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 Post subject: Help Wanted!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2002 1:10 am
Location: Toronto, Canada
Okay, so here's the skinny. In light of the one valid point made in the recent attack by the "cowardly pig", I figure it's time to ask for help.

POSITION: TwistyPuzzles.com Assistant Administrator (or whatever other silly psuedo-fancy title you want!)

WAGES: $0

HOURS PER WEEK: As many as you want.

DESCRIPTION: I clearly need help formatting photographs, submitting new information to the database, and modifying existing information as required. Initially, this would take the form of me providing the photographs to you via private communications, you formatting the picture and filling out the apropriate online form ("Add" or "Modify"), and then you sending the pictures back to me for uploading. (I insist on this extra level of protection not because I have a "God Complex", but because of the existence of people like Pigish who are likely to do damage when their forehead veins pop.) While I have the ability to give out new accounts to my custom database administration tools, I wouldn't feel secure doing this until we've established a strong working relationship.

REQUIREMENTS:

- Enough skill with Photoshop 6.0+ or similar to do this:
Image

- And hopefully enough to do this too:
Image

(Sorry for using your pictures as examples, Carter! After all, they are consistently among the clearest, largest and easiest to process out of all the pictures I receive! They tend to turn out well, which is why I used them as examples! And I saw an easy opportunity to brag about how smoothly the removal of the 3x3x3 went in the second photo! It was worth the extra work to be able to replace the previous 2x3x4 photo that was online here.)

- Time is the big requirement, but please understand that this is a job that you do only at your leisure, and only as long as it's fun. There are no strings attached, no obligations, etc. Even if you only do one image, we're further ahead than we were before.

Please let me know privately if you're interested in helping out!

Sandy


Last edited by Sandy on Fri Apr 02, 2004 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 24, 1999 12:18 pm
Location: Palerang Shire, NSW, Australia
Yep pass them my way. I have some qualifications and references. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2002 1:10 am
Location: Toronto, Canada
Thank you all very much for your quick responses! I haven't had time to respond to each of your individual offers (busy... Friday was a "big deadline" day at work), but I will do so by Monday, and after I get the current newsletter out. (I tend to break my TwistyPuzzles time up in "Newsletter" sized blocks.)

Once it is finalized and sent out, I'll have to come up with a system so that I can keep "assigned" image sets organized to prevent us from duplicating our efforts. When you've got a hard drive packed with over 4000 very similar images, organization is a must.

Thanks again everyone. I am very optimisitic and excited about this! Makes me wonder why I didn't ask for help from day one.

Sandy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2004 11:40 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2003 11:44 am
Location: Leicester. United Kingdom.
Sandy,
Unfortunately I don't have the skiils/software to prepare the pics but am wondering whether there is a 'best' presentation of a puzzle in a photo to aid you in your work?
Is there a best colour background to photograph them against?
Is there anything else that helps the process?
Richard


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2004 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 8:31 pm
Location: Arvada, CO
I can tell you richard that if the background is a solid color that contrasts the object in the picture you want (such as white), it makes it alot easier to cut out with the good ol magic wand tool.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2004 3:55 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Richard Fish wrote:
Sandy,
Unfortunately I don't have the skiils/software to prepare the pics but am wondering whether there is a 'best' presentation of a puzzle in a photo to aid you in your work?
Is there a best colour background to photograph them against?
Is there anything else that helps the process?
Richard


I keep meaning to write an article on how to best photograph puzzles for inclusion on the site. Unfortunately, despite the thousands of puzzle pictures I have taken, I am no expert and still have to do a bunch more experimenting with my own process before I dare try and teach it to others. However, here are the basics:

LIGHT CONDITIONS: I take the shots in an area with plenty of ambient white light (ambient light prevents shadows and white light preserves the colours). Generally, the more light the better (although direct sunlight can be bad, unless shadows are somehow avoided), as it will allow an automatic camera aperature (the hole that opens revealing the scene to the film or the image capturing bits of a digital camera) to open for a shorter period of time, thus leaving less chance for blurriness due to unintentional (but unavoidable) photographer movement while taking the picture. Furthermore, the extra light also allows the aperature to open LESS, which increases the focus depth of the photograph... a very common problem in my puzzle photographs.

BACKGROUND: I use a non-textured white background, although most professional photographers use grey for some reason. A radical bright colour not present in the subject being photographed should also produce good results, although I have never tried it. When in doubt, use white.

PICTURE ANGLES, ETC: I try to take the pictures in a manner that will show everyhing interesting about the puzzle. First I shoot it solved. Then I shoot from more than one angle if there is still more to see (eg: two shots to show all six sides for a promo cube). Then I show close-ups of each face (straight on) if they are different than each other or there is something interesting to show about it. Then I show pictures of it scrabled or in mid-twist if the puzzle mechanism or shape is uncommon. Then I show pictures of it next to some other relevant puzzle(s) if there is something notable about it's size. Finally, I show pictures of the package(s).

Sounds like a lot of stuff, but once you have the light and camera set up, it really only takes a minute or two to shoot a dozen pictures.

Sandy


Last edited by Sandy on Wed Apr 07, 2004 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2004 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 6:14 am
Location: Orange County, CA, USA
The reason for the medium gray background is to minimize the effects of contrast that is common to a lot of today's automatic cameras. A prominent white background will cause the camera to resort to a shorter exposure Time or some other filter which can result in slightly duller colors on the puzzle itself.

Take brightly lit pictures without having to resort to flash if possible. Try using multiple light sources to eliminate background shadows (one light behind your left shoulder, one behind the right).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 2:14 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2000 9:11 pm
Location: Delft, the Netherlands
Sandy wrote:
Generally, the more light the better (although direct sunlight can be bad, unless shadows are somehow avoided), as it will allow an automatic camera aperature (the hole that opens revealing the scene to the film or the image capturing bits of a digital camera) to open for a shorter period of time, thus leaving less chance for blurriness due to unintentional (but unavoidable) photographer movement while taking the picture.


I recently bought a small digital camera (Nikon coolpix 3200) and it has one very nice feature called "best shot selection". With this active, keeping the shutterbutton pressed will make the camera take several pictures (3 per second, up to ten images), and it will select the least blurry one. This allows me to take pictures in less bright light without needing a flash.

Sandy wrote:
I use a non-textured white background.


For removing the background of an image, white is easiest. I actually prefer my puzzles to be on a black background to make the colours stand out more, so I usually take pictures against a black background and then leave the image background untouched. I'm just lazy. I should really shoot against a more constrasting colour, remove it, end replace with black, just as you do with white.

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Jaap

Jaap's Puzzle Page:
http://www.jaapsch.net/puzzles/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2004 12:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 8:31 pm
Location: Arvada, CO
I'd love to help with whatever I can, here is a photoshop I did of my new baby daughter, Bridgette.


Attachments:
baby in forest.jpg
baby in forest.jpg [ 194.87 KiB | Viewed 2031 times ]

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"It's like an alarm clock, WOO WOO" -Bubb Rubb
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 Post subject: Helping Hand
PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:36 pm
Location: Wales, UK
I'm not marvellous on photoshop/Paint Shop Pro although I am learning
I'm willing to give things a shot if you like, and anything you need a hand with,let me know!

All the best

Chris


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