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  #31  
Old 30th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaarman View Post
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

Pete
I shall go and have a look now. Thanks for your (very quick) reply - it's much appreciated.
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  #32  
Old 30th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Quote:
Originally Posted by meach View Post
I shall go and have a look now. Thanks for your (very quick) reply - it's much appreciated.
Yep - same in 7 - thanks again.
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  #33  
Old 30th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Very, very good thread this, Pete. I am going to stickify it
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  #34  
Old 30th September 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Fake Film:

Have you noticed how your scanned or rephotographed slides look "different" to your DSLR images. OK, in my case, the edges are blurred, there's dust and scratches everywhere and some of the Ektachromes are fading away to white... But what I mean is the way the image looks is different. Something to do with colour reproduction and contrast. I am not convinced that old slides are "better" than modern DSL images, but maybe you would like to re-create the look for some reason.

I am quite impressed by the Smart Curve plugin from Easyfilter. http://photoshop.pluginsworld.com/pl...martcurve.html

It does the same job as the Adobe curves tool but I think it has more options available... Here is one I Velvia'd earlier



and here is the plugin on the screen



Note how you can get different curves for Hue Saturation and Lightness It also does YCrCb RGB and other stuff as well. Someone has even done a set of curves to simulate films for you already... http://www.prime-junta.net/pont/How_...ms.html?page=4

There. Now you just need to get thumbprints onto the image digitally...

Pete

PS. I just noticed there is a Gimp set of these film curves on that web site as well
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  #35  
Old 1st October 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Camera Buttons and menus:

(This first is more about camera settings than Photoshop)

I have a strict preflight check as I set off with the camera.

Working round the 4 way selector on the back of the E620 or E510 I check these:
ISO = 200
AF = Single AF + MF
White balance = Auto
Metering = Centre weight
Then:
Control dial = Aperture Priority

Most of these will be where I want them. Finally I check Exposure compensation = 0 because this is a button I use quite a bit, and there's nothing worse than forgetting you have it set.

Here's an example of exposure compensation in operation. We went into the Iglesia in the centre of Puerto de la Cruz on holiday. This church has almost no windows in the nave so it was dark, dark, dark :-)

So, do we let the camera correct this with a nice long exposure or even (horror) switch the flash on? No, we wouldn't do that would we. It would ruin the atmosphere of the place and the result would be unrepresentative

So this is where I reach for exposure compensation button. In this case I dialled in a huge -2.3EV to get those shadows down towards black.
A benefit is the exposure then goes from a tricky 1/5th second to a more reasonable 1/25th second ;-)



The original is on the right. For those afraid of the dark the section on the left has had "Shadows and Highlights" carefully applied ...

So, don't be afraid to use the compensation button, equally, don't forget to put it back to zero afterwards

Now here is a trivial little CS3 thing. You can customise the menus and remove the entries you never use (excellent idea IMHO) but you can also highlight in colour those you do use...
I have highlighted my favourite Filter menu entries, for example, and left the others plain. You can highlight the sub menus as well, as per the screen shot below.



You find it under Edit/Menus
Its a small thing but I find it aids the usability of the software..

Pete
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  #36  
Old 1st October 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

"Scanning" old colour negatives:

I guess some of you remember my home made slide and neg scannner: You need your DSLR, a macro lens with some way of holding the slide or the neg* and an off camera flash set to manual with remote triggering.

*I use the slide holder from my old Minolta slide scanner

It looks like this:



So far so good. Its much much faster than the Minolta scanner and the results are better in my opinion.

The problem comes when you want to "scan" colour negatives. The orange layer in the neg causes huge problems with the processing, you can't just scan it and invert it then correct the colour - it looks nasty.

So: I decided to get rid of the orange cast at source, and put a light blue filter over the flash, so the neg is lit with blue-ish light. This goes a long way towards sorting out the orange problem.

Now we attack the resulting file with ACR. First I use the ACR crop tool to select the required part of the image and ignore any black areas I may have shot at the edge of the frame. This makes the ACR histogram display behave properly.

Now I use the ACR eyedropper tool. This is an auto colour correct tool, you click on a part of the image you know should be some shade of grey with no colour content. Clouds, or tarmac are good starting places.



