Tag Archives: processing

Dust Spots!

Dust spots and artifacts are my pet peeve… cannot stand them because they are so easy to fix. However, they can be hard to find! They are definitely the bane of any landscape photographer’s existence, but they can show up in any image and they never show up until you have published or printed an image! It is like magic. As soon as your friends, family, and world can see the image, the dust spots/artifacts miraculously appears and of course, you are at best, the second person to see it. :-/

Even those folks with great eyesight miss them. But here is where we can look to technology for a solution. Lightroom Develop and Photoshop Camera Raw both have dust spot removal tools. But for real success, you have to “visualize spots” to get the most of these tools. Let’s take a look at how this one little checkbox can make a world of difference.

Take this image… unprocessed, right out of the camera. We can see some spots (red arrows) right off the bat. So those can be easily fixed. But the real question will be…. have we missed any? So at a glance, we would like to say we haven’t, but how can we be sure?

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 1.41.20 PM

 

As I mentioned, the best tools for the identification of dust spots/artifacts that I have found are the spot removal tools in Lightroom Develop (the icon shown to the right) ,Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 2.20.38 PMand in Photoshop Camera Raw (icon shown to the right).  Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 11.48.12 AMAs these programs are the same, these spot removal tools are also the same. The only difference is the icon used to access them.

Now the tools themselves are great and do an amazing job (most of the time) of identifying the pixels from which to clone the dust spot. But the true beauty of these tools is their ability to identify spots and artifacts in images that we simply cannot see with the naked eye.

Here is how this works. Take the image noted above, we identified 5 dust spots/artifacts that need correction. Let’s see what the spot removal tool finds. To make this a bit easier, I have drawn arrows to re-identify the spots we found in the above image and then circled the additional dust spots/artifacts identified by the software. Take a minute to look back at the color image. Those spots in the sky do not stand out and could easily be missed if it wasn’t for the spot removal tool. So how do we get this masked image, show below? In both Lightroom Develop and Photoshop Camera Raw spot removal tools, there is a checkbox that says “visualize spots”.

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In Lightroom, the Visualize Spots can be found to the bottom left of the center panel: Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 12.03.43 PM.

In Photoshop, the Visualize Spots can be found at the bottom of the right hand panel: Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 12.03.26 PM

To emphasize the spots, check the box and then drag the slider bar to the right. This tool will even identify spots in the middle of clouds! In fact, it will identify spots anywhere in an image. Dust spots stand right out, as they have distinct round edges. Notice the dust spots in the sky above, they are hollow round spots and very noticeable. Now you can use the cloning feature (in both programs) to clone out the dust spots.

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In a few minutes, hundreds (which can happen) of dust spots/artifacts can be removed!

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 1.43.02 PM

 

Now, you can finish processing the image! I suggest removing dust spots first, so that whatever processing you do to the image doesn’t exaggerate or further emphasize spots that need to be removed. It is simply easier to fix the spots before their edges are more pronounced with contrast or clarity.

For this image, here is the final result:

_DSF1820-Edit

 

Happy Holidays and Creative New Year!!

New Book! Demystifying Photoshop

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 11.30.31 AMAdobe Photoshop is an extremely powerful post-production tool and was developed for graphic artists, designers, illustrators, and photographers alike. What does this mean? Well, it means that Photoshop has more features than any photographer is ever likely to use for processing photographs. But it also means that this is one of the best platforms to enhance your imagery.

The ability to use Camera Raw with Layers and Masks will enable you to take your images to the next level, whether you just want to enhance a single image or composite multiple images and textures to create an entirely unique piece of art.

The goal of this book is to introduce Photoshop and its features to photographers and to demonstrate how these tools may be used from the photographer’s perspective. Throughout this book, I will use images, and screenshots to demonstrate various techniques commonly used by photographers in Photoshop.

If you download the iBooks version, you will also get enhanced functionality, such as built in videos and interactive galleries to help reinforce what you are learning.

If you would like to purchase the Kindle/Android/PDF version, click here and then click Buy, just below the cover image.

