Monday, November 18, 2013

A Friend Has That Currier & Ives Look Down Pat

I never begrudge anything anyone can do in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  I'm always either trying to learn new things or figure out how someone did something.  I recently saw a couple images by a friend and frequent reader of these posts (Hi Ed).  He's come up with an old timey, Currier & Ives type look to some of his landscapes.  Very, very interesting look.  He asked me for some pointers on how to extract objects from images.  I think we need to trade tips.  Today's image is an attempt to take a shot at going for the old time feeling.  It works, just not as good as Ed's.  Couple of things.  It is an HDR image with quite a bit of post processing in both PS and LR/ACR (Adobe Camera Raw).  With the Creative Cloud version of PS (PSCC) you can use ACR as a filter.  As long as you make the Layer a Smart Object you can pop back and forth into and out of ACR as often as you'd like.  Great for tweaking things as you go.  You doing something "straight" to an image, jump over to ACR.  Doing anything that needs a Mask, bounce back to PS.  Compositing images, use PS.  Just remember where your base image came from, 'cause that's where it'll go back to when you eventually do a Save and Close.  (Notice I said Save and not Save As.)  If you use LR as a DAM tool (Digital Asset Management) and you go to PS to do something that requires PS you should probably use "Copy With Lightroom Adjustments" (CTRL E to get to the dialog box and then use the top option).  That eliminates the need to do the old fashioned "make a copy of your Background Layer just in case" thing.  People used to do that to protect their original image.  If you "use a copy" you're not touching the original, so you don't need that copy of the Background Layer.  When it's time to Save your creation it'll be put back right beside the original images (or set of images in the case of HDR or panoramas.  But, what's up with today's image.  To find out, hit the "Read More".
Adobe's getting kind or tricky.  If you take a set of image in LR (version 5.2) and go to Merge To HDR Pro (Photo/Edit In/Merge To HDR Pro) and want select the 32 bit option, it'll ask you if you want to Tone the composite in ACR.  One of the things you'll notice is that there's no Crop Tool in the version of ACR that comes up.  ??? Today's image isn't the typical 2 x 3, out of the camera format.  It's cropped to 6 x 9.  I was going to go for more of a pano format but then decided to keep the entire reflection of the tree.  I had to go over to PS to do the crop.  One of the SYA (Save Your Ass) elements of PSCC in the Crop Tool (C) is a check box that says Delete Cropped Pixels.  By default it's unchecked.  (IMHO, leave it unchecked,  there shouldn't even be a question.)  It SMA'd  (similar to SYA) me on today's image.  Because I changed my mind on the crop I was able to go back and adjust the crop at a later time.
There was a lot of pushing and pulling on the image.  The trees in the shadows on the left were Dodged in LR and the shoreline on the right was Burned.  A couple of the trees on the left got hit with the Adjustment Brush (AB) to add more Clarity.  The underbrush   along the shore on the left were colored using the AB.  Same with the reeds on the left and the pond scum in the water.  The image was darkened down and the Contrast brought up. 

It's a reasonably straight image, especially for me.  Just searching for that Currier & Ives feel.