Home · Register · Search · View Winners · Software · Hosting · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username   Password

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Post-processing & Printing | Join Upload & Sell

1
       2       3              6       7       end
  

Archive 2013 · Processing for believability.
  
 
ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Processing for believability.


Since our camera rawís donít capture the scene as we see it in person, we are forced to work the image in post processing. I would prefer to have a believable result, but in recent times have drifted towards over enhancement.
This insight was a direct result of the following post where I got some ideas about how to achieve more realistic processing. The big help was from comments on my images being over saturated and Kentís help with color correction.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1238418

I returned to that scene and shot another blah morning when the sun did not appear. But it was part of a learning thing for me. After each set of brackets, I looked at the neutral image on the LCD and compared it with what I was seeing before my eyes. The display is set for Landscape and gentle boost of contrast. The image on the LCD seemed a good match to the scene in all but DR. This gave me a standard to shoot for.

My brackets were -2/3, 0, +2/3. I blended them after conversion with no boost in ACR other than to add 20% shadow recovery on the 0 and +2/3 image. I use a process called Gaussian blur to blend, it can be found here.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=144

I next found and marked with the color sample eyedropper the darkest and lightest point in the image and using curves, moved it to a range roughly between 6-7 and 250. Then I ran a linear curve.

Using color balance, I set the shadows values to 5,5,5 and the highlight values to 254,254,254. This brightens the image a bit and increases depth as it creates a good black point. During testing the process with many images, I find I need to be selective on the bright values to preserve a natural blue or red atmosphere. But generally this works. The white point is generally but not always neutral. The dark usually is blue biased and near a value of 15 or 20 average, making it 5,5,5 always improves the image in my opinion.

Image one is the result. A bit dark and not enough saturation in my estimate.

Next I run a saturation action which I wonít describe here, I also tried Topaz Color Pop which was nearly the same. You could use your favorite method. The idea is to add a bit of saturation to the image.

This tends to boost the darker values and bump the black point up a few points, so I return to color balance and adjust back to 5,5,5.

I then sharpen as follows. 12,50,1 in smart sharpen, then USM 300,0.3,0. Both merged to one layer and faded to 70%. ISO100 shots do not require selective sharpening.

The second image is the product.






3 images blended curved and color corrected.







add saturation recorrect color and sharpen




Sep 12, 2013 at 02:58 PM
ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Processing for believability.


Lesson learned. I tried the method on several of my better images from the last few months and was startled at the result. I was indeed over processing.

The fact is when I use this method I end up with zero images I like well enough to print. I suppose the first order of business is to find scenes with knock out quality to start with and not attempt to add it in post processing.




Sep 12, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Mescalamba
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Processing for believability.


Interesting way of blending..

And yes, if you shoot something right, then doesnt matter much how much you PP it. But bad pic cant be saved by any amount of PP (even tho I try to do that on regular basis ).

Making pics, that look both great and real is incredibly hard. I kinda gave up on that, partly because my old cams simply cant produce something like that..

Dont take it as start for flamewar, but I think film was maybe easier in this aspect.



Sep 12, 2013 at 03:15 PM
ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Processing for believability.


A couple of before and after examples. These are a couple images I reworked per the new process to show the difference. The mirror lake image has 4000+ replies at Panoramio and won a prize, but its way over processed in that form. Make me wonder how much of the stuff we try to emulate is also over processed.






old method.







new method







old method







new method




Sep 12, 2013 at 03:46 PM
RustyBug
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Processing for believability.


Mescalamba wrote:
Dont take it as start for flamewar, but I think film was maybe easier in this aspect.


+1 @ shoot chrome = "What ya shot, was what ya got." (standard lab processing). Now, we are the lab technicians required to extract the most out of our unfinished files, or leave them to the programmed processing of others. Imo, it's a case of be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. We wanted linear digital capture for infinitely finishing options @ doing our own "film profiles" ... and we got it. Which for some folks means the opportunity to make Velvia look drab and boring by comparison.

Yup, chrome was so much easier ... you just had to pick between Ektachrome/Kodachrome/Fujichrome depending on your style/taste for film profile and load up a roll. After that, it was all about you, camera, light and subject ... i.e. one less thing to be concerned with @ lab tech duties. Of course, we didn't have 32,000 stops of pp latitude post capture, so we paid a bit more attention to getting it right in camera back then.

