Well, last week on the ABFriday Forum was great with everyone presenting a Before and After version of the same image. I think we participants all enjoyed the experience of comparing our diverse interpretations of the same image. Now we return to our normal practice of each person submitting Before and After versions of our own images. All of the other contributions can be found at Stacy Fischer’s Visual Venturing post starting around 8:00 EST so be sure to check them out. .
As I started to consider what image to submit this week, i was struggling with the fact that the morning temperatures were in the 20s and heading down. Although this might be a trifle for folks in the northern latitudes, it is really hard on those of us who live in Virginia. Then, my memory took me back to a January day when I had the good sense to be in Hawaii and the selection was an easy one. The differences between the two images above may seem small, but a fair amount of work was required to get from B to A.
Unprocessed RAW Image
A larger size version of the Before image is shown above. As usual, the first step was to engage the Adobe Camera RAW process (See image of the screen capture below). All work was done in the basic window (yellow arrow) and the specific changes are identified with the red arrows. My first goal was to minimize the bright spots in the sky and so the Highlights were reduced to -70. Second, I wasn’t thrilled with the silhouette effect and did my best to open up the shadows by going to the maximum increase of +100. The remaining changes were less aggressive: Whites reduced to -8; Clarity increased to +22; and Vibrance increased to +27.
Adobe Camera RAW Changes
The result of the adjustments are shown in the image below. It seemed like there had been some improvement in the sky, and opening up the shadows had brought out some detail in the palm tree and some life in the water in the middle distance. But two new problems had arisen. The open shadow maneuver had revealed an unattractive road in the foreground and a portion of some kind of boat on the right side. Curses! Had I been foiled again?
Result of the Adobe Camera RAW Adjustments
But not to worry, Photoshop was waiting to show its capabilities and the image was transferred there. The next step was to de-emphasize the road in the foreground
Levels Adjustment for the Foreground
by selecting it (see red arrow pointing down to the selected area) and using a Levels Adjustment layer and moving the slider from 0 to 32 (Other red arrow).
But the problems of the boat and the still too bright segments of the sky remained. The boat easily defeated the first attempt (Content-Aware Edit Fill) and so the clone tool was pulled out for action. Removing the boat was easy enough and the sky was corrected by copying small sections of sky on the left side that had a light blue tone .
Using the Clone Tool
The final result is shown below. Although a fair amount of work was done, the differences are small. But I think they make it a better image. The foreground remains unobtrusive, the small but annoying boat is gone, the water is a little brighter, there is just a bit of detail in the palm leaves to add some dimensionality, and there are no hot spots in the sky.
I’d be interested in any comments and please check out the submissions from the other participants at Stacy Fischer’s ABFridayWeek 27.
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Nice image Robin, a lovely warm looking shot on a very cold week (for some)!
Thanks very much. This scene sort of materialized in front of us while having dinner on the porch of a restaurant. So I just pulled the camera out of the bag, walked out to the curb and took 2 shots. Best sunset of the entire trip.
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Oh, what a welcome image on this cold Virginia morning. Brings back a lot of wonderful memories from my trip so long ago (I must work to change that!). I had to laugh at the failure of the content aware tool. Sometimes it just makes really bizarre changes. I tend to stick to the cloning tool myself, though I’ve started to use the spot healing brush tool a bit more. I just need more practice with each to figure out which choice is the best for a given situation.
In looking at one of your screenshots, I notice two layers named Shape 1 and Shape 2. I’ve never created a new layer when cloning. I’m assuming that’s a no-no, but since I import from Lightroom and export back into it when I’m done, I’m pretty loose on creating different layers. Anyway, what action(s) brought about those layers? Is there one for cloning out the boat and another for cloning out the sky? And did you name the layers yourself?
Another great lesson with a beautiful outcome, Robin. Thanks, as always, for sharing!
Ah, ever the eagle eye;-) The “Shape” layers have nothing to do with the image processing itself but the act of drawing the arrows to use as graphics in the explanation. The layer is created by PS when you use the Line tool to draw something. So a new layer is created each time you use the tool. I was too lazy to try to make that part go away. Anyway, your frustrations with the Edit>Fill (Content Aware) technique may be resulting from the feather option on your select ion tool (e.g. I use the polygonal lasso tool). I always set the feather to 0 pixels. Then I draw a selection that borders close to the subject targeted for elimination but doesn’t touch it. Thanks, as always, for the comments.
Well, thanks for clearing THAT up 🙂 I was wondering how you managed to make those wonderful arrows – your secret is now out. I did notice you used the polygonal lasso tool – never used that. I’ll try out what you’ve said. Thanks for the tip!
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Really enjoy your submissions to the After Before Challenge, and learn a lot from your explanations, Robin. The screen dumps are so useful. I wish I had read this a week ago when I was struggling with removing an ‘offending’ patch of colour in a solarised image on the One Four Challenge (https://wordpress.com/tag/one-four-challenge)! I am a beginner with photo processing and tutorials like what you do here are extremely helpful. Thank you also for visiting our site and choosing to follow our adventures in sailing and photography. I feel very privileged. Chris
Thanks, Chris. I appreciate your comments. It is good to hear that the descriptions are helpful. I think all of us who participate in the forum are learning a lot from each other. Hope to see a submission from you sometime. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to reading more about your sailing experiences.
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You did a great job, Robin. True the effect overall is subtle, but it is definitely a better image after your improvements. I noticed the difference in the palm fronds right away between before and after. This was a great example of what can be achieved without being obvious about it!
Thanks, Emilio. I’m impressed you noticed the difference in the palm fronds. That was a subtle (but in my mind a key) difference between the two.
Although at first glance it likes minor changes, but the processing was a lot more. The more I look the more I can see little things in the shadows and sky making the image pop.
Thanks, Ben. I appreciate your comments. As you say, the differences seem minor at first, especially in a small size. It’s a little easier to see in a larger version.
First – I noticed the changes in the palm fronds, too. So, be impressed. There are just enough changes to improve the image without any obvious shift. So, I am impressed, too.
Second – I use that lasso thingy in GIMP, find it very helpful, but sometimes very tricky to use.
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Thanks, and fear not. I am impressed that you spotted those. And I like that high tech terminology: “lasso thingy.” I didn’t know much about GIMP so I looked it up and was pretty impressed, especially the price. ANyway, thanks for commenting.
What a lovely image you had to work with, Robin. 🙂
Thanks very much. Yes, it was an excellent pick by the readers. A fun project in many ways.
Robin, this is one of the only scenes I can draw. And by draw, I mean doodle like a four-year-old. Thank you for reminding me, in images, of a scene that is so near and dear.