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  #16  
Old 15th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Sharpening.

What is it with sharpening? I hear you say. Are the pictures not sharp enough when they come out of the camera, is there something wrong with Zuiko lenses?

Well, the received wisdom is that you should start with pictures that have not been sharpened in the camera. Then you do all your corrections and tweaks in Photoshop and save the perfect resulting file.

So, its only when you want to use the image (i.e. get it printed or post it on the web) that you have to consider sharpening. This should be done last because its easy for sharpening to add noise and unwanted features to the image. You really don't want to start by sharpening a picture then process it more afterwards!

Here's my thoughts for what they are worth.

Sharpening for printing. Lets assume you are going to send your masterpiece off to get it printed. Some online printing services insist you resize the image for them, others will resize it for you. Either way, the resize and printing process involve a certain amount of interpolation. This is a microscopic averaging process that allows drops of inks to come out looking like your picture. My first attempt at online printing came back looking rather soft and sorry, so I read up about it... What they say is this: View your image at 50% size on your screen, and apply sharpening. You need to apply so much sharpening that it looks a bit overdone under these conditions Then if you upload that file and ask for a 12x16 inch print it will look surprisingly nice, not overdone at all.

So, my approach is this: I use Unsharp mask at 18% and width of 50 pixels (yes, fifty). This gives the entire picture a bit of a "lift" contarst wise and prepares it for the real deal. Now I use Photoshop smart sharpen at 130% and 3 pixels. Do all that and the image will look a bit overdone at 50% size on screen. That's what you are aiming for, so upload it and get out the credit card. Do not use this version of the image for future processing, it is only any good for printing!!

Here's a crop from a suitable example. The oversharpened effect should come out a bit stronger than this but it is difficult to show the effect via the gallery...



Sharpening for the Web or for the forum Gallery


This is a very different requirement. In this case, when you resize your picture so the height is 800 pixels or smaller for the gallery here, Photoshop has done all the interpolation right in front of your eyes. The image should look nice and clean but a tad soft. In these circumastances I use my own custom filter masks to add just a sprinkling of sharpening, not so much that it looks obvious, just enough to make the picture look good again. To save typing them out, I have placed the 5x5 coefficients I usually use on my web site at the bottom of this page if anyone is interested. http://www.snaar.co.uk/snaarp6.html

As always, when sharpening an image - keep an eye on the file size. More sharpening means a larger jpeg file. I try to keep my 800x600 Gallery images between 150Kbyte and 300Kbyte.

If you sharpen for printing and then save as a high quality jpeg, you may end up with a file that is too big to upload to the printers. Photobox will only accept files less than 10Mb...


Anyway Here's an example of one of my mild sharpening masks applied to an image reduced to 800x600 ..



Pete
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Last edited by snaarman; 16th September 2010 at 11:31 AM.
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  #17  
Old 16th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Moving Heaven and Earth:

If you don't like cheating in Photoshop, then look away now.

I do like photographing sunrises, so much better for the soul than sunsets, but they do hold a hidden problem: You can't tell exactly where the sun is going to pop up until it makes its first appearance. At that point you only have 60 seconds to get the best pictures, so its too late to run around with the tripod.

The Photographer's Ephemeris
is a great bit of software for getting you to the right place at the right time, but its the last 20 meters that can make all the difference...

Its the same with moonrises. I planned to grab the "Harvest Moon" a few weeks ago, but I got delayed and arrived on site about 15 minutes late which it an eternity in landscape photography... So I had to settle for these two shots:

Here is one of the Village church across a field. The full moon has already risen quite a bit, which means the sun has already set quite a bit - so it was darker than I would have liked. This was a manual exposure (1/6th second) to get a hint of blue in the sky, but leaving the trees black. The exposure was guided by the centre weighted metering. (Tamron 200mm legacy lens, big tripod)



And here is the moon on its own, taken moments later. It was further up in the sky and was shot between the wires of a huge power line (!) This requires spot metering with +1EV compensation. The exposure for this picture (1/320th second) and the previous one are so different as to be mutually incompatible...



Now, you paste the moon over the church as a new layer, set that layer to "Lighten" and not only do you get the following picture, but you can reposition the moon to where it would have been 15 minutes ago Cheating? Yes, guilty... but at least the two pictures were taken at the same spot within a minute or two.



And if you paste church over moon over church and do some "Select by colour range" to delete the sky from the top church layer, but leave the trees - then you can even place the moon behind the trees - though I find this a bit less convincing..



A second example. I have to say even I can't remember now if this shot features a relocated sun, but I suspect it might...



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Old 16th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Nice example with the church Pete.

If its alright I'll add another one where the moon was there, but with a 70mm focal length it was just a tiny spot in the evening sky.

Taking the landscape shot at 70mm then zooming out to the 300mm end allowed me to combine them using that method.

This image as never been seen here as it is a pre Olympus day image and done many years ago.

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Old 16th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_S View Post
Nice example with the church Pete.

