I thought I'd share a technique I learned last week. It may not be very practical but it is a whole lot of fun to do.
I used Paint Shop Pro 8 but feel pretty sure this will work in most programs.
Start out with a picture of your choice, one without a lot of tiny details would be good to start out with. Open it in your photo program and make sure you duplicate it. Layer>Duplicate.
Now to twirl the photo...You will need to find your "Twirl" filter. It should be in Effects>Geometric Effects>Twirl or Effects>Distortion Effects>Twirl. In the Twirl dialog box, set "Degrees" to 200 then click OK. You want the subject to become unrecognizable in the twirl while keeping the colors of the photo. You will do this by repeating the Twirl step 3 more times, making sure to keep the Degree setting at 200.
Now you need to decrease the opacity of the twirled layer so the original image becomes just visible which will help edit the image. In the Layer Palette move the Opacity Slider for the duplicate layer to 50%.
In the Tool palette select the Eraser tool. In Tool Options set the following settings:
Hardness- 25 (you want the edges of the eraser to be soft)
Shape- Round Size- 15 Opacity- 100
Step- 25 Density- 100
*You may have to adjust the size of the eraser to begin with, you will need it small enough to go around just the edges of your subject without bringing in the area around the subject. Once you have the subject outlined you may switch to a larger size eraser, whatever size you feel comfortable with. Now all you have to do is erase parts of the twirl layer to allow the underlying background layer to show through.
When completed with the erasing step, go back to your layer palette and move the Opacity Slider back to 100%. Your subject should appear closer and will be the focal point of the photo.
That's it! Now go twirl all your friends and family members.
I have had a blast with this.[text was edited by author 2003-09-28 13:34:08]