New eBook demystifying Lightroom 5!

Denise just completed her first eBook – Lightroom 5!  The book demystifies Lightroom, from setting up preference for optimal functionality to importing images and organizing your workflow to developing images to their full potential to creating watermarks and exporting images to share.

This eBook is 65 packed pages of information on how to best use Lightroom in your workflow. With lots of step by step instructions and illustrative images to guide you!

http://roadrunnerphotographytours.com/educational/e-books-2

The book is priced at a very affordable $5.99 and payments are handled thru PayPal.

If you have any problems downloading the book please send me an email

don@roadrunnerphotographytours.com

Thanks,

Denise and Don…

Changing the Mood of an Image

Decided to play a bit with Photoshop this morning. I enjoy going back to old images, long forgotten, processed or not processed, and seeing how I would process them today, as my skills improve. As always, photography and image processing is highly subjective, so it is possible that others will not necessary think these images are “improved.” However, I am a strong believer in practice makes perfect, so here my take on an image from years.

As originally processed.

First step is to beef up the sky. There were great clouds but in the first processing attempt, I did not bring the detail out. So this time, I wanted to emphasize the incoming storm.

Second step… see how the image feels in black and white.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So now I had two versions, each with their own appeal, but I still had not achieve what I wanted. Since I liked the pier in the color image and the clouds in the black and white, I decided to see how these features worked together.

Final image


For me, it is not that any one of these images is “better” than the next, but rather, any one of these images is more or less pleasing depending on my mood and the message I wish to convey when sharing. There are times that I really like the use of selective color and for folks learning new image processing skills, testing out the techniques for blending color and black and white has its place in the process of growing as an artist.

As you develop your skills in image processing, try everything, practice everything, and then learn how and when to incorporate the techniques you like the most into your work. These images were enhanced using camera raw and blended using layers and masks. For some video tutorials on these techniques, click here for our YouTube channel.

Happy Shooting!

 

Macphun Black Friday Specials Are Coming Early This Year!

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BlackFriday is fast approaching and Macphun has some great gift ideas!

 

Save $80 on the Creative Kit Plus (Black Friday Special) & get a $25 Amazon or Apple iTunes Gift Card with purchase.Valid: Nov 25 – Dec 1
copy_1_ckplus_icon_92Details: Creative Kit Plus includes 4 award-winning Mac photo software products worth $210 (if purchased separately) for JUST $129.99. Nearly 40% off (an $80 savings). Plus, customers from the United States get a $25 gift card of their choice from the Amazon or iTunes stores with purchase of the Creative Kit Plus.Black Friday special is only valid on Creative Kit Plus (Black Friday Special). Gift Card only available to customers in the United States.

Use our discount code ROADRUNNER, if you are interested in purchasing individual products such as:
tonpro_icon92Tonality Pro – Awesome program for creating stunning black and white images! Great flexibility as the plugin has its own layer and masking capabilities!

 
 
 
 
 

intpro_icon_92Intensify Pro – Create powerful images with unprecedented drama, clarity, and detail! Great flexibility as the plugin has its own layer and masking capabilities!

 
 
 
 
 

shpro_icon_92Snapheal Pro – Easily remove unwanted objects, heal skin imperfections, get rid of pesky dust spots! Snapheal Pro features multiple erasing modes and adjustable precision for pixel-perfect results.

 
 
 
 
 

focpro_icon_92Focus 2 Pro – Create images with selection focus, lens blur and tilt-shift effects with just a few clicks!

 

Camera Raw Processing

RRPT has just returned from a wonderful photo tour of the Great Smoky Mountains. We had a great group of folks who were game for early mornings, long days, and late evenings! This was my 3rd trip to this area and by far, it was the best. We were gifted with some of the best weather conditions I have ever seen in this area.

During our trip, we discussed a lot about image processing, from which software products we use to which techniques we use to create our final images. So I decided to create some tutorials to demonstrate my approach… starting with my thought process and approach to my images, through the use of Camera Raw to enhance images and Photoshop layers and masks to modify specific areas of the images, to final touches!

