I spent a few hours with these programs again today, trying to improve some old photo scans of our community's founders, Fr. Bruno Hussar and Anne Le Meignen. Though I still feel new and unexperienced with Darktable, I can see a clear improvement to the images I put through it - especially with regard to the general appearance of photos that are overly dark, have a wrong colour temperature, etc. I haven't learned how to do re-touching with Darktable, however, and for that I need GIMP. Here are the photos I worked on today (I've reduced the sizes):
Here I used darktable to improve the colours, then GIMP to create a depth of field blur. I made two false starts with YouTube GIMP tutorials: one used an effect that gave poor results; one required a plugin that isn't in GIMP by default. The tutorial that worked well for me was : https://youtu.be/GpGfcHcSX4s. I confess that I've used it before but had forgotten the steps. Now I have jotted them down carefully in my Cherrytree notes.
Here, after a couple of improvements in Darktable the main thing was to get out a few ink stains on the original (using GIMP's healing tool) I didn't spend very much time on it.
Here, obviously I must have worked on a slightly different original. I played with the colors using Darktable, then cleaned up the image a little in GIMP, again with the healing brush tool.
None of these results are amazing and, for all I know, there is probably proprietary software out there that can get superior results instantly. But I do what I can with the tools that I have and, hopefully, the results are a bit better than the originals.
Yesterday I had to make another short video, so for the first time (at least, in memory), I used Kdenlive. It wasn't too difficult. There were some things that were annoying. For example, I needed to superimpose an image on a clip, and wanted to employ a fade-in, fade-out transition effect to the image. But Kdenlive uses fade-in and fade-out from black, whereas what I actually needed was a fade to and from transparency. There are some complicated instructions on how to do that, but by that stage I just gave up on the transitions. But, as with GIMP, there are some good tutorials on YouTube, and I really needed those, because there are changes to settings, etc. that are non-intuitive. The result was OK - I can't show it here, because it was for a particular audience.
Share on Mastodon
The "share on Mastodon" WP plugin has been giving poor results - adding only my uninformative blog post titles and a link - but now I see there is some documentation that I need to read. I wonder if it allows the inclusion of excerpts, as does the WP Twitter auto-publish plugin? I will check this when I have time.
Haryana police evokes sedition charges against protesting farmers - The Hindu
Amazon rainforest now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs - The Guardian
The Amazon rainforest is emitting a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, according to a study. The giant forest had been absorbing the emissions driving the climate crisis but is now causing its acceleration, researchers said.
Most of the emissions are caused by fires, many deliberately set to clear land for beef and soy production. But even without fires, hotter temperatures and droughts mean the south-eastern Amazon has become a source of CO2, rather than a sink.
Bolsonaro in hospital as hiccups persist for more than 10 days - The Guardian
The temptation to make funny remarks about the poor man is all too strong.
A few years ago, I was much less successful in my attempts to use GIMP. Now YouTube has a video on pretty well everything I want to do. Today, I wanted to improve my knowledge of making electronic signatures. I'm usually the one to make these for everybody around here, but I discovered I was doing it wrong, or not in the best possible way. They weren't properly transparent. This had never bothered me before, because in LibreOffice, they don't really need to be transparent. You can just take a jpeg signature, and wrap it "in the background" and the non-transparent white parts will move behind the text. However, the other day, I had to sign a PDF document (actually a picture inside a PDF container) and I noticed that my signature wiped out some of the text. So I thought I'd better learn how to do it better - not just for me, but for all of our signatures (which we keep in a folder on Google Drive).
There were a couple of good YouTube videos on the subject. The best one :
OpenOffice & Gimp Tutorial: Making a Signature With a Transparent Background by Ongytenes on YouTube ) was by a person who calls himself Ongytenes, with a really pleasant, avuncular US southern drawl. I followed all the directions precisely, but there was one step that didn't work for me. The step involves strengthening the signature's colour with the paintbrush set to Overlay mode. That's all very well, but it coloured also the image's transparent alpha channel. I discovered that for this not to happen, you have to "lock" the alpha channel. Perhaps in earlier versions of the GIMP it was locked by default, so Ongytenes didn't mention that.
