The Warp Tool

Man, I spend too much time looking at the crotches of people… as a photographer, it seems this is where a lot of things can go wrong. Mostly though, it’s with Zippers.

I have found the warp tool in Photoshop an invaluable tool to aid in tidying up things that go awry. As you can see in the sequence of images below we are protectors of modesty. And it really doesn’t take very long at all.

Zipper 1: Identify the problem
Identify the problem
Zipper 2: Make a selection greater than area you need to correct. Copy and paste in place.
Make a selection greater than area you need to correct. Copy and paste in place.
Zipper 3: Use the warp tool (Command+t srcset=
right click > Warp) with the top layer with some transparency and move around until it’s in place.” width=”525″ height=”416″> Use the warp tool (Command+t > right click > Warp) with the top layer with some transparency and move around until it’s in place.
Zipper 4: Return to 100% and mask off anything that looks wrong.
Return to 100% and mask off anything that looks wrong.

Instagram sucks, but is a necessary evil in modern times

My Instagram

There’s a thing on Instagram where people follow others, purely with the hope that those they just followed will follow them back… then the buggers unfollow.

Usually when I get a new follow, I’ll jump onto their Instagram feed and check them out. I’ll usually give them a few likes if I like their content and if they are matched followers for following, or have more follows than followers, and I like their content I’ll follow.

If, however, they have tens of thousands of followers and are following few it is rare I’ll follow back; unless they have exceptional content.

It’s an annoying model to work by, the idea that they follow thousands and thousands only to unfollow them, they become “influencers” and declare themselves such in their profiles, in the hope of getting wares from brands, and that has largely worked in the past, but hopefully that time is coming to an end.

For me, on Instagram, at time of posting, I have 760 followers, I’m following 2,436 with just 42 posts. I’ve never been one to care too much about my follower numbers, but I’m hoping to get some more models interested in shooting with us so I need to reach a wider audience to do so.

Cultivating a social media following is hard work. You need to follow, comment and like other people’s work, you need to continually produce material and you need to push it hard. Or you need to do what the others mentioned above do, follow a bunch of people purely so they follow you back, so you can then unfollow them to appear more popular than you are. Ultimately though, it’s a constant battle with the algorithms that manage the social media sites. How to get seen more often when the site is no longer showing content in date order, rather determining by their own rules, how you will appear to others. The only way to beat that is to have more followers and to have more interactions… and the only way to do that is to do the same back. Follow more, interact more, appear more… and that’s just what the sites want, more engagement, more information, and more they can sell on to advertisers for targeting. It’s becoming quite the sorry excuse for a “social” interaction.

Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress

Mark Zuckerberg testifies before congress

A day a lot of people have been waiting for has come. I’m currently watching a Facebook live stream by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Mark Zuckerberg testifying to a joint hearing titled “Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data”.

Senator Cruz just grilled Mark Zuckerberg on whether Facebook is a political platform (acting as an entity entitled to First Amendment rights) or a safe-harbour (which would allow users to post anything). Mark Zuckerberg replied that Facebook is a platform for ideas. Cruz, not happy with the answer repeated the question two more times then went into a mini-tirad about republican and “conservatives” being oppressed on Facebook. He cited pages that were removed, he specifically referenced them as “Republican”, “Christian”, “Conservative”.

Cruz wanted to know Zuckerberg’s personal knowledge of the 15,000+ safety workers whose job it is to vet content for hate-speech and the like, he wanted to know if Facebook only hires liberal employees who may have a bias towards removing Republican content.

I’m thinking Cruz missed the point as to why this Judiciary Committee was formed… because of the role of Facebook in the election of a Republican President through the use of Facebook user data that was mined by an app developer and used to set up Cambridge Analytica, a company that has been involved in a bunch of misleading activity in a bunch of elections all over the world.

Largely the questioning that I’ve heard, which is only a little bit from the hours during which Mark Zuckerberg testified, seemed largely ignorant about how the system works, indeed how computer systems work. Cruz in particular seemed only interested in getting it on record that he felt his people were being actively oppressed. Cruz cut Mark Zuckerberg off often when he was attempting to answer a question… it seems that the senators are restricted by time and some want to get as much of their views out as quickly as they could, limiting Mark Zuckerberg’s replies.

The data that Facebook uses is largely provided by us, the user. The other data you may not know Facebook is getting is from the way you interact with other data on the site. The pages you like, the photos your friends post that you like. Also when you’re not actually on Facebook, but you’re browsing other websites, if they use something like the Facebook Pixel, which is invisible to the user, then Facebook gets data about what you’re doing on the site you’re visiting. The same with any site that has a Facebook-supplied “Like” button or Facebook-supplied commenting tools.

