Friday, March 11, 2011

Content Aware Move The Guy Around The Corner

Every once in a while you'll get an idea for a shot and just plain miss it.  The fellow in today's image, in the shot of the motorcycle is actually standing behind the bike.  It was what it is.  A vacation shot of my brother-in-law.  We were walking around downtown Marigot , St Maarten.  One of our favorite towns in the Caribbean and one we thought we had to share with the scruffy one and his wife.  The shot of him trying to look menacing was around the corner from the bike.  I say "trying to look menacing" because he's actually a big old teddy bear.  One of the biggest problems with the shot of the biker was where he was sitting.  He was under an awning and had a decided magenta cast to his face.  When I sampled his face with the Eye Dropper Tool (i - eye) in a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer with Red selected it actually registered as Magenta.  To see what I had to do to push and pull his color into some facsimile of a skin tone, hit the "read more".

Because of the heavy Magenta Color Cast, the sampled color in a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer had to be desaturated a lot. That almost took all the color out of his face. Therefore, the "real" Red had to be pumped back up. After several tries with a H/S Adjustment Layer it was certain that H/S AL's would end up in nothing but disaster. The trick wound up being a Color Balance Adjustment Layer. By playing with the Cyan/Red and Magenta/Green sliders a reasonable skin tone was achieved .

Cutting the biker out of the background ended up going "old school". It would seem that the Refine Edge/Refine Mask Tools would be the ideal method of extraction. This is exactly what everyone is shouting about about these tools. I could not get it to work on this image. I've had good success with them on other shot, but this one eluded me. I went back to the Calculations Dialog box (Image/Calculations) and, for the first time, the Red Channel worked best. It took care of the fine details of the hair and the internal portion of the face was just a case of painting in the Alpha Channel Mask once it got as far as it could with Levels.

The first thought was to flip the bike and have the biker form a stop on the right side of the image. Duh!!! The bike has some very obvious wording on the tank. It says "Harley Davidson" in bright, bold lettering. So, rather than flipping the bike, the biker was flipped. I made sure the lettering at the bottom of the shirt was cropped out. The bike had to be placed in the position it's in to tuck the biker behind his larger self.

The resulting Smart Object was Sharpened and a Vignette applied. During the sharpening process a Mask was used and his face was left unsharpened. Sharpening drew too much attention to the lines of the forehead.

It's just another case of pushing the image one way and pulling it another. That's often the case with specific parts of an image.