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Thread: To fog or not

  1. #1

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    To fog or not

    This scene posses an interesting dilemma as to how much sharpening, contrast, saturation, etc. is appropriate. After all, if you have a foggy scene things should be subdued, right? But still I just couldn't resist bringing up the details in the foreground. It's a hard habit to break. So, what do the board of governors think? Am I all wet on this one?
    To fog or not

  2. #2

    Re: To fog or not

    The white halos around the trees are visible.

    I believe the saturation of the leaves should be increased.

    I think fogging the trees isn't a good idea in this case because the trees apear to be close together. Fogging it gives an unrealistic perception of distance.

    Otherwise, nice composition.

    Edit- Welcome to the forums!

  3. #3

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    Re: To fog or not

    Actually, the saturation and contrast of the foreground has already been greatly increased. I was thinking that I had perhaps increased it too much. The original is definitely a foggy (faded) affair (see below).

    The halos are a problem that I frequently encounter when increasing the contrast between light and dark areas. How is it prevented?

    To fog or not
    Last edited by RichMurphy; 22nd November 2009 at 05:23 PM. Reason: bad link

  4. #4
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    Re: To fog or not

    Hi Rich,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from (arguably) one of the board of guvnors

    I assume you have used USM for the local contrast enhancement, so that is what I'm discussing below.

    I'm in a rush, but a quick answer would be to experiment when applying this and vary the amount and radius to suit the picture. I have no idea what you used, but for this I'd suggest a higher amount and lower radius than one might normally apply, so try with 30% and 20px. On a non-foggy scene normally I might use something more like 20% ( +5%) and 100px radius ( +50px).

    I think you got the saturation right, but agree the halos need to go.

    Cheers,

  5. #5

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    Re: To fog or not

    Hi Rich,

    We had a discussion of sharpening a while back - so you might find this interesting.

    Images with fog are tricky beasts to tame; almost by definition, the fog reduces contrast - and the paradox becomes "the more you increase the contrast, the more you reduce the fog". Often the image looks it's best when the fog is at a minimum.

    About the only exception to that rule that I've found is if you have good contrast in part of the image (say, foreground and/or midground).

    Hope you don't mind, but I've taken the liberty of giving your image one of my notorious Photoshop 30-Second Makeovers (TM!) - quite tricky on an image that's at so low resolution (especially the sharpening), but hopefully you'll get the idea. I've pushed the contrast in the foreground and trees, and made a few other local changes.

    To fog or not
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 20th November 2009 at 07:41 PM.

  6. #6

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    Re: To fog or not

    Thanks everyone for your feedback.

    There my be some confusion as to the "halo" issue here. I think the first commenter, Blazing fire, was referring to the same issue that I am.

    This is not a sharpening halo, which is much more narrow and bright. Instead, this is a subtle, broad lightened area that extends out into lighter areas that are adjacent to dark areas (see cropped area of piling below) creating a halo around the dark area. It develop when the Darken Highlights slider is applied in the Shadows/Highlights adjustments window. If Highlights are not adjusted (reduced), the halo is not created. This effect is not altered by sharpening.

    I would gladly substitute another means but I have not found any other way of reducing highlights without effecting midtones and shadows (like the Levels slider does).

    It appears to me that Colin's version shows reduced highlights, which is necessary to bring more clarity to the boat in the fog, but at the expense of an overall darkening.

    Rich

    2404 crop.jpg

  7. #7

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    Re: To fog or not

    You could try using Curves instead of Levels to give a more controllable result.

    Working on a duplicate layer with a varied opacity mask may well work here, although it would involve a little extra effort.

    I definitely prefer your cropped version without the road.

  8. #8

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    Re: To fog or not

    Quote Originally Posted by RichMurphy View Post
    It appears to me that Colin's version shows reduced highlights, which is necessary to bring more clarity to the boat in the fog, but at the expense of an overall darkening.
    Hi Rich,

    I didn't touch the highlights; 95% of what I did was in Adobe's RAW converter using mostly fill light and black point adjustments. Other than that, a good trick for enhancing local contrst in images like this is to simply use the burn tool set to burn shadows.