Next I adjust the exposure to have the histogram fill its range if possible - you can even risk using the auto exposure button if you are in a hurry. I'm afraid I don't regard my old colour prints as particularly high art, I would just like to get them digitised before they go all blue on me...

Finally, import the result into CS3 and press Ctrl-I to invert the image from a negative to a positive. You can now fine tune the colour using Ctrl-L the levels control. This also has an eye dropper tool for final colour correction if you think it needs it.

So - here's the result. This was from my Fed50 25 year old russian joke camera, loaded with 7 year old film. Not bad considering..



Pete
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  #37  
Old 1st October 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

What's the Difference?

You can combine Layers in CS3 with a whole host of strangely named methods. Some I have used already in this thread, such as "Darken" or "Screen". Quite a few of them seem to produce similar results to me, and I have very little idea what Adobe had in mind when they invented them (or what they were smoking..)

However there is one layer mode that is truly mindblowing if you want to make an instant impact picture. You need to start with a textured image, like brickwork or whatever, not a portrait or a landscape IMHO.

Place a new layer and fill it with 50% grey. Now set the new layer mode as "Difference" and you can end up with an eye popping abstract like this..







In fact I turned it to monochrome afterwards because I liked the look of it.

Compare it to the lacklustre original:



Its a great way to make an arresting poster or book cover. Not certain that its great art however.

Here's an example differenced with a grey grad and noise..



Health Warning: Do this with a well saturated colour image, and maybe fill the new layer with a grey or coloured wedge and you better hang on to your hat, because the results will be insane ...

Or you can combine two images to get a graphic for a poster

... a bit like this :-)





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  #38  
Old 2nd October 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

How to get that Grainy Film look:

Well, why don't we use grainy film No, seriously...


If you scroll to the bottom of this page you find a link to a scan of grainy film. Right click and "save as" and you have your very own grainy film. (Keep it for later). http://www.prime-junta.net/pont/How_...te.html?page=5

OK. We have our grain: Now how to use it.

Load your depressingly clean image into CS3 and also load the film grain as well. Cut and paste the grain over the image and set the grainy layer mode to "Soft Light" *

Now you can play with Levels on the grainy layer if you wish, to adjust how much grain you get...

Here's one I engrained earlier:



However: If you do this full size then reduce it to 800x600 to post on the web, the grain gets interpolated away. In this case, as I knew I was aiming for a small image, I reduced the original to 1600x1200, added the grain as above then reduced to 800x600 for the gallery.

*Other layer modes also work but this one one seems to look nicest to my eyes

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  #39  
Old 6th October 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Cloning out a vapour trail:


So, you have a great picture spoiled by a vapour trail. How do you clone it out without leaving a tell tale mark? No matter which bit of sky you chose, the colour never seem to match exactly. Its frustrating.

What you need is some indication where the contour of equal colour is in the sky so you know were to base the clone brush so the colour replacing the vapour trail matches the sky nearby.

In fact you can do this, use Select/Colour range and click on the sky close to the problem you are trying to erase. If you fiddle with the Select/Colour range fuzziness you can get quite a good idea where the sky colour contours are going..



Here you can see that contours of equal colour go from bottom left to top right relative to the point I clicked (marked with a cross). This gives me a big hint about how I use the cloning brush to leave minimum trace. You cancel the Select box while mentally memorising the black and white contour it showed you. In this case I cloned the vapour trail using a reference point at about 7 oclock relative to the clone point.

Its difficult to explain but maybe you get the idea. Anyway here's one I cloned earlier.



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  #40  
Old 15th October 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Prop and Rotor blur:

There's nothing worse than an aerial shot of a plane or helicopter that doesn't look like its flying: Here is one example...



A truly static image, brought on by using a high shutter speed. SO what can we do? We can use Photoshop Radial Blur to impart some swoosh to the rotor blades - but it only works in plan view (like looking straight down on a record on a turntable). In this case the rotor is viewed obliquely and is also leaning forwards. Difficult.

OK, first lets rotate the image 12 degrees clockwise to level up the rotor and stretch it 300 percent vertically: This drastic action looks awful but the rotor can now be imagined as a plan view circle.



Now we duplicate this layer and select a square based on the rotor hub. I used radial blur set to about 15 and the first image shows the result.



