Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Looking Through A Dirty Window

Okay, it’s another gimmick shot, but it looks pretty cool to me. I have to give props to Scott Kelby. A couple years ago he put out, for download, a set of Triptychs. He explained that he had some time (I believe on a flight) and just started messing with different ideas for Triptychs. The result was about fifteen different ideas. Most of his were verticals, a couple were two verts and a horizontal or vice versa, but none were horizontals like what you see today. That does mean it an original, just a modification of one developed by Scott. The actual image is mine and it’s an eight shot panorama. The unfortunate part of the whole thing is that the shot was taken prior to having a GPS attached to the camera, so I haven’t the foggiest idea exactly where it is. I think we were in western Massachusetts, traveling along the old Route 20 and saw a sign saying something about a “farm museum” just to the south of where we were. I remember driving down an increasing narrow road and crossing, what looked like, a half lane bridge. (It was almost too narrow to be a one lane bridge.) Just past the bridge the road rose up to the farm. It was a small museum and the highlight was being able to walk out to the pastures and see the animals and gardens. If anyone recognizes the farm, please leave a comment. There’s more to today’s image than initially meets the eye. To find out what went on to get to today’s image, hit the “read more”.

The first thing that happened was to go back to old school to make a mask to separate the sky from the grounds. Using the Quick Selection Tool (W) just didn’t work. So, I went back to looking at the individual Channels (Red, Green and Blue) to find which one gave the best starting point to make the Mask. The Blue Channel gave the best starting point, as the blue sky pretty much dropped out and the white clouds were pretty much non-existent. The Blue Channel was dragged down over the Make New Channel icon. With the copy selected the Calculations Dialog Box (Image/Calculations) was opened. The Bland mode in the Dialog Box was highlighted and the down arrow key tapped to walk down the list of options. Which Blend Mode was best is not important. It’ll be different for each image. With the bright areas in the lower half of the image, a mask directly from the dialog box was impossible. The “closest” approximation was selected and the result saved as a new Channel. Clicking on the new Channel brought up the mask itself. Using a combination of the Brush Tool (B) and the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) made short work of filling in the ground areas. (The fence, the buildings and the steeple.) With Black as the Foreground Color, each selection was filled using ALT Backspace. Once any ground objects were turned solid black, the black area was selected using the tragic Magic Wand Tool (W). Hitting the Combination of CTRL Backspace filled the sky with white, completing the mask. The Alpha Channel Mask was used to allow the ground and the sky to be treated separately and the colors and tones adjusted as needed.

The Triptych was opened, copied and pasted as a Layer. The dimensions didn’t fit the pano, so Free Transform (CTRL T) was used to reduce the height and increase the width to match the image. The “original” of the Triptych was black centered on a white background. Flipping the colors from Black on White to White on Black was done by tapping the CTRL I (eye) combination, inverting the image. From there the Bland Mode of the Layer was changed to Darker Color and the panorama could be seen through the openings in the Triptych. The Black was darker than anything else, so it could be seen and the image was “darker” than White, so it also could be seen.

Blend Modes were the key to today’s image. They were used to create the Mask and to allow the image to be seen through the Triptych.


Kathy Marciante Photography said...

Looks great Tom! Beautiful shots and they all work well together!