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Before and After

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by walt_tbay, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. walt_tbay

    walt_tbay Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 24, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Inspired by another thread, I found this photo of an owl that I took a while back. The owl lives at our small local zoo in a fairly large pen behind a chain link fence. The shot was challenging because the pen is relatively large and the owl kept to a dark, shadowy corner that was quite far from my vantage point. I wasn't very impressed with the original shots, but decided to play around with LR3 to see if I could fix things up. Here are the before and after shots.


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I made a number of adjustments to this photo using LR3. The adjustments included the following:

    - Blacks set to +5
    - Brightness set to +50
    - Contrast set to +25
    - Tint set to +1
    - Sharpen Detail set to +83
    - Sharpen Radius set to +2.3
    - Sharpening set to +50
    - Shadow Tones set to -100
    - Colour Noise Reduction set to +25
    - Highlight Tones set to +75
    - Shadow Tones set to -33
    - Dark Tones set to -25

    I also used the clone tool to fill in the crack in the wall behind the owl.

    I'd really be interested to see other "before and after" examples where otherwise bland photos were fixed up in post-processing. I'd also be interested in any tips other members have for working this magic.
    • Like Like x 12
  2. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2010
    WOW....that is just mind boggling.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA

    Thanks for the photos. I've only used iPhoto and PS Elements, but have heard a lot of great things about LR. Your comparison makes me want to get LR now!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Terrific job Walt! Good stuff, folks will be after you for LR tips!
    • Like Like x 1
  5. I can't give as detailed a description as Walt as I don't remember exact numbers, I don't have Lightroom, and I'm still a bit of a hack at post-processing. I've tried to remember the processes. I'm currently getting by with a mix of Olympus Master 2 for basic editing and a four-year-old copy of Photoshop for more advanced operations. Hopefully some others can show some more before-and-after examples using more modern software.

    The first picture was taken using a Canon FD 20/2.8 which contrary to the item description when I bought it had some fungus in the internal elements. Well the lens was returned to the seller but I tried to rescue some of the photos I took with it.

    This is the before...


    ...and the after. The process would have been contrast increase, convert to monochrome with sepia tint, add grain, sharpen, crop, and add vignetting. All that was to complement the dreamy, low-contrast effect I was getting from that particular lens.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/55915417@N08/5249041836/" title="PC060879-PPR Olympus Pen E-P1 Micro 4/3 by Lucky.penguin, on Flickr">[ATTACH=full]157066[/ATTACH]"640" height="640" alt="PC060879-PPR Olympus Pen E-P1 Micro 4/3" /></a>

    Next one is a "product shot" I did of one of my watches on my couch.

    Before, a fairly bland shot...


    ...and after. Contrast and brightness, saturation boost to bring out the colours in the watch face, convert to monochrome while darkening the red channel and lightening the yellow channel to distinguish between the face and the hands, crop, contrast again, and sharpening. In particular this really brought out the texture in the leather and gives a high contrast look to the image.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/55915417@N08/5400253986/" title="P1301720-PPR Olympus Pen E-P1 Micro 4/3 by Lucky.penguin, on Flickr">[ATTACH=full]157067[/ATTACH]"640" height="480" alt="P1301720-PPR Olympus Pen E-P1 Micro 4/3" /></a>
    • Like Like x 8
  6. walt_tbay

    walt_tbay Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 24, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi Penguin:

    I don't have a particularly good memory for these things. LR3 keeps a listing of each adjustment made to an image, so all I did was scan the list to see where my final adjustments landed. I'd be surprised if your version of PS didn't have that feature hidden somewhere. I had a lot of fun experimenting with this image and was quite surprised about the versatility of the program.

    Thanks very much for posting your examples. I especially like the work you did on the photo of the watch. It really added a lot of "punch".

    Let's hope to see some more examples.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Wait--sharpen radius = +23?!? I didn't realize this number could be greater than about 2.0. It defaults at 1.0, sometimes I'll lower it to 0.8 or so and in really bad pictures might move it as high as 1.6 . . . but 23?!?

    Also, I find that clarity does wonder for fur and feathers--cranking it up as high as 75 or so can really bring out the contrast and bring it alive.
  8. Ah, that explains how you were able to do a blow-by-blow description. That's actually an excellent feature to have.

    Just a thought, maybe this thread needs to be moved to the software forum?
  9. walt_tbay

    walt_tbay Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 24, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Oooops.... good catch Mellow. The figure should read +2.3, not 23 so I edited the post.
  10. Nonnit

    Nonnit Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 19, 2012
    From dull to better?

    I was not happy with the original, I blamed the lens (panasonic 14-42 power x) being bad at the 42mm end.

    But there was something about the horse in the foreground, he was standing so proud and then you had those two in the background I had to try to get something out of it.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/71317677@N02/8126402296/" title="Horse-original by Nontest, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="Horse-original"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/71317677@N02/8126403382/" title="Horse-final by Nontest, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="607" alt="Horse-final"></a>

    I did try B&W but it was not working for me.

    It might pass as 800X600 web image

    Lightroom 4.2 (PSE 10 for some clean up)
    • Like Like x 2
  11. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Nicely done - I'm finding that I use LR more than
    PS these days. :cool: 
  12. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Very nice. One general tip for folks wanting a little contrast punch: don't only sit there and fiddle with sliders, try playing around with the curves tool; pulling down the darks and pushing the highlights (sigmoid curve, slight) can add quite a bit of punch. Sometimes you want the opposite, though.
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