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Is this believable?
  
 
ben egbert
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p.1 #1 · Is this believable?


I let ACR auto adjust exposure and WB. This darkened the exposure -.95 from the SOOC version which I am showing here. I also added 20 saturation in ACR but no vibrance or clarity. I used my camera profile.

I converted the image twice, once fully auto and again with AUTO but exposure at 0. I did this because the AUTO version rendered the trees too dark. I used the Gaussian blur method but when I use two image I am done before adding a bright image.

I added a linear curve and then found a black point, a white point and a neutral ( on the mountain).

I then used color balance to set the black to 5,5,5, the white to around 254.254.254 and the neutral to 140,140,140. I sharpened and thatís it. No Topaz, not additional saturation and no shadow recover other than the blending.

I would like to hear what you all think of this processing? Go ahead and tell me if it has a color cast, but I also want to know if itís too HDR, too much clarity too much saturation etc. Or if you don't like the term believable, is it overcooked?.







sooc left, full process right.







larger version of full process




Sep 15, 2013 at 04:03 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #2 · Is this believable?


It's a great shot. The only thing that I think starts to make it a little "HDR-ish" is the dark areas of the clouds, both in the sky and in the water. It would be interesting to see a version just like this one but where the blue sky is just like this one but the dark gray parts of the clouds are pretty much at the same levels as the original.


Sep 15, 2013 at 04:50 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #3 · Is this believable?


Eyeball wrote:
It's a great shot. The only thing that I think starts to make it a little "HDR-ish" is the dark areas of the clouds, both in the sky and in the water. It would be interesting to see a version just like this one but where the blue sky is just like this one but the dark gray parts of the clouds are pretty much at the same levels as the original.



Hmm, have to think about how I would do that, but thanks a lot for the comment, I will give it a try. This is exactly the sort of comments I wanted.

By the way, this version would never make a good print, way too dark. I would need to do something else to get it to print.



Sep 15, 2013 at 05:13 PM
newhaven
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p.1 #4 · Is this believable?


Ben, why do you use color balance to set black and white points?. I use curves, and some people use levels, but I've never seen color balance except over on the photo critique forum. RGB 5,5,5 is too dark to print and 254, 254, 254 is clipping. It would be better select a meaningful black point where there is some texture and the print or web value would be noticeable. Also, make sure you color markers are not set to point sample. The image that you posted looks good, but as you said, it would not print well.

Edited on Sep 15, 2013 at 05:58 PM · View previous versions



Sep 15, 2013 at 05:46 PM
curious80
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p.1 #5 · Is this believable?


I think most of it looks believable. However the top part of the hill seems a bit overdone to me.


Sep 15, 2013 at 05:47 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #6 · Is this believable?


newhaven wrote:
Ben, why do you use color balance to set black and white points?. I use curves, and some people use levels, but I've never seen color balance except over on the photo critique forum. RGB 5,5,5 is too dark to print and 254, 254, 254 is clipping. It would be better select a black point where there is some texture and the print or web value would be noticeable. Also, make sure you color markers are not set to point sample.



Good question. I have used curves (eyedropper for black and white) in the past to expand the histogram and when it changes color too much I set it to luminance. But in this case color balance worked good too. I watch my neutrals to make sure they don't go out of whack.

The images tend to lack depth and contrast if I don't make a good black point.

I will look for the color marker is not set to point next time, and I may drop the white point back to around 250.

I understand the question, but is this particular image believable? Otherwise did the process of color balance mess up the colors?

Edited on Sep 15, 2013 at 06:07 PM · View previous versions



Sep 15, 2013 at 06:02 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #7 · Is this believable?


curious80 wrote:
I think most of it looks believable. However the top part of the hill seems a bit overdone to me.


Can you expand on that? Too saturated? Too much contrast? Color off?



Sep 15, 2013 at 06:03 PM
BluesWest
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p.1 #8 · Is this believable?


To my eye, it's way oversaturated. Unfortunately, that seems to be the trend in photographs nowadays. Consequently, many people expect that type of over-the-top image, and anything less is judged as "boring" or "bland".

John



Sep 15, 2013 at 06:06 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #9 · Is this believable?


BluesWest wrote:
To my eye, it's way oversaturated. Unfortunately, that seems to be the trend in photographs nowadays. Consequently, many people expect that type of over-the-top image, and anything less is judged as "boring" or "bland".

John



Ok, it has 20 points of saturated in ACR, otherwise not saturation was added. I could back it off or set it to zero. The SOOC image is way too flat for me, I would trash it if thats all I could get. Maybe someplace in between.

