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Thread: Interpretations

  1. #1
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Interpretations

    Hi John (woty87),

    I made you an offer a while back here to process one of your RAW shots and compare to one you had processed to see if you were 'missing any tricks'.

    You sent me your jpg and the RAW file and after getting the files, I left it a few days before I opened the RAW to edit so I had 'forgotten' what you had done to it, thus I processed it as I would one of my own shots.

    Here is the embedded jpg from the RAW file, so everyone can see what we both started with;
    Interpretations

    Here is your processed version;
    Interpretations

    Rather belatedly, here's what I came up with;

    Interpretations

    I promised I would tell what I had done, so here's the list of steps, in roughly the order done, mostly from notes I made at the time;
    1) Opened the crw in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) for CS5
    2) Assesed image and played a bit and ended up with these ACR slider settings;
    Exposure 0
    Recover 100 (to get better detail in the bright branch areas)
    Fill 0
    Blacks 0
    Brightness +62
    Contrast + 46
    Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation all 0


    3) Open Image in CS5
    4) Cropped
    5) Cloned out the following 'distracting' bits;
    Dust Bunny
    Grass (top left)
    Knobbly bit emerging from water (top right)
    Bird poo on log (left of foreground)
    Litter (two bits in front of log)


    6) 'Burn' branches and trunk to enhance texture
    7) Levels;
    Input; set 'mid-point' at 1.2 (to lighten detail in shadow)
    Output; set 'white' to 240 (to give 'headroom' for Local Contrast Enhancement)


    8) Local Contrast Enhancement with UnSharp Mask (USM); 15% amount at 200px radius and 0 threshold

    At this point, I remember still not being satisfied with the texture in the logs, so I ...

    9) Copied the image to a new layer and sharpened the lower one with USM; 70% amount, 3px radius and 0 threshold
    10) Erased the top layer to reveal the sharpened one underneath (this is far from PP 'best practice', but it is effective )
    Interpretations

    11) Flatten image
    12) Downsize 50% (from memory)
    13) Sharpen (well, I think I did)

    Today, I thought it looked soft and I began to doubt I had ever done the final sharpen, so ...

    14) Sharpen with USM; 100% amount, 0.3px radius, 1 threshold

    Hope that's helpful John, your version dealt with the grass, dust bunny and bird poo and apart from levels, there's not that much difference in the result, so I don't think you're doing too bad, but I'm equally sure others here could have done a better job than I have. It is, to quote the title, just my interpretation
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 5th February 2012 at 02:06 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Interpretations

    Dave, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. A couple of things I would like to note and ask.

    - I think we pretty much came out of Camera Raw with a similar image. The notable differences were that I only slid the Recovery slider to 15. Having left the exposure at 0, I didn't feel the need to play with recovery very much. The other thing I did, which you did not, is sharpen the image at this point in Camera Raw. I'm wondering if there is a reason you did no sharpening at this point and did so later in PS?

    - Once in PS, I did clean up the image using clone, etc similar to you. I also played with levels and curves to try and get contrast I wanted. One thing you focused on to which I gave no consideration was "texture". I love the way you used burn and local sharpening to enhance the logs, especially the bottom one. While I do this with exposure, it never occurred to me that I could use masks to vary levels of sharpening in different areas of the image. Duh.

    - I'm very curious about Local Contrast Enhancement. The concept is still fuzzy to me and I will need to read more about it and try to get a better feel. One thing I am curious about, you mentioned leaving the white at 240 during level adjustment to leave "headroom" for LCE. Can you explain the "headroom" part a bit? I suppose it would make sense if I understood LCE better.

    - Is there a reason you chose to flatten the image at the end? Is there a good reason to do so? I noticed you sharpened the image after the flattening and wonder if that makes a difference.

    I am going to return to this image and apply some of these concepts after going back and reading a bit more about LCE. Thanks again for your efforts. I hope others can pick up a few things from this exercise.

    Regards, John

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Interpretations

    Hi John,

    Too quickly address two questions;

    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    - I'm very curious about Local Contrast Enhancement. The concept is still fuzzy to me and I will need to read more about it and try to get a better feel. One thing I am curious about, you mentioned leaving the white at 240 during level adjustment to leave "headroom" for LCE. Can you explain the "headroom" part a bit? I suppose it would make sense if I understood LCE better.
    Using LCE makes whites whiter (and blacks blacker), if there isn't room the whites (and blacks) to expand, they will be clipped, to avoid that, I just shrink the dynamic range in a bit first.

    Quote Originally Posted by woty87 View Post
    - Is there a reason you chose to flatten the image at the end? Is there a good reason to do so? I noticed you sharpened the image after the flattening and wonder if that makes a difference.
    The term "Flatten the image" simply means merging all the layers down to one, it makes no visible difference and since a jpg cannot contain layers it has to be done.

    Cheers,

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