For me, the digital experience has been a vast learning curve, but it has come at the expense in a loss of naive innocence relationship with the camera. It's kinda hard for me to get that freedom back when you are cognizant of all the PP that will follow. Instead of the wonderment and anticipation that comes with picking up your film, now it is the acknowledgement that there is more work to be done. And the reward for such ... the "command & control" to produce your vision as you see to do so.


Edited on Sep 12, 2013 at 05:40 PM · View previous versions



Sep 12, 2013 at 05:23 PM
boingyman
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Processing for believability.


I am guilty for overprocessing mainly because I've been using an uncalibrated laptop that lack contrast and saturation. When I first got into landscape photography I also liked having that extra pop. End results have for the most part been overprocessed. I got a new comp to use temporarily with a beautiful IPS screen, however without a calibrator I think the screen is too strong/bright. With my colormunki display coming soon I hope to resolve this problem, especially when I put together my new comp/monitor setup.

Ben (and anyone else) is your processing the same for both print and web (besides sharpening)?

Your second photo old method looks high on the contrast/clarity causing oversaturation. The new method looks better in general, but the sky (and sky reflection) could come slightly down in exposure and maybe just a tad more microcontrast on the mountain and trees afar. Great photo by the way!



Sep 12, 2013 at 05:35 PM
ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Processing for believability.


boingyman wrote:
I am guilty for overprocessing mainly because I've been using an uncalibrated laptop that lack contrast and saturation. When I first got into landscape photography I also liked having that extra pop. End results have for the most part been overprocessed. I got a new comp to use temporarily with a beautiful IPS screen, however without a calibrator I think the screen is too strong/bright. With my colormunki display coming soon I hope to resolve this problem, especially when I put together my new comp/monitor setup.

Ben (and anyone else) is your processing the same for both print and web
...Show more

I have not gotten to processing for print yet. If I stopped here, I would also stop printing, nothing with enough drama to be worth while. I suspect the next step is to tone down my expectations, but thats going to take time.

As you can see, I know how to get more drama from an image. If I were to print either of the last two I would at least darken the sky and get more drama in the clouds.

The prints I like the best on my wall are always bright and colorful and a good test is to turn off the lights and see which ones stand out the best in natural or low light. I almost never like dark images even though they may look fine on a monitor.

Back to your question, for print I almost always need more shadow recover, and this is even with a monitor adjusted to 80cd/mm^2. I think most are north of 150!!!.

But printing has not been my problem, web posting is. I have concentrated on printing for the last 5 years and have been poorly received on web forums. I wanted to figure this out. But in the process, I will no doubt tone down my prints as well,

As I said, the real issue is not enough good starting images. Drama can be added in post, but thats not the direction I want for myself.








Sep 12, 2013 at 06:29 PM
ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Processing for believability.


RustyBug wrote:
+1 @ shoot chrome = "What ya shot, was what ya got." (standard lab processing). Now, we are the lab technicians required to extract the most out of our unfinished files, or leave them to the programmed processing of others. Imo, it's a case of be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. We wanted linear digital capture for infinitely finishing options @ doing our own "film profiles" ... and we got it. Which for some folks means the opportunity to make Velvia look drab and boring by comparison.

Yup, chrome was so much easier ... you just
...Show more

Hi Kent. Glad to see you here as the choice of believability came from you as did some of the color balance methodology. As you can see i did modify what you did.

I was seldom able to find neutrals except the occasional white patch of snow or cloud. That does not even work when you have a warm cast from golden hour. I also determined that I absolutely cannot trust my eyes to decide color. But I did find that color balance, which is a tool I never used before last weeks post is powerful. Small changes to input yield large changes to results and it is especially valuable for getting a good black point.

I have not been around the critique forum for a while because it was pulling me deeper than I wanted to go in overprocessing. But I suspect the popular images at landscaping are as well. Either because they are over processed or because they were better starting images.

I thought this is a good forum to work on just processing and not the other stuff like artistic merit. Also a place where we can look at ordinary images and not get caught up in the artistic dogma.




