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Author Topic: "How I Do Image Editing" Q&A  (Read 10574 times)
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PhilL
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« on: February 06, 2007, 02:10:14 PM »

I hope you?ve read my short but sweet tutorial on ?How I Photograph Knives?. I think you can see how minor angle adjustments can make a big difference in the image. I try to make sure I have a photo where the subject knife is in focus, with no major hotspots or bad reflections. But, no matter how careful you are with your photography you?re still only half way there. All photos can be improved with a little Image Editing. Here?s how I do it.



I like to compare the photos side by side in Photoshop at a good size. Here is a screen shot of the four photos I took of this knife. The lower right I would say is the best, but it?s not something I would show to anyone. It still needs some work, most photos do.



These are the steps that I would go through to make this photo acceptable for sharing.

My Image editing program is Adobe Photoshop CS. The steps that I use here should be available in any image editing program. I won?t however be able to explain the exact placement or names of the tools or any other functions in any program besides Photoshop.

With the photo open in Photoshop the first thing I would do is to Duplicate the photo and put away (CLOSE) the Original untouched. From the Image menu click on Duplicate. When the Duplicate Image  window opens give your photo a name, then click OK.



With the Duplicate open in Photoshop the next thing I want to do is Copy the Background layer. I do this by pressing Command + J (Windows users Control  + J) on my keyboard. I want to make any corrections on the Copy layer, so that I can compare it later to the Original. Now would be a good time to Save this file. Command + S will allow you to save this file.

Save often.



Please note that my Layers pallet now has two layers, the original layer named Background and the new copy layer, the one we?ll be working on is highlighted and named Layer 1.

I hope you remembered to move that reflector out of the frame of your picture. I didn?t so now I?ve got to remove it. If it was smaller I might just paint over it, but in this case I took the Polygonal Lasso tool, selected the corner section of the photo.



I then took the Eyedropper tool and sampled a color close to where the correction will be added. Please note in the Toolbar I changed the Sample Size form Point Sample to 3 X 3 Average. The color you selected now becomes your Foreground Color. Once the color is selected I go up to the Edit menu and click on Fill. This will fill the area with the photo?s background color.







If you choose the color sample well then the  correction should be nearly invisible. If it isn?t, undo it Command + Z, and try again. When you?ve got it right Command + S.

The contrast and color for this photo is not bad, but maybe some corrections could help. I?m all for keeping things as simple as possible. Photoshop has a couple of Auto fixes under the Image menu > Adjustments. I click on each one in turn and see if it?s better, click on Command + Z, to Undo if it?s not. In this case Auto Color gave me the best results, but it wasn?t good enough. I knew I could do better.

Sometimes the Auto fixes will help, sometimes they won?t. Your greatest contrast control tools are Levels and Curves, under Adjustments. The first one listed is Levels and this is a powerful tool. Under the Image menu > Adjustments > Levels, a new window will open. There are three sliders under the histogram, watch the image and see what they do, (make sure the Preview box is checked). The only thing that helped my photo was moving the middle slider to the left to brighten the photo, but I still wasn?t satisfied.



I clicked Cancel and decided to try the Curves adjustment. With the Curves window open, by clicking on the diagonal line right in the middle and moving it up and to the left I was able to brighten the image quite a bit without losing detail in the highlights or the shadows.



This looked a lot better to me. I clicked OK and then, Command + S.

What about the color? It?s not bad, but it looks a little warm to me, (probably too much Yellow). One way to correct a color imbalance is under the Image menu > Adjustments > Color Balance.



Watching the photo, I move the slider to more Blue to remove the Yellow. Make small adjustments. Click the Preview button on and off to compare before and after. If it?s better click OK. Command + S.





My photo is looking a lot better, but it could use a little more punch. I want to bring up the color of the yellow handle. Go the the Image menu again > Adjustments > Hue/ Saturation. Once again make small adjustments as you watch the image. Don?t overdo it. When you?re satisfied click OK, Command + S.





If you want to see what you?ve accomplished in you photo corrections, click on the Eye icon on the Copy layer to switch it on and off. Even if you?ve made small corrections the difference may be considerable. I?m really happy with my corrections, but there?s a couple of things that really bother me, there?s scuff marks on both bolsters. If I were selling this knife I would point out any flaws and not correct them, but for display purposes only, I?d like to make those scuffs go away.



Using the Zoom (magnifier) tool I would enlarge the section I wanted to work on. I select the Eyedropper tool, and click in the area to get an appropriate color. With soft brush selected and the Opacity around 30%  I slowly paint over the scuff. That?s better. Command + S.



