August 2, 2008

Photoshop: Layers


Photoshop is and, i guess, will probably remain the de facto way to edit photos, make graphic designs, add effects and basically do awesome, awesome stuff to satiate your creative cravings. And although it seems to be a VERY complicated software on first look basis, it is quite simple to use. All you need is a bit of patience. Ok, well, a lot of patience.
The first things to understand, and understand well about photoshop right at the beginning is this: Layers, Layers and more Layers. As soon as you get the hang of manipulating layers and how editing a certain layer in a certain way effects the layers that are below it, you will be well on your way to doing good image editing.
if you have a portrait and an interesting background you would like to superimpose that portrait on, you can do so easily using photoshop (or Corel Draw, it's not like i'm plugging photoshop. Just that i've been using it for six years now and it's sorta like i'm committed to it).
Follow these steps and your custom designed pic will be ready in no time:
> Open a new file with dimensions bigger than that of background image.
> Copy both layers onto the canvas .
> Place the portrait layer above the background layer by dragging the layers in the Layer Palette.
Now do one of the following:

> Erase around the Persons Outline by using the Eraser Tool (shortcut-E).
> Select all, then using the Magic Wand, press ALT and click once on the area around the person.
> Press CTRL+ALT+D and apply a feather effect of 5 to 10 pixels.
> Cut by pressing CTRL+X and Paste CTRL+V.
> Delete the older layer.


> Select the persons outline using the Lasso Tool or the Magnetic Lasso or the Freehand Selection, if you can manage that with the mouse as it takes a LOT of time.
> Press CTRL+ALT+D and apply a feather effect of 5 to 10 pixels.
> Cut by pressing CTRL+X and Paste CTRL+V
> Delete the older layer.
> Tweak the image be using the Eraser, Clone, Blur, Smudge tools.

Granted, not the best of Photoshop Tutorials, but it should start you along the yellow brick road to wonderland. For more tutorials, just do a google.
Or if you're feeling spectacularly lazy, click this link
Google Search on Photoshop Tutorials.
Remember, Patience is the key,for you are the Warrior of the Light [Paulo Coelho], and when a Warrior of the Light shows patience and perseverance he or she can end up making stuff like this:
That's right, it's a copyright sky. Ah, the blatant joys of blatant consumerism :p.
Now scroll back up and check out the original.


July 29, 2008

A Guide to Failure

You know you're going to flunk an exam when you start making up reasons for why you flunked even before you give the exam.
Noticing the over-populated shelves of the Self-Help Section on Succeeding, i decided to embark upon this arduous journey of writing an article on how not to succeed.
Now, some people would say that flunking, (also known as failing, flopping out and, the more colourful and very vernacular, getting fucked!) is quite easy. Not so. It can be ridiculously hard to fail. It requires weeks, and sometimes, months of dedication and hard work.

Doing everything else besides studying, that is.

Indeed, one of the toughest decisions to make at that point in time when you decide that books do not quite deserve as much time as your geeky pals, proffessors and parents say they do is: what exactly to do?

This confusing conundrum can easily be solved by dividing the problem into the following simple steps-

Step 1: Outlining area of interests
This is the most important step, for only when you have a solid foundation can you have a solid building. *koff* Moving on from the profound to the pedagaugically profane. On a piece of paper, write down what best captures your attention and then go one better and write what deviates it the most. Yes, for only when we know our weaknesses can you ever hope to harness our strengths!

Step 2: Choosing an area of interest
The second step in the process is vital to your success at failing. In this step you choose one of the areas from the many listed in the previous step and concentrate upon achieving the main objectives pertaining to that particular area. For example, if the topic chosen by you is Girls, then you can break up your objectives so that you have ample time to achieve all. More importantly, so that you have ample time to ignore studies.

Continuing with our example of Girls, your objectives can include

  • Prank Calls (No response from callee)
  • Short Phone Calls (Establishing connection)
  • Long Phone Calls (Establishing trust)
  • File Work for Favourite Girl (Building trust)
  • Hostel/House Drops and Pick-Ups (Getting desperate)
  • Assorted Chores (Getting more desperate)
  • Private Tutions (Getting there)
  • Private Dates (ahem)
  • Backbench Baiting & Biting (koff)
  • Getting It ON! (oh yeah!!!)
  • and for the very lucky few, Philandering.

Step Three:
Following your schedule with a manic obsession until you achieve your main objective of, well, flunking, failing and generally getting fucked.


my result was released day before. It's not too good.
Just 71.4%
(smug smug grin, big wide one showing teeth and gums! modesty be damned goddam hoo-haa)

So don't take this post TOO seriously :P.

July 22, 2008


Finished reading 'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts today and it would be safe to say that this magnificent novel is like nothing i have ever read before. Praises more eloquent than i could ever conceive have already been dedicated to this masterpiece of a story.