I could make variations with this process with different starting saturation values. But I suspect some of this is not saturation but contrast/darkness. Darkening the sky and mountain tend to increase the perception of saturation.



Sep 15, 2013 at 06:10 PM
newhaven
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p.1 #10 · Is this believable?


Ben, the color is excellent on my screen (nec 2490 wuxi2). I mentioned using curves because color balance does not give much control for luminosity. Curves allows you to adjust the individual r, g, b curves to change color and luminosity. Plus, you can transfer color sample points to the individual curves to see exactly what you're doing.


Sep 15, 2013 at 06:40 PM
 

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newhaven
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p.1 #11 · Is this believable?


I you are adjusting luminosity and don't want to affect color or saturation, set the curves or levels adjustment layer blend mode to luminosity.


Sep 15, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #12 · Is this believable?


ben egbert wrote:
I would like to hear what you all think of this processing? Go ahead and tell me if it has a color cast, but I also want to know if itís too HDR, too much clarity too much saturation etc. Or if you don't like the term believable, is it overcooked?.


I think both images are believable and not overcooked. I would however run the desaturation brush along the top of that orange hilltop. I wouldn't use the color sliders so as the keep the nice orange lines in the trees - or if that, then select the hilltop first and then... Also I'd lighten the whole image up a bit. It's too dark and dreary here...

I like both images - the before and the after. But I think the after is a little better.

My idea:









Just a 30sec. quicky.

Edited on Sep 15, 2013 at 08:14 PM · View previous versions



Sep 15, 2013 at 07:46 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #13 · Is this believable?


newhaven wrote:
Ben, why do you use color balance to set black and white points?. I use curves, and some people use levels, but I've never seen color balance except over on the photo critique forum. RGB 5,5,5 is too dark to print and 254, 254, 254 is clipping.


I should probably point out to Ben, that I'm not using color balance to set black & white points. I'm using color balance to adjust neutrals where I find unwanted color cast encroaching them as a key to identifying WB issues or to contend with mixed lighting.

Neutrals could be at any tonal value and I largely try to stay away from picking black/white (near) end points when I'm trying adjust for casts. It should also not be missed that I've indicated that I often pull back on the saturation after using color balance to make such adjustments.






Sep 15, 2013 at 07:52 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #14 · Is this believable?


newhaven wrote:
Ben, the color is excellent on my screen (nec 2490 wuxi2). I mentioned using curves because color balance does not give much control for luminosity. Curves allows you to adjust the individual r, g, b curves to change color and luminosity. Plus, you can transfer color sample points to the individual curves to see exactly what you're doing.


Thanks, on color, good to know, It looked ok to me on my laptop, The curves for individual channels is out of my experience. I will have to play with that and see if it requires too much color judgement on my part.



Sep 15, 2013 at 08:33 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #15 · Is this believable?


RustyBug wrote:
I should probably point out to Ben, that I'm not using color balance to set black & white points. I'm using color balance to adjust neutrals where I find unwanted color cast encroaching them as a key to identifying WB issues or to contend with mixed lighting.

Neutrals could be at any tonal value and I largely try to stay away from picking black/white (near) end points when I'm trying adjust for casts. It should also not be missed that I've indicated that I often pull back on the saturation after using color balance to make such adjustments.



How do you get contrast and a good black point. I have used curves to simply pull it back or with the eyedropper on a dark point. But otherwise I don't know any other tricks. using color balance for this has a bit more control. I usually find too much blue so it needs to be pulled back more.

I am using a real neutral someplace in the mid range and my white is usually close to white so its also fairly neutral unless its a red cloud sunset.

If I used curves and pulled back each RGB channel to about 5 it would be the same would it not? And if I pull it back until one channel is near clipping and another is still around 10-15, its not going to be very black.

I suppose I could pull each channel back to around 5 and then use luminance to avoid changing the cast.

If I don't set a good black point, the image usually looks flat. This is one of the big issues with most HDR images.

Edited on Sep 15, 2013 at 09:01 PM · View previous versions



Sep 15, 2013 at 08:39 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #16 · Is this believable?


Bifurcator wrote:
I think both images are believable and not overcooked. I would however run the desaturation brush along the top of that orange hilltop. I wouldn't use the color sliders so as the keep the nice orange lines in the trees - or if that, then select the hilltop first and then... Also I'd lighten the whole image up a bit. It's too dark and dreary here...

I like both images - the before and the after. But I think the after is a little better.

