One Four Challenge – December Week 4…

I have joined a month-long photo post-processing challenge called One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn at Captivate Me.  “This challenge is about processing 1 image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.”  Every Monday Robyn posts a new version of her photo and challenges us to do the same each week.

This is the fourth and last week of the December challenge…

I was inspired last weekend while watching Sin City (both Sin City and Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For), and as I watched, it occurred to me that all of my photo versions this month have been leading to this noir look.

I realized that if I combined all three of the previous week’s techniques (grungy, black & white, blue period) and added maybe a couple more ideas that I just might be able to get this Sin City look.  So I experimented and this is what I came up with…

sin city look

What do you think?  I think it’s pretty cool!  As a nature photographer I don’t have many images that I could do this to, I don’t take pictures of people, and rarely take photos of buildings, so I was very pleased that I was able to apply this look, that I think is really neat, to one of my images. 🙂

This week is the last week of the December challenge, so we were asked to not only show all of our versions, but the original too. I am also adding a poll, because I’m curious which one you all liked most. 🙂  I’m finding it hard to choose, I like them all but for different reasons… but the best part of this challenge is that I learned so much this month, not only from my own research and experimentation but from watching the other participants change their images throughout the month.  This was a fun challenge.  January’s challenge starts back up on Jan 5th… I think I’m going to have to find another image and participate again!


And for comparison, this was the original image…

120602_PUP_001_hp-LR500-wmOriginal Image


To create my Sin City Inspired look, I started with my grungy image (week 1)… as a side note, for some reason I didn’t save this as a psd image so I had to work from my final jpg image… over all it worked out… but I did have to work around the vignette…

high contrast - one four dec challenge

Next I followed some of the ideas in this tutorial for making the photo have a more Sin City noir look.  First, I took my background layer and desaturated it…


Then I copied over the contrast group from my black and white image (week 2)…


I ended up having to redo the painting of the mask because for some reason it didn’t line up quite right (also I had to work around that vignette)… so I reset the masks and painted them again…


Next (following that other tutorial again)  I created a levels layer and played around with the black and white sliders until I got the look I wanted…


Then I took the knowledge I learned from my blue period (week 3) and painted the stuffed elephant red…


my final image had these layers…


Well that’s it!  I hope you enjoyed my December variations and the accompanying tutorials.  Will you join us next month?

Until next time…

14 thoughts on “One Four Challenge – December Week 4…

  1. I sat out this month because I knew I would be swamped with work and the holidays. So I missed your original 3 posts on this image. Still, I think I prefer this week’s Sin City version. I am a big fan of the original artwork in the graphic novel and loved the look of that first movie. Haven’t seen the second., but I think your version here would definitely fit in to that world. Great job! See you January 5.

  2. Hello Nic, finally made it – its been a busy fun week at my place.
    Love what you did this week and really like that you were inspired by a certain look too.
    Hard to decide between the 4, but I too love the classic BW. Its timeless 😄 4 won my vote in the end.
    So glad you’ve enjoyed yourself this month Nic!
    Happy New Year 😀

  3. Love what you did with week 4 and as a plus it has red for Christmas, whether you like that or not I don’t know but I do 🙂 It’s been fascinating following along as you explained how you got each week as I am still grappling with masks in Photoshop. It was a tough call as I also liked the B&W. Looking forward to seeing what you do in Jan.

    • Oh Thank you so much, Lee! I was thinking later that the red is ‘seasonal’ even if it was unintentional – since I was trying to get the look of Frank Miller’s Graphic Novel Sin City.

      It took awhile to get the hang of layers and masks, but one day it just started to click… hopefully you’ll get it too, just keep at it. 🙂

    • Thanks for the feedback, Ben. I really like the techniques I learned that week too. I can manipulate where the viewer’s eye goes with more control with mask layers (the ability to undo just a little or a lot) than you get from the burn/dodge tool.

Kind thoughts and comments are always welcome...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.