Red Prince’ Atelier

The Atelier is the section of Red Prince’ Castle dedicated to visual arts. More specifically, to the art of photography.

The Red Prince has been an avid photographer since his childhood, and that was long time ago!

Recently, the Red Prince has acquired his first digital camera. What a delight! I can never run out of film. The camera is nice and small, so I can carry it in my pocket wherever I go. Never miss a picture again.

Digital photography has many advantages over traditional photography, as far as I am concerned. With all the software out there, it is so easy to manipulate the images in so many ways.

Best of all, it is no longer necessary to buy different software to achieve different special effects. Thanks to Adobe Photoshop plug-ins, one can obtain individual filters and use them with whatever software one uses and likes. My personal favorite is Corel Photo-Paint.

That makes digital photography just like real photography: Whenever someone invents a new filter, you do not buy a new camera. You just buy a new filter and screw it on your lens.

Actually, it is even better than traditional photography: For the first time in history anyone can make his own filters, limited only by his imagination. That, as far as I’m concerned is no limitation at all.

As a matter of fact, the Red Prince has been working on various filters for several years, and has created Pixie Dust, a library of image manipulation routines. But it was always very hard to use those routines because they were not connected to a manageable user interface.

This has all changed when I started cutting my teeth on the Photoshop plug-in API, the application programming interface one needs to understand to write such plug-ins.

By now, I have a decent collection of my own filters. I am in the process of converting Pixie Dust into a library that can be easily connected to such plug-ins.

I have also created a few filters that do not depend on Pixie Dust. That means I can now share a few filters with you if you are interested.

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The first collection of filters I am making available to other fans of digital photography is Red Prince Flips ’n Rolls. The collection currently contains 19 filters but I keep adding, so don’t hesitate to come back.

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The second collection is Red Prince Noise Generator, which, well, generates noise. It takes advantage of my Whiz Kid Technomagic Random Number Generator, which I wrote some time ago specifically because the random number generators which come with most computer languages are not satisfactory for the use with computer graphics.

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Red Prince Whitewash is a plug-in containing a simple version of the luma key effect. It uses the same algorithm as Etsuro Endo’s popular Eliminate White filter, but is written in assembly language. Source code is included.

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A pre-release of Red Prince Pixie Dust and Red Prince Pixie Dust Pro, version 0.20, is now available for download.

It contains many different filters, including Deep Gray which converts an image to monochrome with more than a thousand shades of gray. It is an implementation of Rich Franzen’s pseudoGrey algorithm.

It also contains the Transcendental Transforms, useful both for special effects and for scientific imaging as it allows to view an image through “different eyes.”

Many other filters are included. I want it to become the single most powerful digital photography enhancement tool ever made.

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This dragon will take you to Red Prince’ Plug-In of the Week.

From that section of the Atelier you can download a different Photoshop plug-in for Windows every week.

But beware: Once the week is gone, the plug-in disappears from the Atelier forever!

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Do filters disappear from your menu after you have installed “too many?”

Click on this dragon, and read how the Red Prince deals with this peculiar problem that would not exist if his fellow programmers did their job right.

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Photoshop filters, Photoshop plug-ins... Do you know the difference?

You should! Ask this dragon to explain.

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Here is a little theory, or tech talk, about filters.

It explains the basic principles I use in creating filters. It should offer a little insight about what I do and how I do it.

Hopefully, it will also help others who want to write their own filters.

It assumes you know the difference between a plug-in and a filter, so you should read the above article first.

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If you are a programmer interested in writing your own Type 1 filters (Type 1 is explained in the above article), you may want to click this dragon.

It will take you to an article which describes the four steps of creating Type 1 filters.

Stealth Sharpen

Not a plug-in, this is a Paint Shop Pro filter which allows you to sharpen a little or a lot. You can find it in the Custom Filters Forum of Red Prince’ Atelier BBS.

Photo Paint Tubes

Download Spinning Saturn, a tube for Paint Shop Pro, version 6, created by the Red Prince.

