Monday, April 4, 2011

Building An Image Piece By Piece With Adobe Photoshop CS5

Okay, it wasn't exactly piece by piece, but you can't look in any area of today's image that hasn't been tweaked in some way.  This is a single shot HDR that was ot done with Adobe Photoshop CS5's HDR Toning.  As is typical, it started out in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.  A pair of virtual copies were made (Photo/Create Virtual Copy) as a starting point.  Some people go from there to double processing the copies, making one over exposed and the other under exposed.  That's actually a redundant, unnecessary step.  Select the original and the two copies.  Send them to Photoshop HDR Pro.  HDR Pro will recognize the fact that you have multiple copies of an image open.  It will not recognize that there was any pre-post-processing done to them.  All it sees is that three copies of an image was sent over.  A dialog box will open basically saying watta'sup.  It'll show the image that's been opened and how many copies were opened and give several options on what you can do with them.  It picks up the Metadata and show the shutter speed, the F-Stop and the sensitivity (ISO).  Separately it'll offer an EV (Exposure Value) box, set at zero.  If you're unfamiliar with the relationships between shutter speed, F-Stop and ISO the EV is the easiest way to change the apparent exposure.  In the case of today's image the EV's would have been set as follows:  one copy left at 0, one set to +3 and the last set to -3.  That sets the first at the "as shot" exposure.  The second, three stops above and the third three stops below the "as shot" level.  Easy enough.  To use the shutter speed, F-Stop and ISO you need to understand how the relationships work.  Using the shutter speed, the equivalent setting would be "as shot"  (1/60 sec), three over (1/8 sec) and three under (1/500 sec).  For the F-Stops the settings would be:  as shot (F 5.6), three over (F 2) and three under (F 16).  Switching up the sensitivity (ISO) would result in settings of: as shot (400), three over (3200) and three under (50).  Every setting is equal to its counterpart in the other methods of adjusting the settings.  As you can see, using the EV is the most intuitive way to do the adjusting.  To find out what happened after the HDR'ing of the image, hit the "read more".
Even with the six stop range there were areas that were still blown out. The view out the window in the door was terribly hot. Sun coming through the windows from the left side of the scene blew out spots on the floor, the leg of the benches, and the mullions of the window to the left of the poster. On the other end of the spectrum was the shadow side of the woodstove and the floor below. The tea pots on the stove didn't pop and the little broom by the stove was totally lost. The other thing that was a shock was the heavy blue cast the overall scene displayed in a "corrected" form. So, how were all these flaws overcome? Let's go through one by one.

The first thing that was corrected were the hot spots on the floor. On a separate Layer the Clone Stamp Tool (S) was used the close out the hot spots. Areas from all over the floor were used to make a believable "worn" area where people might have walked.

The two legs of the benches to the left of the image were fixed by copying the "good leg" found by the door. The far left was simply moving a copy to the right position and using a Layer Mask, blended into place. The next leg to the right needed a copy of the good leg and to have it flipped it with Free Transform (CTRL T). Another Layer Mask was used to blend that leg also.

To get a little light onto the tiles on the shadow side of the stove and brighten the silver tea pots the entire Layer was copied CTRL J) and the Blend Mode changed to Screen. A Black Layer Mask was applied and a white Brush (B) used to open up the tiles.

The foliage outside the window in the door was a second image of some green trees. The panes of the window were selected using the Quick Selection Tool (W) and the Selection saved (right click in the Selection and pick the Save Selection option). The color was matched to the typical blue spruce found in the area.

The last area was the rock fireplace. The shading was brought down to a fieldstone color using a Color Balance Adjustment Layer. It serves as an impediment to the viewer's eye leaving the image and brings the eye back into the scene.