A senator asked about Facebook’s declaration that you, the user, own your data, but that you, the user, don’t get a cut of the money Facebook makes from selling access to that data. But Mark Zuckerberg did of course remind him that in the TOS, you are agreeing to allow Facebook to use that data without financial compensation.

A question came up about how the users get to control their content usage. And Mark Zuckerberg replied that for each post, of any kind, users get to decide how that data is used. The senator then went further to ask if the user can determine how Facebook uses the data… and Mark Zuckerberg replied that yes, and quoted the Facial Recognition service that would tag you in photo automatically, he replied that “yes, users can say they don’t want Facebook to recognise them in photos”… but he didn’t say that Facebook STILL records that data, they just don’t show it.

The was clearly a push for Facebook to allow a user to see ALL of the data Facebook captures, including the information about you they buy from data brokers and then match to users through their algorithms, but is never shown to the user.

The hearing continues as I press publish on this post. I just don’t have time to watch it, I have things to do, and I’m not a US citizen and it seems that the blinkers are firmly on with the senators about their own direct constituents and how Facebook affects them. Some of the senators brought up how Facebook allows users to post or target things which would be deemed as illegal if Facebook themselves posted it and in fact are illegal for the user to target or post. An example raised included a realtor who was targeting ads for a new property development to exclude people of colour and how that was illegal according to the Fair Housing Act… I’m all for Facebook doing what they can, but as a global company they can’t also do the work of the police and judiciary of all the nations of the world and all the sub-locations within those nations, to have them do so would be a massive overreach and would effectively make them an arm of the law. If they had to report that a housing firm was targeting only white folk, would they also have to report people who broke local statutes such as drinking alcohol on a Sunday in a location that doesn’t permit it, which they may determine from a person posting a photo of themselves (or being facially recognised in a photo posted by a friend), drinking alcohol where the photo was created on a Sunday. It seems laughable that the government would want Facebook to do something like that, but then maybe, through the call for oversight, they’re also hoping to get access to Facebook’s systems so THEY can have access to all that data at no cost.

Who knows what will come of the testimony from Mark Zuckerberg, likely not a lot, because as I said, Zuckerberg didn’t get a lot of time to respond to questions and the questions largely seemed ignorant of the system, the technology, or the implications of if Facebook did what they asked them to do, the gaping hole it would leave for that one new role for Facebook to have more power than they ever really wanted (or did they).

Nemanja Sekulic on YouTube for Awesome Photoshop Tutorials

How to select ANYTHING in Photoshop by Nemanja Sekulic

I’ve been watching videos by Nemanja on YouTube for about 6 months now, jumping back and watching older videos that seem interesting and to be honest, I’m watching a LOT, if not most of his videos. They are all interesting.

At time of writing Nemanja only has 86,298 subscribers and I don’t understand why that number is so small. When boofheads on YouTube have millions of subs why aren’t people following someone giving quality tutorials for Photoshop? His work is amazing.

I have a subscription to Creative Live and we’ve bought videos from RGG and other sources, and yet none of the retouching videos are as thorough or informative as Nemanja’s. Case in point, the How to Select ANYTHING in Photoshop video included below.

Nemanja literally goes through all the different ways to select objects in Photoshop using the marquee, the quick selection tool, the pen tool, color selection and all of their sub-tools. He even goes into the “Calculations” method which I have never even considered. And he gives a brief overview of the Blendif options which he has a dedicated tutorial for.

It’s a long video at around 36 minutes, but it’s also the ONLY video you’ll need to watch about selecting items in Photoshop.

Philips Hue and our Home

Philips Hue Lighting System

Just Philips Hued the heck out of our home:

  • Hue Hub,
  • Light Strip,
  • Light Globes x 4, and
  • a Hue Go.

We’ve put the light globes in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the ensuite, and my room. The Go is in the lounge room, he’s name is Hugo. The Lightstrip is on the back of our bedhead so it pushes the light up the wall.

The light bulbs are just the basic white ones, the Go and light strip are able to change colour, but we’ll likely just keep it white.

Now setting up scenes… apparently it’s not OK to call the scene that turns off the bedroom light and sets the light strip behind our bedhead to 1% as “Sexytime”. 🤪

In addition to scenes, there are automations. We have one kicks off when we come home turning on a few of the lights, just have to fix it up now so it only does so when the lights are needed.

Totally love controlling the house with Siri… now we have them, Philips will likely bring out something new. 🤣

Apple’s “Home” application makes it all so easy. There are a bunch of other items I want. Ceiling fans, garage door opener, blind openers, I want everything automated, but slowly, slowly, the products will get better and more abundant as time goes on.

