What? But that’s done all the time! Don’t people base their entire careers on enhancing digital imagery?
Ok, you’ve made a great point! Let me rephrase that; a photo, when it is taken, starts out with a set number of pixels which doesn’t change. There in lies the problem of enlargement. Something may look fantastic small, but pretty terrible when it is enlarged – that is because you are enlarging the little square boxes (pixels) right along with the rest of the image. Unfortunately, you can’t simply add more pixels to keep the image quality.
Canva vs. PicMonkey
That being said, there are of course ways around this, programs designed to blend these pixels, sharpen them, smooth them, really any number of things (Adobe Photoshop being among the best).
Take a look at these two images here. If what I just said is true, you would think the image to the right would look better, right? Well, it was originally high resolution, and does look great by itself. Until I tried to use it with Canva; then the quality went all to hell. It became dull, lost a lot of that finer detail, etc.
So I tried the same image with PicMonkey, another free service. I already knew they provide more options, but never actually compared the two- the difference is amazing! I lost no quality at all, and had all these enhancement options that simply aren’t available with Canva.
At full size, you can make out the shingles on the cabin rooftops, the ripples of the water. See the vehicle in the background? Yes, it is a tad bury, but you can at least make out the wheels; it’s more a cloud on the Canva image.
Con: I can only guess that PicMonkey is built off of a more complex set of code. My computer is neither the fastest in the world or the worst either, and it lags every time I use PicMonkey. Yeah, I thought it may be just me, so I tried another with similar results. If you run off of an older system- I doubt PicMonkey is much of an option. I could use Canva with 15 tabs open on my browser and no issues at all.
PicMonkey also hosts numerous ads that seem to rotate every 10 seconds, which I’m sure is a large determining factor as to the site’s speed. It can get extremely frustrating (I am pretty sure they want you to feel this way so you will break down and register).
So there you go- they are both good for certain scenarios. Photoshop is probably the best of the three, although less user-friendly. And you need to either be willing to pay for the software or pirate it off the internet. I tried using Adobe Premiere Pro once, and it took me a couple weeks to get down the majority of the program. You can figure out either one of these in maybe a couple days.
Look at this one. It jumps at you right away, grabs the viewers attention immediately. It’s just so extremely bright. The original photo was beautiful, but dull in comparison. On the other hand, I sacrificed a lot of quality and detail to achieve this- which really becomes apparent when it is enlarged.
I personally feel the original has a more nostalgic beauty to it, especially with the fading lights in the distance. The remake resembles that of a dream world, more fantasy then reality.
What do you want the viewer to think when he/she sees the image? Some type of emotion?
In case you were wondering, the place is ‘Gardens By The Bay’ in Singapore.
Is there a certain spot you want your viewers to focus on without actually realizing it? Their eyes naturally gravitate toward that one spot?
There are a few ways to do this, my favorite being simple color manipulation. Any chance you remember ‘the girl in red’ in the movie ‘Schindler’s List’? How about the antagonist’s sister in ‘The Gladiator’? Next time you watch the movie- pay attention to her surroundings; she is often wearing some orange garb with a backdrop of blue hues (she stands out superbly, even though it is a softer orange).
Color strategies are used all the time in movies, much more than you might think. Once I actually started to pay attention, it seems like every single seen is manipulated in some way to draw your focus; very little is accidental. Even her eye shadow is orange.
I doubt that bit of red is an accident either, since it contrasts nicely with the blue tones.
See how she is in such great focus?
The photo below is another nice example of how imagery is used. Don’t you find your sight drawn along the center line of the buildings/horizon to the middle focal point? You aren’t going to focus on the top or bottom of the photo, at least not at first; there is nothing there. If I wanted to make sure you noticed a particular detail, I could center it there.
For another reference- it reminds me of the ‘Dark Tower’ series written by Steven King; everything flows in one direction, along a set path.
How did it make you ‘feel’? Assuming the setting of your story has nothing to do with this image, what type of story would this work best in? You can’t just throw it in anything.