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Thread: Project 52 by Frank Miller

  1. #1
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Project 52 by Frank Miller

    For Project 52, I’d like to start with improving my post processing skills. The goal is to take the best image I can each week and see how I can use the PP to make the image more realistic, or dramatic, or artistic, or fun, etc. I may even try to do some composites, but if I do, all the source imagery must be my original effort during that week so I doubt you’ll see any jockeys riding hummingbirds!

    To make it possible to see what I’m trying to accomplish, I plan to post the SOOC and finished image each week along with the goals and steps taken to get from SOOC to completion.

    I plan to post any changed images as a result of feedback in a separate thread rather than here so that this thread should represent the progress I make. Knowing my ability to keep New Year’s Resolutions I don’t think this thread will get to be too long! LOL!

    Week 1: Blending Fast and Slow Water

    At any rate, here is the first attempt. I have been seeing some excellent waterfall pictures posted and reading how they were using shutter speeds of just under one second to get the water to look like it was smoothly flowing but not too blurred. I did notice that when the camera was set up to shoot that slow, that the flat water surfaces looked a bit plastic. Hmmmmm.. I wondered if I could get the same flowing effect and still have the flat surfaces look more realistic so that became my goal for this image.

    The before image was taken at ISO100, f8 and 1/200 sec to capture the baseline with the flat part of the water sharp. A second image was taken at ISO100, f22, and 1/10 sec to capture the smoothly flowing water.

    Project 52 by Frank Miller

    In Photoshop I merged just the flowing water parts into the original image to produce the final result.

    Project 52 by Frank Miller
    Last edited by FrankMi; 8th January 2012 at 03:34 PM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    You have most certainly achieved your objective. Your ability to blend images in this way leaves me quite awestruck ........ as well as mystified. I wouldn't know where to start in doing that.

    The result is a very fine image indeed.

    And although I'm not committing to the '52' project, my aim this year will be to learn how to do what you've just done with the software I have available.

  3. #3
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    I'd definitely say you achieved your objective. It's almost like HDR except instead of working with high contrast, you're working with different speeds - HDS - High Dynamic Speeds

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    very good technique Mike!
    can you please post both the pictures (before merged) to let me understand better the power of this procedure?
    many thanks...
    Nicola

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    I love shots with flowing water in them. I once drove 4 hours back in Iceland to shoot a waterfall along the road side that we passed bye on the trip, later one of the others said "perhapes me thinks you have a fawness for waterfalls". One of the hardest things is getting the correctt balance of the light on the flowing water without blowing it out. Often on the over exposed shots I will back down the contrast on that part of the photo that has the blurred water before combinding them together.

    Allan

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicola View Post
    can you please post both the pictures (before merged) to let me understand better the power of this procedure?
    Hi Nicola! No problem. Here is the second image with the Slow (smooth?) Flowing Water that was taken at ISO100, f22, and 1/10 sec.

    Project 52 by Frank Miller

    This is what the mask looks like. Slow Water (on top) is this image and Fast Water (on bottom) is the first original image. Anything painted with a white brush on a black mask in photoshop allows that part of the image to block image below so just the waterfalls from Slow Water are blocking the identical location on the Fast Water image below it.

    Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Am I making any sense?

  7. #7

    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    You did it well, congratulations Frank! Hmm I never thought that PP can do something like that with flowing water and yet I haven't done anything with some of my waterfalls pictures haha. Anyway thank you for sharing. I have been reading all these Project 52 and I'm learning from it.

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    Sam Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Frank I have to agree you nailed it.

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Excellent, only now what are you going to do? You've already accomplished your goal Can't wait to see what is next.

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Knowing my ability to keep New Year’s Resolutions I don’t think this thread will get to be too long! LOL!
    Wanna bet?

    Great work Frank, and I too think the end result is a smashing success...Project 52 by Frank Miller

    I just added PSE 10 to compliment the Lightroom 3.6, and I've been so damn
    busy I haven't even had time to open up the program to look it over (ie: I
    know -0- about PSE. Project 52 by Frank Miller ) Can the same process for blending be accomplished in PSE 10?

    Mike

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Well spotted Frank; I like it. I was wondering about the mask and of course white water is white; is it selected with some sort of wand? How is it selected? Would ReMask3 do a better job using a two colour brush and soft edges?

    You are certainly on to something here; the reason I didn't like slow exposure was the unnatural look of the water, but this is really good.

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Nice job Frank and thanks for posting the instructions. Thanks also to Nicola for asking for more info. One of my PP projects will be to try something like this.

    Wendy

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    Great work Frank! Very cool idea you have there. I am curious to as to how you achieved the masking of the slow water too. Magic wand tool on the water or possibly lasso tool? Either way it was probably a tedious process well worth the amazing results.

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    I wasn't expecting so much excitement! Thanks for all the feedback folks!

    I find that the selection for a subject like this (one without clearly defined edges) is easiest done with a soft brush at an opacity around 20-30% and a little smaller brush size than the area I want to blend in. I just quickly repeatedly brush the area I'm working on and if I think I've gone too far, just switch back to Black (in this case) for a few strokes to get it where it looks reasonable.

