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Archive 2012 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!
  
 
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


EDIT Mike, aka Mike717 has been generous enough to make a pdf of this post, click here to download.
Thanks Mike!!!

This post is in response to the fact that many of you have PMíd me asking me what my post processing workflow is. I am more than glad to share my method, heck it is far from secret a couple of years ago it was highly promoted and in fact many have tried it. I have also shared it openly with others for those who expressed a willingness to give it the effort to master it. I am not suggesting this is the only or best way to process an image, rather it is the way that I do it. Nothing more, nothing less.
I, as well as some others on this forum use what has become known as Daveís Action. This action was created by Dave Cornish, Dave used to be a regular contributor to this forum. He spent who knows how many hours creating this mother of actions. He has an extremely strong background in Astrophotography, a form of photography that demands the highest level of post work. He set out to create an action that pulls out every bit of detail there is in an image, surgically reduce noise, adjust curves, white point and allows for just about any other correction. Tom Sanders and I worked with Dave while he developed this action, giving him feedback as to how it applies to wildlife photography. Unlike a lot of Post techniques used this one does all of its magic nondestructively. Each and every pixel goes in and comes out unscathed.
I have reprogrammed or tuned the action somewhat to my tastes. That is one of the beauties of it; once you get accustomed to it you can alter it just like any other action.
Another note, the action as it comes out of the box has instructional alerts each step of the way. While one is learning the action these are quite helpful. That said once one is used to the action they are a nuisance but of course they can easily be turned off. I have them turned off so you will not see them in any of the following screen shots.
It must be said that I am not promoting this action nor am I promoting Photoshop, both of which are used within my work flow.
Here is the link to Daveís Action;
http://www.pbase.com/dcornish/image_pop
I donít think I need to add a link to Adobe
So here we go, pretty much step by step. This may look tedious but it really isnít, the action does almost all of the work. Most of my images take me 1-2 minutes to process using this action.

Tim

EDIT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe I wasn't clear enough, you have to download the action to use it, this is not something built into Photoshop !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! /EDIT


Edited on Jan 28, 2012 at 04:41 PM · View previous versions



Jan 26, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


I chose a shot with the whitest whites and the darkest blacks for this demo to demonstrate the full range of color. That said the accompanying images are more to demonstrate the process as opposed to showing the image changing.
I should call this step one but I donít want to confuse the work flow. The most important aspect to digital photography, GET IT RIGHT IN THE CAMERA!! I cannot emphasize this enough. Photoshop is not for ďfixing it laterĒ, it is for refining your images. Sure there are many times we all need to adjust for minor exposure problems but if you think you can fix blown whites, blocked darks you are kidding yourself. Those of us who really care about quality can always see attempts to fix botched exposures.
Iím also skipping the Instructions sub action. After going through the action once or twice seeing the instructions really isnít necessary.



Jan 26, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


1 open image in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw)
Notice all of the sliders are set to zero, I do have Clarity and Vibrance up just a touch but that is not necessary. Depth is 16 bit and color space is ProPhoto. This is important, the action leverages what 16 bit and ProPhoto have to offer. The image may look dull, underexposed and flat at this time, thatís okay. The Histogram will always be to the left of center.
Save the file as a TIFF








Jan 26, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


2 Open in Photoshop
Crop if desired, clean up dust bunnies if needed.








Jan 26, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


3 Select the subject; you generally want a tight selection.







Jan 26, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


4 Okay, now we get into the action. I dragged the action palette onto the main screen so you can see what is going on.
Select Initial Prep and run the action, I have expanded the action so you can see the major steps it is taking. Note it has created a copy of the image and placed it in a new tab.








Jan 26, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


5 Now is the time to run noise removal sub action if needed. The action allows you a couple of options here, there is one action that will run NR on the whole image but most of us would use the Advanced Noise Removal sub action. This allows you to run NR on a background layer and or to run NR on the subject layer. Note on the layer palette on the right that the needed layers were created for us by the action; we just selected the sub action and ran it. Part of the beauty of this is you can use any third party PS plugin NR, the action is agnostic to what you do on these layers. I use one type of NR on the background and a different one on the subject if needed.


