Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weirdness from Picasa

Most of the time, the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button in Picasa works wonders. It corrects glare, bad colors, and bad exposures and can make even mediocre images look amazing. All but one of the pictures I've posted before this post used it to make them look more lifelike.

However, it has a not-so-good side. On pictures with a single bright spot, like the pictures in this post, and especially the last pair, seen both modded and original, in this post. It'll also fade out the edges, which can be annoying.

It seems to work best with landscapes, especially those glared out.

The worst senario, though, seems to be large bright pictures, like a blank sky, or a single rocket / chute and no smoke against the sky. Interesting things can result, like false exaggerations of mild gradients:
Here we have what was initally a poor picture of the Mozzie under chute. The sky in the original was very washed out and the Mozzie was barely visible. The IFL tool darkened the sky and clarified the Mozzie, but it washed out all color and surface detail and turned it into a silhouette. Worse, it took an invisible and subtle gradient across the sky and saturated it, creating an artifical bulls-eye pattern. Very cool artsy look, but no longer a realistic-looking or data-valuable photo.

IFL can also simply saturate the photo:
The original was a fairly good shot of the Nike-Apache against the sky on the way down from a sucessful cert flight. It had reasonable surface detail visible on the Apache, chute, and chute protector even though the rocket was 1000 feet away and the sky was bright. The IFL simply saturated the colors. The tiny gradient in the sky was exaggerated though not bullseyed, and the rocket becomes solid blobs of color without surface details. In addition, a grainy quality was introduced in the sky, and fine detail like the shroud lines is obscured. Again, cool-looking but not improved.

The next one was the smoke trail from the L3 cert of last post:
Picasa saurated the colors a bit, as well as emphasizing the shadows of the clouds. Pretty cool, actually, and a big change from the washed-out original.

I'm really not sure what this last one was...

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