  9. #9
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    Re: To fog or not

    Quote Originally Posted by RichMurphy View Post
    There my be some confusion as to the "halo" issue here. I think the first commenter, Blazing fire, was referring to the same issue that I am.

    This is not a sharpening halo, which is much more narrow and bright. Instead, this is a subtle, broad lightened area that extends out into lighter areas that are adjacent to dark areas (see cropped area of piling below) creating a halo around the dark area. It develop when the Darken Highlights slider is applied in the Shadows/Highlights adjustments window. If Highlights are not adjusted (reduced), the halo is not created. This effect is not altered by sharpening.
    Hi Rich,

    I was refering to the same thing as yourself and blazing fire - but you obviously didn't use USM for the contrast enhhancement judging from your reply.

    You can read up on what I mean here. Whilst it is using USM, the radius's involved are so huge they can create the halos we are all talking about, not just the thin ones of 1 or 2 pixels you maybe (correctly) thinking of as sharpening artefacts.

    I cannot see the EXIF data for the original picture, so I have no idea what camera you are using. This may be relevant because the camera can apply a similar effect in efforts to extend dynamic range, especially if you shot this jpg rather than RAW - although having said that, there's no evidence in your later full frame post, some I'm probably barking up the wrong tree

    On the topic of the subsequent PP submission by Colin, it does unfortunately slightly reduce the impact of the yacht, which is unfortunate.

    Hope that helps,

  10. #10

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    Re: To fog or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post

    On the topic of the subsequent PP submission by Colin, it does unfortunately slightly reduce the impact of the yacht, which is unfortunate.
    To be honest, I didn't give any thought to the yacht. Just tap it a couple of times with the burn tool set to shadows and it should "pop up before your eyes"

  11. #11

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    Re: To fog or not

    Hi Dave,

    I wonder why no exif data is available? Oh well, let's not keep secrets here:

    Nikon D90, RAW, PSE6 (Mac).

    Sharpened with USM but done on a separate layer by merging visible to target (stamp visible) and using Remove Color to make gray scale then merging down on a black layer: Blend = Luminosity. The two nice things about this way of applying USM is that it doesn't create any chroma noise and it can be switched on and off to see what it's doing.

    In trying to find a work around for decreasing highlights without using the dreaded Darken Highlights slider in the Shadows/Highlights window, I found that I can come pretty close (with no halos) by using a Brightness/Contrast adjustments layer: decrease brightness; decrease contrast.

    I also tried Curves but couldn't get quite as close. However, I was able to produce a similar halo effect with Curves by distorting the curve a bit.

    Aside from getting help with this halo issue, I'm still interested in comments regarding whether I was too heavy handed on the foreground. In other words, is it preferable to leave the foreground a bit more foggy for effect?

    Thanks all.

  12. #12

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    Re: To fog or not

    Quote Originally Posted by RichMurphy View Post

    Aside from getting help with this halo issue, I'm still interested in comments regarding whether I was too heavy handed on the foreground. In other words, is it preferable to leave the foreground a bit more foggy for effect?

    Thanks all.
    The real-world scene was foggy to begin with. To me the reprocessing was too heavy-handed because it significantly changed the mood. If someone was there would they really have perceived the scene that way? The 30-second makeover is even worse in this respect. The foreground looks far too sharp and saturated to make sense. It verges on harsh. A moderate increase in global contrast would seem like a reasonable thing to do, but not much more. But I'm not a big fan of the highly processed and edited look. If one wants to do that it would be better to paint rather than photograph.

    Will

  13. #13

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    Re: To fog or not

    The 30-second makeover appears to have had a makeover since my previous post, so the post won't make as much sense now to anyone who is new to this thread. Since the issue at hand is a legitimate one, and the original poster was in two minds about it himself and wants to discuss it, it might be worth keeping the sequence of posts intact. I think that the issue is fairly fundamental, so would be interesting to participate in a dialogue about it.