Jan 26, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


6 Now comes the good part, the real meat of this action, the Illumination and Color sub action. Here the action runs 20+ different processes, some automatic and some manual and all of them allow you to have full control if you desire. I have found that in practice there are only a few steps where any intervention is needed. Iíll only create screen shots of the steps that I usually adjust manually, the others I let PS run its algorithms, they are smarter than I am! I have expended the sub action in this shot to show all the sub actions within this sub action. Thereís a lot going on in there!!
Here we are at the first point of manual adjustment. Two Point Curves. Adjust the lower point up to lighten shadows and down to darken. Adjust the upper point for the mid tones. Those of you that are already good at curves can have a field day here adjusting light, shadows and tones. As usual small increments are all that are needed for well exposed images.
I pinned the top of the slider to hold the whites, they are already just about right, no sense in blowing them now! I also pinned the shadows at the bottom of the slider. I added a point just on the edge of the shadows and moved it up just a tad to open the blacks a minor amount. I left the mid tones alone.








Jan 26, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


7 This step is auto contrast. Auto contrast will run, once it does you will get a slider to fade how much contrast you really want, most of the time it is spot on, other times minor adjustments may be needed. Here I backed it off just a tad.







Jan 26, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


8 Here we set the balance between brightness and richness of color. Too bright and you lose detail and wash out the color, to dark and it gets muddy. This can usually be left alone or adjusted slightly. I rarely adjust it more than .02 points from the default.







Jan 26, 2012 at 12:25 AM
 

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Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


9 Here comes the steps where I let the program run itself for a while. It will create Illumination layers, and do something with channels that I donít fully understand, it doesnít matter it works. Auto setting of whites and shadows will run. After each and every one of these steps there is a levels slider where you can adjust what the program has done, like I said it is rarely needed.


Jan 26, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


10 This is the color saturation step, you may want to intervene here.

We are just about done with Illumination and Color. At this point we have a Color and an Illumination layer. If you feel a need to do any dodging or burning now is the time to that. Select the Illumination layer and do it on that. This is another step that is rarely needed.







Jan 26, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


11 Now we are ready to sharpen the image. The action has an incredibly complex sharpening sub action. Lucky for us our part is really easy, we just play with some sliders. For the sake of it, here is a shot of the many sub actions within sharpening.







Jan 26, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


12 Select Sharpening and run the action. You will get a pop up asking for the image size you want, select what you would like.







Jan 26, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


13 You then get an Unsharp Mask pop up, mine is slightly different than the stock action but for the sake of demonstration this still works. Adjust what is need here, I always choose the defaults.







Jan 26, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


14 Here you get to adjust the sharpening for the both the Lights and the Darks separately. This is where extreme care needs to be taken. Select a layer, Darks, and adjust the Opacity. For this image I chose 25% for the Darks. Now adjust the Light layer, this is a delicate slider, I rarely go over 4% and for this image chose 3%. Your mileage will vary as I have customized the USM sub action.







Jan 26, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


15 There is a Sharpening Cleanup sub action that you would run now if needed, I have never used that so I canít explain it further. In that case we now run Prep For Web Save Sub Action. This flattens the image, deletes channels, converts or sRgb, converts to 8bit. Just like is says, it is now web ready.

So there you have it. It may sound like a lot of work but once you get used to it you can fly through your images. As I mentioned earlier I usually donít spend more than a couple of minutes on a given image.











Jan 26, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Jeannean
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


Wow, thanks for such a detailed explanation. Being fairly new to photography and shooting RAW, I sometimes am at a loss as to what to do to an image. I truly appreciate the help!


Jan 26, 2012 at 12:38 AM
birdied
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


Tim, can't thank you enough for this . Thank you for taking the time and effort!!

Birdie



Jan 26, 2012 at 12:47 AM
troylim
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · My Post Work Flow !!!!!long post!!!!! PDF Added!!


Very educational. Thank you


Jan 26, 2012 at 01:09 AM
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