The brick patio in #1 looks really blown out on my monitor. You might want to give it some selective burning using the control points.
#2, which I like the most seems a bit off vertical. I did bring it into PS to check and it is only slightly so...but I think what you would have to do with this is use the distort tool in Transform as lining up to one point is going to throw the others off kilter.
#3 seems a little too soft. Other than that, it looks as if you used the tools available correctly. One thing Rob said to me early on was to not be afraid to do multiple passes through efex. Some of the tools don't work the second time around, but I have some that I made that I call, "Fuji on Fuji with Selenium" or "Chrome."
Thanks! That's all very helpful. Unfortunately, the brick patio in #1 is blown, and I don't know how to use the control points but I will find out. Thanks so much, Chris -- I'll keep working on them.
Re the softness of #3 -- I don't know how to use the sharpening program yet. My job this summer is to learn how to use these things effectively. (Well, one of my jobs, anyway -- )
There's no right or wrong in using a plugin, Elise. It simply boils down to INTERPRETATION. When I got my SEP v1.0 I have no idea how to work with the sliders at all! At first, all I'm doing was to slide them at the extremes to see how each sliders function. Then, later on, I realize that even SEP has to depend on how you interpret the shot and your interpretation will guide you as to what slider to adjust and by how much.I'm really loving Silver Efex, but I'm not sure I'm doing everything right.
I hope I am not too rude here, just sharing the same situation I had been when I started with SEP. The conversion on the 3 images are OK but not "captivating". You can still further boost the highlights and the shadows without blowing them out. The U-point technology of SEP is so versatile that you can actually pinpoint where you want something to be brighter than the rest. If I would work on the 1st image, I would probably make the part of the gate as my main area of interest. With that in mind, I would place one adjustment control point in there and brighten it up, increase the contrast and structure a little bit. I would then place another control point at the shade in front of the gate and brighten it just a tad. The water fountain at the left could be my 2nd subject so I would place another control point in there and brighten that, too with more contrast. As the wall areas seems to be too dark, I would probably lighten it all up just a little bit. Whenever I edit an image, I would ask myself first "Where do I want my viewers to focus their attention?" By answering that, you can easily know what part of the frame to brighten and to sharpen. Usually, the main subject is the brightest so the eyes will immediately focus on them. I'd love to play a little bit with the first image if you would allow me.
Btw, I have seen your flickr link and I saw that you have a lot of very nice images in there with these series. I specially like the yellow rose and the camellia 2. Very nice work, Elise!
Last edited by jiro; 22nd May 2011 at 02:05 AM.
Thank you, Jiro -- I'm always happy to have your feedback. You've told me just where I need to be headed in terms of learning how to use this -- at this moment, I don't know how to use the control points, so that's what I need to focus on next. At this point, all I'm doing is choosing one of the ways of processing and then fiddling with the sliders a little bit. Thanks.
Also thank you for your comment about the flickr set. I'm really improving my batting average -- I got 30-some pictures out of 164 shots -- I used to be happy with 3/100.
Later: Aha. Control points. I get it. I do have a question, though -- Chris, when you say "multiple passes," do you do one and say "ok" and then do a second one on another layer?
I need some tutorials on this whole thing.
Last edited by mythlady; 22nd May 2011 at 01:26 AM.
That's wonderful! Now I have to try to duplicate it. Thanks!
I forgot to mention, Elise. If you are editing your colored image and then using SEP, make sure that you are using a 16-bit image with a wider color gamut (ProPhoto RGB or AdobeRGB) to the SEP plugin. SEP seems to shift the brightness levels of any image quite a bit so working with a relatively dense image (16-bit data) helps in getting better results with SEP. Usually, I set LR or Photoshop CS5 to handle 16-bit .tiff data before transferring them to SEP for b&w conversion. I may be wrong, but that is how I noticed the difference when your initial working image is denser than an 8-bit jpeg data. Hope this helps.
I usually change to 8-bit as the last thing I do. I have to change to 8-bit to save as a .jpg, right? I don't really understand the whole bit thing.
What a beautiful place! These photos are very rich. They do seem to need more help with post processing but, please, don't ask me! My thought, originally, was that they need more white. However, Elise, I have to confess that I have a hankering to see them in color. (Funny! That's what everyone just said about my rainy Angelique tulip.) Of course, you've got Willie helping you; so, "ev.ery.thing's agonna be a-alright!"
Ah. I've been saving them as a .psd file (with the layers) and then change to 8-bit and save as .jpg or save at low res for web (for my blog).
Thanks, Katy -- I'm just fiddling with these pictures, trying to learn something
Earlier this evening, I took a color image, did a layer in SEP for and inversion/blur/sharpen and instead of using Jiro's Luminosity blend, I used soft light...I think I essentially got close to the same thing, but was experimenting. Satisfied with the color output, I took it back into SEP and did another edit, only this time staying with a neutral tonal base and worked the contrast and structure sliders until I was very satisfied with the end result.
Rob once said he never did an edit on the color image if his intent was to use SEP, but I found tonight by making the contrast layer, layering in soft light then rediting in SEP, I got a much better defined tonal range as a B&W image.
Editing is like peeling an onion...lots and lots of editing and a bunch of tears, but in the end, properly prepared, yummy stuff.
SEP control points are just a way of selectively changing part of an image to alter the brightness, contrast, and structure. You hit the CP button on the right and place a cursor marker on the shot where you want to make the change (you can do as many as you want). You can alter the size of the circle it creates to make it larger/smaller. Each of the three sliders can be adjusted to suit taht selected area. It's a bit like selecting part of a shot in PS using the marquee tools then using levels or contrast adjustment just for that area. It's very effective.
Multiple passes allows you to 'redo' some of the effects of SEP. Do the first pass and make your settings, or use a preset. Click OK and that will add the layer back in PS. You can then select SEP again, and it will add another layer, but this time you can use a different preset, or alter some of the sliders. You can also do it selectively the second time by selecting an area of the first SEP BW layer and feathering it, then running SEP again, but this time it will only apply the changes to the selected area. Weird effect sometimes.
Up to you, but if you want to post the RAW or original JPEG for your shot #1 I wouldn't mind having a go with it. http://www.mediafire.com/
Here's the original -- and a link to flickr so you could get the original size .jpg there. I shot it in RAW but I don't know how to get that to you.
Thanks! I didn't have a huge investiment in the B&W -- I was just trying some to get a little more experience in Silver Efex. (Although I do like Jiro's edit.) You did a great job with the color one -- thanks. The sun was really, really bright, so I'm glad anything came out.