Friday, September 30, 2011

Combining Techniques In Photoshop CS5

A buddy of mine asked me the other day if I had ever heard of the Dave Hill Effect.  I laughed and told her she hadn't been reading the blog enough.  I've written a couple times about the DHE (and here).  Now, this friend is a very clever photographer and a master refinisher.  The fact that she hadn't used the DHE shocked me.  She does marvelous HDR work, her compositing is outstanding and anyone looking for a photographer to give them some very unique work should run out to hire this photographer.  Here's a link to her site.  Check it out.  We were out the other evening preparing for an night train shoot we're doing at the end of October  She was doing the test shots while I, along with her husband, was playing roadie.  Setting up locations, lights and carrying gear.  She sent me over one of her tests.   As usual, a great HDR of a passenger car we'll be using as a "prop" on the night of the shoot.  I asked her to send the 0 EV exposure over so I could see what a straight shot would good like.  I wanted to check how the interior versus exterior lights played.  Since we'd been talking about the Dave Hill Effect, and I just happened to have it queued up as a preset in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, I just popped the image with it and sent it back for her to check out.  It got me to thinking about what would happen if HDR was combined with the DHE.  I'd guess it ends up as D2H2RE or something equally as confusing.  In any case I thought I explore it with today's image.  So, today we have an image that's one part HDR, one part DHE and a couple other parts "normal" finishing thrown in.  If you'd like to learn more about what this poor image went through to get where it is, hit the "Read More".

Basically, everywhere you look you'll see a different technique.  The train is HDR.  The building the train is passing is the DHE.  The area below the track is a combination of the two.  The train has the lines and shapes outlined using Filter/Stylize/Find Edges as a Smart Filter.  The lines have a Levels Adjustment Layer applied to increase the contrast and finally the Blend Mode was changed to Vivid Light and Clipped to the filtered Layer.  That one Layer got beat up pretty good, but the freshly painted metal of the train parts shines. 
The building got the Dave Hill Effect and then went through the wash with a Motion Blur (Filter/Blur/Motion Blur) Smart Filter applied.  The color was jacked up using individual Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers.  The roof of the building wasn't blurred, but gives that appearance because of the blur applied to the face of the building. 
The crop of the image eliminated most of the sky, but leaves enough to show the smoke rising out of the stack. 
The objective was to give the impression of the train chugging on down the track.  Having half the image in sharp focus and the other half with a Motion Blur I think it achieves the objective.  What do you think?