While D is teaching her mindfulness classes by Zoom, I'm basically shut up in the bedroom, because she gives those two-and-a-half-hour classes in front of the bedroom door. So if I were to wander out, that would create a disturbance. So I have lots of time to learn about GIMP on Friday mornings, and today I was also learning about Zoom. I never need to initiate any Zoom meetings personally, but I do need to be able to help others with that. So today, again via YouTube, I was learning all about proper lighting and presentation skills. A lot of thought has gone into that program. There were so many tips that go way beyond the knowledge and skills that most people have of it. Anyway, I eventually ended up ordering a green screen and stand. Not in order that D. can present herself in front of some Hawaiian beach scene, but in order that she can give her presentations in a better place than in front of our bedroom door, so I won't be a captive while she is doing them.
✭ Iran issues Interpol notice for 48 US officials including Trump | Conflict News | Al Jazeera https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/5/iran-issues-interpol-notice-for-48-us-officials-in… "Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili announced during a press conference on Tuesday that Iran has requested the international police organisation to arrest Trump and 47 other American officials identified as playing a role in the assassination of top general Qassem Soleimani last year." #Iran
I wonder if in earlier ages, as many hostile acts were perpetrated, without a full declaration of war, while in the meantime, maintaining the pretense that all countries equally belong to international frameworks like the UN, Interpol, etc., under a sham veneer of civilized international behaviour.
“The [Iranian] cabinet approved the provision of $150,000, or the equivalent in euros... for the families and survivors of each of the victims of the Ukrainian plane crash as soon as possible,” Iran’s presidency said, according to the official IRNA news agency.
“This compensation does not prevent the prosecution of the criminal element of the case before the competent judicial authority,” the statement added.
But Kiev said the compensation amount should be the subject of negotiations, stressing the need for “establishing the causes of the tragedy and bringing those responsible to justice”. #Iran
In so many ways, tiny Israel and humongous India are following a parallel path. Both have right wing governments that are trying to increase the standing of the dominant religion / culture to the detriment of the minority, and in both cases the minority in question is largely Muslim. In both countries, the loyalty of the Muslim minority to the state is doubted, while its allegiance to an outside country or countries is claimed. Arabs in Israel and Muslims in India are regarded more and more as second class citizens. Meanwhile, both countries control territories through a kind of military occupation. Both countries are militarily strong but obsessed with security in response to real and present security threats. While Indian Muslims are not ethnically different from Hindus, having simply undergone religious conversation over the centuries, they are perceived as different. But the same is actually true of Palestinians, whose DNA record closely matches that of Jews.
Arabs in Israel challenged Israel's 2018 "Nation State Law" in Israel's high court. The country doesn't have a constitution, but relies on "Basic Laws" instead. The Basic Laws are mostly from the early days of the state, but this recent one was legislated by right wing politicians and intends to enshrine in law certain principles related to the Jewish character of the state. For example, whereas previously both Hebrew and Arabic were recognized as official languages, after the law, only Hebrew was recognized as "official", whereas Arabic has "special" status. This was objected to by Arab lawmakers and organizations, who finally had their day in court. However the judges, probably wary regarding their mandate of challenging a "basic law" that had been introduced through legislation, didn't take the challenge very seriously and found ways to slither out of doing anything. Samah (from our village) wrote this opinion piece for Haaretz and it appeared in the paper's Hebrew and English editions, though the English translation doesn't seem to be very good. It's interesting that the presiding judge made a reference to the gender equality law, saying that this is even more "basic" than the "nation state" law, and that therefore, when the country gets around to making a constitution, it will have to deal with this and other contradictions. As I mentioned to Samah, years ago, I also used this discrepancy among the arguments I made for conscientious objection. Women had the right to CO status, but men didn't. So there was a contradiction between this law and the law of universal army service for men. (It wasn't my idea, but that of my draft counsellor). Eventually they exempted me, without stating any reason other than a catch-all clause.
Relates to the above issue. Avraham Burg, an important figure (and son of a top National Religious Party politician, has requested the population registry to remove his "Jewish nationality". Judaism is not conceived of just as a religion in Israel, but as a nationality. For example, in my identity card as a permanent resident, it is written that my nationality is "British". If I were a permanent resident but Jewish, it would be written that my nationality is "Jewish". Israel makes a differentiation between "nationality" and "citizenship". There was once someone who appealed to have his nationality inscribed as "Israeli", but he lost the case. Burg, who says that if possessing Jewish nationality (according to the Nation State Law) awards him privileges greater than those of other citizens, then he refuses to be registered as Jewish and wants it scratched from the record.