Sunday, November 25, 2007

oh no, you don't expect me to watch this...

EDIT - Okay, I finally got these on YouTube, but I had to break them up into three parts. Its still the same crappy video, but at least you might be able to see it larger...

the quality may not be up to snuff but hey, its my first time.
EDIT - i realize my voice is simply horrible and i say 'uh' like its going out of style, and at nearly 20 MINUTES this is almost unwatchable. wow, now i see why those NAPP folks get the big $$$.

Monday, November 19, 2007

best of both worlds

...., originally uploaded by Joseph Orsillo.

After all this focus on HDR I thought I might share my latest craze. I am really enjoying the combination of traditional HDR with a sepia and aging technique. I have done this layering process that I call 'antiquing' to straight images for a while, but I find the additional tonal range of an HDR image adds  some extra character. Stay tuned for a mini tutorial that explains this whole layering technique - I promise it wont be as convoluted as the last series...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Demo - Part IV

Okay. We're in the home stretch. We left off with most of the tonal adjustments in place. Now its time to add the finishing touches. We're now going to apply some sharpening techniques, but we need to do this on a new layer for flexibility. We need to create a merged layer copy, essentially the entire contents of our layer stack all on a new layer. This can be done via the menu commands, but the best way for me to explain it is using the keyboard shortcut. First make sure the top most layer is selected. Then press Command + Option + Shift + E (Mac), Control + Alt + Shift + E (Windows). You should now have a brand new layer at the top of the stack that is identical to the sum of the layers beneath it. Okay, now with the new layer active, target the Lightness channel, but restore visibility of the composite channel by clicking on the eyeball next to the LAB channel. Now we select Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. The settings for the first adjustment are going to seem strange. Try something like Amount: 30, Radius: 35, Threshold: 0. This should add some edge contrast and make the image appear more three dimensional, but play with these values until you are satisfied. Remember, the goal here is not to really sharpen, but add dimension. Now with the Lightness channel still selected, repeat the Unsharp Mask command, but this time we want to almost over sharpen the image. Try settings like Amount: 300, Radius: 1, Threshold: 0. Once these are committed we can adjust the opacity of our sharpening layer to taste. Finally, we will add a slight vignette and call it a day (or month). There are a hundred ways to do this but here is one of my go to methods. First create a new curves adjustment layer. Grab a point in the center of the curve and drag it down to darken the whole image, then click OK. Now use the rectangular marquee to draw a selection about an inch or so in from the edges of the frame. Now fill the selection with black and you should see a very sharp, dark edge around the image. To ease the transition from light to dark go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. For Blur Method use Zoom, and for Quality use Draft, then raise the amount to about 80 (again this will vary on the size of your image. Click OK and we're done. Save this as a .PSD to maintain all of your layers, then flatten and convert back to RGB and save again as a .JPG, or your favorite file format. This may seem very drawn out and long winded, but the process can go very quickly and once you get used to the workflow you will open up a whole world of tonal possibilities that are hard to replicate by other means. Now go out and impress your friends...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Demo - Part III

Well, I should have included this step in with the last post. We left off with a tone mapped 32 bit image. Thats great but Photoshop wont really let you do anything within 32 bit space so we need to take this down to 16 bits per channel. Click on Image > Mode > 16 Bits/Channel. In the resulting dialog use the Exposure and Gamma Method. I would recommend leaving Exposure set to 0 and Gamma to 1.2. These are the defaults and should preserve the appearance of your tone mapped image, but you can make adjustments here if the image merits it. Click okay and the image will be down sampled to 16 bits.

Now we can do things like correct the perspective. In this case I selected Filter > Distort > Lens Correction. I adjusted the Vertical Perspective +35 to make the verticals mostly parallel.

Now we move into my favorite part, LAB color space. Select Image > Mode > Lab Color. You wont notice a change unless your channels pallet is open (if it isn't, I suggest you open it now along with the layers pallet). We then make a duplicate of the layer. So far, so good - now we get tricky. With the copy layer active target the a channel by clicking on it in the channels pallet. Now select Image > Apply Image. In the resulting dialog make sure the target is the "a" channel and change the blend mode to Soft Light. You should see the image become more contrasty. Click OK then target the "b" channel and repeat the Apply image command making sure the target is now the "b" channel and the blend mode is set to Soft Light. Now select the composite Lab channel in the channels pallet and notice that the image is super colorful and saturated. Adjust the opacity of the copied layer in the layers pallet until you are satisfied with the color saturation.

Next we make a curves adjustment layer that brightens the entire image and reveals more shadow detail. I don't really want to brighten the whole image so I fill the adjustment layer mask with black to hide the effect. Now to reveal the effect in the shadows I select a small paint brush with a soft edge, make sure my foreground color is white, and begin to paint onto the mask where I want the adjustment to be seen. Continue painting in the effect until satisfied and remember that we can always adjust the opacity of the adjustment layer if the effect is too harsh.

Finally we make another curves adjustment layer, but this one is set to sort of flatten the contrast. We raise the mid tones while forcing the shadows and highlights to their original positions. Again, I don't want this to affect the entire image so we will use another mask. With the layer mask active, make sure the foreground color is white, background black, then select Filter > Render > Clouds. You should see the layer mask turn a mottled black and white, but it is still too harsh. To smooth it out we select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a fairly high radius (this is dependent on the image resolution). Again, the effect is still too much so we lessen it by lowering the opacity of the adjustment layer.

I think this is enough for now. Next week we will tie it all together with some super cool sharpening tricks...