Sep 12, 2013 at 06:37 PM
RustyBug
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Processing for believability.


+1 @ intepretation @ golden hour, etc. and it isn't perfect for everything, i.e. you still have to read the light/subject. Glad to hear that you found value in the tool ... you'll develop your own way of using it.




Sep 12, 2013 at 07:00 PM
aubsxc
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Processing for believability.


There is no rule that says images and prints must faithfully reproduce what you saw with your eyes. Or even be believable. As an artist, you have the option to interpret the raw capture any way you feel is appropriate. If Adams could spend days locked in his darkroom trying to make the perfect print using techniques and tools available to him at the time, you too can spend minutes or hours at your computer producing your interpretation of the capture. That being said, images that look believable tend to look better in my opinion, even if it takes a lot of PP to make it look natural


Sep 12, 2013 at 07:31 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Processing for believability.


aubsxc wrote:
There is no rule that says images and prints must faithfully reproduce what you saw with your eyes. Or even be believable. As an artist, you have the option to interpret the raw capture any way you feel is appropriate. If Adams could spend days locked in his darkroom trying to make the perfect print using techniques and tools available to him at the time, you too can spend minutes or hours at your computer producing your interpretation of the capture. That being said, images that look believable tend to look better in my opinion, even if it takes a
...Show more

As I tried to emphasize believability is a personal goal. I spend plenty of time, sometimes believable is much harder than adding lots of pop. The hardest part of all is training yourself to know when it is about right and when it is not.

The other hard part is to walk away from an image that just doesn't make it. I have a few that are dramatic but have too much DR to fix and remain within the realm of believability.

Some will just allow shadows to go dark, but I never like that result. I also seldom like an HDR look.



Edited on Sep 12, 2013 at 07:48 PM · View previous versions



Sep 12, 2013 at 07:44 PM
ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Processing for believability.


RustyBug wrote:
+1 @ intepretation @ golden hour, etc. and it isn't perfect for everything, i.e. you still have to read the light/subject. Glad to hear that you found value in the tool ... you'll develop your own way of using it.



My technique will need lots of refining, most importantly my own judgement. Since I often find a good rendition on my LCD, I might do a DPP conversion with the same settings as my camera as a reference.

As I was testing images using more samples in the mid ranges, I was all over the map in outcome. But once I settled on dark/light, it got more uniform.



Sep 12, 2013 at 07:47 PM
RustyBug
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Processing for believability.


For me believability has much to do with understanding the nature of light and the nature of our vision. Things like nearer=sharper vs. distance=less contrast/sat. Seeing an image with more "pop" farther away can draw us to it more readily ... but imo, it can also tell on itself @ PP if not aligned with all the elements involved.

Making things align with natural light and natural vision enhances believability for me. That doesn't mean I don't advocate artistic rendering, because I do strongly believe in "draw the eye" to where you want your viewer to go. But imo, minimizing your "tells" helps to maximize your believability. My personal "tells" are things like blue snow, etc. I've just never thrown a blue snowball, so seeing blue snow is always a tough thing for me to swallow in the realm of believability (i.e. not the same as artistic rendering).



Sep 12, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Processing for believability.


RustyBug wrote:
For me believability has much to do with understanding the nature of light and the nature of our vision. Things like nearer=sharper vs. distance=less contrast/sat. Seeing an image with more "pop" farther away can draw us to it more readily ... but imo, it can also tell on itself @ PP if not aligned with all the elements involved.

Making things align with natural light and natural vision enhances believability for me. That doesn't mean I don't advocate artistic rendering, because I do strongly believe in "draw the eye" to where you want your viewer to go. But imo, minimizing your
...Show more

How we see the world is a big part of our differences. My nearsighted eyes mean I see close stuff in great detail and far stuff poorly. I think my normal field of view is roughly 17mm in FF terms hence I do wide vistas. The horizon is very often centered in person so I tend to render it that way.

Good points on clarity. I also noticed when I stopped using Topaz Photo pop, I have less clarity, but small detail looks more natural. Topaz color pop only effects saturation and does add a bit of shadow detail. Its not bad at all IMO, but I will try to go without plug ins for a while until I get readjusted.

