible to have a non sweet cake, due to the chemical interactions of the ingredients.

        Monday, May 2, 2011


        I was drawn by the name of kedondong. The English name is hog plum or Ambarella (scientific name: spondias dulcis).

        The fruit is eaten raw, and the flesh is crunchy and sour. It reminds me of the taste of green mango, although the latter can be at times less crunchy, more sweet and more sour than the hog plum. The skin is leathery and peeled off before it is eaten, and extracted into juice.

        This particular Ambarella is seedless and measures about 4-5cm in length.

        Sunday, May 1, 2011

        Nikon D3 cross section

        This is an amazing cross section of the Nikon camera. I was heart broken at first glimpse, but later wondered how they did it so beautifully.