One Four Challenge – November Week 1…

Greetings everyone, and welcome to the One Four Challenge for November!

As many of you who have been participating in the One Four Challenge know, Robyn, our illustrious host, is needing to take a break from hosting to take some down time for herself.  She has asked me to host the One Four Challenge for the month of November, and I happily accepted! 😀

Everything will stay the same, except instead of linking to her post you will link to mine for the month of November.  I will publish my weekly post at her usual time (6:30 am Aussie time on Mondays [UTC+11 AEDT]), so that everyone can start linking as usual.  Then throughout the week I will visit everyone’s posts and leave a comment (like Robyn does now).  It will be fun and a bit challenging, but I’m totally up for it.

I’m honored to be able to substitute-host the One Four Challenge for November while Robyn takes a break.  I will schedule posts for the first Mondays in November.  November has 5 Mondays, but we’ll play for 4 and they will be the 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd.

After that come December, we’ll be back on Robyn’s site with the review month for December…and it will begin on the 7th December.  Robyn plans to use December to wrap up our challenge for now.  We’ll return at a later date with the challenge [ if there is interest ].

A reminder from Robyn:

As the One Four Challenge will be taking a break, I’d like to give you some options for a couple of other fun editing challenges.. and I know you’ll be welcome to join in.

  1. After Before Friday is a weekly editing challenge hosted by Ben – you can read more here and..
  2. One Photo Focus is a monthly editing challenge hosted by Stacy – you can read more here.

If you’d like to keep being challenged, I hope you’ll give one or both of these a go – they are fun and hosted by some very nice and talented people 😀

My image:

I recently learned about Luminosity Masks, and now I’m like a dog with a bone and want to try it out with all kinds of filters.  For this month’s image I thought I’d play around with a photo of a hummingbird that I just love.  I wrote about how I captured this image here.

I really don’t know where I’m going to take this image this month, but I do plan to use what I learned about Luminosity Masks extensively.  Without further ado, here’s my week 1 image (click to enlarge)…

Your kind thoughts and comments are welcome! 🙂


Go check out my post on Clarity in GIMP1 where I discuss Luminosity Masks that I learned from a Pat David tutorial.  I learned even more by going to one of the tutorials mentioned in Pat’s post, where he used the Luminosity Mask with curves.  My mind started thinking about how I could use this technique with soooooo many things. So I decided right then that I’d use Luminosity Masks this month with various filters and layers.

layers-wk1 animation2

  1. First, I brought my RAW image up in DarkTable3.  I’m still learning DarkTable, for this image I changed the rotation and exposure.  I decided it was a good starting point for what I planned to do in GIMP1, I exported the image as a .ppm file…

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  2. Next, I brought the .ppm file up in GIMP and cropped off the edges created from the rotation.  Then I ran the Luminosity Mask script [EDIT: If you don’t want to run the script you can make the Luminosity Masks by hand, you can find the Pat David tutorial here], giving me 9 channels (this is mentioned in my previous post) [Filters->Generic->Luminosity Masks (saulgoode)].  I then made a duplicate of my base layer [Layer->Duplicate Layer OR Shift+Ctrl+D OR duplicate-layer], and played with the curves [Colors->Curves].  I decided to push the lights and the darks and then put a mid-tone Luminosity Mask on it [Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask], selecting Channel M.  Then I created a new layer from the visible layers [Layer->New from Visible] (click to enlarge diagrams)…

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  3. This next step is rather convoluted, but you don’t have to do all the steps I did if you don’t want to.  I chose to duplicate this next filter layer 9 times so that I could see how each Luminosity Mask looked by themselves and then combined.  It’s part of my experimentation this month.  You can get a great edit by only choosing the M channel, I like having the extra control of seeing several of the possibilities.  So like in my previous post, I decided to add a Local Normalization filter (which is in the G’MIC Plug-in2 for GIMP) [Filters->G’MIC->Details->Local Normalization] using the Visible Layer I created at the end of step 2.  I used the default settings. local-norm-gmicI also made sure that my input/output settings were set so that the filter only worked on the current layer, AND created a new layer with a descriptive (verbose) label.  gmic-input_outputThen I created a duplicate of the filter layer 9 times.  For each of the duplicated layers, I added a different Luminosity Mask (selecting a different channel each time).  Be sure to turn off visibility (the eye icon eye) for the Local Normalization layer without a mask.
    **You may notice on my layers image at the beginning of the tutorial, that there are little chain links along some of the layers.  This actually has a different function than what I’m using them for… I’m using them to remind myself which layers I had active to create the final image.  The actual function for the chain link is to group the layers for moving and rotating, fyi.**

    After clicking some on some off, I eventually decided that for this image I liked DDD, M (at 50% opacity), and LL at the same time.  Again I created a new layer from the visible layers [Layer->New from Visible]…

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  4. I felt that the image was a bit too dark, so I decided to pop a little more light onto the hummingbird using a radial gradient.  I wrote an in depth post about how I do that here.  I created an 80-50 radial gradient, then reduced the opacity to 50%.  As before, I created a new layer from visible [Layer->New from Visible].

