Archive for plugins

When IS enough, enough

Posted in General, Rants, Software/Hardware with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by bayouphoto

I was reading a post by Matt Koslowski and it got me to thinking about what is enough, for me. How do I determine when enough is enough? I start the process when taking photos. I usually have a clear idea what I want to achieve. Once I import to Lightroom I then closely check all photos and delete the out of focus, badly under or over exposed, or just technically wrong. Then I start to run the remaining through the develop module. After that it is time to rate the ones I really want to spend time on and to see what must be done, to achieve my goal for that photo. I have used Photoshop, Lightroom and my various plug-ins to now know what each is capable of and which one will best achieve my goal. I tend to use Lightroom and the various plug-ins that work right from it more. My small road trip netbook runs Lightroom way better than Photoshop, so I am limited when on the road.

Then it is just a matter of applying the correct adjustments to the image. Most people will tend to develop a style over time. I tend toward crisp sharp details for my landscape and nature and more of a soft effect for people and portraits.

Here is an example of what I like to achieve with my landscape images.

Click the photos to see them larger

Nice saturated colors, pure whites and crisp detail in the rocks.

I want to address a misconception I am hearing a lot with the advent of networking and social networking sites. It is the myth that if you post great photos you must have a “really good camera” That is like telling Emeril Lougasi he must have a really good oven, or Michael Angelo had a really good chisel. It is not the tools but how they are used. When I shot competitive 3D  archery I used to tell the young guys, that thought they could win if they just had the latest and greatest bow. ” I can take your bow and beat you but you can’t take my bow and beat me”

Yes I have a decent camera but I work within its limitations and do everything I can to make it the best, BEFORE I post it.

As an example here is the straight out of the camera.And here they are side by side so you can compare better.

Click the photos to see them larger

The next time you see a great photo think about what probably went into actually creating it.


Tech Tuesday: Compositing with Photoshop and Onone software

Posted in Software/Hardware, Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2011 by bayouphoto

I recently acquired the upgrade to Onone softwares new Perfect Photo suite 5.5.3 which includes the new release of Perfect Layers. It also includes the other programs all bundled into one. My main interest was in Perfect Layers as I now do about 80% of my workflow straight from there. The ability to work with layers would further enhance the experience.

However I have always loved making composite photos and even though it COULD be done in perfect layers it would be tedious. I have used masking programs since they first came out and recently was using Vertus Fluid mask. This was a big advance but nothing compared to the ease of using Mask Pro 4. I used it in combination with Photoshop and other Onone programs.

I want to stop and give a disclaimer as to why I am so late posting this. There seems to be an issue with photoshop crashing when launching Mask Pro. It took me awhile to finally figure it out. I spent most of the day trying to figure it myself then I turned to the excellent Onone support and found the answer here. I followed the instructions and it worked perfectly. This is the only one of their programs that has given me any problems.

I don’t have video screen capture capability but did want to show my steps and workflow for this. I suggest you check out the excellent tutorials and the more in depth webinars.

Now on to the steps. As always CLICK THE PHOTOS TO SEE THEM LARGER

I first selected the two photos I wanted to use and opened them in photoshop. I wanted the empty field to the right of the right image and the pose from the left.

Working on the image I wanted for my background, I used the marquee tool to select just the right side.Then went to image>crop to make my selection.

Now that I have my background I need to make the height the same as my other photo which was 800 pixels high. I will use Perfect Resize 7 for this task. This used to be Genuine Fractuls. I do this by clicking the oneone button>perfect resize or going to file>automate>Perfect resizeIt opens the interface and allows me to select my size for the new document. I select an output height of 800 pixels and hit apply. It returns to photoshop performs the calculations and makes the changes. I wanted to make the background look like it was shot with a high quality lens with a very shallow depth of field. This would make the subject pop out and give a smooth out of focus background. I sent it to Focalpoint 2 .

I used the planar focus bug, which you can learn about in the videos, to select the area to be out of focus. I wanted the foreground, where the subject would be, to in focus and slowly taper out.Under the lens option tab I selected the Canon 85 f1.2 @ f1.2 to simulate the use of a high quality portrait lens.After hitting apply it returned to photoshop. Here is the before.and here is the after.I used the move tool to drag the other photo onto my new background.Here I moved it so you could see both layers.I then sent it to Mask Pro. I am not going into detail about what I did or how to do it. watch the videos. I will say it is the easiest, fastest and most accurate masking program I have ever used. The magic brush makes masking hair, glass, water or bubbles easy.Here is my completed mask, took me maybe 10 minutes. I then applied and returned it to photoshop. I now wanted to do some work to the overall image. I sent it to Phototools 2.6

Once it was open I wanted to remove the blue tint to his white pants.I used catagories>image optimize>purity. It the options panel I selected highlights and added it to the stack.

Here it is with the purify turned off. And here is with it on. As you can see it removed the blue cast from his pants.Next I wanted to adjust the color and contrast using auto color and tone and the auto contrast with neutrals option. This would add contrast and even out the tones further making the whites whiter.I wanted to boost the greens of the grass so I searched for green and selected spring enhancer.Here is the final image after adding a slight vignette. As you can see it is a dramatic transformation. I took a standard snapshot and created a photo worthy to be printed large and hung proudly.