Monday, September 17, 2012

Photoshop Puppet Warp and Adaptive Wide Angle

Today's image is a fifteen shot panorama of the Hudson River from Storm King Mountain.  If you just happen to be familiar with the Hudson, Bear Mountain Bridge is to the right and the Newburgh - Beacon Bridge would be to the left.  The tree on the left is in Griswold Connecticut, but I thought the image needed something to serve as an anchor opposing the hills on the west side of the river seen on the right.  I didn't feel too bad about adding the tree since there was a tree there anyway, just not as good looking a specimen as the one I put in.  The sky is actually real.  It was a bright sunny (partly cloudy) day and dropping the two stops due to a Circular Polarizer wasn't going to reduce the shutter speed by too much (shooting in Aperture Priority).  The biggest deal was the fact that it's a fifteen shot, hand held pano.  As you might think, it sort of looked like a smiley face when it was first stitched together.  With the tools available in Adobe Photoshop CS6 (CS6) it was possible to make the eastern shoreline look more acceptable and not lose the sky or river.  It find out how the image was straighten out, hit the "Read More"

The first tool used was CS6's Adaptive Wide Angle Filter (Filter/Adaptive Wide Angle).  It had to be used in two sections.  When attempted, the AWA filter couldn't resolve the length from the left side to the obvious inlet about three quarters of the way to the right.  The curved line of the filter dropped below the pixel containing edge of the shot and got lost.  A second attempt, from the left side to just to the right of the rock face (at the shoreline), straightened that portion.  Another line from the end of that point to the inlet straightened the second section.  Unfortunately, that left the shoreline looking like it was a distinct vee shape.  A third try was to get the vee shape to resolve itself by combining the two sections.  That didn't work.  Time to pull another arrow out of the quiver.

I'm pretty sure most people don't think "hey, I need to fix a landscape, let's use the Puppet Warp Tool (PWT) (Edit/Puppet Warp)".  A long landscape of a river scene doesn't sound like something the PWT was designed for.  So!  There are lots of tools, dialog boxes, algorithms, and routines that have very specific sounding names that can be used for all sorts of things.  Ya just gotta play with them to find out.  One of the things you can do with the PWT is drop anchor points anywhere you'd like.  I put one at the left side of the far river bank and one at the point of the inlet near the right side.  It was then a matter of click and dragging the bottom of the vee up to pretty much a straight line.  The shoreline is not a totally straight line, so bringing points up and down a little made the shoreline undulate in a natural way.  The was committed.  Looking at it it appeared the far right portion of the river was flowing out of the sky.  Back to the PWT.  Drop an anchor point in the same to spots and click and drag the right edge of the river down to a more natural angle.

The third tool used was Content Aware Fill (CAF) (Edit/Fill/Content Aware) (Shift F5).  The first thing to do was to mask off the land mass and river.  That leaves only the sky as an area for CAF to pick from when figuring out the fill.  Selecting all of the blank area over the sky, using the Magic Wand Tool (W) proved to be way too time consuming to fill in one shot.  So, using the Lasso Tool (L), smaller sections of the sky resulted in reasonably quick fills.  A couple areas had to be combined and refilled to produce realistic results, but they were done very quickly because of the small areas used.  Once the sky was filled in the Mask was discarded. 

The same thing was done to the river area.  Mask off the sky and land and use CAF to fill in small sections.

The tree on the left was taken from another shoot, about 100 miles to the east of the Hudson River.  Since the tree was taken against a nice fluffy cloud, it had a nice white background.  It was placed, flipped horizontally and the Blend mode switched to Multiply to drop out the white.  Double clicking on the Layer in the Layer Panel brought up the Layer Styles Dialog box.  In the Blending Options (top most pick), the Blend If sliders were used (actually the only one that was needed in this case was the This Layer slider) to drop out any fringing.  

Using the right tools keeps things easy.  If you are working hard using Adobe Photoshop, something's wrong.  Let PS do the work.  It's all there to make life easy, not to make you work hard.