I think that looking hard at posted images from others and looking for tells is a good idea. In the beginning sharpening halos were an obvious tell as are halos from blends on horizons. But I then started looking at backlit horizons as I drive and notice some halo is normal to how we see, or at least how I see.

I see a lot of images with a blue cast and for a long time have been reducing blue on my own work. On the other hand it could be my own defective color awareness.




Sep 12, 2013 at 08:21 PM
skibum5
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Processing for believability.


ben egbert wrote:
A couple of before and after examples. These are a couple images I reworked per the new process to show the difference. The mirror lake image has 4000+ replies at Panoramio and won a prize, but its way over processed in that form. Make me wonder how much of the stuff we try to emulate is also over processed.


I like the new method for the one on top much better! For the second one, somewhere in between, but closer to the new method. I might just to a trace more contrast and a slight darkening to certain tones in the new method skies in some cases though.

It is a tricky thing, removing 3D, the eye's ability to instantly refocus and adjust, removing the smells, the wind, the feel, takes a lot out so you can't necessarily process it in the most straightforward, flat way, OTOH you don't want to get carried away either and you don't want to do weird imbalances to the light where stuff lit by the sun and the sky look no brighter than or even darker than stuff in the shadows and such (unless you are going for a fantasy world styled art effect).




Sep 12, 2013 at 08:38 PM
ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Processing for believability.


skibum5 wrote:
I like the new method for the one on top much better! For the second one, somewhere in between, but closer to the new method. I might just to a trace more contrast and a slight darkening to certain tones in the new method skies in some cases though.

It is a tricky thing, removing 3D, the eye's ability to instantly refocus and adjust, removing the smells, the wind, the feel, takes a lot out so you can't necessarily process it in the most straightforward, flat way, OTOH you don't want to get carried away either and you don't want to
...Show more

Thanks for the comments on the process itself, I need to hear how the process itself is being accepted. For my own use, I would certainly add some interest to the sky and reflection. On the last image I would also darken the sky.

But I am aiming for the FM landscape audience here. I spent the afternoon looking at various landscapes at that forum on a color aware browser (Safari) and started forming some ideas about what is working.




Sep 12, 2013 at 10:13 PM
garydavidjones
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Processing for believability.


Bravo! Believability is the keystone of my photography. Have been to over
100 countries. My wife and I want to have a detailed, annotated photographic
record of each of our trips. We want the photos to be as realistic
as possible, not the photocartooning that often dominates photography now.
Your approach is admirable.



Sep 12, 2013 at 10:47 PM
ben egbert
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Processing for believability.


garydavidjones wrote:
Bravo! Believability is the keystone of my photography. Have been to over
100 countries. My wife and I want to have a detailed, annotated photographic
record of each of our trips. We want the photos to be as realistic
as possible, not the photocartooning that often dominates photography now.
Your approach is admirable.


Glad you agree.

Edit, my problem will be sticking to it. I have been here before.



Sep 13, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Camperjim
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Processing for believability.


Ben, I like your new more realistic images. I really do not understand your new process. It does sound very complicated. The new process does make for much more realistic images but I am not sure about the color balance. The first image looks like it has a rather strong cyan/blue cast. The more saturated version intensifies the color cast.

I downsized your original and then changed the white balance. I am curious as to which version now seems to be more realistic and matches your intention.





original - resized







reduced cyan/blue cast




Sep 13, 2013 at 03:51 AM
RustyBug
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Processing for believability.


Took a stab at it ... +1 @ blue mountain/cast. Not really not sure where to take the sky though @ neutral vs. colors. Would prefer to see unedited version first, not quite where I'd want it, but illustration @ blue mountain/cast (still needs work though). Orientation @ NNW

Lighting looks flat. Not sure how much that is amplified @ blend or is it just natural at cloud cover? Always a tough gig to make flat light pop and still look semi-natural rather than PP'd.






Edited on Sep 13, 2013 at 05:38 AM · View previous versions



Sep 13, 2013 at 05:12 AM
1
       2       3              6       7       end




FM Forums | Post-processing & Printing | Join Upload & Sell

1
       2       3              6       7       end
    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username   Password    Reset password