Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bring Out The Details Using Photoshop

Today's image is an exploration in pulling details out of an image.  There's all sorts of areas that have been "worked on"  The jewelry, the hat, the shirt and the beard to name a few.  They've all been "souped up", but two used one technique and two used a totally different method.  The hat and the shirt "had" to be done in Adobe Photoshop (PS) [any version you might be using]  and the jewelry and beard were easily taken care of in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) [any version].  Before I see a flood of comments saying "watta mean 'had to be done' in PS".  I know, there's fifteen ways to do anything in PS and a dozen in LR.  I just wanted to do it in a time saving manner.  What are the techniques?  To find out, hit the "Read More".

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

NIght Photography Made Easy

Have you ever gotten the urge to grab your camera and go out and shoot in the middle of the night?  Photography at night is an adventure.  You stumble around, set up your tripod, guess at a starting exposure (not really), stumble around some more, probably freeze your butt off, take forty two shots of the moon, stumble around again and on and on.  You'd thing that Hollywood, making big time epics, would avoid all that stumbling at all costs.  Actually, they usually do.  Next time you're watching a movie where the hero (heroine) is out wandering around in the dark, take a closer look.  Chances are you'll see shadows cast by things like trees, street lights, buildings, anything that sticks up from the ground.  Wow, they must have been shooting that scene under a full moon. Not!  Movies have been using a trick for as long as movies have been made.  Still photographers used to use the same trick, but it either has been forgotten or today's "new" shooters have never learned it.  "Back in the day" photographers ran around with a stack of filters to fit various lenses and conditions.  If you had daylight film in the camera and you had to shoot an inside shot, you'd check on the lights and put on either a tungsten to daylight filter (an 85A) or a fluorescent to daylight filter (an FLD).  Same in reverse.  It you had tungsten light balanced film and had to run outside into the sunlight you'd slap on a daylight to whatever light you were coming from filter (an 80A for tungsten light).  To find out how this relates to today's image, hit the "Read More".

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Adding Details In Photoshop

I don't know why, but a lot of posts sort of start out with "I was talking to a friend..." lately.  Guess I must have more friends than I thought.  Well, I was talking to a friend the other day and showed him the deconstructed restoration of the baseball umpire from the 1880's (?).  At first he was suitably impressed by the work, but then said "wait a minute, there's detail in the "fixed" image that isn't available in the "original".  You can't add detail if it's not there to start with".  I sort of cocked my head, dropped my chin to look over the rim of my glasses and came back with "of course you can".  Where's nothing added to today's image that wasn't there to start, but you can see the detail a lot better by emphasizing it.  Today's image actually has two very separate techniques applied.  Since she was portraying an Anime character she was wearing very little makeup.  Since I was giving my spin to the image, I did her makeup for her.  I didn't want to turn her into something from Ringling Brothers, but thought some nice subtle makeup might be nice.  The other technique was something I saw Scott Kelby do.  Kind of a Dodging and Burning using Curves Adjustment Layers.  The interesting thing about this method of Dodging and Burning is that you use the color information already in the image.  This would be unlike using the technique of using a 50% gray Layer, changing the Layer Blend Mode to Overlay and painting White or Black to get highlights and shadows.  To find out a little about both techniques used on today's image, hit the "Read More".

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lightroom and Layers and Masks, Oh My

If you're a frequent reader of The Kayview Gallery you know I typically have a problem with HDR'd skies.  Seems no matter how "realistic" you make an HDR scenic image the skies still come out unnatural. In today's image I sort of took the long way around to get to the finished image.  It went from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) to Adobe Photoshop (PS), back to LR for tone mapping, and once again to PS to replace the HDR sky and back to LR for storage.  There's two reasons for the trips over to PS.  The first was to create the HDR image.  The second was to replace the sky.  Other than that, everything was done in LR.  I tried going to Nik's HDR Efex Pro, but didn't like the result.  (I know, Blasphemy.) Sometimes the HDR Pro that comes with PS is more than "good enough".  Sometimes it gives a better representation of what I'm looking for as a starting point.  There's a couple things that were done that are a little "out of the ordinary".  To find out what those things are, hit the "Read More".

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Twenty First Century Use Of The Pen Tool

I was talking to a friend the other day and he said he was getting into using the Pen Tool (P) in Adobe Photoshop (PS).  I must have had a quizzical expression on my face, because he said "What!".  I told him I didn't think anyone, who didn't already know how to use the Pen Tool (P), had bothered to learn how to use the it in this century.  I asked him to give me a little demonstration of how he was using the tool.  He's been known to develop his own hard way to do some simple things in PS.  Just in case you've come to PS during this century, let me give a short explanation on using the Pen Tool (P) in PS.  You place a dot to start.  Place another dot somewhere else on your blank page.  You'll see two handles come out from the second point.  You can pull them, stretch them, spin 'em around in circles or let them sit.  Put a third dot on your document and another two handles appear.  Pull one, twist one, do something to one of the handles.  You'll see that the straight line between point two and point three deforms depending on how you move the handle.  The line between point  one and point two remains fixed.  (As long as you didn't move the handles.)  What's happening between points two and three is called a Bezier Curve.  Back in the day (probably around PS 5 (not CS5 - just plain PS 5) it was essential that you learn to use the Pen Tool (P) to make a Selection.  Today there is a large variety of methods to make Selections.  The Pen Tool (P) is almost dead.  The Quick Selection Tool (W) with its Refine Edge feature just about eliminates the need for the Pen Tool (P) or reduces its functionality to touching up hard lines.  The way my friend was using it is another one of his "let's make something harder than it should be" tricks.  His method consisted of laying out a point, cutting off the leading handle and making his next point.  There is a valid reason for cutting off the leading handle, but it's to be able to make hard point turns (i.e. a 90 degree turn) in the direction you're plotting, not just going to the next point on a curve.  Basically what he's done is find the hardest way imaginable to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L).  I used the Pen Tool (P) on today's image, but only for experimentational reasons.  To find out what I found and how I used the Pen Tool (P), hit the "Read More".

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Keep It Simple In Photoshop

If you look at today's image you might scratch your head and think "what do ya mean, simple?  It's three different shots composited together".  Well, simple is a matter of degrees.  I shot the sequence on high speed shutter.  Through the swing about seven shots were taken.  The first thing I tried is using all seven.  What happened was a mess.  The whole composite was just too confusing.  There were arms and legs all over the place.  The whole process of making the composite is a lot easier than I've seen some people try their hand at it.  My thing has always been "let the computer figure it out".  That does not mean let the computer make the decisions.  No!  Computers are there to be brutes.  Tell it what you want done and let it do the math.  That goes for computers on the desktop and for the computers in your camera.  You've paid hundreds (the laptop) or thousands (the camera) to own a computer.  Let it compute.  To find out how simple compositing is, hit the "Read More"
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How To Easily Restore A Photograph

Take a look at the image on the left, down in the lower right hand corner.  There you'll see the words "Circa 1887".  Now think about how careful you'd have to be if someone handed you a 126 year old photograph and asked if you could restore a family heirloom, a piece of history, the only known shot of great great granddad.  The paper would be as stiff as an overly starched shirt and would flake tiny pieces off with just about any movement.  As you can see, the photo, at some point was folded and probably stuffed into someone's pocket or wallet.  Putting the photograph into a flatbed scanner would probably do more harm than good.  I don't know if shooting it on a copy stand would give enough detail to resurrect a usable starting point.  How one image became the other is actually easier than you might think.  To find out what was done to convert one image into the other, hit the "Read More".

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