What application best for my photo-editing needs? and need tips...
July 28, 2013 3:57 PM   Subscribe

I need to do a few things to about 50 photos, and would like to know what application I should use, and how to do those few things...

Okay so I have Photoshop on a PC but don't use much of it...and I have an iPAD but no specific editing app for photos yet... and this is what I want to do:

I will have about 50 photos that can be considered "backgrounds" - they will be stock photos of, say, some people sitting at a dinner table, for an example.

Next I'm going to take the same number of photos of one woman in different poses that go with these stock photos.

Then I want to put my woman in those backgrounds. So, to continue the sitting at a dinner table example, I want to pose her so I can cut her out of her photo and stick her into the dinner table photo and it will look as if she is eating at the dinner table with those people, BUT I have the advantage of not needing it to be a perfect, seamless fit. That is, it's fine if it's obvious that she was stuck in there, although I don't want it to look absurd. The idea is it's a real person trying to fit into a "stock photo" world, and it's just not working.

(if it matters, which it doesn't, all 50-ish photos are going to be lined up in a timeline in a video program, and a song will be the audio, so that these still photo collages will be the video portion of a "music video")

Okay, so here is what I need to do:

- I need to crop my woman in the photos I'm going to take. I assume this means "lasso" in Photoshop. But, using a mouse, I'm really lousy at this. My hand just isn't so steady. I do better when I blow up the photo (of course), but is there a way to cut around a person and make it look pretty good?
Now...this is where the iPAD enters the scene. I have a stylus for the iPAD. Would it be smart for me, instead of, for example, buying a WACOM tablet thing with a stylus and use Photoshop, to buy a (cheap) photo-editing app for the iPAD that would let me use my iPAD stylus? or is the type of stylus we use with an iPAD not going to be precise enough anyway? (you people who use a stylus with an iPAD probably know what I mean)

And -- if I use the iPAD and whatever iPAD app you recommend, can it then do the following as well?

- the woman whose photos I'm taking is not going to be the right size for all the background photos (they're all different - I'm getting them from the web) so I'm going to have to change her scale each time, probably, to fit each individual background. Is whatever app for the iPAD that you can recommend going to do that easily or am I better off sticking with Photoshop? (let me just say that I've done some collages with Photoshop but I am not good at "layers" -- I just have a primitive understanding of the basics and do it sort of intuitively)

- and Finally... once the photos are lined up in my video program I would love to do a thing where you zoom in and out of them, Ken Burns-style, to make my still-photo video look more like an actual video. I assume that, since that's going to be done by my video program, that shouldn't go into the decision of whether to use Photoshop with my PC or another "app" with my iPAD, right? --


-I do own iMOVIE for the iPAD. Can I do that zooming in and out thing with that app? (I imagine so) and, if so, would it be better for me to do the photo editing on the iPAD with whatever app would do the lassoing and the scaling and then just move all the edited photos into iMOVIE? or could I use Photoshop on the PC just as well and port the photos to iMOVIE? (of course I could)(but what's the best and most parsimonious way to do all this?).

Any help very much appreciated!
posted by DMelanogaster to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think Photoshop is your best bet for the image editing. To cut out your subject, instead of using the lasso tool, try using the eraser to remove the background around her. It's easier because you can zoom in and out, and you can adjust the size and hardness as you go to get an edge that blends a little better with your background.

If you copy the photo of the woman into a new file with a transparent background before starting, then your erasing will leave you with an overlay that can then easily be pasted into the background image and resized.
posted by ella wren at 4:32 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

The quick select or magic wand tools are "smart" tools that will help with your selection of the image.

However, I'd suggest that you might find it much easier to just hire someone to do it for you - someone experienced with photoshop could knock it out in an hour or two with a lot less frustration for you. If there's a university/college that offers art/photography classes nearby, you can likely find someone affordable.
posted by Candleman at 7:23 PM on July 28, 2013

Those Wacom pen tablets are actually much more sensitive to touch & pressure than your iPad is.

You want to use Photoshop for this, and you want to learn to make a good selection of the woman you want to separate from the background. There's many ways of selecting part of an image, other than the lasso tool. (Which is actually, in my opinion, the hardest way to go about it).

I would search online for some tutorials about making a good selection in Photoshop, there are hundreds of videos about this.
posted by inertia at 7:42 PM on July 28, 2013

I'd suggest that you might find it much easier to just hire someone to do it for you

I agree. There are a few different options for digital photo developing (Lightroom, Aperture, etc), but for photo editing, there's basically just Photoshop. As you probably know, Photoshop is heavyweight software that requires copious time to master. Consequently, (1) few people are willing to invest the time just for the sake of small, isolated projects; and (2) there's an entire industry out there of people who have invested the time, and who are now looking to turn that skill into money wherever they can.

Google around for "photo retouching" and you'll begin finding some of those people. They often advertise rates of five or twenty-five dollars per photo, but if you contact somebody directly and describe your project, you can probably negotiate a reasonable rate for fifty images. Unless you already have a strong grasp of Photoshop basics, I think you'll find the time required to do this yourself isn't worth whatever money you'd save.
posted by cribcage at 11:43 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you do go about this on your own in Photoshop with the erase tool, don't forget to make a duplicate of your original layer, and do your erasing on the duplicate layer. Keep the original layer intact so you can go back to it if needed. (You can 'hide' the original layer while you're doing the erasing on the new layer, so you can see what you're doing.).

When you're erasing, if you click, then shift-click to another spot, photoshop will draw a straight eraser line to the 2nd spot, hence drawing you a nice clean eraser line. (at least I think it's shift-click; might be command click. I'm sorry - I do this by rote on my work computer, but can't right now recall the exact keys my fingers go on to make this happen...)

Agreeing with the others, though, this is a time consuming task, even for those who've done it before. And not one that will get faster for you as you do it. It's just tedious work.
posted by hydra77 at 1:05 AM on July 29, 2013

If you do go with the pay someone else option, be sure to make part of seeing the work thus far periodically (and paying them partially). This is help make sure you're both on the same page artistically and reassure them that they'll get paid for their work.
posted by Candleman at 5:08 AM on July 29, 2013

« Older What are some good online resources for...   |   How Much Vodka is Too Much? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.