AB Friday Forum – Week 30…

ABFriday (after before Friday) is a forum hosted by Stacy at Visual Venturing. This week’s forum can be seen here.

Every Friday Stacy showcases after/before photos we’ve submitted. Then, if we choose, we can tell how we did it on our own blogs.

This week I have a bit of a story to go with the photo.

After Image

As part of my workflow, I do a few tweaks to my images in camera raw.  The first three are contrast, vibrance, and saturation… for most photos, that is enough.  Some might also require a little tweaking of highlights, shadows, and/or exposure.  Some might even get cropped (rule of thirds and all that).  Then I add a high pass sharpen and I’m finished with it.

If I feel that the image has the potential to be in my store, I take it a step further and print it out as an 8″x12″.  Then I put it on my living room wall and live with it for about a week.

As a print, I’m looking to make sure the exposure is right (prints tend to be darker than what you see on your screen due to the backlighting – I tend to have my monitor set to 11 out of 15 [less bright]).  I’m also looking for distractions I might have missed, and I’m asking myself, “would I want this on my wall?”… after I feel good about the print, it gets to be in the store.  Yea! 🙂

This image… ugh.  It surprised me.  I was paying soooo much attention to the waterdrops, making sure they were tack sharp, that I didn’t even see the white streak across the flower.  And when I did (after I printed it), I was very upset. (“You’ve never seen me very upset” – Mission Impossible)… anyway I was not happy.  I thought that I had somehow accidentally painted a white mark on the photo, I have no idea when, but hey your mind tries its best to calm you.  If only!  That would have been an easy fix!  No, this streak was on the memory card in the camera.

I wrote a “What the…?” post and expressed my disappointment.  After careful thought and discussions with my husband and some commenters, I decided that there was probably a waterdrop in the center of the flower that we couldn’t really see at this angle and the white streak was the reflection off my flash.  You can also see smaller white streaks in the small drops – which I’m totally ok with.

Sooooo, to make a long story short… I spent some time tinkering with this darn thing and I think I finally have a printable photo.  It is currently on my wall at 13″x19″ just to make sure nothing else rears it’s ugly head.

So you want to know how I did it?  See the, hopefully not long winded, explanation below…

How To

Original Image

After I cropped it…

After tweaking in Camera Raw (contrast, clarity, vibrance, saturation, highlights, and shadows)…

This should have been all that I did… in fact it was printed at this stage and put on the wall.  That white mark is now painfully obvious!

Time to futz with Photoshop and see what I can come up with…

I tried to clone the white area out, perhaps I just don’t know how to use that tool properly… but it wasn’t good.  It looked like I tried to clone it… and it had that ripply circley yuckiness that says you don’t know what you’re doing.

I closed my laptop and cleaned the house… that’s what I do when I’m mad.  If my house is ever immaculate, you had better steer clear.

But that gave me some time to brood over it (fester more like).  Anyway I came up with an idea that was so out there that it couldn’t possibly work… those are the best, right?

What do you know, it was a grand improvement!

Ok, ok… How? you ask… I’m getting to it.

I opened the image in Photoshop.  Then I made three identical layers [Ctrl-j].  I eventually added a black mask to two, and a white mask to the top one, but that comes later.

Now it gets freaky…

I turned off the bottom two layers and the background layer [clicked the eye on those layers] and worked with the layer I’ve labeled mask. I added a white mask and then I hid the white stripe by painting the white mask with black over that area (it’s actually transparent, but when I converted this how-to image to jpg it came out as white)…

Then I turned on the eye for the layer I’ve labeled under. I used the move tool [V] and then with the arrow keys shifted the image up and a bit to the right (I’m moving the image under the top image)…

Then I repeated that procedure on the over layer, except I shifted the image down and to the left…

Next I added black masks to both layers, then fiddled with each layer (exposing and hiding the masks) until the area looked plausible…

I added my high pass sharpen and printed it out… Great job!  Only… not perfect.  My husband being awesome and honest, queried about the dark area… especially when he had the first printout in his hands.  Grrrr… you are right… it still needs work (which I secretly knew because I’m a perfectionist).

I figured this one was not to be.  But after working on my One Four Challenge last week… I thought that the blue wash idea just might work here, only in pink… so I experimented…

I added a layer filled it with one of the pinks in the darker part the petal and added a black mask…  I also changed the blend mode to MULTIPLY…

Then I painted in various percentages around the image (white brush on black mask) until I felt that the dark area was less noticeable.  I also swiped the brush around to make the overall flower pinker and reduced some of the white on the white streaks in the waterdrops…

I don’t know… I think it’s pretty good.  I got a “WOW” from my husband, so that’s super cool. 🙂

This won’t work on every image, in fact I’m not sure how many it will actually work on… the area that you are fixing cannot have a lot of obvious lines (like the lines on those doors in the reflection of the waterdrop), or be a super sharp area full of a wide range of colors… I don’t know… this may not be helpful to anyone except me and this one photo… heh.

But hey, the ideas are out there now, go experiment, you never know! 🙂

So does that mean that when my house is a mess, I’m happy as a clam? hmmm

Until next time…

12 thoughts on “AB Friday Forum – Week 30…

  1. Beautiful final image and well worth the processing to get. But what a pain at the time and I understand your angst, to put it politely 🙂

    • Thanks Lee! It was such a pain, but some images just request that you give them your time. I think it was worth the effort, and I learned a lot as well. 🙂

  2. That is a lot of work, in reading I was wondering if you could have gone back into camera raw and use the heal tool. With this you can drag across an area to clean that area. I also noticed a similar line in one of the dew drops, I wonder if it was a light being reflected.

    The end result is great and something to be proud of.

    • Thanks, Ben. I just looked at camera raw and the spot brush (which has a heal attribute) doesn’t really work because it fixes in circles. I then just opened up the image in photoshop and checked out the healing brush and it works by swiping an area after picking an area to sample from… it would have taken probably quite a bit of finessing as well, a simple swipe across still leaves a lot to be desired. It is a tool to remember for the next time I have a major fix, though… thanks for reminding me of that tool. 🙂

      I agree, the line does appear to have been a reflection from my flash… had the drop of water been more evident perhaps it might not have seemed as bad as a weird line across the petals for no apparent reason. Thanks again for your feedback.

  3. I bow at your feet. Wow was the best your husband good do? This is amazing. And the fix sounds much easier than everything else you tried. Great!

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