    Will

  14. #14

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    Re: To fog or not

    To clarify my original intent, I was not asking for an aesthetic evaluation of the image. I didn't post it because I thought it was a GREAT shot. But it did occur to me that in the course of exerting all this effort to increase clarity and saturation, and thereby demonstrate my post processing skills, I was contradicting the reason why I went out on a foggy day to capture scenes like this. (I shall be taking this up with my analyst next week.)

    Axiom #37: Just because you can doesn't mean that you should.

    To will_c: The first time you saw the 30-second makeover the paint was still wet. Now that it has had a chance to cure it has attained Colin's intent.

  15. #15
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    Re: To fog or not

    Hi Rich,

    At the risk of further complicating things, I thought I could do better, but this proved not so
    Especially since your PS skills are obviously ahead of mine

    However, I did take a liberty with the position of the yacht for what I feel is a better than real life composition.
    Any good?
    Or "delete and desist"?

    Anyway, for what it's worth;
    To fog or not

    Not something I'm proud of; I have seriously knackered the sky round the trees but I reached the point where to fix it was going to take ages and on this size, probably not worth the time when I have several thousand of my own to do!


    Cheers,

  16. #16

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    Re: To fog or not

    Quote Originally Posted by will_c View Post
    The 30-second makeover appears to have had a makeover since my previous post, so the post won't make as much sense now to anyone who is new to this thread. Since the issue at hand is a legitimate one, and the original poster was in two minds about it himself and wants to discuss it, it might be worth keeping the sequence of posts intact. I think that the issue is fairly fundamental, so would be interesting to participate in a dialogue about it.

    Will
    Hi all,

    When I saw my makeover on my work screen I didn't like it (It was originally done on my home PC, and I suspect that one of the kids has messed with the settings) (time to reprofile!).

    So I updated the image to what I'd intended in the first place - sorry, I should have made a note to mention this.

  17. #17

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    Re: To fog or not

    Here's my redo of this scene with a more conservative approach. In fact, I didn't apply any USM sharpening, but I did apply a Highpass filter (40%) on a new layer created with Merge Visible, then applied Remove Color, Soft Light blend and Opacity at 63%.

    I also enhance just the water/sky/boat area with Curves (via Grant's Tools) to bring a bit more clarity to the boat (personal preference).

    Because I was more conservative there doesn't seem to be any noticeable halos. I have done some research lately as to what contributes to halos and will start a new thread soon to share my findings.

    I liked Dave's idea of moving the boat over, so I incorporated that too.

    For those that want to play with this image, the larger uploaded file is at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/richmur...59727/sizes/o/

    To fog or not
    Last edited by RichMurphy; 22nd November 2009 at 05:29 PM. Reason: bad link

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    Re: To fog or not

    Quote Originally Posted by RichMurphy View Post
    This scene posses an interesting dilemma as to how much sharpening, contrast, saturation, etc. is appropriate. After all, if you have a foggy scene things should be subdued, right? But still I just couldn't resist bringing up the details in the foreground. It's a hard habit to break.
    To fog or not

    I have tried to remove little haze and improve saturation in tree... your comments pl.

  19. #19

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    Re: To fog or not

    Hi ashwin,

    There isn't any right or wrong to this "contest". Just seeing how different people would interpret this scene. My feeling is that most of us are addicted to "improving" our images and when we are confronted with an image such as this, which is naturally unsharp and unsaturated, we just can't leave it alone - me included (see my original image post).

    *** By the way, I incorrectly gave a bad url address on my previous post to the large version of this image. I have gone back and edited the post to the correct url. Most sorry for goof.

  20. #20

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    Re: To fog or not

    Quote Originally Posted by RichMurphy View Post
    Hi ashwin,

    There isn't any right or wrong to this "contest". Just seeing how different people would interpret this scene. My feeling is that most of us are addicted to "improving" our images and when we are confronted with an image such as this, which is naturally unsharp and unsaturated, we just can't leave it alone - me included
    Yes this is the way to improve one's skill, never be satisfy that what you have achieve or done is ultimate, when you start thinking in that terms, you will stop learning any more
    Last edited by Ashwin; 22nd November 2009 at 11:47 AM.

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