Sep 1, 2014

Mob Paint Monday - Tutorial by Mike Bowers

The following tutorial is by Mob Paint Flickr Group member Mike Bowers. I'm pleased to share his work, tutorial and wonderfully humorous wit here at Art of Mob. If you'd like to join us at the Mob Paint Flickr Group, please join us!

The Photo

Varoom © Mike Bowers
Varoom © Mike Bowers

The Artist - Mike Bowers
<Steps up to the podium.  Taps the microphone a few times.  Squeal of feedback.> …Um…Hi.  <awkward pause>  I’m Mike, and I’m an iPhoneography addict…

I’m a married, 40-something father of four living in Bartlett, one of the many western suburbs of Chicago. During the day I work as an Engineering Manager and Software Architect for a wireless broadband company.  During the evenings I moonlight as a short order cook, activities coordinator, chauffeur, referee, therapist, tutor, and maid. Those who follow my Flickr feed know that I have two younger boys as they’re featured quite frequently in my work. I also have two teenagers who activate cloaking devices as soon as my phone or camera comes out.  We also have a very gregarious yellow lab, and recently rescued two kittens. As you can imagine, I have a very busy family life, but it also gives me tons of opportunities for taking snapshots.

I’ve been “into” photography since my late teens, starting with film cameras and then moving into digital when they became more the norm. About two years ago I began seeing photo apps on the Apple app store and began downloading and playing with them. The real addiction began when I started following Flipbook and Flickr and saw the amazing images being created there and really started digging into the applications that people were using. As I began experimenting with various apps, I was completely blown away by how easy it was to create something stunning from photos that would otherwise have been throw aways. I love the ease of use of many of the apps - as a software designer I have a low tolerance threshold for applications that are difficult to use and “get in the way” of what I’m trying to accomplish. I spent weeks learning Photoshop, but after only a few minutes I was creating better images with Snapseed, Glaze, and/or iColorama. Over time, I’ve gravitated towards the painterly style, which I really enjoy, though occasionally I'll branch out into abstracts and other styles.

In addition to my iphoneography Flickr accountI also have separate Flickr sites for Street and HDR photos.  I really should seek professional help...

The image I’ll be talking about is called Varoom. No particular reason other than that’s what the car seemed to say to me as I was processing the image. Overall my process is more intuitive than planned and thought out. I tend to be a “tweaker”; I usually try various apps, play around with the various presets and settings, and let the intermediate results guide me to the end point. In many cases what I initially had in mind and what I end up with are very different.

I saw this fabulous old car while exploring downtown Howell, Michigan during a recent visit to my parents. It was just a quick “from the hip” snapshot as I walked by. The starting image as taken with my iPhone 5 is shown below.

© Mike Bowers
Unedited Image
As with most images, this one started life in Snapseed. I first used Crop and Straighten to get things aligned and centered the way I wanted them to be. Next I selected Details and adjusted both sharpening and detail to 100%. I then selected Ambiance, and adjusted the ambiance level until the colors popped a bit (but not too much), and also tweaked the contrast to pull in a bit. I then selected HDR and played with the settings until it wasn't too cooked. The result of the Snapseed edits is shown below. 

© Mike Bowers
After Snapseed Edits
I was generally happy with the Snapseed output, but thought some of the elements of the street scene took attention away from the car. I loaded the Snapseed image into iColorama and used the brush mask tool to mask out the car. I then applied Blur, Glass, and Pixel presets to the image, adjusting the opacity on each to still maintain a “hint” of the street scene.

© Mike Bowers
After iColorama
At this point I decided to give the image a bit of an old faded look. I selected the Black and White in Preset in iColorama to dull down the colors a bit, and then used a Texture preset to grunge up the image. I played with the opacity setting in both quite a bit to get the exact result I wanted. Finally, I used the Exposure preset to recover the details that got lost due to the grunging and to also bleach the image a bit.  The final result is shown below.

© Mike Bowers
Final touches in iColorama
On a final note I’d like to publicly thank all my Flickr friends for providing me with support (comments, favs, and group invites are a big boost for me) and a continual stream of inspiration. Whenever I get bored or stuck in a rut, spending a few minutes looking at the amazing work out there never fails to reinvigorate me. And of course, a huge thank you to Geri for curating an amazing collection of images on the Mob Paint Flickr group and for maintaining one of the very best iPhoneography sites available!
Apps Mentioned:

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1 comment:

  1. Nice process and description Mike, great to meet the guy behind the images!


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