Miami Based Freelance Photographer
01
OCT
2015

Java Setup Window Blank Fix!

This will be a random post of the day, and I hope this article can help other IT professionals in solving this issue quickly and efficiently when installing any Java Runtime from the file downloaded on Java.com on a Windows 10 OS (May also work for Windows 8/7 and beyond)

Issue:
When you click the java installation file, either the online install version or the offline install version (ie JavaSetup8u60.exe), the system opens a dialog and it appears to be completely blank like below:
java blank install screen

The only way to exit is by clicking the “X” to close the window, and when you do, the system will ask if you want to exit Java installation.

Solution:

After trying to change compatibility modes a few times, changing admin rights, and change desktop themes to see if it was a visual glitch, my final attempt was to proceed to using the command line mode to open the troubled file.

  1. Copy the java install file to C:\ drive’s root location, you may encounter the permission dialog, select yes to proceed
  2. Open Command Prompt dialog with admin rights by typing cmd in Start Menu, once the cmd icon is shown, right click on it and select “Run as administrator” java blank install screen1
  3. In cmd line window, type cd\ then type C: to make sure you are at the c:\ root location
  4. Now type the java installation file’s name (ie: JavaSetup8u60.exe)

If you entered the filename correctly, it should open the java installation dialog, except this time it is not blank anymore (Hooray!)

java blank install screen2

I hope this tutorial can help someone who are having similar trouble installing Java runtime.

Java Setup Window Blank Fix! java install window blank fix windows 10, 8, 7

09
AUG
2012

Add eye catching color into product photography

Often times, a white background may just be too boring for the product you want to showcase.  Adding a colorful background may significantly improve perceived value of your goods.

Below is the product without any editing.

A few simple steps in editing, we can achieve the final results below.

Things I have modified from original shots:

1. Reposition products to maximize space.

2. Use Pen Tool to make a cutout path of products for generating shadow layer later, and make a duplicate layer of the product cut out shot (Box Blur Shadow Layer).

3. Make a new orange background layer(BG Color Layer).

4. Add vignetting effect around the edges by boosting the contrast and then lowering lightness on a new duplicated orange background layer(BG Vignetting Layer).

5. Add box blur effect and free transform the Box Blur Shadow Layer to make it look appealing.

6. Merge layers, resize and sharpen to save for web dispaly.

– Then you are done!

Below is a screenshot of layers I’ve created for this project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update:

I have just completed a more complex project using the same technique, in this project, I have added reflection effect to each product, as well as a black fill which made subject look like they are sitting on colored glass with special lighting, all done in Photoshop.  You can compare the before and after results below.  I would say that the single most time consuming part of this project is path cutting of products with intricate details.  The background and reflection effects are really easy to apply.

 

21
JUN
2012

Bounce light box design using recycled Bristol paper.

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars for a bounce light box for product photography, you can simply make your own using Bristol papers.  In this case, I’ve made a very nice one using just 4 pieces of recycled Bristol papers.  Just roll them into a slight curve, and place on your existing product shooting table.  In my case, I have one strobe setup from the top with a big diffuser panel.  I used 3 papers for the shooting area, and then a 4th piece of paper in front of the camera to catch more bounced light.  The result is obvious — It works!

For less than $1, it’s well worth the effort.  Try it for yourself!

 

Image below, the top one is photographed without a bounce box, the bottom one is photographed with this homemade bounce light box.

07
MAY
2012

Creating cool reflections in a studio setup.

Step 1:  Find some images to print out on a letter sized paper

Step 2: Prepare the setup, stick the new printout on a black board, put your products on a piece of reflective black plexi glass.

Step 3: Shoot with controlled lighting and edit in photoshop to clear out imperfections

You are done!

23
AUG
2011

Photographing objects laying on top of a photograph.

 

Macro lens is great for photographing objects placed on top of a photograph/book/magazine.  The key is to avoid reflections on the photograph you are laying your objects on, otherwise the image would look washed out.  I’ve used a black foam board placed on back of book to block the reflections.

 

Products featured: Ravi Ratan JFK Cufflinks

 

26
JUL
2011

Tutorial: Extreme Yet Simple Product Photography Cleanup using Photoshop.

Let’s face it, as a product photographer often times you are faced with the challenge of dust and scratches on the objects you just photographed.  Especially when the products are very small, they have to be enlarged many times for display.

We’ll use ths vintage cufflink that I just photographed as an example.  The product surface is really scratched up, but we sure want to present it in a nice way, that’s when Photoshop comes in handy.

The first step is to use the “pen” tool to create a path for the green area of the product to be fixed, and then select the path (Command+Click on Mac or Ctrl+Click on PC on the path):


The next step, is to simply use the “brush” tool to sample areas in close proximity (with brush selected, hold down alt/option key to sample neighboring areas and brush away).

Make sure that the brush opacity is not at 100%, try a lower value and brush through one area at a time to build up strokes.  Change your brush size and hardness to fit different situations.

