ABFriday Forum Week 29

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 29A Before 03

After                                                                Before

Each Friday, Stacy Fischer of Visual Venturing hosts a special forum on post-processing where photographers may submit images and describe their post-processing actions to achieve the final result.  This week marks the 29th consecutive episode and I fully expect there will once again be an interesting set of examples by the participants.  Here is the link for the ABForum Week 29 Central Command.  Please check it out.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 29A Before 01

Original Raw Image

The above image is a “Reject” taken about four years ago and this week the idea was to see if a heroic rescue could be achieved.   After all, I had learned a few tricks since the image was taken and Photoshop has added a ton of new capabilities during that time.   But alas, a transformation from forlorn reject into a splendid representational masterpiece was not to be.

The original image is a long view of the Smithsonian American Art Museum looking north up 8th Street NW in Washington, DC and was taken about 45 minutes before sunrise. (Technical Data: Nikon D700 on tripod with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens extended to 70mm; exposure 3 secs. @ f/13, ISO 200)

The first step, as always, was in Adobe Camera Raw.  The adjustments made were as follows: White Balance changed to tungsten; Exposure increased +0.35; Highlights decreased to -68 to reduce the bright glare of the street lights; Shadows increased to +100 to open up the dark areas; Clarity upped to +38; Vibrance moved up to +37; and Saturation nudged to +8.  The results are shown in the image below.Robin Kent ABFriday Week 29A Before 02

Adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw

Next, a variety of Photoshop actions were taken but there is no need to list them since they did not help much.  This left two choices: another image could be chosen and the process could start all over. Or, I could fall back on the techniques used  in last week’s Forum and abandon realism altogether. In other words, return to the hallucinatory environment known as Photoshop’s Filter Gallery.  So that’s what happened and the image below is the result (Technical details at the end of the post).

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 29A After

Final Image

I’m not sure this is a great result; it might be better if some of the upper portion was cropped out to eliminate the untextured part of the sky. Any thoughts from viewers would be welcome.

Techie stuff about the method:

The image was cropped to eliminate the unattractive foreground.  When using the filter gallery one needs an 8-bit image, a 16-bit file won’t work.  To verify this, just click on Image->Mode and make sure 8 bits/channel is checked in the drop-down menu.  The second rule, at least for those (like me) who don’t have extensive experience with the Photoshop filter gallery, is to just try each option until you find something that works well.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 29 Before 04

Detail from Filter Gallery Dialog Window

When ready begin, click on Filter–>Filter Gallery and a large display panel will open. A partial screen capture is shown above. The choices are listed on the right side and a preview of the image is displayed in a large panel on the left (mostly not shown).  I started with the variations listed under Artistic (blue arrow) and merely worked my way down looking for one that had some possibilities.  After 8 strikes, I landed on “Plastic Wrap” (red arrow) and, as I did with the others, started adjusting the three controls.  The settings I chose are shown in the screen capture (yellow arrow).

Again, thanks to Stacy for keeping this Forum running smoothly and thanks to the other participants who make this such an interesting weekly event.  Please check out their submissions at Visual Venturing’s  ABFriday Forum Week 29.

17 thoughts on “ABFriday Forum Week 29

  1. Pingback: After-Before Friday Week 29 | Visual Venturing

    • Thanks for the comments. Yes, I did try an additional crop removing some of the upper portion after writing the post. While it did eliminate the blank sky, the image format was then close to being square which seemed a little wrong for the scene.


      • Update on this comment. As you can see from the dialog below, there has been a number of suggestions about the cropping so after further experimentation I am reconsidering my original position;-)


  2. Exactly correct, so I will rename this process “metal stamping.” As you point out, it does have a similar texture to those stamped tin ceilings I’ve seen in older (late 19th century) buildings in the US.


  3. Hi Robin, interesting alternative for the image. I like the texture that results from this filter. I have been spending a little more time on instagram, where we see a square format, I really like the 1×1 ratio, so I think the image would work well with the 1×1 ration! just 2 cents worth!


  4. Well, Alexander beat me to it. I instantly thought of metal etching when I saw the after image. And I quite like it. The non-etched portion of the blue sky doesn’t bother me – it adds another level of interest and gives the eyes a rest. Creative rescue of a photo, Robin 🙂 And, as I mentioned when you sent me the image, I shot this same street back in the spring. Mine didn’t wow me either – perhaps I’ll have to try this technique to see whether it will turn out as nice as yours 😉


    • Thanks, Stacy. Metal etching is a cool description as well. Both are way better than plastic wrap. Interesting that you have tried the same shot. I may go back there again and try it under different circumstances to see what happens.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is straight from my book – if you can’t improve it, mask it. 😀 And I like what you did here, we used to do something similar in my high school art classes. As for cropping, I would try to crop the top, little bit of the left side to lose that piece of the tall building and little more of the right. The colors are so beautiful, blue and gold look great together.
    (I was intrigued by your image, so I cropped it myself and I must say it looks really good, hope you don’t mind.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comments. And no problem with your doing the crop. In fact, I’ve had quite a few comments about the cropping so I am thinking I may revisit this image in the next running of the ABFriday series. If you wish, you can send me a copy of how you cropped it and I can include that in the post. (kentro@cox.net)


  6. Although the effect seems to be Plastic Wrap, it looks more like an embossed piece of metal. Not a bad effect at all. And though you don’t seem to like it very much, I feel like you did an incredible job with the initial processing before the filter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Emilio. No one, it seems, is buying into Adobe’s “Plastic Wrap” name . Everyone is going for some sort of metal effect. In addition to your Embossed Metal, other suggestions include Metal Stamping and Metal Etching. And since I used it again for Week 30, it has the distinction of being the only image I have used in two different posts (so far).


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