    I probably took 10-15 minutes to dance around the image with a few strokes here and there until I was satisfied with the look. When it looked reasonable, I felt that the water was a bit grey so I combined the image (Shift+Control+Alt+E) used a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer to boost the brightness of the Soft Water image, added a new mask and gently touched up what should be the brightest parts of the white water to lift the white just a bit. Hope this helps!
    Last edited by FrankMi; 5th January 2012 at 06:04 PM.

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Week 2: The Busy Background

    I'm going to stick my neck out a bit and post the 'before' image now and when (if?) I can get an acceptable 'after' image, I'll post it as well.

    For Project 52, Week Two I thought I’d try to extricate a subject from a busy background.

    I was out at the airport on a cold and blistery afternoon and not much was going on. I noticed that a 1983 Cessna 340A twin engine aircraft was going to take off so I got permission to walk out to the far side of the taxiway. Having a pilot’s license and the FBO manager as a friend helps in situations like these. I was able to get several shots as the aircraft launched but by the time he was at my ideal 3/4 shooting position, he hadn’t cleared the messy background. By the time he was high enough to get a clear shot, all I could see was his tail feathers!

    Project 52 by Frank Miller

    This is not an uncommon problem for photographers. You get a great shot but the background sucks like a straw. There are several ways you may be able address this situation.

    1. Using layers and masks, separate the subject from the background and replace the background image with something more suitable. This approach works great for a bland sky. Just take a picture of a better sky and put the masked copy of the subject in front of it.

    2. Make the subject stand out from the background by changing the focus, contrast, brightness, or saturation of the background. This can work for a busy background where the subject is sharp and has some contrast and/or color to it. Sometimes you can drop the contrast and saturation so that the subject stands out. Sometimes you can make the background significantly lighter or darker than the subject. For some images, simply blurring the background will do the trick.

    3. If there are objects in the image, like twigs or trash, you may be able to simplify the composition by cloning out the offending bits.

    This shot was taken at ISO 800, F8 and 1/2000 sec to keep the fast moving aircraft sharp. With this image, the colors, contrast, and saturation was such that subject is almost completely lost in the background.

    Can any of the techniques mentioned above be useable in this situation?

    Will the calvary arrive in time to save this image from the trash can?

    Is Sweet Sue really the pilot of that plane?

    Did the little kid in the back seat just holler 'I gotta potty'?

    Stay tuned for the latest breaking news right here on your favorite photography station, CiC!
    Last edited by FrankMi; 8th January 2012 at 03:35 PM.

  16. #16
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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Well, it's time to see how we did.

    I had taken three shots as the aircraft was taking off and I needed a 'background only' image so I merged the three images to eliminate the aircraft completely.

    Next I took the best image that contained the aircraft and by selecting just the aircraft, masked out the background. Now I had the busy background in one image and just the aircraft in a second image.

    Because of the high shutter speed used to get a sharp image of the aircraft, the aircraft appears to be frozen in space. To give the aircraft a sense of speed, I blurred the background with Motion Blur at 11 (to match the aircraft's climb angle) and 75 pixels of movement. Now the aircraft is sharp and the background is blurred as you would see in a panned shot with a slower shutter speed. I also dropped the saturation and contrast of the background to make the aircraft stand out and give it clearer separation from the background.

    If I simply replaced the background with sky, the low shooting angle wouldn’t look realistic so I had to keep the aircraft just off the runway, lined up with its shadow, and very close to what it was when I took the picture. I did place it slightly higher in the frame to help get the separation from the background.

    Now I can work with the subject. As long as I had to separate the aircraft from the background (mainly to avoid runs where the motion blur would smear the aircraft onto the background, I could change the placement of the aircraft and place it in a little more appropriate location in the frame. I decided to keep the aircraft at the same size to preserve the proper look of scale. I used Topaz DeNoise and InFocus to get a sharper image with very little of the noise that was introduced by the ISO being at 800. I used Topaz Adjust to give the aircraft a warmer 'late Autumn' look.

    So far, so good, but what’s this? The high shutter speed, which was great for capturing fast moving objects, has made the propellers look like they are almost completely stopped! To address this, I made two copies of the aircraft image and applied a radial blur of 12 centered on the propeller hubs, one for each engine. Once I blended the spinning propeller blades back into the original image it now has the propellers are spinning at a respectable speed for the conditions.

    The last step was to blend back in most of the original sky and foreground that went bland when I desaturated the background. Crop, downsize, output sharpen and.....

    Project 52 by Frank Miller

    OK, so how did we do and what needs fixing?
    Last edited by FrankMi; 8th January 2012 at 01:17 PM.

  17. #17
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Amazing. Just amazing. I am in awe of the post-processing skills put into practice.

  18. #18

    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Had you not shown the original I would not have noticed anything. With that said you left part of the Right prop in the scene. But in the final product it appears normal. Very good editing I must say.

    Ryo

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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    So is the pilot Sweet Sue? Brilliantly done - I can only dream about havng the patience to do what you've done here.

    One question - the blurred clouds in the top right of the shot - is it worth while cloning them out?

  20. #20
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Project 52 by Frank Miller

    Thanks for viewing! Sweet Sue didn't want to fly with the brat in the back seat! LOL!

    I left the hint of a cloud there to avoid a totally bland sky, plus, it was in the original image. Glad you noticed. Malcolm.

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