Mikey being Mikey!

A Fellow Chucker! -TMNT Fan Art (iPad Painting)

Here is my latest art piece featuring a scene from the 1990 Ninja Turtles movie.

In a recent Facebook group poll, I asked members which character they wanted me to paint next from this movie.

Mikey was most voted so here he is twirling his famous nunchucks!

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Mikey being Mikey!

Hope you all like this!

Next up will be Donnie; second most voted!

Look Out Raph!

Look Out Raph! (iPad Painting)

I have been a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles franchise for a long time and the first live action movie, released back in 1990, still remains the best iteration we have of the TMNT on the big screen in my opinion.

As a tribute to that film and at the same a chance for me to practice painting and sketching from reference, I am starting a new series of paintings that showcase scenes from the movie that I feel capture the different characters.

For my first post, I present to you my favourite turtle of the bunch; Raphael (Raph).

look-out-raph

Look Out Raph!

All the paintings in this series will be done on my iPad using, you guessed it, the awesome Procreate app.

Hope you all enjoy this artistic tribute to the Heroes in a Half Shell!

 

 

 

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Picktorial for macOS (RAW photo editor) – Review

picktorial-artwork-facebook-feed

In the ever-growing list of photography apps available on macOS, there are only few that can be worthy of remaining in a photographer’s toolkit.

Among the fray is a relatively new software called Picktorial which brings its proprietary RAW development engine and clean interface exclusively to the macOS platform.

Picktorial is one of those keeper apps. It caters to the enthusiast and pro photography crowd while bringing some great and robust adjustment options and features to any photographer’s app arsenal.

Feature set:

Here is the bullet list of features found within Picktorial (as seen on their official website)

picktorial-featurespicktorial-features-2

Also of note is the ability to use Picktorial as a full featured Photos app extension. This provides all the editing tools found in the standalone app to be used directly inside Photos for macOS.

Aperture Library support: 

picktorial-sidebar

Picktorial brings with it a whole slew of features that will please many photo editing enthusiasts. One feature that stood out for me and that can be of great value to any former or current Apple Aperture user is the ability to view any Aperture Library directly in app without any need for migrating or merging. All you have to do is open up Picktorial and it will automatically detect any Aperture Library you may have in your default Pictures folder.

In Picktorial’s sidebar, you can now see all your projects as created in Aperture. All ratings and keywords are retained.

This allows you to keep the organization from Aperture yet unlock awesome editing capabilities that Aperture can sadly no longer provide.

Camera Profiles with a twist:

The developer of Picktorial mentioned in a video Interview with TWIP Apps that Picktorial’s RAW decode engine has already support for over 500 cameras. If there is a new camera that has been released, and Picktorial has not yet been updated for it, the software can intelligently switch to using Apple’s RAW camera engine transparent to the end user.

I find this quite interesting and a feature I have not yet seen in other apps of this kind.

I would have loved a way for users to be able to manually select which decode engine they want to use for a given photo. It could provide more flexibility if you want to see what result a given decode engine is giving compared to the other. Hopefully this can be added in a future update.

The interface: 

picktorial-ui

Picktorial’s interface design is quite clean and presents its diverse options in a well structured way.

A visual histogram is one commonly used interface option that is not currently present in Picktorial. The developer informs me that it is a planned feature for an upcoming update but I do not have an ETA as of yet.

The folowing screenshots will show different tools within their respective categories:

picktorial-lightpicktorial-colorpicktorial-curvespicktorial-info

Local Adjustments:

picktorial-retouch

Picktorial has tools to allow for localised edits using a brushing system and even gradient tools.

The developer mentions that in the background, Picktorial is essentially using its own layering system so all edits done locally are totally non destructive.

Retouching tools:

picktorial-denoise

The patch tools are great in Picktorial. You can sport heal and clone stamp with ease and have been using this tool more and more. I find it more granular and precise compared to  the in-paint patching engine found in other tools.

I plan on doing a separate article comparing the Patch tool in Picktorial with Pixelmator’s Retouching brush in the near future. Stay tuned for that.

My only gripe in the retouch section is the de-noise option. I does a great job in itself but  I feel it should have been moved to another category. Also, to allow de-noise of full image, you must make sure to select “fill” option in the toolbar in bottom right of the interface (see screenshot in local adjustment section of review). I personally feel that this should be streamlined and more intuitive.

Watermarking:

picktorial-watermark

 

As expected, watermarking tools are also present in the app but only in the form of image file watermark. This entails that if you want to create a text based watermark, you must do so in another pixel editor and then export it as a PNG file to then import into Picktorial.

I would have liked to be able to have the ability to directly create text based watermarks.

