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Thread: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

  1. #1
    Didace's Avatar
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    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    I've had Lightroom 4 for quite a while now and have been playing with all the develop settings, getting used to all the buttons and sliders to see what they do. It's now time to make the jump and see if I can use a logical workflow to improve (hopefully) an image.

    The photo I picked is nothing special - a palm tree on the north shore of Grand Cayman taken at mid-day. But my wife liked it and I thought it could be improved.

    All comments, critiques, and criticisms are not only welcomed, they are desired.

    Sony Nex-5N, ISO 100, f 9.0, 1/640sec, 119mm (1.5 crop factor)

    Here is the photo before any processing except for applying lens correction -

    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    I then did the following:

    1. White Balance - After testing a few of the presets and experimenting with the dropper, I left this as shot.

    2. Exposure - Increased by 0.75.

    3. Contrast - Increased to +85.

    4. Highlights/Shadows/Whites/Blacks - After playing around a bit I ended at - H 0, S +50, W -55, B +31.

    5. Clarity - Increased to +50.

    6. Vibrance - Increased to +64

    7. Hue/Saturation/Luminance and Tone Curve - I left these alone after playing around and didn't think anything cold be improved.

    8. Sharpening - Increased Amount to 80, Detail to 60, and Masking to 70.

    9. Targeted Adjustment Brush - Didn't see anything to change so I left it alone.

    10. Spot Removal - There was some trash on the beach so I cleaned that up.

    11. Crop - Slight straightening of the horizon and a 16x9 crop.

    This is what I ended up with -

    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    After viewing it again as a JPEG I realized I had lost some detail in the breaking waves and on the beach. So I used the Targeted Adjustment Brush and decrease the exposure by 0.50 on most of the waves and the beach bringing my final (for now) photo to this -

    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Feel to work with any of the images if you think there is something you can show me to help me learn.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2

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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    I am a Photoshop newbie myself and will look forward to reading suggestions that come your way. It truly is amazing what can be done with the digital darkroom (and just a little overwhelming) so thank you for posting.

  3. #3
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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Hi Didace,
    What a lovely shot, well done.

    Here's my attempt, cropped as you can see; just think IMHO it did not need so much of the bushes on the righthand side and tried to bring the clouds out a bit.
    Not for one minute saying its better, just different.
    Thanks for sharing a very nice picture.
    John

    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    I don't use Lightroom, so I won't comment on your details other than to make the general comment that I'm sure there are a lot of tutorials that address workflow. I can tell by the settings that you used and considered but didn't use that there are many ways to accomplish the same thing. So, you're better off mastering a particular method until you later decide after having a lot of experience how to improve upon it.

    You mentioned that the first JPEG is the original, so I wonder if you are using in-camera sharpening. I ask about that because there seem to be some artifacts of the kind usually introduced by sharpening around the palm tree and the tops of the bushes.

    There is an understandable tendency for post-processing novices to tend to over do it, both in the number of adjustments made and the magnitude of each change. I think both of your versions suffer from that.

    In my treatment of your image, it's clear that I did far less with it than you did. For me, the results are more natural. I only adjusted the curve to brighten the image a bit, increased the saturation just a bit and made the image a little warmer. I then cropped it.

    EDIT: Now that I see John's treatment, I gather that he also agrees that your changes are a bit intense.

    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 6th January 2013 at 10:09 PM.

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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Hi, Didace

    I've used Lightroom 3 and then 4, and cant say enough good things about it ( the clone and healing brush just sucks, though- I use PSE for that for anything larger than a spot).

    Looking at your original, I would have bumped up the exposure about .5, increased the contrast about as you did, and gone easier on the vibrance. Vibrance can be a bit heavy-handed, and really raises the yellows too much. I typically raise the vibrance to taste, but rarely go over 50, and then head straight to the yellow channel and turn down its saturation. With green foliage, in can also be quite helpful to reduce the green luminance. I rarely use the saturation adjustment, and if I do it's usually to reduce it a smidge, and then compensate upwards the vibrance. I frequently reduce highlights with cloud and water shots to bring out some really nice detail- it tends to reduce the contrast a little so you'll need to nudge the contrast back up to taste.

    Keep playing with the adjustment brush- it is a spectacular tool, especially since they added localized WB adjustment.

    Let me recommend the best LR4 training video I've ever seen: by George Jardine, titled The Develop Module. You can find it on Amazon or his web site. It's not expensive, but worth twice it's price. There is not a single feature of LR4 that he doesnt explain in clear detail. I bought two extra copies and sent them to my kids.

    Hope this helps,

    Kevin

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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Good day Kevin:
    you mentioned a site (or a video you bought from Amazon.com) that is excellent for teaching Lightroom (As I understood from your message).
    have you tried Lynda.com before, if yes how do you see the difference in quality? and which one do you prefer please?
    thank you in advance.
    Hafedh

  7. #7
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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Hi, Hafedh

    I am familiar with Lynda.com and think it is quite good. The George Jardine is a single DVD that basically begins at the top of the top of the LR develop module and works down through it line by line, explaining exactly what it does and how to use it. I'd recommend starting with Jardine, and then certainly continue in an ongoing fashion to consult Lynda.

