Monday, November 29, 2010

Fully Editable HDR Toning In Adobe Photoshop CS5

One of the much ballyhooed features of Adobe Photoshop CS5 is the ability to take one image and create an image showing some HDR (High Dynamic Range) attributes.  Typically, HDR Toning is a one and done technique.  It can only be done on a single layer image and once the effect has been applied it’s over.  I’m not going to take create for coming up with this “amazing” workaround for this limitation of HDR Toning.  For that I’ll differ to Dave Cross, one of the Photoshop Guys from NAPP.  His blog of November 26th brought it to my attention and in it he credits his fellow PS Guy Matt Kloskowski for coming up with the idea.  Once I saw it I couldn’t wait to give it a shot.  I opened Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 and picked a folder almost at random.  I was looking for something with both bold shapes and defined areas.  I chose today’s image because it’s something that is a fairly drab record shot and thought it could use some HDR Toning.  Funny thing is that it was shot as a bracketed group with the idea that it might be a candidate for running through CS5’s HDR Pro.  Cross/Kloskowski’s method of making HDR Toning flexible is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” type of techniques.  It’s an arrow every pixel pusher should have in his/her quiver.  To find out about my take on the subject, hit the “read more”.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

You Don't Have To Go Far In New England

I can’t even think about how many times we’ve jumped in the car, driven a couple hundred miles and not snapped the shutter once.  It used to be just a fun afternoon, a lark, some exploration, an excuse to get out of the house.  Now days there are other considerations.  The price of gas, the ecological effect, the waste of time and, with some folks, the social stigma of not being environmentally friendly.  On the other hand, the travel for today’s image was a walk down to the end of the driveway.  That’s the view we’d had since moving here more than thirty five years ago.  The big difference between then and now is the size of the trees.  We used to be able to see that hillside just barely visible through the trees.  The road we live on used to be the rail bed for the Shepaug Railroad.  The tracks began in the middle of our little town, go up the center of Main Street, down our road, over a trestle and out into the woods heading north for something over thirty miles.  One of these days, probably in spring, I’m going to walk the length and document what the route looks like today.  It’s people’s backyards, it gets lost for stretches and meanders through a couple of parks.  Most people don’t even know why there a berm cutting across their land.  Hopefully I can shed a little light (bad pun) on what is a part of the region’s history.  There’s a simple explanation about how today’s image was made.  It find out what it is, hit the “read more”.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shhhh, Don't Tell Anyone This Is A Composite.

Ya know, you could stand in front of a scene like today’s image and snap away and have a very nice shot of a marina.  You’d have to be at a different marina, ‘cause the sign and the docks don’t line up at Deep River Landing the way it appears in the shot.  The sign is over by the entrance, a couple hundred yards to the right of the mooring area and the line of sight is such that you could get a lovely shot of the maintenance buildings just inside the gate.  The basic idea behind doing a convincing composite is to make it look like it’s not a composite.  It would be the photographic equivalent of trompe l’oeil in the art world.  Trompe l’oeil is a French term meaning “deceive the eye”.  There are all sorts of examples of the technique that can be found by doing a “Google” search.  Some are very clever, totally impossible scenes, some are so realistic you think the artwork is actually three dimensional and some just make you ask yourself the question “is that real?”  The people running Deep River Landing could take today’s image and put it on their business cards.  People would think it was a great spot and possibly visit.  They’d be scratching their heads when they arrived and find things not as they appeared, but that’s what might be called poetic license rather than an attempt at deception.  There’s more than meets the eye in what had to be done to create today’s image.  To find out what, hit the “read more”.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Back And Forth Between CS5 And LR3

It’s often nice to get out with some friends and do a little shooting.  We had a chance to do that a while back and today’s image of a friend is one of the results.  One of the things I notice every time we do a group shoot is that no two photographers come back with the same shots.  A few of the people out shooting that day were taking shots from across the street in the same general direction the women in the image was aiming at.  She was the only person to cross the road and get a unique perspective on whatever was up there.  The reasoning behind today’s image is that, just like a group of photographers out shooting bounce back and forth between views of a subject, Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 bounce back and forth between what they’re good at.  I couldn’t have “finished” today’s image “easily” by using only one program or the other.  Today’s image started out in LR3, bounced other to CS5 and then back to LR3.  The seamlessness of going to and fro is so clear that even if an image needed only one little tweak in CS5 it would be worth it to me to make the jump.  Lately, three fellow photographers have asked for my advice about getting LR3.  Two use CS5 and one uses Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.  One does a combination of “fine art”, editorial and product shots.  The other two do fine art and a little wedding photography.  So, we actually have three different photographers, each with a different set of needs.  To find out what my recommendations are to each friend, hit the “read more”.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