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  5. I felt that all these changes created a bit of noise.  Like a dog with a bone, I wondered if I could use this Luminosity technique for the noise reduction too.  I wanted less noise in the background, but I didn’t want to lose the sharpness in my hummingbird.  So I experimented.  I ran the G’MIC Iain’s Noise Reduction filter [Filters->G’MIC->Repair->Iain’s Noise Reduction] with the default settings, on the visible layer created in step 4. noise-red-gmic
    For my experiment, I made a duplicate of the visible layer [Layer->Duplicate Layer OR Shift+Ctrl+D OR duplicate-layer], then I desaturated it [Colors->Desaturate], choosing Luminosity.   desaturateNext I inverted that layer [Colors->Invert].  I wanted to use this as my mask, remember that white reveals, black conceals… for this, I wanted the white areas to be noise reduced and the grey to black areas to remain sharp.  To use this layer as a mask, I clicked on the thumbnail, copied it [Ctrl-C], created a duplicate of the Noise Reduction layer [Layer->Duplicate Layer OR Shift+Ctrl+D OR duplicate-layer], clicked on the duplicate and added a mask [Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask] selecting White.  Then clicked on the mask and then pasted [Ctrl-V], which gave me a floating layer [floating-selection], which I anchored [anchor].
    desat-lum-invert-mask-cleanedup-multI was happy with my results, except for the face.  So I created a black-to-transparent radial gradient right on the mask.  Then using my wacom, the airbrush tool and the healing tool I cleaned up the circle of black I created on the mask over the hummingbird’s face.  ** I find it helpful to zoom in and occasionally see the mask layer [right click on the mask->Show Layer Mask] itself when I’m making changes to my mask. **

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  6. Lastly, I cropped my image to put the focus more on the hummingbird, because I wanted viewers to see all the details in those feathers… Giving me my final edit for week 1… 130623_NAT_020--gimp-c_LR1000-wm

Your Image:

It’s over to you again and to your image 😀

About the challenge and how it works:

  • This challenge is about processing 1 image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.
  • We will all  process / post edit (our own chosen image) and share a different version each week. Process it however you like… and tell us a bit about it. You don’t have to show the original image unless you’d like to. Some show their original image from the start, others wait until week four. The choice is yours.
  • Try new things, experiment.  Be as creative or subtle as you wish to be. All skill levels are welcome.

Please Tag and Link up – this makes our challenge work.

  • For WordPress blogs – Tag all of your One Four posts with One Four Challenge, so we can view your posts in the WordPress Reader. See this tutorial on how this works.
  • For Blogger and other platforms – If you are on another blogging platform, please leave a link in a comment on this post, so we can find you!
  • For everyone joining inplease leave a link to your post, under my corresponding blog post for the week.

Until next time…

wilber1 GIMP is Open Source software that is available for all platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), it is a photo editor that does many (if not all) of the things you can do in Photoshop. You can download it for free here. The GIMP online manual can be found here.

Like Wilber? You can get him here.


2 G’MIC Plug-in for GIMP is a plug-in that has a ton of filters, you can download it here.


3 DarkTable is Open Source software that is available for Linux and Mac, it is a photo editor that does many of the things you can do in Lightroom, like process RAW files.  You can download it here.  The DarkTable online manual can be found here.

34 thoughts on “One Four Challenge – November Week 1…

    • Awesome, so glad you are participating. 😀 I went and checked out your flickr page. I like the directional lighting app edit, it really draws your eye in and made the scene more inviting. 🙂

      • Thanks. I have no idea why WordPress thinks it’s a great idea to display the picture in-line – all I did was post the URL, no embed code – but there you go. (I currently have hacking troubles with WP, so Flickr is the only place I want to post them right now.)

        I’m quite conflicted about this edit because, as a rule, I usually prefer to leave my photos alone, but it turned a photo from a dull day into a much more interesting one.

        • I’m not sure why WP felt the need to display the picture either, I was rather surprised too. I think quite a few people get conflicted with editing their photos. When I was taking photography classes, several of my classmates were of the ‘only out of camera’ photos camp. For me, I started to think about how the camera and my eye don’t work the same, so some editing will be required to get the same ‘look’ that I saw with my eye, and so for a long time I worked towards editing with the intention of keeping it realistic. Also, I remind myself that Ansel Adams did lots of work in the darkroom and it is said that even if you look at his negatives, you won’t get the same images he produced because he artfully changed them in the darkroom. Lately, though, I’ve been pushing my photography to a more, I guess you could lump it with ‘Digital Art’. I love it when I can make an image shine while keeping it realistic, but I also enjoy pushing the boundaries and making something like week 2’s edit. 😀

    • Thanks, Marsha! 🙂 I think hummingbirds are so cute, and a challenge to photograph. I spent some time stalking them before I got the idea to put a feeder on my balcony, now they are a little easier to capture on ‘film’, haha. 😀 I’m so excited and honored to be hosting this month, thanks.

  1. You chose an amazing picture for November and first weeks edit is great. Thank you for the links and tutorial about the Luminosity mask. I can’t wait to try it out. 🙂

    • Thank you, T Geriatrix! 😀 Practice makes perfect they say… I just keep trying new things, experimenting, and hopefully honing my skills.

  2. Morning from me Nic and thank you!!
    Can’t wait to read your links and tutes on Luminosity masks.
    Thanks again for hosting for November!!
    Have a great month everyone!! 😃😃

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