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Discussion in 'People Photography' started by flygning, May 9, 2008.

  1. flygning

    flygning TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]
    Badlands National Park, SD

    C&C please!
     
  2. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe TPF Noob!

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    Hope you don't mind but I wanted to bring this out a bit:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. tranceplant

    tranceplant TPF Noob!

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    second one is better, but the sky(cloud) is a bit too blue.
     
  4. flygning

    flygning TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    How's this? I don't like the blue clouds in your edit, Joe, but I do like the rest so I tried it out.
     
  5. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    great image, well done on the capture. :thumbup:

    For the editing tho, i would aim for something like this imo. The forground has a good texture so its a shame to loose it, instead i went for enhancing it using a layer mask, curves, and some dodging and burning. Also tweeked the sky to give more depth.

    The next important thing to address in this image is the crop... the crop can make a huge difference in an photo such as this and i would go for one of two options.

    A rare option in many landscapes but works perfectly here... making the image centred gives a kind of mirror image effect...

    [​IMG]


    The more common crop for an landscape would be to loose some of the forground (in this case) to create the rule of thirds idea...

    [​IMG]


    I think either way could work well... but because its a bit different and works so well i would go with the first crop.

    Either way, its a nice image ;)
     
  6. flygning

    flygning TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Arch. I really do like the centered image--I think it adds some feeling to the shot. As far as your photoshopping, I really like what you did. Now, my photoshop knowledge really only scratches the surface of what is available, so bear with me:

    First off, no matter what, my images always tend to look over processed even after only a little tweaking. You can even notice it in the clouds on your edits. Any hints on how to avoid this in general? I know there are paid programs that reduce noise, but, well, I'm a starving college student.

    Next, what purpose does a layer mask serve? I've heard the term, but I really have no idea as to what it means or what I would do with it once I found it...

    Thank you for your kind words. Your edits have improved this shot a million times over, and I would love to be able to reproduce what you did.
     
  7. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ok well explain to me what you did with your processing and i will go through the alternatives... but don't worry, we all start off a little heavy handed in PS, because the first tools we start to use are usually the most destructive.

    I can then tell you what tools to start looking at with your PP... and i'll also explain more what i did here using the layer mask.
     
  8. flygning

    flygning TPF Noob!

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    Usually when I go through and edit a photo, I first check to see if any major elements of it have to change--if something needs to be edited out, if the sky needs some color, etc. I usually try to avoid doing things like that, but if I have to I go ahead and do it.

    Then I do a levels layer. I don't think I've ever gotten a photo right out of the camera with a nice smooth curve, but I do what I can with it. Then I do a curves layer, and just tweak it a little bit so there is a nice s-curve. Most of the time that is all I do, but sometimes I'll do a saturation level if the particular photo looks like it could use it. I hardly ever sharpen my photos, but that is because my copy of ps is borked and for some reason the unsharp mask only works every once in a while.

    I did these basic steps with my first edit of this photo. I went back through and did the same things with my second edit, just comparing what mine looked like to AverageJoe's. I did an unsharp mask for that one, since *woohoo* it actually worked.
     
  9. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ok good. well your doing the right things... levels, s-shape curves etc, so theres no problem there. What i tend to do is after i have applied a curves layer, switch it on and off... see if there's too much contrast... maybe even adjust the opacity... its better to build up curves layers rather than try to get it to do everything in one layer... so you may need a second curves adjustment to brighten it more.

    After making your adjustment to the image as a whole, then its time to look at zones.
    So for the forground i made another curves layer (always use the curves option at the bottom of the layers pallet) and made a bend nearer the lower end... this controls mainly the shadows and as the forground was so dark i wanted to brighten it a little..... so dont worry at this stage about the rest of the image, just brighten the forground but again not too much.. its all about subtlety.
    Once it looks brighter in that area it time to use the layer mask. If you made your curves layer using the button at the bottom of the layers pallet you will notice that your curves layer automatically has a layer mask attached... here is what it looks like (taken from another image i edited)....

    [​IMG]

    Now you may want to google or youtube some layer mask tutorials but basically the golden rule to remember is Black - (takes away) white + (adds) so when you paint over your image with black or white brushes it takes away or re-applies the curves layer you just made.
    It takes time to get use to... play around with it... once you master layer masks your editing capabilities will dramatically improve.

    For information; you can add a layer mask to any layer by clicking the layer mask button on the bottom of the layers pallet... so if you wanted you could duplicate the background layer, mess with it, change the colour for example, add a layer mask and then remove parts of it so the one beneath shows through.

    There's quite alot to take in at first.. so play around with that.. layer maks are always included in not only curves layers but also levels, hue/sat etc so it can be very useful if one part of the image looks great with an alteration but it messes up the rest of it.

    Next is slightly more advanced (and confusing) but i will briefly explain it anyway...
    I duplicated the background layer set the layer style to screen, reduced the opacity and then layer masked it so just part of the forground was effected... this again brightened the forground and can be useful if it needs a boost.

    In the end i had around 4-5 curves layers, all on different zones, the levels layer, and also a colour curves layer (which i wont go into but it works like colour balance)... i then flattened the image.

    Then i did the dodge and burn proccess... which again, the way i do it very complex but you can achieve similar results using the burn/dodge tools... just remember when you start, to set the burn to shadows only... dodge to highlights only... and BOTH only on around 4%...this is the easiest way to use these tools for the first time.
    Burn all the shadows in the bottom of the forground and dodge a bit of the clouds and in this case the guys T-Shirt to make him stand out.

    I finished by sharpening with smart sharpen... unsharp mask will also do...

    I hope this helped.. its hard for me to explain some things as i tend to just do them after using PS for so long... if you want to find out more, look for video tutorials on the web, mainly for..
    -Layer masks
    -masking
    -dodge and burn

    ;)
     
  10. AverageJoe

    AverageJoe TPF Noob!

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    I'm very color blind so what I see is different than everyone else (I blame my mother). But whatever floats your boat works, the key thing is this is a good shot and you can do a lot with it.
     
  11. flygning

    flygning TPF Noob!

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    Wow. Arch, you're my new idol :p

    And, layer masks are my new best friend. I'm not that great with them yet, but I'm sure I'll get better with practice. I couldn't quite bring out the same level of depth and detail and color that you did with the foreground, but
    here's what I got:

    [​IMG]

    Thank you so much for putting the time and effort into writing that out for me. This really opens up a whole other dimension to my photography. Just as soon as I'm starting to really get a feel for composition, you throw this in...

    Thanks again :) I guess I'll have to go out and invest in a really good photoshop book or something, 'cause the possibilities with this stuff are even crazier than trying to get good composition.
     
  12. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Excellent well done!.... looks like your getting the hang of it already :thumbup:

    Yea, now that you have started using them its just a matter of, the more you use them the more you get control. Subtlety is the key for me... brushes set to around 18% and then slowly adding to it, rather than going in at max settings.

    Btw, the same technique above is also very useful for portraits, brightening one side of someones face where there is too much shadow for example... the possibilites are endless!... enjoy. :wink:
     

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