A New Sharpening Technique in Adobe Photoshop CS5

There has to be at least a half dozen generally accepted methods of sharpening between Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.  There’s the “ordinary” way, using the Unsharp Mask (Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask), but it doesn’t provide a lot of control over what’s happening to the image.  You can go pretty exotic and switch to LAB Mode (Image/Mode/LAB Mode) and sharpen only the Luminance Channel  (The L in LAB).  You can use a High Pass Filter technique (Filter/Other/High Pass) and that’ll provide more control over the finished sharpening.  One thing about every sharpening technique either already mentioned or that will be mentioned should be done on a Smart Object (Filter/Convert for Smart Filters or right click on the Layer icon and select Convert to Smart Object. – Same thing either way.)  If you use Lightroom 3 you can crank up the Sharpening in the Detail Panel and control any Noise in the same panel.  Very slick.  One of the newest sharpening strategies I’ve seen is using the Find Edge Filter (Filter/Stylize/Find Edges) and changing the Blend Mode to CS5’s new Divide Blend Mode.  That’s kind of interesting, since the edges are what you want to sharpen anyway.  To find out what one step was added to the Find Edges sharpening technique to give the #D like quality of today’s image, hit the “read more”.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Panos The Wrong Way

I can’t imagine a whole lot more being wrong with the way a panorama can be made than what went into today’s image.  It started in the camera and continued from there.  Every issue was my fault, some by commission and others by omission.  The final image came out alright, but it was a lot more work than it had to be.  We live, we learn.  The original sequence of shots was taken a couple cameras ago.  Which is another way to say I wasn’t doing photography at the level I’m at today.  I still have a lot to learn, buut I have learned a couple things since the shots for this pano’s time.  I listen to my confessions about the errors in today’s image, hit the “read more”.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Along A Foggy Stream

Early morning photography isn’t quite as convenient as it was a couple weeks ago.  Daylight Saving Time is gone and we’re back to “Standard Time”.  Seeing as the saying is “Spring Ahead, Fall Back” dawn now comes an hour earlier around here.  That means, instead of getting up at 5:00 AM to get in place for sunrise at about 7:30 we have a couple of choices to make.  It’s either get up at 4:30 or pick someplace a lot closer.  With the mornings being crisp and cool, any time we get around water we’ll have some fog.  Fog is great for making a stream moody and sometimes a little spooky.  Before dawn the time still belongs to the animals, so every once in a while you meet something rather than someone on the trails.  That was the case on the trail to today’s image.  I’m not really sure what might have been my company, but it grunted and broke twigs as it moved.  I might have been up wind of my companion and he/she might have gotten a sniff of me and chose to avoid an encounter, but whatever the reason I’ll glad for the way it worked out.  I really didn’t want my last image to be of a large animal in pursuit of my backside.  There’s an old adage about how fast do you have to run to outrun a bear?  One step faster than the person next to you.  Only problem is not having someone with you.  Once you’ve thrown your tripod, camera bag and camera your pretty much toast.  So, my thanks to whatever was walking the trail the other morning.  Today’s image was all about getting some depth to the scene.  Fog and mist suck up light and cause a scene to get very soft very quick.  To find out how depth was introduced into today’s image, hit the “read more”.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

This Image Needed A Partial Layer Mask

At first glance I knew the “town” portion of the image would only need a mask to be able to sharpen the lower third.  The town and the water would definitely benefit from some sharpening, but I think puffy clouds in the sky area of most images suffer when sharpened.  They get an artificial, edgy look that just doesn’t sit well in my eye.  So, mask number one that I knew would be needed was all the sky.  Starting to work on the foreground showed another area that would get a boost from being “developed” different from the town.  The island on the left was just plain dull.  Everything was in shadow and had no spark, no life, no drama.  The island had to be brought closer to having a range similar to the town.  Therefore it needed some localized work before the entire scene could be worked.  After mulling it over for a couple of minutes I decided to go “old school” on the island mask.  The fine details of the bare tree needed to be there to give more weight to the firs.  To get an explanation of how the Masks were made, hit the “read more”.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Reprise and Explanation

Like all blogs, this one has access to some information about visitors.  Nothing personal, but things like where a visitor is from, how many pages were viewed by all the people from a particular city and how long the person spent on the blog.  No names, IP addresses or other identifying information is ever given.  We use Google Analytics and check the numbers every day to see if a post was popular and if interest in The Kayview Gallery is growing.  Thankfully it is.  One of the things I notice is that readers seem to check out two pages the most, occasionally three and sometimes a whopping four pages.  The two page readers are easy to figure out.  They “hit the “read more”” and check out the tutorial portion of the day’s post.  The blog has seven posts per page and more than thirty pages.  It winds up being more than 230 individual posts.  So, obviously, most people have never seen the earlier posts.  Today’s main image comes from post number four, back on April 30 2009. Only the earliest and most diehard followers have seen today’s image.  The original post (here) only had the finished “cartoon” style image, not the source.  Today you get a look at the source to see where it started and what it became.  To find out how it got from the source to the final, hit the “read more”.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

And Now, For Something Totally Different...

