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Thread: Almost a duck

  1. #1

    Almost a duck

    Almost a duck

    always advisable for one of these to wait until after Chrimbo before taking a stroll...

  2. #2

    Re: Almost a duck

    I love the subject but the image seems dull. I feel that little tweaking of the levels and curves would make this image pop. It also needs a tad more % on the USM.These are PP issues though and the image itself is difficult to fault.


  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Almost a duck

    Hi Bunter,

    I agree with Steve about the PP issues.

    I suspect the white on the head and tail are already pushing 100%, so I doubt it is an exposure issue.
    The birds with a blob of peak white here and there (not just this type) are a real challenge I frequently face.

    These ideas are tailored to Elements, which is all I really know, I hope they help a bit even if that's not what you have.

    Before you start, create a copy of the background on a new layer and adjust on that, this will enable you to switch it on and off to see the changes made and determine if they are an improvement or not.

    First off, you might want to try some Local Contrast Enhancement with USM, there's a technique on it here at CiC.
    This should help with the "grey bird shot on a grey day" look (I know this 'look' so well )
    My suggested 'quick-start' USM settings for this image would be 20%, 100 px, 0 th.

    After that, if you have access to a proper curves tool (CS3/4), you'll need to bring up the mid tones without (further?) clipping the highlights (although the LCE USM may have done so already).
    Alternatively, in the Levels dialog, assuming there are no gaps on extreme left and right, leave the black and white points alone and just move the grey, or middle, slider left to get a figure greater than 1, say 1.3 to 1.5, maybe more.

    Then (assuming you were working on the full size image), down size for display CiC to the 858 px (or a 'rounder' number like 900) width, then, and only then, apply some USM final sharpening, try 150% at 0.3px and 2 threshold.

    Finally, Save As and choose a filename with the width suffixed; e.g. almostaduck_ed1_W900.jpg, so you can tell it apart from any fullsize version you may have saved. - and if you forgot to save one of those; (oops) Use Edit > Undo a couple of times, to back up to just before the down size step and do another Save As now; e.g. almostaduck_ed1_ns.jpg (or .tif or .psd), where "ns" means not sharpened. (it's not too late as long as you don't close the image in the Editor)

    One final thing for all Elements (or even CS3/4) users: I do not (EVER) use the "Save for web" option, because if you use the down sizing dialog in there, even if you have already sharpened the image, what you'll get out is something that looks soft when published online
    (Unless you then open that image up and sharpen it separately, but that really is a bad habit; because you'll be sharpening all the jpg artefacts too and that'll look really naff).
    <End rant>

    Hope that helps,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 28th December 2009 at 12:24 PM. Reason: add a bit about how, and how not to, save from Elements/CS

  4. #4

    Re: Almost a duck

    Thanks Dave. I made the observation but did not suggest how to rectify things Very clear explanation. The last bit is not a rant but a need to know fact.


  5. #5

    Re: Almost a duck


    A typically erudite and useful response. My gratitude to both yourself, and Steve.

    I did toy with the idea of spraying them with something which would remove the
    white highlights (water-soluble, of course...). This, and the additional benefit of
    the exercise while chasing them around the park was not unattractive - but then
    I considered the wrath of 'animal rights' groups, and the idea faded somewhat...


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