 

Export options:

picktorial-export

Once editing is completed, Picktorial allows for 2 file formats to export as (JPEG or TIFF)

My go-to export option is TIFF (uncompressed) which provides a 16bit TIFF file that retains all the quality of the image and can be easily imported in another photo editing app to further manipulate the photo without fear of losing quality. something JPEG option can not provide. The only downside to TIFF is that it generates a large file (sometimes it can be 3 times as large as the original RAW file). This might be fill up you internal drive quite fast. As such, I recommend an external drive solution to store those exported TIFFs in order to archive them and leave some room on your Mac’s drive.

Final Thoughts:

I plan to use Picktorial extensively in more and more shoots as it provides a quick way to edit photos in a powerful way. The option of seeing all my photos from my Aperture Library and also photos from my macOS Finder is a great addition.

There are some kinks I wish were resolved like a histogram view and text watermarking options but these do not keep me from recommending this great RAW editor to all photographers who edit on macOS.

Picktorial can be purchased at a special introductory price of US$24.99 (50% off the regular price). In a world of subscription based photo editing solutions, this is a standout price for the features Picktorial is packing.

To learn more about Picktorial visit the official website.

There is an unofficial support forum on the Photoapps.expert website where users can send feedback and requests along with question regarding the app. The developer is quick to respond and is always willing to listen to feedback.

You can also Follow Picktorial on Facebook and Twitter.

I look forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for Picktorial and will keep you posted on all the latest updates when they are released. Be sure to follow my blog to be notified!

Frost Dragon – iPad Painting

Dragons have been some of my favourite mythological creatures since I can remember. The grace and power of these beasts invoke inspiring visuals.

For my latest art piece, I decided to paint a dragon with more detail than any of my previous paintings. As such, the scaling detail of the dragon’s skin was the most time consuming part of it.

I present to you, Frost Dragon:

Frost Dragon

Frost Dragon – Made on iPad using Procreate app. Background created in Inkpad app. Total tracked time for this art is 7 hours 37 minutes.

 

I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I have enjoyed working on it! If you do, please share this post with your friends!

sunset scene with a hut near canal

MTL TTL 09: Down by the Locks (Lachine Canal)

I made a short trip down to Lachine Canal last weekend. It is a real serene place with a calming feel to it. A friend even described it as “the closest feeling of California in Montreal”.

Here is my photographic experience of the beautiful Lachine Canal:

Sailbots in a lot

Sailboat Storage

Sailboats parked near a dock

Sailboat Parking

boats in water with sunset sky

Boats Lounging in sunset

Boat riders in water with sunset

Living the Boat Life

water and dock

Rippling Dock

Face Sculpture on hill

Face of the Hill

Close up of face sculpture

Face to Face with the Face

sunset scene with a hut near canal

The Hut

Lachine church with dramatic sky

Church

statue of jesus atop column

Jesus Christ Monument

tree bending towards lake with nice sunset sky

The Bowing Tree

 

This was a great experience and one I plan on having again soon. I urge you all to visit the Lachine canal and trust me, you will want to return time and time again!

 

Hidden Seeker

Hidden Seeker

With all the Pokémon Go craze happening around the world, I thought about this concept of a monster trying to hide behind a pillar of Montreal City Hall.

I had shot this photo a while back and recently dug it out of  my collection.. The angle felt right so I sketched a monster/creature on top of it.

After a few hours of refinement, I ended up with this final piece:

 

Hidden Seeker

Hidden Seeker ©SKR Imaging

Photo shot on iPhone… Monster painted on iPad using the Procreate app.

More monsters might be hiding in the city, stay tuned.

Please Follow the blog and Share this post if you want to see more art like this!

@SKR Imaging

MTL TTL 08: Fireworks

I went to the old port of Montreal last night to take some pictures of 32nd edition of L’International des Feux Loto-Québec. It is a yearly fireworks display that goes on every Saturday and Wednesday for the whole month of July. It is a very popular Montreal summer event.

This was my first foray into taking pictures of fireworks and let me tell you that it takes practice, patience and timing. You will most likely end up shooting many pictures and only a few might come out usable. I shot 30 snaps and only 1 of those was a keeper.

Here is the sole keeper shot (not the best fireworks image you will witness but it’s a start):

@SKR Imaging

Old port fireworks

The next time I shoot fireworks photographs, I will take what I learned with this shoot and improve upon it to achieve more keeper shots. A few important things will be to find the best spot with better foreground subjects to frame the shot without obstructing the firework display. I might try shooting from a bridge vantage point to be a little closer to the action.

Let me know what you think of the shot and if any of you have previously taken firework photographs, I would love to hear about your experiences aswell!