If you’re a frequent reader of The Kayview Gallery you know that most of the images have the color saturation maxed out.  Big, bright, bold colors that make use of Adobe Photoshop CS5’s Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers in a reasonably unique way  At least I haven’t done the way we do it being used by others.  Making a separate Adjustment Layer for each of the possible colors.  (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue , and Magenta.)  The reason for using the ALs in this manner is not so each color can be adjusted independently, but to have a mask available for each color.  One part of an image might need a high amount of blue saturation, while other parts go neon with the same amount.  Having a mask specifically for the blue adjustment gives the ability to take away the neon blue areas.  If the blues in other areas need a different amount of saturation additional blue Adjustment Layers can be added.  This gives better control over the results.  Better than using shades of gray on a single mask.  Several images here on the gallery have had multiple Hue/Saturation Adjustment layers for one or more colors.  Today’s image takes the control of the colors through the use of the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers in the opposite direction.  Today’s image bounced back and forth between Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 several times.  Some things are better done in CS5 and others in LR3.  To find out what was done where, hit the “read more”.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Just Being Silly With Adobe Photoshop CS5 And Clipping Masks

Today’s image has to be considered one of the sillier things done lately at the gallery.  It started off with just flipping through a few folders of images looking for a specific shot.  I came across the folder with images of a carnival from back in the summer.  I was wondering how far I could push any of the shots and picked the full shot that became today’s image.  It wasn’t that much more than what you see, but enough to give me some ideas of what to do to keep my fingers nimble and go to places in Adobe Photoshop CS5 that I typically don’t wander into.  The shot wasn’t taken straight on as the image appears.  It was shot from “stage left”.  There are a couple of obvious visual cues that you probably can spot that explains step two.  The trickier part is what was step two.  With the shot taken from the left you can guess that there is an angular component to the image.  A little Free Transform (CRTL T) and a right click to bring up the options brings up (among others) Skew and Distort.  Guides were brought down from the top of the screen (with the Rulers turned on, just drag from the ruler down) to the left most top and bottom points of the left ironwork grills.  A little pushing and pulling resulted in a squared up walkway.  The left side was a little funky, so the right half of the scene was copied and put on a new Layer.  The Background Layer was then discarded.  The canvas area was doubled using Image/Canvas Size and a percentage value of 100% being added to the left.  The half with the image was selected using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and copied to its own Layer.  Switching to the Move Tool (V) and using the left Cursor Key with the Shift Key held down moved the copied image to the empty half of the Canvas.  Again using the Free Transform (CTRL T) the Flip Horizontal option reversed the copy to make it face the original.  A little nudging with the cursor keys completed the match of the two halves.  To follow the other silliness going on with today’s image, hit the “read more”.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Use Adobe Photoshop CS5 HDR Toning For Realism

You’ve undoubtedly seen the wild end of HDR.  Even some images here at the gallery.  Every once in a while I feel the need to go crazy and play with the fringe of HDR.  I think some come out interesting and other make it look like I’m on an acid trip (have never done that).  That “tip of the iceberg” of HDR is a fun place to play, but can’t be thought of as the serious side of HDR’s use.  Today’s image resides on the calmer side of the method.  It comes from one of the all time best places to get river/stream photography.  Kelley Stand Road in Vermont.  It’s in southern Vermont, only about 25 north of the Massachusetts border on Route 7 in Arlington.  I’d love to try getting some winter shots but the road is closed to vehicles during the cold months.  If you take a trip along the Kelley Stand when it’s open you’ll know why.  I may have to find a snowmobile and some hand warmers.  It’s something to think about.  Hmmm.  I started playing with today’s image with the thought of going to the dark side of HDR, but I’ve already gone nuts on another shot of KSR.  Plus it was coming out really bad.  The alternate was to try for a realistic image I couldn’t get with my “normal” processing techniques.  It was a bit of a fight, with green gremlins creeping in.  To find out how the gremlins were kept at bay, hit the “read more”.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Sharing The View With A Painter, So Why Not Bend Some Pixels

As we go running around shooting the falls colors and trying to get the definitive image of the season, it occurs to me that we don’t run into too many others trying to do the same thing.  Unless we specifically go out with a group, we seem to have the run of whatever place we’re in to shoot ‘til our hearts content.  It seems a little bizarre.  We go to the prime places.  We go at the right times and dates.  We wait until the perfect clouds roll by or the shadows get to the ideal lengths, but still we shoot alone.  Just the two of us.  Any other type of thing we decide worthy of checking out and we’re always in the middle of throngs of people.  We hear about a performer doing something in some out of the way venue and it’s packed.  We read about some minor event happening at a park or alleyway or field and it’s jammed.  Is it just because someone didn’t put a notice in the paper or an announcement on the radio that photographers don’t show up at very public, very scenic, very photogenic spots on the ideal day at the ideal time?  All we have to do is look out the door and we get an idea if the day is going to be one of those special days when photographic magic happens, yet we don’t see masses of people jostling to get their tripod set into the worn Kodak picture moment holes.  The fellow in today’s image knows what I’m talking about.  We spotted him sitting by the side of a tarn at the top of a small mountain (east coast mountain, not a real mountain) and he was even just fifteen feet off the road.  A road with wide shoulders to accommodate plenty of cars whose drivers had looked over the scene and thought “I have to stop to take in this beautiful view”.   Yet, he sat in solitude.  At least until we showed up.  I asked if I could take a couple of pictures and he didn’t have a problem unless I was going to show his face.  No sweat, I was interested in the scene more than in the person.  To find out what’s become of this scene (photographically), hit the “read more”.
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