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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 09 Aug 2012 (Thursday) 23:32
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Rate the photo above you: Post processing Edition

 
mattmorgan44
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Aug 09, 2012 23:32 |  #1

In the thread titled REAL or FAKE, it became obvious that people have different ideas on how much post processing is too little or too much. This thread is not for posting photo's one after another with a like rating. That can be done in the critique corner version. This thread is aimed at a small discussion on each photo and is purely a thread about post processing. To keep the thread on topic, below are a few guidelines.

Guidelines:

A person will post a photo. I will start with one below.
At least two (2)! people rate the post processing, without posting a photo of their own.
1. Rate and discuss the post processing - give advice if you can/if needed. The more detailed your advice, the more it will help the image poster.
2. Is your viewing platform Calibrated and what is it? (Calibrated PC, iPad, Macbook, Non-calibrated Mac, Eizo, iPhone, 20 yr old CRT etc.etc.)

After at least two people have posted and discussed the image, another person is free to post their own photo. However, please keep discussing the previous photo until someone wants to post a new one. This should also help keep the thread moving.

The current photo poster can ask questions and reply to comments until a new photo is posted. After that please respect the new photo poster and move the discussion on to his/her image.

Again, this is not just for photo sharing. It is a discussion to help others and for learning about post processing techniques.

Rating System:

Way Over-Processed (cooked to oblivion)
Over-Processed (I like it medium rare, this is medium-well)
Just Right (about right for my taste)
Under-Processed (another 30 minutes in the pp oven)
Way Under-Processed (this is the Tartar of photo's)

After replying to the first image below, Phrasikleia brought up a valid issue with the rating system. I don't want to lose it because it is what people wanted this thread to be in the first place. So from now on please make your decision (from way under-processed to way over-processed) based on your first impressions of the image, the "look" of the image as a whole. Whether it looks over-cooked or too rare for your liking ;). Then the discussion of the image can follow. For the reasoning (and a great example of a post processing critique) please see post #8.

If anyone has any more suggestions please let me know so I can update this first post.

Please keep all images 1024 pixels on the longest side


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mattmorgan44
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Aug 09, 2012 23:32 |  #2

I chose this photo because it recieved very mixed opinions on the post processing. It is important to state your viewing platform because certain images can look wildly different from one to another

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Aug 09, 2012 23:37 |  #3

I'd say Just-Right. Some minor things like the strong light in the water and too much sky but that's just my POV. Viewing from a 53" TV


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Aug 09, 2012 23:46 |  #4

I'm calling it underprocessed. Would like to see a little more contrast in the sky, little less fake sun flare, and a little less ambient in the foreground. Viewing on 24" PC


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mattmorgan44
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Aug 09, 2012 23:59 |  #5

Nature Nut: Thanks for your comments, I might try trimming the sky down a little.

StanNJ1: That is really interesting to me because that's how it looks to me. Is your monitor calibrated? Might put my worries to rest about mine.


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ashiundar
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Aug 10, 2012 00:08 |  #6

Thanks for making this thread matt!

I vote underprocessed as well. It's lacking in contrast in my opinion. I'm viewing on an uncalibrated 17" monitor.


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mattmorgan44
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Aug 10, 2012 03:30 |  #7

ashiundar wrote in post #14838733 (external link)
Thanks for making this thread matt!

I vote underprocessed as well. It's lacking in contrast in my opinion. I'm viewing on an uncalibrated 17" monitor.

No worries ;) Hopefully it gets some interest because I like the idea. Thanks for your suggestions as well. Seems it could use some contrast especially in the sky.


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Phrasikleia
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Aug 10, 2012 04:03 |  #8

When I first saw the title of this thread, I thought it was great. Now that I'm here trying to participate, I see problems with the rating idea, however. It's sometimes hard to know whether a problem with a photo was created by too much processing or is something that processing could have fixed. For example, in the first photo of this thread, I wonder if the big 'hole' created by clipped highlights in the water (near the upper left corner of the triangular rock) was created by increasing contrast in the photo (= too much processing) or could be fixed by doing some recovery/highlight slider tweaks (= not enough processing). So I'm not sure that the over/under scale will quite work.

Anyway, I'll give it a try. I would go even further in post with the first image, so I guess I'll say it's under-processed. First of all, the sun rays need more work. They just do not look genuine. Maybe ditch the rays and instead dust on a bit of color where the big, white 'hole' in the sky is--maybe a light yellow color. I would also clone some texture over that hole in the water, if the area is not recoverable from the raw data. I think the overall tonality is good, so I wouldn't change the global contrast. You might try bringing out the blues a bit more, though, especially in the distant water. If you can do it subtly enough, it could cause the warm hues to vibrate a bit more.

