Friday, August 27, 2010

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Enhancement Or A Photographer's Gimmick?

There’s a saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Turning that a little could get us to one photographer’s “enhancement” might be another shooter’s gimmick. Today’s image is one of several taken on the western slope of the Kelly-Stand Road in Vermont. We found out about Kelly-Stand Road from David Middleton’s very informative book “The Photographer’s Guide to Vermont”. A great photographer’s travel guide that’s one of the first things studied and packed every time we head for the Granite State. You can put the emphasis on the last sentence any way you wish. It can be an endorsement of David’s ability to write a guide book or a testament to his photography. Take whichever way you like. The book has been invaluable to us. Today’s image now resides in a chrome frame. The image is 16 x 20, with the “canvas” size of 20 x 24. Going into a chrome frame I wanted to have something other than a plain black matte. The “double matting” is actually just an extension of the original image, using Adobe Photoshop CS5’s Canvas Size (Image/Canvas Size) with “Relative” turned on. Creating the metallic look of the outer matte is the subject of today’s post. To learn how it was done, hit the “read more”.
If you look closely you’ll probably be able to see that some of the same colors of the image show up in that outer matte along the left and bottom sides. You can’t say the same about the right and top sides. The “matte” was a couple step process that involved tossing and flipping the original image.

The first step (after the image was fully developed) was making a composite of the image (CTRL ALT Shift E). Then Free Transform (CTRL T) was used to enlarge the image well beyond the 20 x 24 size of the canvas. Next a fairly sever blur (Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur) was put on the image and a Layer Mask applied. The center of the image was selected by using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) with the feathering set to one pixel. Tapping the Delete Key knocked out the center of the blurred image, leaving only the outside edge visible. The left and bottom side looked fine, but the right and top was kind of funky.

A copy of the “matte” was made (CTRL J) and flipped vertically using Free Transform (CTRL T). That made the “good side” on the bottom not the top of the “matte”. Using a Layer Mask and painting out the left and bottom (paint with black to conceal the part of the mask you don’t want visible) left us with the top and bottom being mirror images of each other. The right side still wasn’t want I was looking for. The bottom third and the top third looked good when viewed individually, but the opposite section was just too dark. The solution was a big, soft brush painting on the mask to reveal the same one third of the right flank. The center third served as the transition and gave a reflected sort of look to the right side.

The whole thing was possible due to the flexibility of Adobe Photoshop. The think to come to terms with is was it an enhancement or a gimmick. Let me know which side you’re on. Thanks