Now I just erase the parts of this layer that shouldn't be blurred (second image) and compress the image to 33 percent vertically and rotate 12 degrees anticlockwise (third image). Now we are getting somewhere..

I dealt with the tail rotor in a similar manner, but in this case I didn't do the rotate and stretch as the tail rotor is almost in plan view anyway. Strictly the tail rotor should have more blur as it rotates faster, but adding more blur makes the rotor less visible, so you have to compromise.


Finally add a tree (layer set to "Darken"), flatten the image and here we are..



Now that looks more like a flying machine..

Pete

PS. The image quality doesn't look too good because I started the explanatory image sequence with an 800x600 image rather than the original, just to speed things up...
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  #41  
Old 15th October 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Messing with your mind:

Here's a shot of a beach in Cyprus. What a nice wide beach!

No, wait a minute, this is one picture flipped and glued together! Or is it? Its not quite symmetrical, but it is symmetrical-ish. What's going on???



I am quite fascinated by our ability to spot a flipped and stitched image immediately, but how our minds get confused if the symmetry is slightly messed with.

Its like half the brain takes it as a genuine picture and the other half has its doubts...

Here is a better example from my film days, a dawn shot down near the canal:



Once again the brain says "real, no, fake, erm, real, maybe?"

So, find an image with a nice straight horizon, flip and stick, then mess up the give away symmetry with the clone tool and see how soon you can convince yourself you have a whole new picture :-)

Pete
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  #42  
Old 31st October 2010
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

Panoramas:

(Warning. If you already do panoramas, click the browser "Back" button now, because there won't be anything new here...)

OK, you would think making a Pano would be easy. Stand in one place, twist slowly round in a circle and click as you go...
No, its more complicated than that, but its a good start.

Let's look at the essentials: You need to overlap each picture (more overlap is better than not enough) Next - each picture needs to be exactly the same magnification and exposure. To do this, you need to set the camera to manual focus, manual exposure and be very careful not to touch the zoom control as you work round the picture. In fact my more successful panos have used old style manul focus non-zoom lenses.

If you have a big enough view, you can even make a pano using a telephoto lens! ... Here is an example I shot last year with a 200mm Tamron prime lens.



Focus: Start by focussing on the target (this usually means focussing on infinity for scenic panos). You can use AF to get the focus right, then switch the camera to manual focus and don't touch the lens thereafter..

Exposure: Set the exposure by finding the brightest part of the pano and set the exposure for that.

Now at last you can "Stand in one place, twist slowly round in a circle and click as you go..."

Alignment: Remember not to tilt the camera as you do this. Actually, I bet you wish you had brought a tripod now If you are going to use a tripod, it helps to use one of those spirit levels to the stem of the tripod ends up exactly vertical. Don't forget that overlap.

Photoshop: Now start with the image from (say) the left hand end. Expand the Canvas size to allow you space to import and position all the other images. If it was a 5 shot pano then expand the canvas to 500% width. I prefer to fill it with black background because its less distacting. Now you can import each new image and drag and drop it onto the wide canvas.

Lining up each image takes some skill - but it helps to have each new layer setting as 50% so you can see both the new image and the one underneath. Set all the layers back to 100% when you have positioned them. Micro positioning can be done with the arrow keys easier than with the mouse.

Now you find that you can still see the joins because the exposures were not exactly correct. So: Starting at the second image, select each image layer and use the Levels command to adjust the White point and Mid point sliders to match light and dark areas..

Finally you can flatten the image and use the clone tool to hade any remaining join marks. Phew. Was it worth it?? That's what I had to do with that example above...

OR: You can let Photoshop do all the work with the Photomerge tool. You find it under File/Automate/Photomerge

In this case you point CS3 at your set of images and press go. It will take several passes at the task, first importing the images, then aligning them based on the content at the edges, then it merges them to get the exposures the same. If it works, it does a remarkably good job, because it sorts out all the twisted or tilted images and all the exposure problems and you end up with a very nice looking result. However, I find it is prone to crash if you give it too much to do.... my 3Ghz PC with 3Gb ram can be brought to its knees auto-processing 5 or 6 16bit images into a pano.

Here is a screenshot of a 5 image pano I took in Tennerife using the 11-22 at the 22mm end. You can see the strange tweaks CS3 has invoked to get the images to merge :-)



But the end result (below) is every bit as good as the one I slaved over for an hour using the manual method...




