Anyone else having problems with layer masking Olympus raw images (EP5)?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by utahlasvegas, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. utahlasvegas

    utahlasvegas Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 19, 2013

    I've officially switched from Canon to Olympus after I got the EP5 and some nice prime lenses, and I'm going to get the EM1 in a month or so.

    The only problem I'm having is when I layer mask two images together in Photoshop and blend them with the eraser tool, I'm getting a lot of weird dots leftover no matter what I do. I've even tried increasing the opacity to 100%. I never had this problem with the Canon files, and I'm wondering if there may be some kind of fix.

    You can't see it on this file at 72 dpi, but on the full resolution one, it's much more noticeable. On some landscape images I switched to the gradient tool instead of the eraser tool, and the blend didn't have the spotted results.

    I'm working an art fair in Las Vegas this weekend, but after I have some time, I can post a couple 100% crops to show exactly what I'm talking about.

  2. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    I don't have a cure for your problem but I've noticed my Oly and Panasonic M43 RAW files edit best as 16-bit TIFF in PS. 8-bit files can't take much without looking like something the cat left on the porch. However, the M43 files are not nearly as "robust" as far as tolerating extensive editing compared to 16-bit TiFFs I converted from Canon 5D MKII RAWs.
  3. Mathom33

    Mathom33 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 4, 2013
    I have run into the same issue myself. I found that the dots were showing up because a layer that I was not working on had the "dot" and was not being manipulated. Choose each individual layer and erase. See if that helps. If not then I wouldn't have a clue as to what is happening with you edit. Good luck!
  4. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I haven't found my E-M5 files to be much worse for post-processing than the 5D's - the dynamic range is actually a little better, pulling shadows a little easier. The gradients/detail is smoother in the 5DII, but some of that is also down to pure resolution. Regardless, I prefer processing RAW files to 16 bit TIFF before doing further processing using DxO Optics because I like the output I get.
  5. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Why you are blending with an eraser tool is beyond me. But check to see if your eraser tool is set to use a brush shape vice a solid spot. There is a pattern of dots heaviest in the mountains, somewhat in the shadowed sections of the low land, and then even a less dense, but the same pattern, in the darker portions of the sky.
  6. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Those dots are remarkably regular in their distribution... something fishy going on there. Are they in the source images? I can also see an imprecise blend in the middle area of the image where alignment was a bit off.

    In general I would recommend against using the eraser tool for blending. It's fairly unforgiving and hard to fix up and make small adjustments. If you use layer and adjustment masks, you can just use a brush with varying degrees of black/white and softness on the mask to blend. With the mask brush you can go back and brush back areas if necessary.

    With landscapes I tend to start by matching the transition area in brightness and tone as close as possible using a curves adjustment layer with a.gradient fill mask, e.g. around the sky/ground transition if necessary, and using a brush to selectively mask out the gradient curve adjustment for objects like large trees in the foreground.

    Once those adjustments are fixed and applied, I apply a mask to the upper layers and blend at 100-200% view using a brush with only enough edge feather to match the detail that I'm blending. By using a harder brush and blending along edges already present in the image, it is possible to create seemingly perfect joins even for hand held panoramas where foreground objects have moved in the transition area. For panoramas I tend to go the extra step of viewing the layers at 50% opacity and using the various perspective correction tools to align the layers as much as possible along my intended blending seam. It doesn't matter anywhere else because I will be using a fairly hard brush to blend anyway.

    For blank sky areas, milky long exposure water, or other smooth areas, I can just use a large soft brush, with a small and somewhat harder brush for clouds, blending within the cloud and not the sky gradient where possible. For land details, I use a small, fairly hard brush, and blend at the edges already present in the image, e.g. specific trees and hill tops, buildings, ships. For water with waves, I use a small soft brush and blend with each wave crest, picking random numbers of waves from each layer to avoid an obvious transition.

    After the blend, if there are still areas where the tone doesn't quite match, I selectively tweak those areas with a brush on each layer to make them match better. Only then do I flatten the image for final cropping, etc.