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Thread: PP C&C Requested

  1. #1

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    PP C&C Requested

    I had this picture in my gallery that I took six weeks ago, and at the time it looked great to me. I looked at it now and was embarrassed. So this is my current best PP, but I wish it looked more "filmy," if you know what I mean.

    The light bulbs were completely blown out, but I had taken a couple of exposures, so I pasted the less exposed light bulbs over the blown out ones. but it was hard to get a smooth blend without blowing them out again somewhat.

    PP C&C Requested

    Anyway, any further suggestions for improvement are more than welcome.

  2. #2
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: PP C&C Requested

    Hi Tim -- I'm not sure what you mean when you say you "pasted" the less exposed light bulbs over the more exposed -- what I would have done is put the less exposed picture under the more exposed one, then using a layer mask, erase the bright bulbs to let the less exposed ones underneath show through. But maybe that's what you did and I'm just not understanding it.

    I'd probably take the picture and put some textures on it, and maybe a Gaussian blur to make it look a little "dreamy," but that's just me. I really like the picture.

  3. #3

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    Re: PP C&C Requested

    Elise,
    I haven't figured out the layer masks yet, but I have a book with a lesson on them. So I will try your suggestion. As soon as I figure out what it means. I was looking at the less exposed image, and I think it looks better in a lot of places.

    As for the textures? That is your specialty and I like looking at them, but right now, I am just working on getting a decent image down, capture to pixels.

    Thanks

  4. #4

    Re: PP C&C Requested

    Unfortunately because of the complex and distracting background I feel that Elise's suggestion of applying textures is probably the best treatment for this particular image. However, if you are trying to master the capture you need to think about the visual relationship between the background and the image. To be honest if I had seen this and could not get an angle that gave a less complex background I would probably of left the shot alone. A narrower depth of field may have helped matters but I suspect the high contrast in the background would still have given an overly complex presentation.

    Having said all that you have done very well to get good exposure under very trying conditions. When you say filmy it may be worth trying a b/w conversion and selectively increasing the contrast. This goes against what I said for the colour version but applying contrast to the main subject and blurring the background may just work in b/w

  5. #5
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: PP C&C Requested

    I haven't figured out the layer masks yet, but I have a book with a lesson on them.
    Tim, if you're using Photoshop, first, get the two exposures on different layers, with the more exposed one on top. Then at the bottom of the layers panel is a button that says "add layer mask" -- it looks like a square with a circle in the middle. If you click that (with the top layer selected), it will put a rectangle in that layer, which gives you access to the mask feature. With that selected, pick a brush from the tools on the left, make it a size that will allow you to paint over the bulbs and nothing else, and set the foreground color (bottom of tool bar) to black (black takes away, white adds back). Then you paint over the bulbs, but what you're actually doing is removing the overexposed bulbs from the top layer and letting the underexposed ones below shine through You'll see what you're brushing over appear in the little layer mask rectangle. And if you want to see the mask itself, at least in my version of PS, if you hit the "\" key, you'll see the areas you've brushed over in red. If you take off too much, you can switch the foreground color to white and put some of it back. It's pretty easy, and I think this particular photograph would be good for you to experiment with as far as the layer mask is concerned.

    Removing my teacher hat now . . .

  6. #6
    Klickit's Avatar
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    Re: PP C&C Requested

    PP C&C Requested

    Tim, this is a quick re-work of St Anne.
    I duplicated the layer by dragging the background into the small icon at the bottom of the layers palette next to the rubbish bin. It looks like a small page with a corner turned up. I then set that layer from "Normal" to "Multiply". Then selected St Anne and her halo by using the Quick select wand and inverted the selection. Applied a strong Gaussian blur to the inverted selection. This both darkened and blurred the distraction background. Invert the selection again, to St Anne and her halo and used the eraser tool to remove the darkened layer from her. Thus you get an image which brings her forward.
    P.S. As you can see, I was a bit careless in places with my selection, and that has allowed some of the original light background to show through.

  7. #7
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: PP C&C Requested

    Here's my quick and dirty try -- I actually quite like the background, which looks very thorny and appropriate to the subject. But it's bright.

    PP C&C Requested

  8. #8

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    Re: PP C&C Requested

    PP C&C Requested

    Thanks for explaining layer masks. I was never going to get there by trial and error, but once you know how, they make a lot of sense.

    I don't think it made a huge difference in the image, except that it was a ton quicker and easier. I did a couple of other tweaks that were inspired by the mask layer though. I am happy with it. I like the background. It is part of the story of the picture, and would make sense to any locals, who are the audience anyway.

    I tried boosting the saturation a little bit with an adjustment layer, varying by color, to try and get a color film look. It is closer to what I picture.

    I tried to produce a darker effect for the background to bring out the forground, without losing realism. I like the dreamy treatment, but right now my focus is on realism.. For now.

  9. #9
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: PP C&C Requested

    I'm glad it helped -- once I got the hang of layer masks, I found them very useful, and definitely quicker than doing selections (which I seem to be really terrible at) and so on.

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