Apple Home App
Apple Home App showing our devices

Rise (2018)

Rise (2018)

Lovers of all things theatre are watching “Rise” right? It’s on Stan here in Australia.

It’s a drama staring Josh Radnor of “How I Met Your Mother” and a bunch of other cool folk, including some redemption for poor Barb from “Stranger Things“, though only in a minor role.

The show follows the theatre department of a high school, in a dying steel town, as they stage a production of “Spring Awakening” a provocative musical at any level of production given it’s weighty themes.

It’s beautifully done, I recommend it thoroughly.

Lego Minifigs Series 18

Lego Minifigs Series 18

So today I went a little crazy. We dropped mum off at the airport to wing her way back to her new home in New Zealand with her favourite child; my sister. 🤭

After dropping her off, and knowing we needed to get home to do work we head home, but on the way we were not too far from the Apple Store and I needed a new keyboard for my iPad Pro (which I am typing on now). My old keyboard just stopped working with my iPad Pro, which is a bit crap because it cost $260+ bucks back when I bought it. Sadly it is no longer covered by warranty.

But while at Highpoint to go to the Apple Store, we stopped into the Toyword to checkout the new series of minifigs. Painfully their box was mostly empty, and they also mark up the packets so all the fun of feeling up the packets is gone… to David’s joy, that way I don’t spend hours finding the figs I want.

Lego Minifigure Series 18 - Cake with price tag showing $5.99
Lego Minifigure Series 18 – Cake with price tag showing $5.99
Lego Minifigure Series 18 - Flower with price tag showing $5.99
Lego Minifigure Series 18 – Flower with price tag showing $5.99

I ended up with 11 figures, a couple of which are duplicates I knew I wanted. One a duplicate because there are a couple of charcters this time around where it’s only a subtle hair difference. So happy witht that haul.

Then when nearly home, David said we had get stuff for lunch, so we didn’t have to go out again for the day, and to get to work. So we stopped at Coles. As always, I like to stop down the Stationery aisle where they keep the Lego minifigures to see if they had any, and sadly they did not, but they DID have a “special” sign up to say that the minifigs were down to only $4, from their usual price of $5 at Coles, but $5,99 everywhere else. I asked at the service desk and the woman flippantly replied they had none in stock at all… which I find odd given a new series just came out and they’re usually a series or two behind, but meh, I can wait.

On the way out of the shopping centre we were passing Target and I said “Let’s quickly check if they have any Minifigs” and David rightly replied, “They never have any.” But walk in I do… and surprise, surprise they have some… AND they, like Coles, were selling them for just $4 each… so I looked at David and said, “Shall I just buy the whole box?”, knowing I can sell them for at least $5 each and make a bit of money, and I’d get most of the duplicates I want, and maybe even sell a complete set rather than bag-by-bag.

A box of Lego Minifigure Series 18 blind packs
A box of Lego Minifigure Series 18 blind packs
A box of Lego Minifigure Series 18 blind packs
A box of Lego Minifigure Series 18 blind packs
Lego Minifigure Series 18 - Party, Celebrating 40 Years of the Lego Minifigure
Lego Minifigure Series 18 – Party, Celebrating 40 Years of the Lego Minifigure

Of course if I wasn’t so busy I may have tried my luck in the recent competition run by Toy Photographers, which had some amazing entries and well-deserved winners.

So that’s been my morning. Mum is still sitting at the airport, her plane has been twice delayed and is now leaving over two hours after the initial departure time. And I have to get some work done after lunch and likely into the night.

UPDATE: Mum’s plane took off at 12:15, an hour and a half after schedule. As a nervous flyer, Mum doesn’t love complications with her planes.

Music, Let’s Have Music

There are all those things that stick in your head that you just can’t avoid… for example, whenever anyone says “more”, my mind goes right to my favourite movie “The Pirate Movie” and the line “More, more than piracy!”, or when some says “Nothing” as a reply… I usually reply “Nothing, nothing, nothing tra la la”, which is Jareth’s reply to Hoggle in “Labyrinth”.

Well the same happens when my brain thinks “let’s listen to some music”. It immediately then goes right to the days of primary school when we’d have singing time and what I believe was the “ABC SING! Song Book for Schools” would come out, with the tapes, and the theme would go “Music, let’s have music, music, yeah, yeah!” So that’s what I typically sing out loud when I’m about to pick my music for the day… yes, I am that weird.

Painfully, I can’t seem to find any recording of it, but I’m sure there are many of you out there who remember it. If you do, let me know.