Monday, May 24, 2010

Thank Goodness People Paint Barns Red

It’s a wonder what a fresh coat of paint will do for a building, particularly a barn. You usually find barns in interesting locations, like on farms. (Nothing like stating the obvious.) Today’s image comes from the Delaware Water Gap area of Pennsylvania. There’s always something to photograph there, whether it’s the river itself, or a park like the one this barn coming from, or the rolling hills from the scenic overlooks, or the hidden treasures found by wondering around the area. The barn in today’s image had just received a fresh coat of paint. The color in the image has been juiced just a bit, creating the scene more like what’s bouncing around in my memory. The brightest areas of the image (the barn roofs) clock in at a value of about 235, so there is a very little bit of detail. It may look blown out and the only way to truly determine that there’s something there is to look at the Info Panel in Photoshop. The Info Panel is a great tool for giving you information. Before you go to the Recovery Slider in either Photoshop Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, opening your image directly into Photoshop and looking at it critically using the Info Panel will give a clue as to if the shot is worth working on. Let me step back. If your image is really solid and not pushing the edges of the Histogram you don’t need this step. If you’re curious about an iffy shot that might be blocked up in the blacks or blown out in the whites the Info Panel can help answer your questions. You have to remember that the Recovery Slider and the Fill Light Slider can only do so much. If there’s no information at either or both ends of your Histogram all the sliding in the world isn’t going to put detail back in. Today’s image is from one shot. There’s detail in the whites and detail in the blacks. It was a little rough pulling it out, but it was there. To find out what attribute of Adobe Photoshop CS5 was used and to find out about the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers used bring the maximum color out of the image, hit the “read more”.

I used the Ruler Tool (I) to get the barn to sit up straight and held down the Alt key while I clicked on CS5s new “Straighten” button to add to the image rather than crop down the shot. It was a preference call. The amount of straightening needed was very minor. When I first saw that I’d need to spin the image a little bit I thought I had an ideal candidate for CS5s Content Aware Fill. It was spot on and I couldn’t see anything to fix, adjust, add to or subtract from anywhere around the border. That sucker is magic.

The big deal with Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers in this image is that there are so many of them. Instead of one for each color (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue and Magenta) there’s two Reds, two Yellows, two Greens and one of each of the other three. The right Saturation for the barn was too much for the rock wall, so each needed its own Adjustment Layer. The right (and these are all “my opinion” of course) amount the Yellow in the trees made the grasses in the foreground almost neon, so another two Adjustment Layers. --Just as a side note, green colors react to saturation changes in the Yellow much more than they do in a Green Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer.-- The proper amount of Green in the bushes just to the left of the barn made the road go some kind of funky color, so two of those were needed. Almost every mask that comes along with an Adjustment Layer had its own, unique, masking applied.

When using Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers, focus on what you consider “the” important area of the image. Once you get that where you want that particular color, look around. See if the right color in one area throws off the same color in a different area. If it does, rather than try to compromise, treat each area with its own Adjustment Layer. You may wind up with a stack of Adjustment Layers, but you’ll also end up with infinite control.