Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In Town Beautification Project Using Adobe Photoshop CS5

Everything I do, basically, starts out in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 and then goes (if needed) to Adobe Photoshop CS5 for any pixel bending that might be needed.  If it's a straight image, the time spent in CS% (if any) is pretty minimal.  The way it works out, about 90% of my images spend time in CS5.  I guess that's because, like Jessica Rabbit, I'm drawn that way (oblique reference to a 1988 film titled "Who Framed Roger Rabbit").  I don't seem to be able to leave well enough (read that "good enough") alone.  I guess some purists would say the 25 MPH Speed Limit sign that was the nearest object in the frame should have remained.  "It was there in real life, so it should be there in the shot".  To them I say BS.  I don't create documental or historical imagery.  In my own small way I create art.  If someone working in oils on canvas were to paint the scene and, for aesthetic  value, left out the sign, no one would bat an eye.  If I were doing photojournalism I'd have to work with a set of fairly strict rules.  I'm not.  Again, I'm creating (in my mind) art.  If you were standing across the street from this sidewalk park (as I was) and you were checking out the park (as I was), you'd look at it and never even notice the sign.  It's incidental and of no importance to the scene.  Therefore, it's outa here.  As I said above, about 90% of my images get tampered with.  If I did photojournalism, the stuff I shot would fall into the category of "spot news".  Why?  Because I took the shot when I was there.  We typically go to the Maine coast each fall to do some shooting.  We're there when we're there.  We can't make the sky have beautiful clouds.  It's Tuesday and the sky is bald.  Do you put the camera in the bag and say "oh well, not today?".  It's not like we live there and can walk out tomorrow  and check if Wednesday is a great cloud day.  We're there one week a year, take it or leave it.  So, popping in a sky or taking out a speed limit sign, is not a problem to me.  It's art!  To see what else was removed from today's image, hit the "read more".

We'll have to break this into two segments.  What was removed and what was "enhanced" to give it more prominence in the image.  The shot is downtown, not five minutes from the gallery.  It sort of juts out into the street to define an important intersection.  One of the streets used to come into the other four at an acute angle, making for some nightmarish driving.  The town squared off the offending street and put in a light to control the flow of traffic.  Good move on the town's part.
The speed limit sign was just to the right of the walk light.  CS5's Content Aware Fill (W) function got a pretty good workout with this image.  The sign (in several [about four] pieces) was removed and minor cleanup was required to straighten out a couple of lines.  A pole, just to the left of the hedges was removed using the same technique.  Segment the pole into similar pieces and have Content Aware Fill do its magic.  One piece of the rail had to be Cloned (S) back in, but, other than that it was a pretty clean extraction.  A light fixture and wiring chase under the "Opera House" sign was taken out.  That was probably the easiest extraction and came out great.  It was just a general tidying up of the area.
The things that were "enhanced" were the globes on the street lamps and the ribbon on the Opera House sign.  The way that was accomplished was to create a second Yellow Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, increase the Lightness of the yellows and invert the Mask that comes with an Adjustment Layer making it filled with black.  The adjustment to the saturation and lightness of the yellows was done before inverting the Mask.  That made everything considerably yellower and considerably brighter.  By filling the Mask with black, everything went back to "normal".  Using a white brush (B) the Mask was opened in the areas needing to be brighter (the globes and the ribbon).
Everything else got its normal one shot of color maximization using individual (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Magenta) Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers.  The one final dab was to desaturate the clock face and brighten it a tad.