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-   -   How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key? (http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=11088)

David Gethin 24th September 2010 02:01 PM

How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
First of all I should say thanks to Radar for letting me use his image and play around with it.

I was browsing Radar's flickr account when I stumbled across the following image taken of some cigars and Radar's question how do you achieve a perfectly white (blown out background) in a product shot like this:

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/1...r_s_Cigars.jpg
Radar's Cigars

This led me to have a play around with some approaches in Lightroom 2.7 that could be used, including my preferred approach when submitting images for eBay. The reason I asked Radar if it was alright to use his image as an example rather than one of my own is because the tones and texture of the cigars lend themselves to illustrating the pitfalls of the various approaches I tried.

First up was a general increase in exposure of +0.5 - although this is moving toward the desired whitening effect of the background, the dark tones of the cigar are lost and the gold on the band risks becoming overblown. Further overexposure left insufficient contrast in the picture and it looked flat:
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/1...rs_0_5_exp.jpg

Next I tried an increase in Fill Light of +30 - this only exacerbated the problems associated with overexposure leaving the cigars looking bleached and lacking in contrast, and consequently the increase was limited to only +30 leaving the white background looking anything but. A very mild improvement over the original but far less than the general exposure achieved:
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/1...l_Light_30.jpg

My preferred approach and the last shown here is an increase of +80 in Highlights - this produced the whitest background whilst remaining most (but not completely) faithful to the original colour and tones of the cigars. However, the gold band is now bordering on blown:
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/1...hlights_80.jpg

So how would you approach this problem? Is it down to changing the lighting or metering in the original shot? Or is it addressed by post processing and, if so, how?

Thanks again to Radar for letting me take his photo and play with it.

*chr

OlyPaul 24th September 2010 02:46 PM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
In this example it looks more like a case of slight underexposure.

A white background that is further away from the subject will appear darker than the subject that is exposed correctly if it is lit by artificial light , this is called light fall off or the inverse law. Normally in a studio /controlled light situation lighting the white background 2 stops more than the main subject will ensure a completley shadowless and white background.

In this case simply using levels and the white point eyedropper on the background does the trick.

http://olypaul.smugmug.com/photos/10...8_gJErW-XL.jpg

David Gethin 24th September 2010 03:25 PM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
Hi Paul

Thanks for the comments.

In product shots like these, the product is actually sitting on the 'background' so there is no separation between subject and background that allows it to be lit with 2 stops difference. So how would you get around that?

Secondly, although I understand the idea behing what you have done, could you say which program you're using and how you could replicate that in Lightroom 2.xx (I haven't upgraded to LR3).

*chr

OlyPaul 24th September 2010 04:32 PM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David Gethin (Post 85404)
Hi Paul

Thanks for the comments.

In product shots like these, the product is actually sitting on the 'background' so there is no separation between subject and background that allows it to be lit with 2 stops difference. So how would you get around that?

Hi David
By lighting and exposing it correctly(using a incident light reading from a flash meter) as I first mentioned. This would get you in the ball park and perhaps would need a minor tweak in PP. I do not do product photography but have done a lot of studio portrait work and the principles are the same I would imagine:)

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Gethin (Post 85404)
Secondly, although I understand the idea behing what you have done, could you say which program you're using and how you could replicate that in Lightroom 2.xx (I haven't upgraded to LR3).

*chr

This was done in Elements 7 using levels, sadly setting a white point is one of those things that cannot be done in LR, you can increase exposure or use curves but both will effect all the other tones as well and is not as effective or as easy.

Nick Temple-Fry 24th September 2010 04:47 PM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul_S (Post 85411)
Hi David

This was done in Elements 7 using levels, sadly setting a white point is one of those things that cannot be done in LR, you can increase exposure or use curves but both will effect all the other tones as well and is not as effective or as easy.

I haven't got LR - but in The GIMP using curves it is easy enough to get a white background without impacting on the other tones. Looking at the curves will show a peak on the RHS, fix a point just to the left of this and take the remainder of the line straight up to the top, this will give you pure white for everything to the right of the fixed point, but not alter anything to the left. Might well work in LR.

Nick

OlyPaul 24th September 2010 04:56 PM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick Temple-Fry (Post 85413)
I haven't got LR - but in The GIMP using curves it is easy enough to get a white background without impacting on the other tones. Looking at the curves will show a peak on the RHS, fix a point just to the left of this and take the remainder of the line straight up to the top, this will give you pure white for everything to the right of the fixed point, but not alter anything to the left. Might well work in LR.

Nick

Nope, curves in LR are crippled, hey they still need to sell PS.;)

For those that want to know ( David) the nearest you can get to that, is to expand the Curve tone box to see the bottom sliders, you can now set the highlight limiter to a narrower section ( third slider on the graph moved as far to the right as possible) so only the very light tones are influenced when you adjust the highlight slider. :)

See below
http://olypaul.smugmug.com/photos/10...9_aspYE-XL.jpg

Alan Clogwyn 24th September 2010 05:36 PM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
That was easy - PSP X2, promote to layer, new plain white layer underneath, then set blend range of the top layer to make anything nearly white transparent so the new whit background shines through.

http://i364.photobucket.com/albums/o...r_s_Cigars.jpg

David Gethin 3rd October 2010 02:43 PM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
Thanks for the replies, I started a new job this week so I haven't been able to follow how the thread developed.

buggslife 4th October 2010 10:52 AM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
That response from Alan is handy.

I agree with some of the others - I would have gone for curves in LR. Just move the sliders so you are only affecting a narrow band of highlights (you can find the cut-off by clicking the dropper and hovering over the background).

Pull highlights up severely and, if you don't like the resulting high local contrast in the upper midtones, even them out as well.

It is possible that this response makes no sense at all but LR users (and full Camera Raw users too) should get it.

Of course for inanimate objects, getting the 'studio' lighting right first should be possible.

xp1 4th October 2010 11:17 AM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
Can I put my ten pennies worth into the discussion ???

minh0204 25th November 2010 08:07 PM

Re: How to achieve 'perfect' whites in Hi Key?
 
Put a flash behind the background and nuke it. If the back ground is too textured, get another one.


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