I'm viewing on two calibrated IPS displays and a retina-display iPad.


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mattmorgan44
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Aug 10, 2012 04:36 |  #9

Phrasikleia wrote in post #14839148 (external link)
When I first saw the title of this thread, I thought it was great. Now that I'm here trying to participate, I see problems with the rating idea, however. It's sometimes hard to know whether a problem with a photo was created by too much processing or is something that processing could have fixed. For example, in the first photo of this thread, I wonder if the big 'hole' created by clipped highlights in the water (near the upper left corner of the triangular rock) was created by increasing contrast in the photo (= too much processing) or could be fixed by doing some recovery/highlight slider tweaks (= not enough processing). So I'm not sure that the over/under scale will quite work.

Anyway, I'll give it a try. I would go even further in post with the first image, so I guess I'll say it's under-processed. First of all, the sun rays need more work. They just do not look genuine. Maybe ditch the rays and instead dust on a bit of color where the big, white 'hole' in the sky is--maybe a light yellow color. I would also clone some texture over that hole in the water, if the area is not recoverable from the raw data. I think the overall tonality is good, so I wouldn't change the global contrast. You might try bringing out the blues a bit more, though, especially in the distant water. If you can do it subtly enough, it could cause the warm hues to vibrate a bit more.

I'm viewing on two calibrated IPS displays and a retina-display iPad.

I see your point! Thank you.

The rating system was meant to make this a bit more fun, it came over from the REAL or FAKE thread. To ME, it is not important to the thread idea. What you have posted is exactly the direction I was hoping for with this thread. A discussion on the post processing of members images.

I think you have brought up a bigger issue. People may see this as an 'over-processed, under-processed' debate only, without going into how they would improve the image in ALL aspects of post processing. I think I will change the first post to better encourage discussing all aspects of the post processing, more critique like but still based solely on post processing, as you have done for my image.

Which brings me to your post. Thank you very much for going into detail with your advice. I don't use histograms nearly enough. I am now going to go back and check on the clipped highlights in the water. Luckily the image is in layers so I should be able to figure out if it was contrast per your advice. You are not the first person to mention the sun rays not looking real. Taking them out isn't really an option because they are in the SOOC shot! I did up the saturation on them (obviously too much) and will address that. The sun rays are what makes this photo special to me, because I have never captured anything like that before. I will try adding some yellow to the blown out sun and see how it looks and up the blues in the water.

I am going to go through all of your points with the photo opened in photoshop. I have learnt a lot from your post so thank you I really appreciate it. My only question is what do you mean by adding texture over the hole in the water? How would you add texture?

Edit: I just looked at my photo full size and I am pretty sure that the hole in the water was caused by a physical hole in the rocks and the water running over them dipped into the hole. The contrast may be taking away the effect so I'll try going back and masking that area out before touching contrast. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!


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Phrasikleia
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Aug 10, 2012 05:10 |  #10

mattmorgan44 wrote in post #14839194 (external link)
I see your point! Thank you.

The rating system was meant to make this a bit more fun, it came over from the REAL or FAKE thread. To ME, it is not important to the thread idea. What you have posted is exactly the direction I was hoping for with this thread. A discussion on the post processing of members images.

I think you have brought up a bigger issue. People may see this as an 'over-processed, under-processed' debate only, without going into how they would improve the image in ALL aspects of post processing. I think I will change the first post to better encourage discussing all aspects of the post processing, more critique like but still based solely on post processing, as you have done for my image.

Which brings me to your post. Thank you very much for going into detail with your advice. I don't use histograms nearly enough. I am now going to go back and check on the clipped highlights in the water. Luckily the image is in layers so I should be able to figure out if it was contrast per your advice. You are not the first person to mention the sun rays not looking real. Taking them out isn't really an option because they are in the SOOC shot! I did up the saturation on them (obviously too much) and will address that. The sun rays are what makes this photo special to me, because I have never captured anything like that before. I will try adding some yellow to the blown out sun and see how it looks and up the blues in the water.

I am going to go through all of your points with the photo opened in photoshop. I have learnt a lot from your post so thank you I really appreciate it. My only question is what do you mean by adding texture over the hole in the water? How would you add texture?