My idea:
http://tesselator.gpmod.com/Images/Temporary/Ben_Egbert's_Orange_Hills.jpg


Just a 30sec. quicky.


This one would print, and because the printer darkens it, it would look more like my first processed image.

For web, it seems a bit light on my monitor, and maybe not enough depth (or contrast). Thanks for doing it because this is very helpful. Getting back what other folks want to see. Good honest criticism.



Sep 15, 2013 at 08:41 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #17 · Is this believable?


Here is one taking some of your comments.

I followed the recipe (two images using ACR auto for exposure and WB), but I turned off saturation.

In CS, I made a black point by sliding each channel back to clipping. Then I added a linear curve and sharpened. That is all. No color balance, not added saturation.

It might still be too dark, and the way I brought down the curve was not done in luminance mode so it might have skewed the colors a bit.

This lacks punch and is too flat for my taste, it needs more contrast. But it was just a quick check of some comments.








Sep 15, 2013 at 08:58 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #18 · Is this believable?


One thing that also comes to mind as I look at this scene ...

The sky/clouds and warm areas of the peak are being illuminated by much more contrasty light than those areas that are only being illuminated by the overhead sky. This inherent contrast variance might be something to consider that can be a cause for "overcooking" some areas while you are trying to bring "pop" to those areas that have inherently flat lighting illuminating them.

I've noticed that you like to shoot in early morning and other low contrast/flat lighting. Nothing wrong with that, but it is more challenging to get flat blue lighting to pop than specular warm light or neutral full spectrum.




Sep 15, 2013 at 09:18 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #19 · Is this believable?


RustyBug wrote:
One thing that also comes to mind as I look at this scene ...

The sky/clouds and warm areas of the peak are being illuminated by much more contrasty light than those areas that are only being illuminated by the overhead sky. This inherent contrast variance might be something to consider that can be a cause for "overcooking" some areas while you are trying to bring "pop" to those areas that have inherently flat lighting illuminating them.

I've noticed that you like to shoot in early morning and other low contrast/flat lighting. Nothing wrong with that, but it is more challenging
...Show more


Well golden hour is about the only thing that flies at the Landscape forum. I take other stuff but it hardly ever looks like it would play at that forum.

My experience is that mountains often look great at golden hour if the sun is slightly at an angle so that some contrast is obtained. But if it is direct, your are right, poor contrast. I think this might be one of the reasons some icons are icons. For example the Tetons in the morning have no rear obstructions, sunrise is as soon as the sun pops over a flat expanse behind you. Certain times of the year its also at enough angle to provide great contrast.

The big problem is to get the clouds and mountain red at the same time. Notice that the clouds are pretty white here while the sun has applied lots of red to the mountain. When the clouds had color, the mountain was still in shadow.

But how do you work black point and pop?

I am not too concerned with having a bit more pop in the shadows than reality. I think artistic photography will always be pushing the envelope. Trying to find how far we can push it and not look fake to our customers.



Sep 15, 2013 at 09:55 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #20 · Is this believable?


Mostly, I separate my pp into the different portions that the light is giving me ... dialing each to taste independently and then blending/balancing by eye.

Even though we have one image, I treat it as two different images because the different portions of the scene are really being lit by two very different sets of lighting. With the exposure DR variance between the portions of the scene, it is really impossible to make global adjustments.

If you have an incident exposure meter, you can take a couple of readings at say 3 PM to illustrate.

First reading:
Stand facing the sun and place the meter flat on your chest (using dome).

Second reading:
Turn 180 degrees and take the meter reading from the same position on your chest.

What you'll notice from reading 1 is that it is a combination of 1/2 the sky + the sun vs. reading 2 is only 1/2 the sky. If you were to try and take an exposure that was in the middle of these two readings ... the one side would be overexposed by 1/2 that difference, (if we were shooting from an orientation that includes both key and shadow). Working from that exposure, an adjustment to the overexposed side would be necessary to bring it to proper exposure.

Without pulling that area of overexposure down independently, the additional adjustments you would make globally to bring up the shadow side would further overexpose the key side. As you mentioned, brush work is a pain, but if you study your channels, you can create channel masks that correspond to the difference between red vs. blue that will many times make a clean distinction (or minimal brush work to augment) between the two different lighting scenarios. This can then enable you to address the contrast, luminance, saturation, color balance, etc. separately.





Edited on Sep 15, 2013 at 10:51 PM · View previous versions



Sep 15, 2013 at 10:20 PM
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