The writing is brutally frank and honest. It catches hold of you from the first sentence and doesn’t let go till the last, giving you hundreds of shakes and jolts along the way to keep you, if possible, even more riveted. The people, places and situations are described in a manner that, I can now say, is uniquely Roberts. Indeed, the breathtaking, almost tangible beauty of the imagery and the powerful style of writing all but pull you into the life of Shantaram.

And what a life it is: from prison breaks to living in slums, from working for the mafia to fighting with the Mujahedeen, Shantaram’s done it all. The story of his life gets so unbelievable that it is easy to forget that this is novel, though a work a fiction, has been built upon real life events that are stranger and, at times, more unbelievable than fiction itself.

The words of caution that the Publishers forgot to include on the cover is that this book will make you pine for adventure. That it will make you yearn for love and, at the same time, will make you want to love, the second considerably harder than the first. It will make you crave to find yourself. They forgot to say that this story will teach you about love, hate, remorse, forgiveness and a larger than life philosophy without ever getting preachy.

Roberts’ writing has the power to touch even the most callous of readers and change them in some small way or the other.

This is one novel you have got to read.

Visit the official site of the author here.

20 July, 2008

July 8, 2008

The Calling of the Names | Accenture Placement

It seemed as though our lungs had collapsed, caved in on themselves, and our hearts had expanded to four times their normal size. Breathing had become exponentially difficult and every pulse had quickened. Adrenaline surged through our veins, energizing every nerve in every body to the point where the air in the presentation hall seemed to crackle with an electric intensity and the entire room seemed to vibrate with the beating of our collective hearts.

The tension mounted by the second, where each second was made up of a thousand different thoughts of dreams, hopes and fears. Some amongst us prayed, some fidgeted, some had their fingers crossed while some waited calmly (as calmly as possible at that point of time) with want of some better to do with themselves. Not one person smiled. It's hard to smile when the sum result of the sweat and tears you drain across four rounds of written tests, group discussions and interviews over five days rounds up to the direction your career takes, or does not take, in under five minutes!
Any attempt at a smile ends up a parody of a grimace underlining constipated bowel movement!

After a thousand false starts and another thousand scares, it finally began, the calling of the names:

"As I take your name, please stand:" said the HR Manager, "Abhay. . . Anchit. . .". The names rolled off her tongue and their owners stood up slowly, as though in a daze, "Fahd. . . Jharna. . . Manmeet. . . Pranay. . . Priyanka. . . Rohan. . . Sheena. . ."

"Wouldn't it be funny if she asks all the people who have been made to stand to leave, that they have not been selected and thank you for coming?" I asked Jharna.

She showed me the flat of her hand as though to slap me. It was OK to joke at that point, we'd made it.

The selected candidates celebrated their happiness by cheering loudly and calling home, where anxious parents were waiting for the news. The rest went home empty handed, teary eyed and bitter.

"Winning is giving it your best", they say. Try telling that to someone who gets rejected in the Third Round for the second time after having given it his/her best along with everything besides that and what 'they' say will suddenly seem like a crock of bull!
I know because I've been there myself.

The important thing is not to lost heart and to keep at it because Lady Luck only thwarts for so long.
And not to forget that in the end it's not what you have lost, it's what you have gained.

The following are good places to begin with and hone your skills in attempting papers and interviews:
6 July, 2008

June 27, 2008

Metro Circus

Went to the circus today, the usual bunch and I. Speaking for myself, it wasn't anything like what I had expected it to be, and, in the end, just like most things unexpected, it was an eye-opener of sorts.

Metro Circus was made up of an eclectic collection of performers, ranging from acrobats to jugglers, trapeze artists to clowns and even a two-piece band! And each and every person, animal or piece of equipment, right until the circus tent was in a state of raggedness rushing headlong towards advanced dilapidation.

The events of those one and a half hours are disoriented and disordered in my recollection. Did the Jugglers come first or the young boy who did the most amazing acrobatics I have ever seen? Or was it the Trapeze Artists, who flew through the air at heart stopping heights, or the Fire-Eater who gulped down burning coal with a practised panache, breathed fire with the flames shooting four to five feet in the air (see picture) and then, to wrap things up, danced to the latest Hindi film songs with a gusto usually reserved for Indian Wedding Baraats?
What I remember with the utmost clarity are the clowns, who were trying valiantly to make us laugh, without much success. I remember their stumbling gait and short stature, every movement coming from a necessity to feed the stomach, and doing so through an honest and honourable job. I remember the bleak contrast between the sorrow in their eyes and the painted laughs on their poor faces.

But most of all, I remember thinking of them as brave. Why brave? Why not? What else is a person who cocks a snoot at a life which seems determined to beat and break him and crawls out the corner he's been pushed into?

Metro Circus was a lot of things; poor funding, mild entertainment, boring for the most part, childish glee, adult jadedness.

But, above all, it was about showmanship.

A round of applause to this dying art, Ladies and Gentlemen, for the show does go on.

21 June, 2008