Oct 18, 2014  •  In Art/Design, Beauty, Entertainment, Photography

“Photoshop” in the 1930s

Close your eyes. Now, imagine your favorite vintage portrait. Is it of Jean Harlow? Audrey Hepburn? Vivien Leigh? Marilyn Monroe?

No matter who, there’s a very good chance that the famous portrait engrained so deeply in your mind was “photoshopped.” Not in the modern sense, but by using film photography techniques from bygone decades.


When the above before-and-after was posted to Reddit, experts and enthusiasts readily chimed in with stories, explanations, and history lessons. For example, the most upvoted response divulged:

I have worked at a commercial studio since the mid 90’s. We were still doing some of these things then. I remember working in the darkroom and dodging/burning prints, masking…. then spotting them and airbrushing them. You screw up at any one step and you get to start all the fuck over. I don’t miss that one little bit. I started in PS5 and never looked back.

I myself took a year of photography in high school — where we not only learned to manually develop photos but also studied the history of photography as well — but never know that the “dodge” and “burn” tools in Photoshop were inspired by actual dodge and burn techniques in film photography.

“Dodge” means you cast a shadow on the print with a tool (like a paper circle on a stick like the Photoshop Dodge tool icon) or your hand, as the negative is projected onto the photosensitive paper. As you cast a shadow, less light is allowed onto the sensitive paper and therefore it becomes lighter (since it’s a negative, less light projected = lighter result).

“Burn” means you dodge everything except a small area, by making an “O” shape with your hand (like the Photoshop Burn tool icon) or using a piece of paper with a hole in it, to avoid light hitting the paper in all areas except the part you want to burn. This causes that part to receive more light, making it darker, since it’s a negative and works in reverse.

Of course when you’re exposing your negative onto the paper, you’ll do it for many tens of seconds which gives you enough time to expose the whole image for some time, then dodge for some time, and then burn for some time. Of course you can’t see shit and you have no idea what it’s going to look like until you develop your print. At that point it’s too late to change anything so you have to start over many times to get it right.

I dunno about you, but I’d much rather prefer to edit photos using a few clicks!

Via PopSugar

Oct 17, 2014  •  In Asian, Claire, Parenting

Racial Affinity in Young Children

A few weeks into pre-k, Claire began to tell me about a new friend.

“Umma, JJ and I played hide-and-go-seek today!”

“Umma, JJ is so silly and funny.”

“Look, umma! JJ made me this drawing!”

I soon discovered that JJ was a kindergartener (so about a year older than Claire) whose Korean name initials are JJ. Whenever I arrived early for pickup to see Claire’s class returning from their afternoon walk, I’d see Claire and JJ walking together, often holding the same ring on the walking rope while giggling and chatting with each other.

I was glad to see that Claire had made a close friend. I knew she was friendly with the kids in her class, but this was the first time that she would voluntarily talk about a friend every day and say things like, “I miss JJ” on the weekends when she didn’t have school.

However, it bugged me a bit that JJ was Korean. Because Claire’s school isn’t too ethnically diverse, I was a teeny bit concerned by the fact that her first close friend was one of the few Asians among her peers. Is this a form of racism on my part? I dunno.

Nonetheless, I didn’t want my (possible) flaw to get in the way of a naturally blossoming friendship. The above was just a fleeting thought, anyway.


One day during pickup, I overheard JJ’s mother speaking to her in Korean. So I asked Claire if she and JJ speak to each other in English or Korean.

“한국말!” (“Korean!”) Claire replied.

When I asked her if the other kids in their class think this is strange, she told me that she and JJ think it’s fun to talk to each other in a language no one else understands. :-)

A couple of weeks later, Claire began to talk about a new friend: David. It seemed that she, David, and JJ often play together.

I asked Claire’s teacher to point out David for me, and it turns out that David is half-Korean who knows Korean as well!

I am well aware that more often than not, we, as humans, naturally tend to gravitate toward those who are of similar ethnic backgrounds. After all, we usually have more in common with them, no? I also remember reading studies that find ethnic minorities to experience this kind of racial affinity more strongly.

As usual, I’m probably overthinking my daughter’s choice in friends. They could just think it’s fun to speak to each other in Korean, and that may be it! But it’ll be interesting to see how this develops as Claire — and Aerin! — get older.

Unfortunately, there is no one in Claire’s class who speaks Cantonese. Now that would be fun to observe!

Oct 13, 2014  •  In Entertainment, Infographics

25 Years of Popular Halloween Costumes

Three thoughts come to mind when viewing this infographic by the folks over at Personal Creations:

  1. I’m predicting Groot will be just as popular as Elsa this Halloween.
  2. zOMG I totally remember how everyone — especially guys — dressed as Britney Spears back in 1999!
  3. 1990 was TWENTY-FOUR years ago?!??


Via Geeks Are Sexy.

Oct 12, 2014  •  In Art/Design, Entertainment, Funny, Infographics

Translated TV Show Titles

For today’s edition of “interesting stuff I found on the web,” cartoonist James Chapman shares with us an illustrated guide to what popular TV shows are called around the world. I think I’d much rather watch a show called “In the Shoes of Satan” than plain ol’ “Breaking Bad,” wouldn’t you? Or how about “A Crazy in the Area?”


Be sure to check back next week, because Chapman will reveal part 2 of this series!

Via Neatorama.

Oct 11, 2014  •  In Cute, Education, Entertainment, Geek, Movies, Parenting, Star Wars

J.J. Abrams Personally Solves Kid’s Algebra Problem

Last week, a (rightfully) proud father’s Facebook post went viral as he shared his 8th grade son’s homework. The assignment? To create an algebraic expression into a word problem. And his son Cody’s answer (with no help from his parents)?


In case you’re having trouble reading the above, it says:

J.J. Abrams is making Star Wars Episode 7. He rented three speeder bikes which was 700 imperial credits to start. He must pay 100 imperial credits to keep his speeder bikes daily. If he does not pay daily, Prince Xizor and other Black Sun members will kidnap J.J. Abrams, bring him to Mustafar, and sacrifice him.

J.J. Abrams is also paying 5 bounty hunters to keep separatist spies out. That costs 200 imperial credits to start, then 50 imperial credits for each bounty hunter every time they capture a spy. The Separatists send 2 spies every day.

In how many days does J.J. Abrams spend the same amount of imperial credits on speeders and bounty hunters?

Yeah, I’m jealous too. :-P 

But wait — the story gets better! Because yesterday, it was revealed that J.J. Abrams not only responded to Cody’s homework, he solved it too! In a handwritten note that presents another question!




How psyched must Cody and his dad must have been to receive this surprise in the mail? And how awesome was it for J.J. Abrams to personally reach out to a young, enthusiastic fan?

Via Neatorama.