Pete
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  #43  
Old 9th August 2011
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Shadows and Highlights revisited

I thought I would revisit this CS3 feature because I confess I use it quite a lot. It can add a little life to an image, and it can also ruin it if you go too far.

S+H is more subtle than mere contrast enhancement as it uses some form of local area masking to produce its results. This is quite good for rescuing skies that are slightly over done, and it can also be useful to lift shadows. In both cases you must proceed with caution, as it is quite easy to give yourself halos around edges.

Here's an example shot I prepared earlier:



The left image is pretty much how it came out of the raw file, I just made my usual colour balance and lens corrections. There isn't too much wrong, maybe it just needs a lift. However the right hand image has (IMHO) been overdone with Shadows and Highlights. There is an air of unreality about it, and you may see the strange darkening in the plate and in the far corner of the ceiling which is the dreaded halo effect in action.

So what are the settings, and where do you stop? Well, that's a matter of taste, but here are some screen shots so you can see some settings and results:


This would be my normal setting for an average shot.



This shows the results of pushing the Shadow/Highlight correction a bit further. I wouldn't normally go this far unless the image lets me get away with it.



And these are the settings that gave us the overdone image: This is too much for me, though it might work for Urban Decay images I guess.



Note the disposition of the sliders. I tend to use a large radius to disperse the halos, and note how the sliders form a straight line in each case. You don't have to do this, but it seems a good guide. Once that line passes the 45 degree mark and heads towards vertical, you know you are pushing your luck :-)

Hope this helps

Pete
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  #44  
Old 19th November 2011
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Re: Pete's Photoshop tricks

I'm stuck indoors today, and I have a new present to play with: A set of those black/grey/white colour calibration cards. So - lets see them in action with raw files and ACR.

Our eyes are very good at adapting to variations in ambient colour. We don't notice how blue the landscape looks on a nice day, or how red it is indoors at night. We don't see it, but the camera does, and the results look all wrong.

So: Rather than depending on the Auto White balance feature, how about calibrating that critical shot so the colours are more accurate?

Here's an example, some wood on a cream shelf lit by cold north light.



There doesn't seem much wrong with the main picture taken on Auto White balance, until you see the inset which has been white corrected...

Here is how it should look:



Now for a more severe test. A wall with a sort of magnolia/cream paint lit by a Tunsten uplighter. Just look at the colour error here:



And here is the corrected version:



In each case I have used raw files from the E-PL3.
The trick is to import the image with the calibration card first into ACR, click the white balance dropper on the white card and take the image into Photoshop. (You can delete it later). Now import the real image, and select "Use Previous Conversion" to pick up the precise white balance correction used for the white reference.

Now you can make any other adjustments (exposure etc) - just don't touch the colour temperature settings :-)

A great little item. Now I just have to remember to take it with me on those critical shoots :-)

Pete
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  #45  
Old 27th November 2011
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Fringe Medicine

Fringe medicine, or how to come out of a coma...

So, you bought a bargain lens on ebay. Its a 12 wonder, an old Vivitar 200mm f3.5 - just great for those low light indoor gigs and a big improvement of the 150mm and f5.6 kit lens, surely?

Well, maybe. This old Vivitar is not bad, just not as good as the similar Tamron I had once. It will probably serve indoors with IS turned on, but how does it perform in daylight with a nice contrasty target?

Answer: Badly. It has longitudinal CA, or purple coma over dark twigs against a bright sky. You can get rid of this by stopping down to f5.6 or f8 but that kinda defeats the object of buying it.

Can you fix this specific problem in Photoshop? Yes you can.



Here's one I fixed, with an unfixed area so you can see the extent of the problem(!)

Method: Use Select Colour Range and click on the sky. You might need to fiddle with the Fuzziness slider so your selection gets nice and close to the twigs.

You should now have selected just sky and no twigs. Now find and click on Invert Selection, so you have selected just twigs and no sky.

Low ask for Levels (Ctrl-L) select the Blue channel only and move the centre slider to the right. This desaturates the blues on the twigs, while leaving the colours on the leaves untouched.

Lovely :-)

Of course you could just buy the 50-200 Zuiko and not have to do any of this..

Pete
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