Digital Cameras

Mine is Olympus D-340R, and I am very pleased by it.Quite frankly, I was not expecting much from an under $300 camera, but this one takes very nice pictures. For example, I used it to take the picture of Lake Julia that I offer as a Windows wallpaper below. So, if you are want to get into digital photography on a budget, I higly recommend it.

For more choices but low prices, you may want to visit the digital camera department of the Discount PC Warehouse. It is also a good place to get Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, and other software, at a discount.

Books of Interest

Here are a few books you may find interesting if you are into digital photography, film, video, and special effects:

Calibrate Your Monitor

Here’s an image of SMPTE Color Bars to calibrate your monitor. Bookmark it, and use it regularly.

It is also accessible from Whiz Kid Technomagic web site.

Filters by Other Authors

For a definitive listing of pretty much all known Photoshop plug-ins, both commercial and free, visit Photoshop Plugged IN. Not only does the site list the plug-ins, it describes them, and rates their usefulness and ease of use.

Another good place to visit is the plug-in page of PC Resources for Photoshop.

“eye” is a good directory not only for plug-ins but just about all graphics resources.

About.com has very good Graphics software pages, including several about Photoshop plug-ins.

If you are looking for a specific item, use this search engine:

 

Online Education

Web Photo School, offers many online courses, not just about digital photography, but all aspects of photography:

  • basic photography
  • portrait photography
  • commercial photography
  • business of photography
  • outdoor photography
  • photojournalism
  • sports photography
  • lighting and special effects
  • digital imaging
  • digital photography
  • fashion photography
  • travel photography

BBS

The Red Prince has set up an online BBS, where you can discuss all aspects of plug-ins and digital photography.

Click here to log-in.

Free Wallpaper

The above picture of Lake Julia is available for download as an 800x600 BMP file for personal use as desktop background (wallpaper) only. Simply click on the image to download it (884 K).

The above is a picture of the Burgundy River, France (home of the famous French wines), taken by Fabrice Veyre, and posted here with his permission. Just click on it to download the original 800x600 JPG (700 K).

Five Pillar Club Affiliate Member

Five Pillars Club

The Red Prince is a member of Five Pillar Club started by Ken Evoy, MD.

Dr. Evoy is a Canadian physician who has created a very impressive web site full of resources on how to make money on the web. Unlike most of such web sites, his contains no hype, just practical and useful information. For example, it contains a no-nonsense article on how to get listed on Yahoo.

While Dr. Evoy certainly practices what he preaches, i.e., he markets some of his information for sale, his site contains so much free information, that it is worth visiting even if you have no intention of buying anything. Of course, this information is only of interest to people who want to learn how to market their own products or services on the Internet successfully.

What impressed me about Dr. Evoy’s materials the most is the attention he pays to every little detail. And how much information he is giving out for free. And how little he is asking for the rest of it...

The Red Prince highly recommends that you take a look at his site. Simply click on the Five Pillar Club logo, and see for yourself why.

Photography On Line

Millions of copyright-free images are available from the US Government, many in the digital form on the Internet.

Alas, finding them is a feat! Fortunately, if you are interested in pictures taken by NASA, you can start searching at one centralized location. Just click on the image, and let the space shuttle take you there.

The Smithsonian Institution Office of Imaging, Printing and Photographic Services has a large database of images. These are copyrighted, but “available online for reference, research and any personal or non-commercial use.”

Don’t miss Helios at National Museum of American Art with its very interesting collection of photographs. Although I wish their JavaScript weren’t so buggy!

UCR California Museum of Photography has a number of online exhibitions and collections, including Bingham Camera Collection.

If you know of similar good resources, let me know, and I will publish them here.

The Matrix

One of my all time favorite movies, The Matrix, is now out on video. I loved the movie when I first saw it in its theater release. I enjoyed it even more now that I saw it on video.

But the reason I am mentioning it here is not just because I think it is one of the best movies ever made. Nor is it because The Matrix will leave you forever wondering about the nature of reality. After all, this page is not about movie reviews or philosophy.

The true reason for talking about The Matrix is the extra footage added to this video after the movie: 4 behind-the-scenes “making-of” documentaries make this video a must have for anyone interested in the current state of the art video special effects made with the combination of computers and photography.

I highly recommend it to everyone.

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