These tutorials are chock full of tips and tricks on how to navigate and use Camera Raw and Photoshop. I focused on these products because I wanted to demonstrate that you can achieve beautiful images through basic tools, as not everyone has Photoshop plugins (NIK, TopazLabs, onOne, etc). So for these tutorials, I used what I consider to be the basic software tools need. For full disclosure, I work in Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite (Photoshop CC) and use and describe Photoshop’s version of Camera Raw, but if you have older versions of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, you should be able to use processes described in these tutorials to enhance your images!

These tutorials are somewhat sequential… starting with Columbine, then Rivers, then Foggy Tree. I mentioned this, because Columbine is the longest tutorial and includes a significant amount of Camera Raw explanation. The other two tutorials, although still descriptive, are not as in-depth on Camera Raw functionality, but get straight to the enhancements. Although the tutorials demonstrate the use of Camera Raw and Photoshop on specific subjects, all of the techniques demonstrated can be used to enhance any image, any subject.

My goal was to create instructional videos that help photographers learn how to use the image processing tools available to them. Hope you enjoy! If you find these tutorials helpful, please subscribe to RRPT’s YouTube Channel, as we add videos and tutorials regularly!

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis):

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In this tutorial, I show you the various features of Camera Raw and describe how I use the Basic adjustments, as well as the Adjustment Brush, features. Then I demonstrate how to bring the image back into Photoshop to enhance the blur/soft background (2 techniques for this!) and how to sharpen our main subject. I describe how to use layers and masks to selectively apply our adjustments, including what white/black masks do, and some tips and tricks for manipulating masks. I also describe how to select the brush tool and how to change its characteristics, including size and opacity. Lastly, this tutorial also describes Free Transform and how to use the transform tools, along with layers and masks to clone parts of your image.

To view this tutorial, click here.

 

 

 

River:
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In this tutorial, I demonstrate how to enhance a forest river scene. We cover how to clone unnecessary features from your image, add dimension to long-exposure water, straighten the image through the crop tool, and how to enhance the mossy rocks to give the image that added pop! These tutorial focuses primarily on the Adjustment Brush tool in Camera Raw and shows that you can take an image to nearly its final stage with this one invaluable piece of software.

To view this tutorial, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foggy Tree:
_XT19932-EditIn the final tutorial in the set, I discuss how to enhance an image taken in deep fog. Most of us LOVE foggy days and foggy scenes, but can be stumped when we get home and see this flat monochromatic image. Where do we start? Well, this tutorial demonstrates that in a few easy steps, you can take a bright, flat, foggy scene and create a moody scene with dimension fit for a zombie movie!

To view this tutorial, click here.

Topaz Labs – DeNoise 5

Always looking to explore my options, I tried a different technique for removing noise from my images. I have often used NIK Dfine 2 to remove noise and have generally been pleased with the results. For the first image below, I noticed significant banding in the sky. The banding is a result of all the light flares coming from the street lights directly across from where I was standing. I did not see the banding in camera, so was a bit unhappy to see them when scanning images to process. I recalled hearing that Topaz Labs DeNoise 5 does a great job of removing banding. Since I have never used the program before, I decided if it can improve this image… I am in. Here are the before and after images. I must say, I was impressed by how well DeNoise 5 did. I will admit, I ran it 3 times, each time adjusting for remaining banding, in the various channels. It took time and a few passes, but I am amazed at how DeNoise 5 cleaned up the image.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 10.58.18 PM Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 10.58.25 PM

After my banding experiment, I decided to use DeNoise 5 on an image with noise, but no banding, to see how well DeNoise would perform. This image was taken inside the U.S. Capitol, in low light, with fairly high ISO. Again, I must say, DeNoise 5 does a really good job and did not overly soften the image. Here are the before and after images.

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DeNoise 5 has made a convert out of me. If you are interested in exploring DeNoise 5 and other Topaz Labs plugins, click here or on the link in the blog Sidebar.

Happy Processing!