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Archive 2011 · !

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · !


Edited on Dec 27, 2011 at 06:34 PM · View previous versions

Dec 25, 2011 at 11:23 PM

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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · !


Edited on Dec 27, 2011 at 06:35 PM · View previous versions

Dec 25, 2011 at 11:25 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · !

I am not sure I see what you are talking about. If you could be more specific perhaps that would help.

Generally "pearl finish" refers to a type of paper an image is printed on, and that will not show up on the web. Not sure if that is what you are talking about though.

I assume this is an image from Cory Fontenot at SharperPhotography.net in Lafayette, Louisiana. Looks like he is only about 135 miles from you. Why don't you give him a call and ask him.

PS: How did you get this image? If it is not yours and you don't have permission from the copyright holder to post it you probably should remove it.

Dec 27, 2011 at 01:20 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · !

Correct exposure of the highlights... What creates the illusion of 3D on white objects is a very delicate interplay of the 255 specular values (i.e. the sparkle on the pearl) and the overall tone of the solid white object. The texture of the fabric and the angle of the lighting also play a role in the perception of the surface texture.

Many photographers equate "pure white" with 255 when perceptually a 255 is best reserved for specular reflections such as those in the highlights of the metal buttons. You can use Levels to examine what if anything is clipping here:


Copy the image, open in Levels and hold down the alt/opt key and click the highlight slider and you'll see the rendering above showing the clipping in colors of representing RGB channels. If you then move the highlight slider to the left it will force darker shades of tone to clip similar to what will happen with overexposure. In this image you need to push the highlights down to around 230-255 to get the entire white tunic to clip in all channels. The 0-256 range represents the range of the sensor so each 35 units is about equal to one stop of sensor sensitivity. So that means the "white" of the tunic is about 3/4 to 1 stop under "pure" clipping white.

If you were to shoot an actual pearl and expose it so it looked natural, or draw one in photoshop...


you'll find a similar range of tonal values give it the "pearly" appearance. What makes a pearl look different than a white glass bead is that a pearl has an irregular surface with "tooth" that will create very subtle modeling. In the two illustrations above I added some noise to the second to simulate the same micro-texture. The texture of some fabrics, especially polyester blends that catch specular reflections will create similar modeling if overexposure or flat lighting doesn't obliterate it.

Just get some white fabric and practice controlling your lighting and exposure and you'll be able to get similar results. When capturing the image in the camera you need to anticipate how the highlights will change during editing, in particular the 16-bit editing gamut > 8 - bit sRGB JPG step. If you start with an exposure that is perfect OOC in the RAW by the time you make the JPG you will lose those subtle differences in the highlights. With a bit of experience you will learn how much "Kentucky windage" you need at capture to compensate for the workflow changes. To retain them in the JPG you need to start with a RAW file that is about 1/3 stop under what seems perfect, convert to JPG then adjust as needed.

Dec 27, 2011 at 05:27 PM

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