Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22

Thread: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

  1. #1
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    1,473
    Real Name
    Sean

    New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    This isn't yet public on the main site, but you can access it via the direct link below:

    Understanding & Using Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    This applies to both physical and digital GND filters, and includes an interactive example toward the middle.

    With all the buzz that HDR gets these days, I think that GND filters have too often become overlooked. Everything else being equal, a GND will produce superior results to an HDR if the lighting changes evenly in one direction (such as with most landscape photographs). Both have their place though.

    New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    As usual, please let me know if you feel anything is unclear, if you notice any typos, or just want to add something from your own experience.

    Many thanks!
    Last edited by McQ; 17th March 2011 at 06:48 PM. Reason: article no longer in rough draft form

  2. #2
    GlenM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Bedfordshire, UK
    Posts
    135
    Real Name
    Glen

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    As a newcomer to photography I can't really comment on the technical aspects of this.

    But, I can say that the tutorial is easy to follow and makes perfect sense to me as a beginner.

    I'll leave the more accomplished members to comment on the technicalities

    Glen

  3. #3
    jiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Manila, Philippines
    Posts
    3,804
    Real Name
    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Sean, awesome work on the tutorial again from you.

    If I may add, on your statement: "...Perhaps the biggest problem with grad ND filters is that one is usually restricted to gradients which transition along a line. If portions of the subject protrude above the light-dark transition, they can appear unevenly and unrealistically darkened. Susceptible subjects often include trees, the tops of mountains and people." you could tell the viewers that they can add a layer mask later in photoshop (if they use one) to lessen the GND filter effect on the affected areas. Just a thought. Thanks!
    Last edited by jiro; 16th March 2011 at 04:19 PM.

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,290
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Hi Sean,

    I had to re-read this sentence 3 times to asure myself it wasn't saying the opposite to what I knew it meant;

    (from just above the Complications heading)
    Don't be afraid to get creative. One might have been able to achieve better results in the above example by instead placing the transition at an angle, such that it roughly followed the rocky ocean front from the middle right up to the bushes and trees on the upper left.
    perhaps ..

    Don't be afraid to get creative. In the above example, one might have been able to achieve better results by placing the transition at an angle, such that it roughly followed the rocky ocean front from the middle right up to the bushes and trees on the upper left.
    I think the significant bit was taking out the word 'instead'.

    I do like the examples in the mouseover picture.

    Another very good addition to the expanding range of tutorials.

    Thanks,

  5. #5
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    1,473
    Real Name
    Sean

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    you could tell the viewers that they can add a layer mask later in photoshop (if they use one) to lessen the GND filter effect on the affected areas. Just a thought. Thanks!
    Thanks for the feedback. I've added this:
    However, even darkened tops can be improved, but one usually has to resort to other tools. One can minimize their impact by using a layer mask in Photoshop and manually editing the regions that need more exposure, but this should be avoided if possible, since it's often difficult to achieve realistically, and requires substantially more work in post-processing.

  6. #6
    jiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Manila, Philippines
    Posts
    3,804
    Real Name
    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by McQ View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. I've added this:
    Awesome!

  7. #7
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,974
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    you could tell the viewers that they can add a layer mask later in photoshop (if they use one) to lessen the GND filter effect on the affected areas. Just a thought.
    I would suggest a further amendment to this that changes, "One can minimize their impact by using a layer mask in Photoshop and manually editing the regions ...", to, "One can minimize their impact by using a layer mask in Photoshop or other photo editing software and manually editing the regions ...",

  8. #8
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    1,473
    Real Name
    Sean

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    to, "One can minimize their impact by using a layer mask in Photoshop or other photo editing software and manually editing the regions ...",
    Yes, good point -- these tutorials always try to be product/brand-neutral whenever possible. It's been changed.

  9. #9

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    I don't have a GND filter, but I use the one supplied by Color Efex Pro 3.0 plugin when doing post-processing. It works beautifully. Also, using HDR seems to obviate the use of a GND filter. It would be interesting to see if anyone has done a side-by-side comparison of the exact same image using all 3 methods: GND filter, Efex pro, and HDR.








  10. #10
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Posts
    2
    Real Name
    James M. Locke

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Possibly I've not read entire thread contents will do so following my question: Has anyone used (some call it HDR), bracketed exposures using the GND filter? Which filtration as there should be multipal X factors. I factually was about to do this on my own, just have not ordered the filter as of this date. I anymore bracket (5X up to 7X) all photo images anymore (digital, not film) and also do extended depth of field (DOF) and do the photo merge (PS). jml/VP

  11. #11
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    1,473
    Real Name
    Sean

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by pdinella View Post
    It would be interesting to see if anyone has done a side-by-side comparison of the exact same image using all 3 methods: GND filter, Efex pro, and HDR.
    Yes, I think that would be an important comparison to see. I may just have to add one myself...