Edit: I just looked at my photo full size and I am pretty sure that the hole in the water was caused by a physical hole in the rocks and the water running over them dipped into the hole. The contrast may be taking away the effect so I'll try going back and masking that area out before touching contrast. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

I'm glad I could be helpful. I really like the premise of this thread and agree that the focus should be on *discussion* of post-processing. I also agree that things like rating can add a bit of fun to a thread, but I'm not sure how you could make it work with this topic.

Anyway, to answer your question about the "hole." I use that term to describe areas that are clipped: either a big, black hole where some shadow detail ought to be, or else a big, white hole where some highlight detail would look best. So I wasn't referring any actual recession in the landscape; I meant the white area that is clipped (where the sun is reflecting off of the water)--it's as if someone burned a hole in the picture.

I'm surprised to hear that the sun rays are actually part of the original exposure. I just assumed they were added in post. In that case, maybe just tone them down a bit. And maybe also do some painting in the white area where the sun is to make it look more like a sun and less like a clipped area. If you want to see a portfolio from a guy who is a master of including the sun in the frame, check out Alvar AstĂșlez (external link). He somehow always manages to make the area with the sun look very natural and pleasing--more as the eye registers it and less as the camera does when it's trying to cope with the sun being in the frame. His processing is impeccable.

Edit: I just noticed that you have editing set as OK, so I took a quick stab at the photo to give you a sense of what I mean about fixing the "hole" in the water. I also slightly edited the clipped part of the sky and made the water a bit more blue. Quick edits, but I think you'll get the idea.

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mattmorgan44
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Aug 10, 2012 07:00 |  #11

Phrasikleia wrote in post #14839240 (external link)
Anyway, to answer your question about the "hole." I use that term to describe areas that are clipped: either a big, black hole where some shadow detail ought to be, or else a big, white hole where some highlight detail would look best. So I wasn't referring any actual recession in the landscape; I meant the white area that is clipped (where the sun is reflecting off of the water)--it's as if someone burned a hole in the picture.

Ahh of course. I feel pretty stupid now :oops: but I am learning new things so it's all good! Thank you for more great advice. Your edit is great! The subtle yellow and deeper blue towards the back of the water makes such a big difference. As does bringing back the detail in the hole in the water. Thank you!!!

I have also adjusted the first post. I don't want to loose the rating system because it is what people originally wanted this thread to be. I think it will work by separating the two ideas in this thread, 1. Rating the post processing and 2. The discussion and advice. From now on the rating system "over-processed/under-processed etc." will be based on your first impressions of the image as a whole (the "look" of the image). Then discussion of the image can follow.

I am very happy with the advice I have received on my photo and think it's time for someone else to post a photo for some feedback! Don't be shy, the photo can be of anything at all.

Thanks guys. Post away!


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Aug 10, 2012 09:31 as a reply to  @ mattmorgan44's post |  #12

I'll give it a go....


Over/under?

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mattmorgan44
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Aug 10, 2012 09:47 |  #13

iPad 3 here,

Looks just right to me, not over or under cooked at all.

As for the post processing I would try to bring out a little detail in her eyes, just a little, and then sharpen them by selecting them and using unsharp mask. Exposure looks good to me. I like the photo because it looks natural. If you didn't want to stick with the natural look you could smooth the skin slightly, lighten under the eyes very very slightly and remove a few small spots (healing brush) but I like it how it is. Maybe try lightening the background a little.

The biggest thing that jumps out at me is the stray hair at the top of her head against the green background. It looks like you hit it with a blur tool while adding more blur to the background. I would use the clone stamp/healing brush tool to clone them out completely, unless someone more skilled knows a better way.

Is the photo cropped at all?

Ps. Thanks for playing!


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Aug 10, 2012 09:57 as a reply to  @ mattmorgan44's post |  #14

No it isn't cropped, and I didn't do anything with the bokeh. I'm at work now, but IIRC, I only added some saturation and vibrance, nothing else. I may have cloned out a couple skin blemishes (zits), but did nothig with the hair. I'll check tonight though. It was shot with a Sigma 180mm macro. Should I post the original (raw) for comparison?

And thanks, I tend to go for the natural look, partly because I don't have the foresight to do heavy PP.


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mattmorgan44
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Aug 10, 2012 10:09 |  #15

Fair enough it's just the bokeh then. I might still clone them out if I was being picky but that's up to you. I am a big advocate for natural looking shots even though I can do a little post work. If you didn't want to work on the eyes much you could just use the dodge tool, very small and at 10% opacity or so, lighten up the brown in her eyes. After that sharpen them a little. They look a little soft to me? And you could crop a little from the left and see how it looks too.

All in all nice natural shot :)


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Rate the photo above you: Post processing Edition
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