Quick Blemish Removal!

September 19th, 2012

Oh did you think I was talking about beauty products?  Sorry to disappoint!

No no no, I’m talking about removing blemishes or small imperfections in pictures!  I know some people consider image boosting or tweaking a hush-hush subject but I don’t.  Every now and then you shoot a great image, upload it to your computer and think, oh darn, if only I could get rid of that spot/pimple/speck of dust.  Well there are some free tools out there that let you do just that – remove those spots or blemishes or specks of dust from your images.  They’re free, easy to use, and pretty handy!

Let’s practice on this basket filled with pumpkins, ‘tis the season, you know.  There is a “Blemish Fix” tool in PicMonkey – a new and improved version of once popular Picnik that closed, and the tool will remove smaller imperfections like these brown spots on these little white pumpkins.

This shot is straight out of the camera, notice the tiny brown spots on the pumpkins in the center and in the upper right?

pumpkins in basket

Upload your image to PicMonkey and use the Blemish Fix tool to remove the spots:

blemish fix with  picmonkey

A few clicks later, those tiny spots are gone, easy peasy.

pumpkins in basket no blemishes

 

Another more advanced tool, and also free, is the spot healing brush in Pixlr, which mimics the same tool in Photoshop.   I’ve praised the Pixlr tools before (here and here).  It’s a simplified version of Photoshop Elements and it’s an online program that’s completely free – all you need is an internet connection.

You can use the Clone Tool just like in Photoshop to grab nearby pixels and cover blemishes, but the Spot Heal Tool is easier.   Here’s an image I posted earlier this week from the Tomato Festival, notice the hole on the front tomato.

tomatoes and wine grapes

 

I left it in the image because it looks natural to me, but if I had wanted to remove it here’s how to do it in Pixlr.   Open your image in Pixlr Editor (Advanced) and select the Spot Heal tool highlighted below – it looks like a Band Aid.

choose spot heal tool

 

Select the size and hover over the spot and start drawing on top where you want to heal the image.

select size hover on spot

 

Use your mouse to click or draw on the spot and it will magically “heal” the image with the surrounding pixels.  Here’s the image with the “repaired” tomato.

tomatoes and wine grapes pixlr

 

I do prefer when photographs are real and actually depict the subject, but sometimes you may want to tweak your image to remove a tiny imperfection (like a pimple!) or an unwanted speck and these two tools help you do it, plus they’re easy and free!

What are your favorite photo boosting or editing tools?

 

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Throw a Wine Tasting Party!

September 18th, 2012

I love a great themed get together, whether it’s a costume, murder mystery, or decade themed party.   Another great theme party for grown ups is throwing a blind wine tasting party at your place complete with great vino and good eats!

wine tasting party cg

 

The fun of a blind tasting is the mystery of what’s in the bottle – you can choose different wines and make people try to figure out the varietal (Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.) or you can tell them the varietal and have them rank the wine with points and compare everyone’s notes at the end.  You can supply the wine or have everyone bring a favorite bottle.

numbered bottle covers cg

 

I bought a single varietal, Pinot Noirs, and three I found at my local grocery store.  It’s fun to throw in a really fancy or really cheap one too just to see how people respond to it!

pinot noirs

 

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