If its alright I'll add another one where the moon was there, but with a 70mm focal length it was just a tiny spot in the evening sky.

Taking the landscape shot at 70mm then zooming out to the 300mm end allowed me to combine them using that method.

This image as never been seen here as it is a pre Olympus day image and done many years ago.

Yes, thats another good example of combining shots. I think it works if the shots are taken sequentially, so its the same location, lighting etc. Nice picture :-)

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Old 16th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Toytown:

This is a cheap trick but if you have the right subject it can look quite effective. I note they used it on moving video as part of the Sherlock titles recently..



First you need a scene where you are looking down on something, or where the land rises gently, on in this case, a bit of both.

Duplicate the image as a new layer, and gaussian blur by about 8 pixels. Set the forground background colours as black/white. Make a layer mask and drag a graduated fill tool from the object upwards. The bit you drag is going to be the sharp bit of the picture, so trial and error is in order. It needs to be the sort of graduated fill tool that goes both up and down symmetrically from your start point. In CS3 there are little pictures in the buttons that hint at the right type of tool.



If you did it right, the centre is sharp and the top and bottom go blurred. Now select the background layer and sharpen it a bit to emphasise the whole thing. Flatten the layers and serve witha twist of lemon...

In this case I kept the fake "depth of field" short which left parts of the tractor blurred. So I had to hand tweak the layer mask with a black paint tool and an eraser to get the tractor cab sharp but leave the nearby field blurred.

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Old 16th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

I love moving the moon

You don't even need to be limited to one as this eclipse montage I did years ago with the 40-150 Mk1 and the e-500 show



Keep the tricks going it's got me inspired to look through the back catalogue and winter is coming so it's fun to do on those long nights

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  #22  
Old 17th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Olde Worlde pictures:

Everyone has their own idea how a sepia tint picture should look, and there are probably a load of different ways of getting the result: Here's one I tinted earlier:



So, where to start? Convert from colour to monochrome. There's a range of options for this in CS3 under Adjustments/Black and White where you can change the contributions of each colour channel. If you emphasise the green enough, you end up with a B+W shot that looks a bit like an Infra Red shot. Beware, I found some of the more extreme tweaks can give you contours on your image.. In this case I convered it without any special filtering.

Now use Levels (Ctrl-L) and select and adjust the Red and the Blue channels only.



I leave the ends of the slider alone and move the middle (gamma?) slider left a bit on the Red channel then move the same slider right on the blue channel. Keep looking at the screen to check the subtle changes in sepianess until you are happy.

In this case I resized to 800x600 then applied my home made Orton "Action" to the image, gave it a very light custom sharpen mask (see further up this thread) and saved it.

Now if you ask what's inside my Orton Action I have to confess I don't know precisely. I must have thrown the bit of paper away when I worked out how to save my own PS actions, and you can't interrogate the .ATN file to see what's inside it. The general principle is to duplicate the image to a new layer. Apply gaussian blur, then combine the two layers in some clever manner. I forget what the clever manner is.

Maybe someone has their own Orton method they can contribute :-)

Anyway, I like the dreamy and slightly timeless result.

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  #23  
Old 17th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Pete - can't you just click the little triangle by your Orton action in the "Actions" list to expand it and show its constituent steps?

There's got to be a pun somewhere in "Orton action" but it's eluding me for now.

Ciao ... John
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Old 17th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
Pete - can't you just click the little triangle by your Orton action in the "Actions" list to expand it and show its constituent steps?
Ciao ... John
Yes and no, you can see the very basics, but for instance "change layer transparency", and set layer as "Darken" both get logged as an anonymous "set layer" tag, so I am stuck for the details. I seem to remember I stole the general settings off the web somewhere.

Pete

BTW "Orton Action" = "A Contortion" :-)
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Old 17th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Pete,
This is great stuff. I bought CS3 off a friend of my son and then bought a book on the subject. Funnily I nod off every time I open it!
Getting a simplified instruction on how to use the sharpen tool is far better.
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  #26  
Old 19th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Autochrome:

This earliest of single frame colour processes is not to everyone's tastes, but I think it has its moments. However, getting a digital recreation of the weird vague coloured starch grain and soot images is really quite tricky (!)

Here is my best attempt, and below is the long list of steps you need.



Reset foreground/background to black/white then reverse them (or else set background to black).
Duplicate the image to a new layer.
Working on the new layer: Use Filter/Pixellate/Pointillise size=10
Set new layer visibility = 75%*
Set new layer saturation = -15
Change to original layer.
Use Levels and move centre (Gamma) slider to 0.7
Apply Gaussian blur radius = 10 pixels*
Set original layer saturation = +20
Change back to the new layer
Set layer mode to "Lighten"
Flatten the image
Use Levels and move centre (Gamma) slider to 1.3

Phew. Now you see why I saved it as an Action.

It works best with floral subjects, but its worth a try on anything with a timeless feel.

