60-Hour Post-Processing Challenge #665 (closed, results posted)

WhidbeyLVR

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This doe was just a few feet from my front door. I don't usually get to fill the frame with a deer at 100mm FL. The light was (of course) terrible. Good luck!

PPC665web.jpg
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Raw and JPEG files are here.

I am including a few bonus hours (since I will be sleeping). The challenge will close at 7:00 am Thursday, May 27th, Seattle local time (UTC-7).

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Post-Processing Challenge Rules
  1. The Challenge Master provides an image or images to be "improved" upon by way of post-processing, as well as a closing date for entries.
  2. Entrants are to post their entries, visible in this thread, at a resolution of 1000 to 1600 pixels in the longest dimension, prior to the closing date.
  3. Each entrant is allowed two entries in the Challenge.
  4. At the close of the Challenge, the Challenge Master will select a Winner and Runners-up.
  5. The Winner of the challenge is honored as the Master of the next Challenge.

Notes:
  • Images provided by Challenge Masters must be their own. They are posted solely for the purpose of this Challenge; not to invite critique or criticism nor for other uses. If Entrants post their entries at a photo sharing site, they should credit the owner of the original image.
  • "Improve" is a subjective term, and may include many creative ideas, as well as traditional "fixing". The Challenge Master agrees that Entrants may make any changes they deem fit in their entries.
  • Entrants are strongly encouraged to share the tools and techniques used for their entries, however this is not a requirement for entry.
  • Compositing is allowed, provided the use of the donor image does not violate any licensing or copyright restrictions.
  • As we all know, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. The Challenge Master is encouraged (but not required) to state the criteria used to decide upon a Winner. While we may not all agree with the result, the Challenge Master's decision is final. Please refrain from posting adverse comment.
  • If the Winner is unable to post a new Challenge within five days, the honor passes to the next Runner-up.
 

frankmulder

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This isn't really what I was going for, but what I ended up with at some point. I guess I'll just call it "art" and hope to get away with it...

PPC665_ext.jpg
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BosseBe

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Entry #1:
Edit: Forgot the WB!
PPC665_DxO_Web_2.jpg
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BosseBe

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Entry #2:
Edit: Changed the B&W to follow the new colour one.
PPC665_DxO_Web_3.jpg
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Hendrik

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Exposure tweaks in Adobe Camera Raw:
Assigned color balance for the "shade" illumination on the doe (blue highlights on the rump).
Brought up the doe with several different moves, then both darkened and partially restored the original color balance of the grass via a luminance range mask.
In PS:
Emphasized the catch light in the eye.
Tightened up the coat details with Topaz Sharpen AI, which made it seem that the image could support a substantial crop.
PPC665-1.jpg
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Hendrik

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Here's a B&W. Based on the previous file but with wildly different color balances in the B&W tool to balance the luminance.

PPC665-2.jpg
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Good: no metal pan :). Edited raw file in DxO PL4 and tweaked in Elements.
PPC665_DxOdcLL.jpg
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The leg. It BURNS!*

*That is, the highlights on the left hind leg.

Some masked and local brightness and contrast tweaks on top of the usual stuff. DXO DeepPRIME into DT3.4.

#1
PPC665_DP+LC.jpg
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Dinobe

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Processing in DT3.4
Overall adjustments like exposure, white balance, colour correction etc.
In this image I tried to fix the little piece of concrete(?) in the upper left corner by applying by the retouch module. Also I tried to fix the exposure by darkening the upper left corner of the image and brightening the lower right corner of the image.
Some local adjustments to the deer, making it a it brighter and trying to make the fur browner. It was too blue imho.


#1

PPC665_03.jpg
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#2 - A subtle difference in local contrast and white balance.
PPC665_05.jpg
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I'm not sure it comes across well on screen.
 
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Kae1

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Entry #1
PPC665ar.jpg
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Kae1

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Entry #2
PPC665bwr.jpg
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Entry #2: Applied Polaroid film emulation (DxO FilmPack 5) to entry #1 and faked the border.

PPC665_DxOdcLLpolaroid_s.jpg
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Oops, let me upload my new version from last night before I forget. Reduced blue cast on deer a lot, some tweaks on the lighting on the grass and other things.

#2
PPC665_DP+LC_v2.jpg
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frankmulder

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PPC665_ext.jpg
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WhidbeyLVR

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Nice entries, everyone!

This image is another one of those deceptive processing challenges I run across from time to time. At first you think it isn't a big deal, but then you start running into the problems . . .

The bright, warm lighting of the background is quite different from the cool shadows of the subject and foreground. They want to be adjusted separately, but it's tricky to actually do so. And do you favor the warm side, or the cool? (Hint: I think the camera got the default WB significantly too blue.) Also, the bokeh of the background is pretty busy and distracts from the subject. That upper left corner is a mess, too.

My main basis for judging was determining the image I thought best enhanced viewing the main subject and decreased distractions.
  • I don't think the original image adequately supported any of the close-up versions. The twitching ears and slight motion blur on the facial fur were too apparent.
  • I preferred entries which brought up the shadows a bit and minimized the distractions in the background.
  • I liked @RichardC 's replacement background (nicely done!), but I thought it drew attention away from the shaded doe.
  • I liked many things about @frankmulder 's B&W "art project", but felt the deer's body was too dark and the grass had an IR photo vibe that I found distracting.
results . . .

Winner: @roboroto #1. I thought both versions were good, but the 2nd was a little too warm for me.

1st Runner-Up: @frankmulder #2. A bit cool in WB, but I liked the shadow lifting and blurred background.

2nd Runner-Up, tie: @Dinobe #1 and @Kae1 #1

Here is how I originally processed another image from the same encounter. After seeing your entries, I would do it a bit differently if I ever decide to revisit it.

51016770743_64b152e90b_o.jpg
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Grazing Deer 2

Thanks, as always, to everyone who participated! It's Mike's turn now.
 

frankmulder

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Thanks for the second place. :) It was quite a journey to get there. Blurring out the background (with a gradual transition) was my initial goal, but I had a hard time masking out the deer. I couldn't simply make a selection around the deer and be done with it, because of the fine hairs in front of the busy grass background. I tried altering the colours and then turning it into black&white so I could use that as a mask, but my first few attempts failed miserably. That's the story behind the black&white "art project". ;)

When I had a bit more time I had another go at it, and this time I was able to do it (with the right mix of colour adjustments, curves and black&white conversions, and some manual fixes). As soon as I had the mask, it was mostly a matter of applying a "Depth of Field Blur" filter to the background. Glad you liked the result. :)
 
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Oh deer, that was certainly unexpected! I'll find a challenge for us tonight.

I think the doe is in a happier place in Richard's version. Or maybe there were some nice flowers or shrubs laid out by the nice humans to munch. ;)

Interesting that #1 was chosen over #2. I thought #2 had some key tweaks that improved over #1, while pushing color temp to be warmer to create more of a difference. So lemme export a #2 with cooler temp and see how that looks.

For those wondering what went on with the deer (other than contrast tweaks and saturation/brightness tweaks on the left hind leg), it's darktable color calibration module applied on a mask to reduce the blue tint significantly. First image attached is just entry #2 with different color temp setting. Second image attached is same as first with the one instance of color calibration module flipped off.

edit: I think both attachments look off and the correct result is somewhere between the two. :hmmm:
 

Attachments

  • PPC665_DP+LC.jpg
    PPC665_DP+LC.jpg
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  • PPC665_DP+LC_01.jpg
    PPC665_DP+LC_01.jpg
    648.4 KB · Views: 24

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