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Thread: Making Images Pop

  1. #1
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    Making Images Pop

    I'm a great admirer of the many images I see that photographers post on the Internet and I would like to know the workflow to make my images look as smooth and crisp with vivid color.

    I'm sure this topic has been raised numerous times but since I'm new the forum, I thought I'd get a pass on asking this one time.

    I have photoshop, lightroom, digital darkroom, and probably every other software people are using but lack the workflow to obtain that award winning photo. Please help!

    Ed

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    I am guessing lack of response suggests that no one knows a magic formula that'll work for all the photos. I know I don't know one. Maybe you can post pictures up and we can have a PP challenge.

    Cheers
    Ray

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    Thanks for replying! After being reminded several times that I hadn't posted anything and so many views when I finally did post, I was wondering if I said something wrong within my text.

    Anyway, if I can figure out how to upload some examples of what I'm referring to when I say "make the image pop", I certainly will.

    Ed

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    Last edited by Colin Southern; 5th June 2009 at 09:51 PM.

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    Thanks for replying! After being reminded several times that I hadn't posted anything and so many views when I finally did post, I was wondering if I said something wrong within my text.

    Anyway, if I can figure out how to upload some examples of what I'm referring to when I say "make the image pop", I certainly will. Okay, I think I figured it out but keep in mind that these are not my images but images I admire; especially the second one of the perfume bottle.

    The clarity and perfect soft edges give it a pop that I've seen in a lot of photos on photographers websites and this is what I'd love to learn how to do.

    Ed

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    Hi Ed,

    Your images and posts are looking just fine

    Often many here can provide feedback almost in real time - but other times events in the "real world" seem to conspire against us

    Personally, I have a reasonably standardised work flow to cover the basics - but at some point this transitions into a "free for all" depending on what the individual image requires.

    For me it generally goes something like this ...

    - Convert the *.CR2 RAW image to *.DNG

    - Open in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW)

    - Use ACR to set the overall look and feel of the image, with particular attention paid to white balance - exposure - black clipping point - fill light - brightness - vibrance - saturation.

    - Open in Photoshop

    - Dust spot removal (usually healing brush)

    - Capture sharpening (usually 300% / 0.3 pixels / 0 threshold)

    - Levels & gamma

    - Hue-Saturation-Brightness (saturation tweaks)

    - Content / Creative sharpening

    - Dodging / Burning as required

    - Other work "as required"

    It's not a hard and fast workflow; sometimes the order that things are done is significant, other times they aren't.

    In terms of "pop" probably the "big three" (in my opinion anyway) would be (in order of importance) ...

    - Content / Creative sharpening

    - Contrast / Levels

    - Saturation

    I'd suggest that rather than putting up someone elses images that look good to you, put up one or two of your own images that you'd like to get more out of, and let us have a crack at them here for you (just be sure to post them at a reasonably high resolution, say, 800 to 1000 pixels for the longest dimension).

    Does this help?

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    Thanks for the feedback Collin. I can't upload any of my photos from this computer (I'm out at sea - US Navy Ship) due to the numerous security features but feel free to take a look at some of my photos at www.edleephotography.com.

    I'll give the workflow you use a try to see if I can acquire the look I desire from my photos. Did you see what I'm referring to with the sharpness and the same time softness of the images I posted?

    Ed

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Lee View Post
    Thanks for the feedback Collin. I can't upload any of my photos from this computer (I'm out at sea - US Navy Ship) due to the numerous security features but feel free to take a look at some of my photos at www.edleephotography.com.
    Hi Ed,

    ... Just please don't tell me it's an AC carrier with F/A-18 Hornets on board! (I've got a soft-spot for them!)

    I'll give the workflow you use a try to see if I can acquire the look I desire from my photos. Did you see what I'm referring to with the sharpness and the same time softness of the images I posted?
    Sort of (I'm not on my PP PC/Screen). My suggestion would be to learn as much as you can about sharpening ...

    ... in a nutshell higher amounts and lower radiuses (eg 300%, 0.3 pixel) will give clarity to fine detail (best viewed at high magnifications like 100%), whereas lower amounts and higher radiuses (eg 40%, 5 pixels) will start to give definition (eg a "3D" Appearance, or "pop" to larger structures (but you need to view the image at a similar size to what it'll end up as). The trick is using the right amounts ... two much or too little will both result in a sub-optimal image.

    Difficult to explain, easier to show you (when your able).

    What do you do onboard the ship? (I spent 7 years in the military with the Royal New Zealand Air Force as an Avionics Technician).

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    I am responsible for propulsion, electricity, water, and 90% of all the hotel services onboard. Basically, engineering in a nutshell. I enjoy the more most of the time but it seriously takes away from my photography learning curve. I served on a carrier (USS Constellation CV-64), which had all the forementioned aircraft; now I'm on a helicopter carrier that also sports the Harrier Jump Jets. Life with the marines is always interesting.

    I'll certainly give all that you recommend a try to attain that certain something in the images. I just ordered a new computer (as if that's the problem) to allow my PP to proceed most expeditiously. I can't fight the forces any longer to shift over to a Mac, so I purchased a Mac Pro 8 Core. It will at least take processing power out of the excuse bag. Now it's up to me to learn the technique of the pros and bring my images to life. Thanks for the input!

    Ed

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    If you need more than Photoshop seems to provide on it's own there are several tools I use. Not all of them work with every image; experimentation is they key here.

    !) Tony Kuyper's Luminosity Masks. Read about and get the actions on his website www.goodlight.us. I most often use his basic mid tone luminosity mask to enhance mid tone contrast. It certainly can provide that "pop" you're looking for.

    2) Perceptool by George DeWolfe is pretty useful for balancing out the light on many images. Hard to describe, you'll need to download the trial and experiment. It seems to simultaneously dodge and burn in a seamless, self feathering manner. Just use the 16 bit workflow though; the 32 bit is too complicated for me anyway.

    3) For "saturation" control I use Joseph Holmes' Chroma Variant profiles. They are completely non destructive and you can change the "chroma" or saturation by assigning various profiles. Even after you're "finished" editing you can change them with no ill effect.

    4) PixelGenius Photokit (and PK Sharpener) Lots of great tools especially their gradient dodge/burn tools.

    Doug Dolde
    www.douglasdolde.com
    Last edited by DougDolde; 24th July 2009 at 07:11 PM.

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    Hello Doug,

    Thanks for the information! I will certainly give your suggestions a try because I really want to be a amongst those with the images that make people take a triple look:-). Thanks again!

    Ed Lee

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    Nice web site functionality (and pictures) Doug

    Thanks,

  12. #12

    Re: Making Images Pop

    Great post Doug. I will use it, the masks sound great. I always wondered how the images I see from the good photographers have such great color.

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    Re: Making Images Pop

    When it comes to PP, just trust Colin. And when it comes to sharpening, just trust him again.

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