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Thread: Contrast

  1. #1
    PhilipM's Avatar
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    Contrast

    Hi all,
    I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for improving this image. The problem I have is that the creature blends in so well with the rock. If I sharpen the colours or alter the contrast it changes the overall effect. How can I achieve both - improve yet maintain the impact of the creature's camouflage? C&C welcome.

    Contrast

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    Hello, Philip. I think your image would work better if you actually allow the creature to keep its camouflage capabilities for what it is. On the technical side, if I may say, what lacks is the sharpness on the whole image. Let the viewer see and look for the subject. I've read some old NG mags and they show pictures of chameleons that way. It would also look nice if the creature is positioned totally diagonal on the frame.

  3. #3
    PhilipM's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    Thanks, Jiro. Much appreciated. I guess I am going to have to work on a steadier hand amongst other things.

  4. #4
    PhilipM's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    Is this what you had in mind? I sharpened it as much as I could. I really like the change. Thanks again.

    Contrast

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    Re: Contrast

    Definitely much better. Nice edit!

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    Re: Contrast

    What I do with this sort of scene, Philip, is to selectively sharpen the subject not the background.

    The two methods which I normally use are:

    Create a duplicate layer and sharpen that to suit the subject (lizard), forget about the background, then apply a mask. In this case I would probably use a Hide All Mask. Use a soft low opacity 'white' brush to paint over the areas to be sharpened. Gradually 'uncover' the required area by making several passes with the brush.

    Show the original background layer but select the duplicate. You will appear to be painting on the background image but you will actually just be working on the duplicate. Occasionally hide the background image to check on your progress.

    Another very quick and simple method is to draw a selection around the target area with a Freehand Selection Tool. You don't have to be exact as long as you are just outside of the subject outline. Feather the selection (say 6 to 10 pixels) and apply sharpening as normal. This will only be applied to the selected area.

    With this particular image I think the first method would probably work best but take longer. The second method tends to work best when there is a rather plain background.

    Using the Blur Tool on the background area can also help.

  7. #7

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    Re: Contrast

    I hope you don't mind, I had a go at it.

    Contrast

    I brought up the saturation of the lizard's colors a little in ACR, and played a bit with the range of tone. Just experimenting really.

    Edit:
    I am not sure why, but my attempt looks more tonally flat on display here than it did on my screen. Maybe I have more color depth on my monitor than the web supports...
    Last edited by tameigh; 22nd March 2011 at 07:16 PM.

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    PhilipM's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    Thanks Geoff and Tim for the advice and adjustments. I will play around some more and see what happens.

    Geoff, by sharpening the subject, would this not take away from the camouflage effect of the creature. I guess I need to decide what I want to show. If it is the creature itself, then your method would be the one to follow, but if it is the fact that the creature blends so perfectly with its background, then surely I would need to treat the picture as a whole. Hmmmmm. Need to think about this some more.

    Thanks again

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    Re: Contrast

    I didn't do the major sharpening gig (but did sharpen) but did cut the lizard out, had a go with the backgroun, then the lizard and put them all back together again..sort of a humpty-dumpty thing...just to increase some color saturation and build a little contrast. I also rotated it (as per Jiro's suggestion) to add a little dynacism to the chameleon's stance.

    Contrast

  10. #10
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    Imagine what a simple rotation can do to an image. Now, it seems to introduce "movement" due to the concept of gravity! Nice edit, Chris.

  11. #11
    PhilipM's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    I agree with Jiro. That rotation definitely has a different feel to it. You get the sense of anticipation of movement in the lizard which wasn't there before. Interesting angle (literally). Thanks Chris.

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    Re: Contrast

    Geoff, by sharpening the subject, would this not take away from the camouflage effect of the creature. I guess I need to decide what I want to show. If it is the creature itself, then your method would be the one to follow, but if it is the fact that the creature blends so perfectly with its background, then surely I would need to treat the picture as a whole. Hmmmmm. Need to think about this some more.

    I usually just partially sharpen selected parts of the image with a mask then do an overall second sharpen which includes the background, where applicable. This means that the target area is just slightly sharper than the background.

    And by sharpening on a layer/mask you can vary the amount of sharpening over the lizard as looks best. For example more around the eye then fade it across it's head and with less on the body.

    Some people like to vary the layer Blend Mode; using Luminosity sometimes works well.

  13. #13
    PhilipM's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    Hi all,

    Here is my final edit (I think).

    Contrast

    I decided to go for a slight blur in the background with some selective sharpening on the lizard. This way the lizard stands out a bit more but still blends in (hmmm, not sure if that makes sense). For position I am settling for the diagonal. Although the 'motion' idea presents an interesting alternative, motion is not high on this lizard's to-do list (they spend hours basking in the sun), so I felt that it was more in keeping with the lizard's character to stay the way he was.

    Many thanks again everyone for all the suggestions and help. Learnt a lot.

    P.S. My apologies for calling it a chameleon, it is actually a Southern Rock Agama (lizard).

  14. #14
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    I would probably go with your 2nd edit. I like the sharpness on the 3rd edit but now it looks like it is "floating" from the background. just an observation.

  15. #15
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    Re: Contrast

    Last edit looks like it's HDR.....

  16. #16

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    Re: Contrast

    Last edit is too...too in your face hard line, overdone. Ease up a little on those control sliders.

  17. #17
    PhilipM's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    Thanks guys. Needed to hear that. In the morning light it doesn't look near as good as it did to my tired eyes last night.

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    Re: Contrast

    Somewhat like that but I think You might take another image setting Your camera on vivid and more contrast

    Contrast

  19. #19
    PhilipM's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    I've decided to follow Jiro's suggestion and go with the 2nd edit. Many thanks again everyone for you input. Been a great learning experience.

  20. #20
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Contrast

    We also learned something from this, Philip. Thanks!

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