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Thread: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

  1. #1

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    A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    A portion of a Sousaphone - done in ACR, Silver Efex Pro, some more in PS and a bit more in Efex and then some in....

    A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    So, all ye Silver Efex Pros, how am I doing so far?

  2. #2
    rob marshall

    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Hi Chris

    I think the conversion is good, but the problem here for me is the composition and the scene setting.

    Changing the scene setting (if that were possible) would make a much more dramatic shot in the camera, which would give a better basis for starting the conversion. I have a very similar shot that I did a couple of years ago, of a trumpet. This was shot indoors, against a black backdrop. That setting immediately gives the metalwork much more prominence in the shot before I even start to use Silver Efex. It also give the shot a lot more natural contrast. It looks good just in RAW.

    I think yours was done outdoors. I can see a reflection of what looks like a house. I know it's difficult sometimes, and you just have to work with what you have. I also think you would get more point of focus in the shot if you zoomed in a bit more on a key feature, such as the finger-keys.

    Incidentally, what quality setting do you use when you save your JPEGS for upload. I got the impression it was '8' because when I tried editing your shot I got an '8', but my default is '11'. You will get better image quality for on-line viewing with 10/11. The files will be bigger, but depending how you save them, that shouldn't be too much of a problem. A 700px quality 11 for me is normally about 300k. The shot below is 1024px and is still only 328k. Just a thought.

    A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

  3. #3

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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    This is where learning becomes the fun part. I was using the default 8 because the Kelby training videos I have been using suggested this number. I went back and looked at previous files I'd made and noticed I used 11 or 12 as well...not sure why I accepted the 8 as "okay."

    I didn't have the opportunity to do anything but make some quick shots while the kids were outside practicing...and it was right dang cold out, so I wasn't about to linger. It was a shot of opportunity. This one also looked good just opening in Efex, though I did do some fun editing utilizing a bunch of layers. I think as you suggested in another note, there are virtually no limits past your imagination and just plain overdoing an image.

    Now I am off to see what else I can do with these few images of the horn. Thank you for your comments and suggestions. As always, I will endeavor to be better...and not necessarily better than you or anyone else, but as good as I can get.

  4. #4
    rob marshall

    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    This is where learning becomes the fun part. I was using the default 8 because the Kelby training videos I have been using suggested this number. I went back and looked at previous files I'd made and noticed I used 11 or 12 as well...not sure why I accepted the 8 as "okay."
    I'd be interested to know what others do.

  5. #5
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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    This is very interesting. It might explain why my photos seemed to get fuzzier when posting to the forum (I had just assumed it was a CiC thing). My software uses a percentage compression for jpegs. I have been using 87% but the software help suggests that 97% provides a good compression with no apparent lost in quality. Quality loss starts becoming visible below about 95%. I was using 87%. Thanks, Rob.

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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    I always edit full size and save. Then make a reduced size and label that Rxxx the xxx being the being the pixel count of the longest dimension. Then its easy to read in your file name.

    I aim to make the file less than 1000kb so I start at 12 and take it down to where I achieve <1000kb. I usually apply a small sharpening after the resizing. I don't try to compress more than I need to get under 1000kb.

    neil

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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    This is a different image, taken from a slightly different angle but at the same time as the first post image in this thread and I am pretty sure at the same settings. This one is saved at 11. It should be interesting to see how much difference there is, because like Jonn C, I've also noticed quite a bit of a value shift from my PS screen image to CiC's image.

    A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    One thing I immediately noticed was the preview image being significantly sharper - and I think this image is superior in overall vibrancy than the first image regarless of any secondary tweaking that took place...and it was quite minor.

  8. #8
    rob marshall

    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by tihsgod View Post
    I always edit full size and save. Then make a reduced size and label that Rxxx the xxx being the being the pixel count of the longest dimension. Then its easy to read in your file name.

    I aim to make the file less than 1000kb so I start at 12 and take it down to where I achieve <1000kb. I usually apply a small sharpening after the resizing. I don't try to compress more than I need to get under 1000kb.

    neil
    Neil

    I'm not sure about this, but I think yours may be going too far the other way. The shot of yours http://i54.tinypic.com/1jlns.jpgin the latest mini-comp (good shot BTW) is 1600px long and is nearly 1MB. They get rescaled anyway here on CiC (although viewers can do a 'view image' to see the original) I'm no longer a Mod, so I don't want to say too much. Sean may have some views about what file sizes are posted. I don't know. Bear in mind that if everyone posts large files then multi image threads (such as monthly comps) may take a while to load on members browsers. Personally, I think option 10 for quality with a max of 1024px and around 250k seems reasonable. But as my wife is always saying 'depends on your definition of reasonable"

  9. #9

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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    So, Rob, at 11, does this image present itself better, the same or indifferently?

  10. #10
    rob marshall

    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    So, Rob, at 11, does this image present itself better, the same or indifferently?
    I'm just trying a couple of my own for comparison purposes. I'll post them soon and comment on yours.

  11. #11

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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Chris,

    yes your second shot is a little more dinamic, better contrast and improved sharpness in some areas. However to me it seems that your second shot is focused on the tubes at the right of the image and I guess you have a lower mid range aperture? (there's no exif in your photo). So focus is an issue here unless you wanted the left hand side to be out of focus. Maybe you could use a smaller aperture and to focus a little deeper into the shot. This is also visible in your first shot but to a lesser extent. Also using a longer lens would help you in this regard.

    Your shot is sized at 700 x 475... I am sure there are people here who may say that is enough but I personally like a few more pixels for my shots. It all helps with the sharpening.

    BW photos don't hold a lot of data and it is a small pixel size so you could run this at max quality I would think...

    yes I tend to agree that shots in PS appear a little sharper than on the forum...

    neil

  12. #12

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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    Neil

    I'm not sure about this, but I think yours may be going too far the other way. The shot of yours http://i54.tinypic.com/1jlns.jpgin the latest mini-comp (good shot BTW) is 1600px long and is nearly 1MB. They get rescaled anyway here on CiC (although viewers can do a 'view image' to see the original) I'm no longer a Mod, so I don't want to say too much. Sean may have some views about what file sizes are posted. I don't know. Bear in mind that if everyone posts large files then multi image threads (such as monthly comps) may take a while to load on members browsers. Personally, I think option 10 for quality with a max of 1024px and around 250k seems reasonable. But as my wife is always saying 'depends on your definition of reasonable"
    Hi Rob, good point and it confused me for 1.2 seconds..... I normally resize to either 1000 or 1200 max because thats a decent resolution (I think) and keeps the file size reasonable... but for once I added a border of 200 to the already resized file.. there we have the 1600! probably even you wife would think that is outrageous so I may well try and post a smaller version

  13. #13

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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Because of all the background crap near to this lad and his horn, I deliberately used the shallowest DoF I could to omit the other stuff from interfering with the original image. In retrospect, I am quite sure I could have stopped down at least one and maybe two stops and not had to edit too much out...this is an easy shot to recreate. The boy is in my 2nd period photo class and the horn not far away at all. I will be spending lots of time in the Band Room, I suspect.
    For this thread, my need is for reassurance or criticism is whether I am hitting a good chromatic scale in exhibiting reflective surfaces such as this horn. I am an old dog learning lots of new tricks.

  14. #14
    rob marshall

    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Chris

    Your second shot is much better on composition and processing. There is more contrast and although there are two main points of focus (keys and tubes on right) I think it works as one leads through to the other. Can't really say about the quality setting thing as it's a different shot. I did a couple of test JPEGS of one of my shots, one at '8' and the other at '11'. There is a difference if you select both in Bridge and flick between them, but it's hard to tell exactly what the difference is. Both are at 1024px, so you can do a view image to see the original size.

    A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    With a JPEG reduced from say 4000px down to 1024px, you obviously have less pixels to represent each element in the image, and that must affect sharpness at least, which is why it's best to sharpen images that have been down-sized. But the quality setting shouldn't affect that - or does it? If it doesn't, then what does it affect? What is it throwing away when it's saved as an '8', compared to an '11'? I'm not sure. Maybe Scott Kelby (as you mentioned him) believes that 8 doesn't make any noticeable difference.


    This one is 250K
    A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal


    This one is 500K
    A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

  15. #15

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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Just on a quick observation of your two prints, it seems to me the difference between the 8 and 11 is the 11 opens up details in all areas but most especially in the midtones and highlight areas. It could be my monitor, but can you also see there is a slight darkening from 8 to 11...which I will assume is because of the diminished loss of data.

    This is the original image as an 8 and the second as an 11.

    8
    A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    11
    A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal
    Last edited by MiniChris; 15th January 2011 at 03:09 PM.

  16. #16
    rob marshall

    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    The '11' version looks a little brighter (and better)on my monitor, than the '8' does, especially in the sky. I wonder if anyone else can see a difference? There is of course, a big difference in the file sizes.

  17. #17

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    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    The '11' version looks a little brighter (and better)on my monitor, than the '8' does, especially in the sky. I wonder if anyone else can see a difference? There is of course, a big difference in the file sizes.
    I wonder why such a difference as I merely took the version 8 and resaved as an 11...or does saving at the higher output increase the size of the file..I will go back and look.

  18. #18

    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    I'd be interested to know what others do.
    I save at 100% - but thats just extravagance - as John says 97% is perfectly adequate.

    Chris I like the second shot. The composition is much better and image is much stronger. As Rob has said above the two points of focus work really well here.
    The '11' version looks a little brighter (and better)on my monitor, than the '8' does, especially in the sky. I wonder if anyone else can see a difference? There is of course, a big difference in the file sizes.
    Only in the sky as you observe but this does not detract one bit from my enjoyment of the image and if you had not posted both images I would certainly not been PMing you to warn you that your were losing your touch (and I promise I will if you ever do). To be honest I think it is probably irrelevant for most images since 99.9% of viewers woud never pick up on this as a presentational flaw. It is even less noticeable in Chris's two images. You will both be insisting on viewing images at 100% soon and subjecting my pixels to a thorough internal examination....stop it at once

  19. #19
    rob marshall

    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Only in the sky as you observe but this does not detract one bit from my enjoyment of the image and if you had not posted both images I would certainly not been PMing you to warn you that your were losing your touch (and I promise I will if you ever do). To be honest I think it is probably irrelevant for most images since 99.9% of viewers woud never pick up on this as a presentational flaw. It is even less noticeable in Chris's two images. You will both be insisting on viewing images at 100% soon and subjecting my pixels to a thorough internal examination....stop it at once
    Let me put it this way. The next time you take one of Wire Vixen's pieces of jewellery into the local pawn shop (sad flat-capped men outside, shuffling disconsolately on harsh wind-swept street corners, while half-mad dogs howl in the cold night air) to pay for a new lens, note carefully what the pawn-broker does. He picks up a huge loupe and slaps it in his eye to look at the detail....

    Sorry about the stereotyping of Warrington.

  20. #20

    Re: A study in the Reflective Qualities of Metal

    Yes but if I don't give WireVixen access to huge loupe she will never no they are paste

    (sad flat-capped men outside, shuffling disconsolately on harsh wind-swept street corners, while half-mad dogs howl in the cold night air)
    Now I can just hear Richard Burton reading that....is your middle name Dylan by any chance.

    It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched courters' and rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea
    Sorry about the stereotyping of Warrington.
    A photographic utterance as it happens

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