Keep sampling and brushing, eventually – you’ll end up with something like this below (I cut out the shape quickly, notice some areas are not perfectly smooth).  Cutting out a good path is important to most touchup works, so make sure you practice using “Pen” tool.  Also, a Wacom tablet is essential in all kinds of photography/design work and I would  highly recommend that you get one if you haven’t already done so.

 

 

18
JUL
2011

Pattern using objects

I’ve created this pattern using just 4 different colored shirts that I’ve photographed earlier.  Try re-arranging similarly styled objects in different directions as well as experimenting with colors, you will be surprised by how many ways you can use just limited number of resources to create endless possibilities.

27
APR
2011

Glare Reduction In Photoshop

Using just brush tool, it is easy to reduce the glare you’ve encountered during shooting.

Set brush opacity to 20-50%, adjust brush size and hardness accordingly, I usually use a small percentage of hardness so that the new color will blend in nicely.

Use eye dropper tool to sample the neighboring color, then just brush over the glares, that’s it!

 

10
MAY
2010

Photoshop CS5 – Quickly Correct Backlit Subject

Often times we came upon the problem of photographing a subject that is backlit by either the sun or light came from the window behind.  You want to use natural lighting, but without fill flash, the subject looks dark and underexposed.

This problem can be partially corrected if you are shooing in raw and able to do raw-adjustments for “fill light” before edit.  But often times or not, if you are stuck with a backlit jpg image,  you can quickly adjust the exposure to perfection in Photoshop CS5.

The “Shadow/Highlights” tool will be your best bet to start.  Also in this tutorial, I will combine the dramatic lighting technique from my last tutorial to enhance the overall look of the finished image.

Here is a scene where subjects were  lit from behind. Notice how dark the subjects were compared to the background.:

unedited original image

Original Image

1. Create a new duplicate layer of the background, and name it “Shadow/Highlight” layer for simple identification, with a blending mode of “Screen.” (The screen blending mode will generally lighten up the overall brightness of the image)

2. With Shadow/Highlight layer selected, go to menu “Image” –> “Adjustments” –> “Shadow/Hightlights”, a dialog like below will open up, click on “Show More Options” to display all the adjustment properties, tweak all the settings until you get a desired effect for your image (ie. the subject is lit up nicely):

Now we have the subject lit up, however the overall image looks pretty flat and low contrast.

3. Optionally, within this step, you can add a layer mask, and mask out the top portion of the image using a soft brush.

Masking the top portion

The top portion is masked, but the image still looks flat.

Now we have completed the shadow highlight adjustment, and the image still looks too flat.  It’s time to add some dramatic lighting to the image to boost its visual appeal.

4. Make a new layer name it lighting, add dramatic lighting effects.

5. (Optional) Make another new layer, dodge the top portion of the image some more

6. (Optional) Make a new “Hue/Saturation” Adjustment Layer, and desaturate the image just a bit.

Finished Image

There you go, the whole process takes less than few min to do, and will instantly boost your image’s visual appearance.

10
MAY
2010

Photoshop CS5 – Add Dramatic Lighting Effect

To quickly add a dramatic lighting effect to an image, you can use Render->Lighting Effects tool under Filter

Original Image:

Open your original file.

1. First, duplicate your background layer into a new layer by dragging your background layer to “create a new layer” icon under layers tab.

2. Go to “Filter” Menu –> “Render” –> “Lighting Effects…” You’ll find a dialog similar to this one.  Select the round “Soft Omni” lighting style in “Style”, then adjust your properties to create an effect looks similar to the preview below.  Once finished, click “OK”

Lighting Effects Dialog

3. With default “Normal” layer rendering method, you’ll get some really darkened images, thus, we need to change the layer rendering effects from “Normal” to “Soft Light” to blend our new lighting effect into image nicely, then, adjust duplicated layer’s opacity to your liking.  You can see in the dialog below, after I created the first background copy layer and tweaked opacity, I then duplicated the first copy layer, this way, so I can fine tune the image further by adjusting opacity (This third layer is optional.)

4.The final image will look like below.  Notice the much more dramatized lighting effect compare to the original photograph’s flat apparence.

Edited Image:

07
MAY
2010

Photoshop CS5 – Puppet Warp

I just got a copy of the Adobe Master Collection CS5 and am experimenting with a lot of new features.  Photoshop CS5 sees a significant boost in terms of ease of use (time saving) for photographers a like.

Two particular functions that would interest photographers the most is probably the “Content aware fill” as well as the totally cool “puppet warp” tool, first seen in the motion video editing program After Effects.

Together, content aware fill and puppet warp is your most powerful weapon for image objects manipulation.

Here is an example I just created using both tools.

First, you use content aware fill to remove the flowers for the background.

Then, you extract the flowers into a separate layer use the new selection tool called “quick selection tool”

Once you have the flower extracted, you can then go to Edit->Puppet Warp to apply all the movement effects to the flower.

To create animated gif, you then make multiple layers of the flower selection, and apply puppet warp to each layer to form a motion effect.

Finally, compile the layers into animated gif and “save for web & devices”