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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Thank you very much dear Kevin. but excuse me for asking much in details.
    what do you think if I start with Lynda directly (without going to that DVD video). will I miss much, or you think I might come to the same result?
    thank you very much for bearing with me and for your patience.

  9. #9
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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    I think there are many good ways to achieve the same of knowledge. You cannot go wrong with Lynda.com. I havent visited that site for a while, and can't specifically render an opinion of her handling of LR4, but judging from her other work, I am sure your time there will be well spent. Best of luck, it's a great program and great fun.

  10. #10
    mahfoudhhi's Avatar
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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Quote Originally Posted by kdoc856 View Post
    I think there are many good ways to achieve the same of knowledge. You cannot go wrong with Lynda.com. I havent visited that site for a while, and can't specifically render an opinion of her handling of LR4, but judging from her other work, I am sure your time there will be well spent. Best of luck, it's a great program and great fun.
    Thank you very much Kevin.
    I really appreciate your input and taking the time to reply.

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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    You are most welcome, Hafedh, and welcome to CiC

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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Hi Didace!

    I don’t use Lightroom either and I don’t know much about it. The other day I ran across what I think may be a very interesting and helpful technique. Especially for landscapes.

    It utilizes layer blending modes and layer masks, which mask and isolate into zones highlights, mid-tones, and shadow such that they can be individually adjusted. I haven’t played with it much, in fact this is the first time. So since you were kind enough to provide a nice photo (I agree with your Wife), I thought I’d give it a shot.

    Unfortunately, from what little I understand about LR, it wouldn’t work since LR (and I may be wrong here) does not support layers and masks without an additional plugin.

    I just mostly ran the procedure and did very little tweaking. It was admittedly a “quickie” job. But thought I’d post the results anyway. I didn't use a crop on the final so it would be easier to toggle back and forth from the original. But if I were to crop I would put the tree on the right third, and the horizon on the lower third (or thereabouts).

    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    I was thinking about writing a little procedures tutorial to see if other members might find the blend/mask technique useful and maybe get some feedback about what anyone thinks.

    Though in all likelihood, everyone but me is already aware of it!

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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Hi Didace!

    I think you overdone it a bit, especially the sky, the sea and beach colors are more or less ok, maybe a little bit less.

  14. #14
    Didace's Avatar
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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Mike - "You mentioned that the first JPEG is the original, so I wonder if you are using in-camera sharpening. I ask about that because there seem to be some artifacts of the kind usually introduced by sharpening around the palm tree and the tops of the bushes."

    These were RAW files with no in camera sharpening. But, on export to JPEG I did use output sharpening. The settings were - Sharpen For: Screen and Amount: High. This may have caused the issues you noticed. Has anyone else noticed this? What settings do you normally use? I will experiment to see what differences the settings make.

    Kevin - "I typically raise the vibrance to taste, but rarely go over 50, and then head straight to the yellow channel and turn down its saturation. With green foliage, in can also be quite helpful to reduce the green luminance."

    I will keep this tip in mind.

    All - After stepping away for a while and coming back to the image it seemed to me I "over-baked" the saturation. It's good to have confirmation. I'll set this one aside for a few days and then come back to it and work with your suggestions, hopefully with a fresh eye.

  15. #15
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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Didace,

    Sorry, I should have mentioned this before. LR grossly overdoes its output sharpening. Having experimented with each of its settings, I now do creative sharpening only, with NO output sharpening if I'm exporting directly from LR

  16. #16
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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    I was a bit sloppy with the brush I see now.
    Color looks like Terry's.

    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

  17. #17
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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    I can't resist having a go an that is a very nice shot. I like the fact that the breaking waves detail is still there

    I don't use Lightroom. I mostly use a linux package called Fotoxx for most things.

    I expanded brighter pixels - a sort of one ended contrast change.

    I tone mapped it. More than usual in the light tone range, to a slightly higher level in mid tones running to zero at the dark end. The mask factor was 0.2. Mainly aimed at crisping up and bringing out water detail. I think Adobe provide 3 sliders for that.

    Applied very slight brightening in the light tones running to zero in mid tones.

    Very weak unsharp mask. I think that is always a good idea on reduced size shots but it's very easy to over do it.

    Don't want to hijack the thread but as I'm learning too and am paranoid about monitor settings I'd be interested if some thought this is over done bearing in mind it's from a small jpg. I likes the sky more or less as is so haven't made any attempt to change that as it's unusual. Some might not like the effect. I'm more interested in the processing aspect and not over doing it.

    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing
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  18. #18

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    Re: Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

    Quote Originally Posted by Didace View Post
    artifacts of the kind usually introduced by sharpening around the palm tree and the tops of the bushes."...Has anyone else noticed this?
    The image shown below is a screenshot of your photo displayed at 300%. I am providing it so you know what to look for in the future. Notice that the sky is free of artifacts except for the artifacts around the tree and tops of the bushes.

    You wouldn't normally need to be concerned about issues that can only be seen at 300%. However, when displaying your JPEG in my post-processing software at full-screen mode, it automatically displays it at 128% and I instantly noticed the artifacts. That indicates that you might see these same artifacts if you were printing a full-size image at a reasonably large size or even displaying a JPEG on the Internet at about 1000 pixels on the long side.

    Hope this helps!


    Create A Photo with Me - 1st Attempt at Post Processing

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