Photoodles – 4

Photoodling in Office

Doodling in the office is not an uncommon way to idle away a few minutes. However, “Photoodling in Office” is a totally different matter. In earlier posts I explained the derivation of the term “photoodle” as stemming from “photography” and “doodling”, playful, unplanned and undirected manipulating of photos. Mostly this happens with the digital images from earlier camera work.

There are many tools for photoodling. Every photo editor provides some “effects” or “filters”. There are many special apps and programs for doing serious, as well as playful, photomanipulating, photoabstracting, or photopainting.

Now back to “Photoodling in Office”. I am really talking about Microsoft Office. Yes, that most serious of office tools. Included in that office suite are Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. And each one of these offers image management tools and some delightful ways to manipulate them.

Word and the others have had these “Picture Tools” for many years.

My title image, “Moth Balls”, was created in Word years ago. I noticed a moth on wall in my garage and got out my camera. The photo was alright, but I had been playing with the “Picture Tools” and decided to play. I was photoodling years before I came up with the term!

Here is what Word looks like today. When you insert a photo, or picture as images are called in Office, and click on it, a new tab is added. “Picture tools“, you can see it in the darkest blue area. The ribbon provides a large array of tools. We will start at the left with Remove Background.

The background remover is amazing. As soon as you select it it tries to do its job. The colored area shows what it will remove. There are two marker tools identify what you wish to keep or remove. With this photo it identified for removal all the background with the exception of the shadow of the moth’s leg and a tiny bit of wall. Such small areas are a bit hard to handle. Farther down I will get back to this tool and show you how to use it.

Other tools, illustrated below, include Corrections – with Sharpen/Soften and Brightness/Contrast options; Color – with saturation, tone, and recolor options; Artistic Effects – more on this next; and Transparency.

For us the most exciting tool is Artistic Effects. This offers 22 different effects. These are: Marker, Pencil Grayscale, Pencil Sketch, Line Drawing, Chalk Sketch, Paint Strokes, Paint Brush, Glow Diffused, Blur, Light Screen, Watercolor Sponge, Film Grain, Mosaic Bubbles, Glass, Cement, Texturizer, Crisscross Etching, Pastels Smooth, Plastic Wrap, Cutout, Photocopy, and Glow Edges. These effect names may not mean much to you. When you hover the pointer on the effect icon the effect is applied momentarily to the actual image and you can see if that is what you wish to try.

For this moth I used Mosaic Bubbles. I did not top there and applied some additional effect in another tool, but we won’t go into that here. The title for my creation was obvious: Moth Balls.

Moth Balls

I should point out that the size of the original inserted image affects the size of the applied effects. To make the effect more prominent use a smaller image. How do you save your art? After you have applied all the effects, right-click on the image. There will be an option Save as Picture…

But wait! There is More!

Even more photoodling is possible in Word and the other Office apps. Putting things on top of one another can be done easily. This is a way of using layers. Let’s take a look with a example. I loaded a photo of a sculpture of a girl with a butterfly on her hand. Let’s put the Moth Balls photoodle on her hand instead. Then I inserted the moth image (I flipped it horizontally and removed my signature).

The sizing handles on an image make it easy to bring it down to the right size.

Note the little icon to the right of a selected image. Clicking that provides a number of Layout Options including In Front of Text. Select that to make it possible to just drag the image over another one.

Before we do that, however, there is one more thing to do. In this image there is a red background.That needs to be made transparent.

The Color option in the ribbon has a Set Transparent Color. The pointer turns to a little marker. Position it on the color to be made transparent, red here, and click.

Now the moth image can be dragged over the other photo. Note that there is a rotate handle in addition to the sizing handles so the image can be properly sized, rotated, and positioned.

Well, that gets our moth into the place of the butterfly. Pretty neat, yes?

It doesn’t quite look right. the tones of the two images are too close to each other. So let’s tone the sculpture down by using the transparency option to let some of the white document background through.

From the Transparency tool I select 30% Transparency. Now we got our photoodle!

Well, we’re not quite done. Such staked images cannot be save with the right-click option. That only saves the selected image without the other one. So we need to do a screen capture. Make the image as large as possible on the monitor and do a screen capture. The resolution will be limited, but hey, this is art, this is photoodling!


© 2018 Ludwig Keck

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