Have you ever wanted to make fine-tuned adjustments to photos on a mobile device? Here’s how it’s done, as explained by Benjamin Holmes, Sharpening Character’s VersePics Director and expert mobile device photo editor…

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John 1:14 in a Phone VP layout

I found the background to this VP on Pixabay, one of my favorite sites. Pixabay is a royalty free stock photo site, where all of the pictures are free! They have a huge community of very professional photographers, and anyone can submit their photos to the site. (Just a word of warning however, as with any other site, and especially photo community sites, you need to be very careful. Each of our Internet filtering methods and standards are different, but you should be aware that this is a site that allows ANY type of photo to be submitted.) Pixabay.com is easily one of the greatest tools of my arsenal in creating the VersePics, with a huge selection of absolutely breathtaking photos that I’ve used in almost every VP since I began creating them. I thank God for allowing me to find this amazing resource!!!

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The original photo

Before I go on, you may be thinking “Really? What does snow have to do with THAT verse?” to which I would reply, listen to the corresponding episode on the podcast! Well, the photo was perfect, but less so the color… I didn’t really like that green, and I was feeling like I wanted a nice, subtle, icy blue. Thank goodness for Pixelmator!

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Pixelmator’s Hue and Saturation Tool

Pixelmator allows me great control over colors. There are seven menus to adjust color and saturation, with both a “general” color change that effects the entire photo, to finer hue color changes that effect only one color or hue in the photo. Each of these seven menus have a color wheel and brightness and saturation settings. As you can see from the photo, I’ve now changed the color of the photo to blue, while also making the color more subtle by decreasing saturation and brightness levels. I did different settings in the seven to get the effect I desired, but I only show the general menu here since you only can show one at a time.

With the color-change finished, I found myself not really liking the softness of the background, or more specifically, the lack of it. The background (versus the foreground of the snowflake) had too many details, especially in the upper right corner, and not enough blur. I fixed that detail using Pixelmator’s Selection tools and the Soften Tool.

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Softening in Pixelmator

First off, notice the layers on the left. I have three layers here, with the top two in a group, and the bottom layer being the original image for reference. (Having the original open and right there can be so useful, and powerful when I’m trying to figure out how I want to make an edit comparatively, as well as figuring out whether some adjustments look better, or worse than the original photo.) I used Pixelmator’s powerful selection tools to select the background, and then duplicated it to the top layer. The foreground stays on the background meaning that I’m in no danger of softening the details that need to stay sharp! Any irregularities in softening or selection that I see can always be corrected by fine-tune softening the lower, complete layer. This is maybe a more time consuming method to just putting a foreground over a blurred photo, but this way I don’t get any ghosting, and I get to choose what and exactly where I get the extra blur. I did end up softening some specific parts of the foreground to help the focus of the image, but at least in my opinion, seeing those sharp edges on that snowflake make the extra care all worth it, and if you’ve seen the finished VP, you’ll know I zoomed in a ways, so not having any ghosting or accidental softening was important to me.

With all of the changes I wanted in Pixelmator finished, I moved on to Over.

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Adjustments in Over

Even though Over primarily is focused on putting text on photos, it really isn’t a bad with basic photo editing, and I’ll often fine-tune a photo here after seeing what everything looks like with the text over the photo. That’s what ended up happening here. After a time of messing about with text and looking for a certain look, I decided to further decrease the saturation, and put just the teeniest bit of sharpness in for that snowflake. (4 out of 100) Because that snowflake was large, in focus, and pretty much the only thing in focus, it presented so many difficulties I hadn’t anticipated. If it at all went underneath the text, it looked horrible. If it went too close to the text, it look horrible. If not enough of it was showing, you got it, it looked horrible!!! This was very much an unforeseen difficulty! I solved the problem with a lot of tinkering, and an ounce of luck with finding what I think was the right solution. Since I was already zoomed in, or in other words was cropping out a lot of the photo, I could rotate the picture in addition to trying out soooo many size levels to align the snowflake up with the text just right so it didn’t look horrible! On reflection, that shouldn’t be your first thought when trying stuff out, but so many things were at that point that I was looking for anything that worked, and I think what I ended up with does, if not very well.

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Finally finished!!!

Phew! With this VersePic out of the way, I started work on the next one, which turned out to be John 4:35!

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Graphic design is a job never finished, and I seem to like it that way! The editing behind John 4:35, however, is an entirely different story, and one I’ll have to save for later!

May God bless you as we start a New Year in Him!

BenVersePics Director for Sharpening Character, www.sharpeningcharacter.com

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