  12. #12
    jiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Manila, Philippines
    Posts
    3,804
    Real Name
    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by visual prose View Post
    Possibly I've not read entire thread contents will do so following my question: Has anyone used (some call it HDR), bracketed exposures using the GND filter? Which filtration as there should be multipal X factors. I factually was about to do this on my own, just have not ordered the filter as of this date. I anymore bracket (5X up to 7X) all photo images anymore (digital, not film) and also do extended depth of field (DOF) and do the photo merge (PS). jml/VP
    All of these process can be done "electronically." Tiffen has a software that can mimic most (if not all) of their actual filters. I think the name is TIFFEN DFx V2. HDR can be done using photoshop, While Efex Pro as we know is a plugin. Now, this would probably be a good new CiC challenge in the future! Calling Donald.

  13. #13
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    2

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    I thought the whole tutorial was brilliant and incredibly helpful as I have been struggling with a wide angled lense and this very topic. However I am really struggling to find GNDs on the internet that will fit the common canon eose 600d, does anyone know where I could get them?

    Steph

  14. #14
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    13,163
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Thank for all your hard work in producing this excellent tutorial.

    "Standard Screw-On Mechanism. This is used for most other filters, including UV and polarizing filters. However, a screw-on mechanism can make it extremely difficult to adjust the location of the GND transition."

    I know exactly what you mean by hae above and I totally agree with the statement. However, I wonder if a newcomer might benefit from a bit of additional information such as explaining that all (I think all - at least I have not found one that differs) round screw-in filters have the line of demarkation between the ND and the clear section straight across the middle of the filter. This forces the photographer to either place the horizon dead center (BORING) or crop extensively at top of bottom.

  15. #15
    MilT0s's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Athens, Greece
    Posts
    694
    Real Name
    Miltos

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    A tiny addition I would made is while discussing about wide lens and filters to mention that there are some ultra wide lens (I think a Nikon has this problem) that can't get a filter on because of the "bulb" shape of the front element. The same is usually true for fisheye lens.
    Last edited by MilT0s; 26th December 2012 at 10:47 PM.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Western MA, USA
    Posts
    390
    Real Name
    Tom

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    My main misgiving about the tutorial is that I think it would have made a lot more sense a few years ago than it does now. I used to use GNDs all the time. But now, DSLRs have such good dynamic range that it makes no sense to use a GND (and very little sense to do HDR anymore) -- you can make these adjustments in post with your raw image. When your camera has 14 EV dynamic range, there is very little point in a GND AFAICS.

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)
    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    My main misgiving about the tutorial is that I think it would have made a lot more sense a few years ago than it does now. I used to use GNDs all the time. But now, DSLRs have such good dynamic range that it makes no sense to use a GND (and very little sense to do HDR anymore) -- you can make these adjustments in post with your raw image. When your camera has 14 EV dynamic range, there is very little point in a GND AFAICS.
    If you're shooting into the light and want to protect foreground detail they're still very beneficial - plus they'll get you 3 stops more DR compression which equates to 3 stops less noise and 3 stops longer exposure (assuming typical 3 stop GND).

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Québec,Canada
    Posts
    696
    Real Name
    Louise

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by MilT0s View Post
    A tiny addition I would made is while commenting on wide lens and filters to mention that there are some ultra wide lens (I think a Nikon has this problem) that can't get a filter on because of the "bulb" shape of the front element. The same is usually true for fisheye lens.
    The 14-24mm lens can be fitted with an adapter to receive the filter.

  19. #19
    CP140's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Greater Vancouver Area
    Posts
    312
    Real Name
    Martin

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    Very nice tutorial. It really is a shame that the local camera store guy gave me a blank stare when I asked if he had a 52mm graduated ND in stock. It's even sadder I threw out all my filters 25 years ago, but let's not open up that can of worms.

    There is a nice "tutorial" on the web for those who are interested. They tend to be a bit humourous, but do offer some good info... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ2YfdeYXqA

  20. #20
    dubaiphil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Northampton
    Posts
    1,851
    Real Name
    Phil Page

    Re: New Tutorial: Graduated Neutral Density Filters

    I'm looking forward to playing with mine

    Grads, that is

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •