Post Processing Challenge #503 --CLOSED

GregRed

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Looking down on Hollywood (literally and figuratively), on a hot, smoggy summer eve. Taken almost ten years ago with my Lumix LX3. Noisy, underexposed, not particularly sharp or high resolution, barrel distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting, white balance issues between sunlit areas and shaded areas, smoggy tint on everything... in short, a bit of a mess. Who can make it look nice?

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Raw file:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9y44yevy2te4v69/P1020168.RW2?dl=0

JPG:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/exrngvrax2981s8/P1020168.jpeg?dl=0

72-Hour 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:

  • Any/all source images used for the challenge must be the Challenge Master's own images. 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.
  • 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.
The Challenge will close sometime on Friday afternoon, October 25, GMT -6 (or there about).
 

BosseBe

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First Entry.
Used the Raw file in DxO PL2.
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relic

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A real challenge. Edited raw file in DXO PL2, tried to adjust geometry partially, changed white balance and light levels and contrast, a very little Clearview; then in Elements further tweeking of light levels and contrast and applied some haze reduction. Edit: Used Nik Color Efex to warm it up a bit.

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Used raw file - first worked in Luminar 3, then ACR and Photoshop. Great image to work on, like the low angle sunlight end of day.

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Hendrik

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Exposure tweaks, lens and perspective correction in Adobe Camera Raw.
A little bit of content aware fill in Photoshop. Some brushwork.
I looked at dealing with the noise but decided against it for two reasons. First, it will just about disappear at forum display size. But second, the image noise was not awful. If I were printing this in a large size, I might have a de-noised layer for painting in on surfaces that betray it: road surfaces, stucco walls, flat roofs, and the like. I didn't like the way the distant foliage went flat with reduction.
Fun picture, btw.

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Henk van Slooten

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BosseBe

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2nd Entry:
Added a split toning (Sepia - Gold) to the first entry.
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relic

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Entry #2: I used entry #1 and applied "Poetic" preset in DXO PL2.

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BosseBe

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Entry #2: I used entry #1 and applied "Poetic" preset in DXO PL2.

View attachment 782203
Just a caution!
Using the first entry and adding a Preset might not work as we think it should, adding the Preset on top of the previous edits.
AFAIK, if you use a Preset in DxO PL, all the changes you have done disappear (as long as it is still a Raw file).
I might be wrong but I think it goes back to the original image and applies the Preset to that.
 

relic

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Just a caution!
Using the first entry and adding a Preset might not work as we think it should, adding the Preset on top of the previous edits.
AFAIK, if you use a Preset in DxO PL, all the changes you have done disappear (as long as it is still a Raw file).
I might be wrong but I think it goes back to the original image and applies the Preset to that.
Thank you very much. I believe you are right. But in this case I didn't use the raw file. Rather I used the final tiff file (just before I had converted it to jpeg to post it as entry #1).
 

GregRed

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2nd runner up: @Zeus1 -- Slight greenish cast to my eye, otherwise very well done.

1st runner up: @Henk van Slooten -- Nice crisp rendering. I particularly like the look of the Hollywood sign letters and the foreground in this one.

Winner: @Hendrik -- Best all-around rendering, I think. The LA summer sky is just right... just blue enough to remind you that it should be a lot bluer, but for the omnipresent smog. Most accurate overall colour balance, as I remember it, and I've probably hiked that trail a hundred times.

Thanks once again to all who participated... this one was trickier than it might have looked at first glance, and I appreciate the effort everyone put into it.

Over to you, @Hendrik.
 

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