*If it seems a bit too starchy then you can reduse the pointillise size from 10 to 5 or so. If you want it more dreamy, reduce the top layer visibility from 75% to 50% and maybe increase the Gaussian blur to 15 pixels.

There's no set rules, I was just steered by the look of the finished product.

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Old 19th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

The Orton slide sandwich:

This is another technique I liked the look of. I did try it in my film days, and it proved a lot more difficult than it looks...

Here's a short explanation about the general idea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orton_%28photography%29

OK, let's get stuck in. Here is an example, together with the original for reference



I've opted for a fairly subtle approach, but you can beef up the effect if that's what you're after.

Reset foreground/background to black/white
Duplicate current layer
On the new layer, do a Gaussian blur with radius = 10 pixels
Set the layer mode to "Screen" (as opposed to "Lighten" for example)
Set the new layer visibility to 80%
Now flatten the image
Set the "Levels" centre slider to 0.6

You should end up with the well saturated but slightly dreamy look above...

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Old 29th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Cheap 3D. The Anaglyph:

You can make a crude 3D image with your DSLR by taking a stereo pair of pictures and combining them so the result works using those cheap red/cyan 3D glasses you threw away ages ago...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaglyph_image

Here is how I do it. Take two pictures of the same thing in quick succession. The idea is you take the left one first then move to the right slightly and take the right picture. Slightly to the right - that is to say only two or three inches. Any less and the effect is minimal, any more and the Anaglyph either gives you a headache or makes the alpine view look like a 3D model village

You need to sway to the right to take the second picture without leaning the camera (so its an X translation with no roll pitch or yaw if you prefer).

So you should have two almost identical images on your card. I always sway to the right so I know which one is which. Southpaws may do otherwise :-)

Here we go:
Import the Right image into Photoshop. Now import the Left image, control-A to select it, Control-C to copy it, now move to the Right image and control-V to paste the Left image over the Right image as a new layer.

Set the top layer visibility to 50% and use the move tool to align the layers. I aim to align something at the centre of the screen that is a focal point of interest. (Use the arrow keys to fine adjust the layer move if you need to) You should see the pair of images line up in places and split horizontally in other places, depending on the depth of the object concerned. If one image is on a tilt, then all bets are off. You need to straighten it up before you import it as a new layer - so keep that camera straight as possible when you take the pictures!

Good. Now set the top layer visibility back to 100%. Don't forget to do this, or you get confused later.

Create a new layer. Use Edit/Fill to fill the new layer with pure RED which is ff0000 in the funny numbers box of the colour palette.

Duplicate this layer. Now you have two red layers. Select the top one and do control-I to invert it. It should now be Cyan not red. Your layer list should look like A below.



Click on the Left image layer and slide it up the stack of layers so you get Cyan, Left, Red, Right from top to bottom, as per B above.

Click on the Cyan layer and set it to "Screen" mode. Click on the Red layer and set it to "Screen" mode as well.

Click on the Background layer, and control click on the Red layer so they are both highlighted. Right click on them and select Merge Layers. Do the same with the Cyan and Left layer as well. You should now just have two layers, a washed out cyan image and a washed out red image.

Excellent. Now set the top (washed out cyan image) layer mode to "Multiply" and - wow, look a colour image with funny red and cyan fringes.

Reach for the glasses and see what you just made..

Note, this uses colour separation to get the left and righ images, so strong colours (red flowers, blue skies) don't come out too good, but greenery, garden plants etc are not too bad.

Here are some I have done myself.







I know moving the camera to the right without tilting it is difficult, but this does not constitute a domestic excuse for buying a second E-3 and a tripod mount bar...


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  #29  
Old 30th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaarman View Post
Sharpening.




Sharpening for the Web or for the forum Gallery

This is a very different requirement. In this case, when you resize your picture so the height is 800 pixels or smaller for the gallery here, Photoshop has done all the interpolation right in front of your eyes. The image should look nice and clean but a tad soft. In these circumastances I use my own custom filter masks to add just a sprinkling of sharpening, not so much that it looks obvious, just enough to make the picture look good again. To save typing them out, I have placed the 5x5 coefficients I usually use on my web site at the bottom of this page if anyone is interested. http://www.snaar.co.uk/snaarp6.html
I've had a look at these coefficients, thanks for sharing them Pete, but I have to confess I have no idea whatsoever what to do with them. I mainly use Elements 7 but also dabble with Paint Shop Pro X2 - where do these figures get used? I've tried your suggestions for preparing for printing but these coefficients puzzle me.
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Old 30th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Quote:
Originally Posted by meach View Post
I've had a look at these coefficients, thanks for sharing them Pete, but I have to confess I have no idea whatsoever what to do with them. I mainly use Elements 7 but also dabble with Paint Shop Pro X2 - where do these figures get used? I've tried your suggestions for preparing for printing but these coefficients puzzle me.
In my copy of Elements 5 you go to Filter/Other/Custom and enter them in the grid of numbers. Don't forget to save the custom filter else you'll spend the rest of your life typing in numbers

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