Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Post Processing

There are several step I take when I get an image into my PC. Using Photoshop, the first is always a levels adjustment. Control + L gets you there. You will see a histogram of data. When photos are too  dark or too light, moving the sliders inward on each end to where the data (black in the histogram) begins will adjust the lightness or darkness of the image. The center slider is for all the midtones and I usually tweak it ever so slightly either left or right to see the outcome. One or the other generally appeals to me.

Here is a SOTC image of my nephew. It was taken under a pavilion and so he is in shadows. The backdrop is much lighter especially with the white car. The subject is under exposed. I also don't like that the telephone pole is coming out of his shoulder and the wire from his forehead.

The adjustments I made were:
  • a levels adjustment to lighten the subject
  • the self healing brush to remove both the pole and the wire
  • I then used the magic extraction brush, which is one of the selection tools, to separate  Paul from the background. This is fairly easy to do since their is so much contrast.  I set the feather factor (in the extraction box options) to 3 in order to soften the edge of subject and background.
  • After extracting him and while he was still selected, I put him on his own layer. Layer-New-Copy. This places just the subject on a layer above the entire photo.
  • To further camouflage the healing brush actions and the white car, I gently blurred the original photo which is only serving as the background . Filter-Blur-Gaussian=6.0

Here is the final result. The changes are subtle but significantly improved. The order in which things are done is important. I could have first extracted Paul and then only lightened him.It is a choice to be made. In all. these adjustments took only a few minutes. Photoshop skills are worth having.

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