I started with a photo that was In-focus, but usually the last thing I want to do with and image is to see if I can sharpen it just a little bit more. The way I do this is to go to the Filter menu > Sharpen > Unsharpen mask and move just the top slider, and watch the image. If you start seeing a clumping of pixels or halos you?re over-sharpening. When you?re happy click OK, Command + S.


We?ve been working on the photo with the same resolution that it came out of the camera. If you ever want to print this photo, you?re going to want this High Resolution copy saved, but we have to reduce the resolution to 72ppi for use on the Web. We need to Duplicate this photo again. Remember we duplicated the Raw Image and Saved it. So, up to the Image menu > Duplicate. You can rename the file if you want, I would remove the ?copy? and add 72ppi to the file name. This is the file we want to continue to work with. Save and put away the High Res. version.

With the 72ppi version open in Photoshop, go up to the Image menu > Image Size, a new window will open.



This image is for the Web, either to include in an email or posted somewhere, so you really don?t want it too big so that it will load fast and the viewer won?t have to scroll to view it. In this case I made the Document Size width 10? that?s plenty big enough. Resolution is 72ppi. Make sure those three boxes are checked and Resample Image is set on Bicubic. Click OK.



From the File menu > Save for Web, will open another window. This where we do the balancing act between the best image quality with the smallest file size.





These are my normal settings; JPEG, Medium, Quality 50. I know you?re going to want the image you worked so hard on to look great when you post it, and you?re going to want to increase the Quality, I don?t. Well I told you this was a balancing act, best image vs file size. These settings are a good balance. the File Size is 12.6 k, it will load in 3 seconds with a 56k connection, and it will look great. Provided you started with a good photograph.
Here?s my Before & After. If you followed my tutorial on how I photograph knives your corrections shouldn?t be any more complicated than my corrections were here.


« Last Edit: February 06, 2007, 02:13:20 PM by PhilL » Logged

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PhilL
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« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2007, 01:49:31 PM »

I thought I would add this part to the tutorial.
This is one way to post photos to this forum, the other way is to put your photos into an online album site, (I use Picturetrail.com).
These same steps are almost exactly the same for uploading photos to an album site.
Make sure that the File Size of your photo is under 100K to upload directly here.
Questions, comments and photos are encouraged here.



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radicat
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2007, 05:58:06 PM »

Thank you Phil. Your contributions to this forum have been enormous.

We are fortunate to benefit from your many years of experience and sharing nature.          Clay
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Arno
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« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2007, 06:35:59 PM »

That?s true Clay! PhilL?s contributions are always great.
Thank?s PhilL! I?m thinking about purchasing Photoshop in the future. Soon after finishing may air hammer.

Salut

Arno
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PhilL
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« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2007, 06:41:06 PM »

Arno, before you layout big $$$ for Photoshop, download Picassa or Gimp for FREE.
The links are at the bottom of the first page of this thread.
Photoshop is great and if you can get it for free get it.
But, it's more program than most people need, with several good free programs go that way.

Now I want to see some great photos out of you guys.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 06:42:47 PM by PhilL » Logged

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Arno
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2007, 11:49:52 AM »

Thanks a lot PhilL!!!

I spent few minutes to test Picasa2. It has an agile friendly interface, takes few system resource with

remarkable results.

Thanks again

'Salut ? tous'

Arno
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PhilL
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« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2007, 12:15:05 PM »

Arno, muy bueno, Espero que trabaje bien para usted.

I should mention that Picasa is not available to Mac OS users, so I will not be able to help Arno or anyone else that wants to use it.
Hopefully once Arno is up to speed with it, he'll be able help explain how to get things done in Picasa vs Photoshop.
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PhilL
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2007, 02:27:45 AM »

Arno, I would say that's quite an improvement, congratz.
I'm glad you didn't wait to buy Photoshop.
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Arno
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« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2007, 02:29:14 AM »

Hey PhilL, do you remember that yellowish bulb lightning?



After Picasa Autocontrast/Autocolor (2 clicks):



Then some saturation lowering:



Total 3 clicks!
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Arno
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« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2007, 02:42:37 AM »

Here almost the same treatment, but some abuse of the deblurring tool...





Thanks PhilL for helping to save those $$$ and lots of time on learning Photoshop!
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PhilL
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« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2007, 02:55:26 AM »

Bravo!
Arno I hope if anyone else gives Picasa a try and they run into problems that you'll be able to help them.

I would like to suggest that if you use Photoshop or Picasa, that you do the sharpening (or deblurring) at the end.
The normal steps for me are; contrast, color, crop, retouch, sharpen, size, save for the web.
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