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The thing about Star Trek

From: Stephen D.
Sent on: Saturday, September 4, 2010 10:13 AM
Do you know what bothered me about Star Trek? The ships always flew around as if they were cars on a parking lot. They always came in from either the left or right, or sometimes from forward toward the camera, but it was always on a horizontal plane: They never entered a scene from straight up or straight down. That was true in every episode during the sixties, and it continued to be true I think, in all the movies and sequel episodes since.

It?s not that the writers didn?t know that space was three dimensional. In the second movie ? ?The Wrath of Khan? ? Ricardo Montalban, AKA ?Khan?, was searching for the Enterprise in a vast cloudlike nebula. Spock informed the captain that ?he?s intelligent, but not experienced. He?s thinking TWO DIMENSIONALLY?. AHA! Kirk?s orders were, ?Zulu ? Z minus 10,000 meters!?. The Enterprise dropped straight down and later rose again behind their pursuer, and of course you know the rest of the story.

Photoshop is a THREE dimensional program. Editing photos on Photoshop requires that we learn to think THREE dimensionally. Layers are a mystery to newcomers only until they train themselves to think that way. For example, an otherwise nice picture that has one badly underexposed corner. It?s so dark that it detracts from the whole shot. Cut it off! Crop it! So what if it?s smaller and the subject?s now partly cut off too! The bad spot?s gone now, and that?s all that matters.

?He?s intelligent, but not experienced. He?s thinking two-dimensionally?.

Instead, why not duplicate the picture on Photoshop (Ctrl or Cmd+J). Now you have two layers, each with the same exact picture. Brighten the layer with the bad corner using a levels adjustment until the corner is perfect on that one. Never mind that the rest of the shot on that layer is now way too bright: You won?t need it. Now just put a LAYER MASK on the top picture and brush out ? or ?mask? the pixels you don?t want to see, letting the layer below show through. "Z MINUS 10,000 METERS, MR ZULU" In other words, use the flawed picture to fix ITSELF.... by taking the best of each version of the picture, and blending them into one image that is NOT flawed.

Learning to think three dimensionally takes some discipline and some practice, but it can be done. Once learned, the process spelled out in the previous paragraph takes two minutes tops. No more than that, and once you see the result on one of your own shots, or on a picture of your family or loved ones, you?ll be hooked. Guaranteed.

We?ll be doing some of those Wednesday night. Be sure to RSVP if you can make it.


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