How to Edit Pictures in Picnik

Let me start by saying that I have zero photography skills, I've never taken a class, and the camera I use is a regular Canon one that is 6 years old. Despite being a novice, I still get what I consider to be a good picture every now and then, and they can usually still use a little perking up. Even photos that seem hopelessly bad can be transformed into decent pictures with photo editing. 

With that said, I highly recommend editing your photos using Picnik. This free online photo editing program can turn a so-so picture into a great picture! Many of you have probably used Picnik, but for those who have not used it yet, allow me to demonstrate how it works. Get excited because it is simply AMAZING! And it is so easy to use! 

Let's start with this photograph...
It's me and the husband at North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. I like it, but it's umm...a little blue. I think we can do better, folks!

Step 1: I usually start by changing the exposure levels. (FYI: There is an Edit and a Create tab - start in Edit.) I adjust the exposure first, bringing more light to my photo. I add contrast next.
How much exposure and contrast you ask? It just depends on each photo - you have to play around with it. Be careful not to add too much exposure, however, because it can make your photo look grainy.

Step 2: For pictures with natural light, I usually adjust the temperature to get rid of this bluish tint I always seem to get. The temperature setting (still in the Edit tab) will nip that problem in the bud. It begins at 0. If you slide the scale to the right, it makes the picture warmer (think reds, golden yellows, etc.). Sliding it to the left makes it cooler. For this picture, I made it warmer, as you can see below. The saturation scale is also a good one to use if your picture seems faded. I didn't need it in this case. 
Ahh, yes, that's more like it. A little less smurf-ish.

Step 3: Next, use the eye brightening tool (located under Touch-Up in the Create tab) to make eyes stand out more. It initially deepens and darkens the color, so I also adjust the lightness scale as well to allow the natural eye color to show through. The fade scale makes it so that you can choose how dramatic you want the eye brightening to be. Increase the fading if you want only a subtle brightening effect.

You can't see it in the screen shot below, but this feature is super simple to use. You adjust the size of the circle to fit your eye and click. That's it. :)

(Let me say that eye brightening is actually one of Picnik's paid membership features, and let me tell you - I think this feature alone is worth the $24.99/year. But there are still lots of great free features in Picnik, so don't let that keep you from trying it. I used it for about 3 or 4 months before I bought a 1-yr membership.)

Step 4: Add mascara. Say whaat?! It's not what you think. It won't add false eyelashes or anything. It basically just sharpens and defines the area around the eye. So you will want to do this for not just women but men, dogs, and children too (or not, if you're worried about it). For a more natural look, you can lessen the strength. This tool is located under Touch-Up in the Create tab.

Step 5: Use the focal soften tool (located under Effects in the Create tab). This feature is great because you can make the subject of your photo stand out more by softening and blurring the background.

Select the area you want to focus in on - in this case, it's our faces. Adjust the blur scale to soften and blur everything outside of that circle. I think it's easy to go overboard with this feature (guilty!), so it's best to do a little bit at a time almost to where it's unnoticeable. You can always go back and add more focusing later.

Step 6: Lastly, I decided to add a little more warmth to the picture by going back to Temperature under the Edit tab.
Yay! We're done!

Drumroll please....



Okay, so the fun doesn't end there. Click to see more photo editing after the jump....


Printable Chevron Pattern

Ever since I tried my hand at painting a quatrefoil pattern, I've been eager to try another pattern. This time I decided to go with chevron (which I totally love right now!).

 I had the hardest time looking for a template. There are lots of great tutorials on how to create your own chevron template, but I wanted something I could just print out and start using right away. But to my knowledge, none exist!

I ended up creating my own, and I'm providing it here in case anyone can use it for their own project. You can download the printable chevron template here

The latest victim of one of my painting episodes? This tray that I picked up at a local thrift store for $0.50.
   I think it's seen better years.  :)

To paint the tray, I first spray painted it Krylon Almond (I'm currently obsessed with this color). Next, I took out my handy dandy chevron template and traced around it. After you trace it the first time, you simply move the template to one of the sides, lining up the edges as you go. Eventually, you will end up with something like this. 

Lastly, you fill in every other one with paint. Truth be told, I messed this up the first time by painting two side-by-side. How did I mess that up?! It's my lack of attention to detail. haha! I had to re-spray paint and then re-trace the template. It's all good now, though.

And now ladies (and gentlemen?) for the final product:

By the way, I painted the chevron pattern with a Folk Art opalescent acrylic paint. It's also a good idea to seal the pattern in by covering the entire piece with a coat of polyurethane.

Thanks for looking! Please please let me know if you use the template I made. I would love to see your work, and possibly feature it here. 


April Fools Comic

Today's post is not diy-related at all, but since it is April Fools Day, I'm dying to share this comic I drew of a prank I pulled on my husband last year! He is such a good sport because I prank him every year on April Fools. Poor guy never knows it is coming either.  :)  I'm lucky to have a partner who will put up with my shenanigans (hehe).

Here is the comic. You can click the picture and view it larger. 

Haha! I still laugh every time I think about it. What pranks did you play this year?