Monday, May 28, 2012

The Weekly Photo (Week 22) - Lines

This week’s photo is a view of the interior of the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. It is a nice enough image, but it came to be selected for a different reason. I was working on a review of art effect tools for preparing “sketches” from photographs. Such tools are plentiful, you can find one in Picasa, FastStone Image Viewer, and other photo editing programs. You can even come close to that effect with the Word 2010 “Photocopy” art effect filter.

To evaluate a number of these tools I picked some photos with strong lines, strong contrast as well as some more typical photos. For the “strong lines” photo the interior image stood out – so it is also The Weekly Photo.

Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

Now for a little more of the story. Let me start by showing you some of the “sketches” from this photo.

Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

You can see larger views of these pictures by clicking on them – they take you to my Picasa Web Album, now Google+ Photos. As produced by these tools, the effects are realistic as “pencil sketches”, but I find them typically unsatisfactory as images. They are too light – I guess I never liked the #2 pencil. The loss of color also bothers me. Picasa offers “Fade” which in other programs is called “transparency”. This slider allows more or less of the original photo to “shine through”. The next two examples illustrate that.

Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

Often I like to use several tools, working on the same image, until I see what I like or wanted. Here is such a “sketch”:

Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

This image enhances the lines and still shows the soft colors of the original.

Here is a sketch, maybe more like a heavy-handed crayon drawing. As you can see, the sketch tools can be used in varied and very personal ways.Savannah International Trade and Convention Center

Here are other two images to illustrate the sketch tools.



The photo has strong areas and lines, the “sketch” effect is very realistic. It seems a bit too stark. So here it is with some drawing paper added as background – much more satisfying to me.


One final picture along this line – my friend the robin.


Nice sketch, wouldn’t you say?


© 2012 Ludwig Keck


  1. Ludwig, this was a fun post. I have often enjoyed photos in malls because of the baked architectural lines. Once I was stopped by a security guard and told I could not take photos. A mall is a public place and so far as I know photos are allowed in public paces, but arguing the point would have taken too much effort, so I shot discretely from then on. But I digress, getting back to the sketch tools, I've never tried those available in Picasa, but have a lot of fun with other features there, so this may be next. I've been missing the use of LiveWriter while travelling this past week as the MacBook Air recently purchased for road trip-line blog editor for s can't use the like all other Macs. There is an off

  2. Whoops got cut off before finishing the previous comment...disadvantage of typing on an iPad and losing a connection! The off line blog editor we are using for Mac is MarsEdit which does not provide for enlargement of blog posted photos and also doesn't include adding a photo watermark unless it's added first in another program and then posted In the blog. Also photos can't be cropped by dragging the sides. Even with these drawbacks this is recognized as the best available off line blog SW for Macs...hope LiveWriter one day gets ported to Mac.

  3. Thank you Beatrice,
    This particular place is a publicly owned center and I did not even inquire about taking pictures. Most malls, and I have asked at many, do not permit photography, even outdoor malls. Do keep in mind that these are private business places. I have received permission to take pictures by jumping through some hoops, but mostly I just stay away from large places. Small businesses generally are more than happy to give permission. After all, these owners realize the value of free publicity.

    Yes, Live Writer is a joy to use. With Microsoft shutting down so many good products and services, there is worry that Live Writer will not survive this year - not on Windows, never mind porting to the Mac.

  4. Thanks Ludwig for the very detailed reply. Actually, I had suspected that malls would fall under the category of private business, and usually do not make a practice of photographing in them or at the least being obvious. That said, I did take a couple of indoor shots at a mall we stopped at in DE on our way back home from PA yesterday. Say it isn't so about the possibility of LiveWriter being discontinued...shame on Microsoft. I would even be willing to pay for use of the SW as would many others most likely.

  5. Forgot to add that I took the indoor mall shots to try the sketch feature in Picassa later and will post the results. oK to link to your post as well?

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