Friday, June 22, 2012

Stretching The Truth With Adobe Photoshop CS6's "Content Aware Scale"

We're going to start a new format for the blog today.  Rather than giving the background about the day's shot we'll be giving a short explanation of what was done and anyone interested in specifics can leave a comment and I'll send along the details.  Let's get started.
The big deal with today's image is that it can't be.  A pitch leaves a pitcher's hand at slightly past the top of the rotation he goes through.  It can't be that low at that point in its flight.  The format of the shot isn't realistic either.  Believable, yes: real, no.

The first bit of playing around was to get the shot into a 1 x 3 ratio.  (The final print is 12 x 36.)  Canvas was added at a specific size (in this case 36") to the left side that gave more than enough room to produce the lengthened format.  A Rectangular Marquee (M) was use to enclose the right side of the image to just to the left of the pitcher.  This was saved as an Alpha Channel.  (If you're using Adobe Photoshop Elements, don't worry.  You do have access to Alpha Channels, they just don't tell you you do.  Use Select/Save Selection and you've just produced an Alpha Channel.)  Once saved, hit CTRL D to deselect.

Next, the entire image was selected (use the Marquee Tool (M)  to select only the portion of the canvas that has the actual image on it.  From the Edit dropdown, choose "Content Aware Scale".  On the Context Aware Options Bars you'll see an option that says Protect.  Click the dropdown and you'll see your saved Alpha Channel.  Select it.  The pitcher is now "protected".  Any stretching done along the left side will have no effect on the pitcher.  Grab the center handle on the left side of the image and stretch the non critical portion of the image over to the full width.  The dirt of the pitcher's mound stretched, but it still appears "real".

A baseball in motion was added.  Without it the image would have no context.  The ball was found in another shot from the same game.

I saw a comment on Jack Nack's blog where the commenter said McDonald's was "cheating" because they idealized a burger for an advertising shot.  All photography is "cheating" once the shutter is clicked.