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Trying to step up my PP game...

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by agentlossing, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    ... and I figure one way to get out of my rut is trying different programs. So here's a perfectly ordinary photo taken through Perfect Effects 8; before:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    P1040685 by lakonian117, on Flickr

    and after:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    P1040685 copy by lakonian117, on Flickr

    The effects I used (if I remember right) were Dynamic Contrast (natural), Vignette (strong), Color Enhancer (increase color) and High Pass Sharpen. I personally like the result, but if anyone has any comments I'd appreciate them!

    I realized awhile back that I don't really have a "style" but rather have in the past mostly striven for realism. But there are those times when realism just isn't what the photo needs, or what I want. I don't want to process the heck out of things, but I am trying to hit on something subtly more interesting.
  2. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Well done. Adds pop and vibrance but still subtle and realistic. I don't know if Perfect effects 8 has tonal contrast, but in Nik tools I like to use a bit to bring out the subtle textures. Give it a try and see if you like it :smile:
  3. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I think you did good work to enhance main subject.
    Something that I would do differently:
    - leave greens not enhanced or even tame them down a bit
    - get all petals of front flower in focus (not a PP task, but still)
  4. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    Well you certainly dont have to worry about 'overdoing it' or keeping it 'realistic'. I generally feel that realism is overrated but clearly photographers differ on this one. I think the edited photo is fine although I would be tempted to brighten it up a touch.
  5. pasisti

    pasisti Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 16, 2013
    Helsinki, Finland

    I've been using Lightroom for 1,5 years now, just a little less than I've been doing photos in general. It still feels like every 3-4 months I discover a new element in my PP that seems to revolutionize what I do and I fear that every time I overdo it in the beginning. Then after 3-4 months when I look at the older photos I'm like "what was up, dude?". So, I would like to hear your honest opinions on the post-process of these couple of photos! If you have some links to some good general guides on this kinds of things, they would be welcome :) 

    This is a photo of me that I took just a week ago.
    View attachment 371588 Selfie-62-5 by matiasloyt, on Flickr

    At first I did what I had been doing for the last couple of months, basically clarifying it and making things pop out.
    View attachment 371589 Selfie-62 by matiasloyt, on Flickr

    Then I recently found out some presets (bought the SLR package) that let me onto the path of a more natural image. Here is the same image but with what I now think are more natural and nice colours. I used a little bit of split-toning also (orange/blue if I remember correctly). I just found split-toning with the presets and I have to say I like. I'm still afraid I end up over-using it. On both images I did both general settings and brushes (eyes, hair, etc).
    View attachment 371590 Selfie-62-4 by matiasloyt, on Flickr

    What do you guys feel about the two photos? Is either one better to your eyes?

    Here is a third photo, where I tried a kind of lomo effect. How do you feel about it?
    View attachment 371591 Hirvijärvi-225 by matiasloyt, on Flickr
    View attachment 371592 Hirvijärvi-225-2 by matiasloyt, on Flickr
  6. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    I really like what you have done with the duck image. For me the vintage look really enhances the subject matter which is a good goal for this sort of thing.

    Not so sure about the selfies - kind of prefer the before best. The first rendition looks like you have worked on the image a lot without making it much better - adding contrast and clarity is difficult with portraits. The second one is ok.

    If you want to be more adventurous with your processing my advice would be to add the Nik collection of plugins to Lightroom. They cost US$149 but there is a lot of software (7 programs) for your money and updates are free. You will find for instance selective adjustments much easier with Viveza and effects easier and quicker with Color Efex. Silver Efex is brilliant for black and white. It is available to download on a free 30 day trial so there isnt a lot to lose.
  7. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I concur with the previous poster. Like the portrait as is, but find the lomo effect on the duck pleasing, although that's a strong effect and really makes the image look like it was done with a low-quality lens like a smartphone camera. If you ask me, we don't get these fancy cameras to intentionally erase a lot of the detail and subtlety they produce. You're on the right track, just dial it back a bit.
  8. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Here's another before and after.

    I haven't really done much with textures in the past, but after a visit to the penitentiary (Eastern State in Philadelphia, not an active one!) I wanted to exercise that a bit.


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    P1040967 by lakonian117, on Flickr


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    P1040967-2 by lakonian117, on Flickr

    Comments and critique are of course welcome! I used Perfect Effects 8 again, this time setting Grunge Contrast on the shadows (painting out the door, since the effect wasn't what I wanted on that portion of the image), Tonal Contrast (with a little minor tweaking to taste), Strong Vignette (opacity at %75), Reduce Color (~25% opacity) and a slight crop after in LR.
  9. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    imo, both the flowers and the doors are overdone.

    the flowers because it is overly saturated (atleast on my mac air display), at the detriment of petal detail and separation. it looks like a blob of red. also, i would either selectively enhance/emphasize the red petals, or the green leaves, otherwise they both compete for attention

    the door image has too much tonal contrast. (or what in LR is similar to clarity). the door itself is high relief and 3 dimensional... its okay. but on the wall it adds to much of texture/relief that strikes as unnatural and "unreal"
  10. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
  11. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    It still looks a little artificial to me. I'd try taking it down another notch.
  12. OldRadioGuy

    OldRadioGuy Enthusiast Amateur Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2012
    Austin, Texas USA
    Personally, I like your After here. I think it boils down to what feels right to you, the artist. There are certain principles that should be followed, but there are times to simply do what feels right. The work of Ansel Adams did not look natural, but it certainly had impact.

    Good work.

    By the way, I think onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8, which includes Perfect Effects, is fantastic. It's now a part of my workflow.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    I have used both Perfect Photo Suite and the Nik Collection and found them to give pretty much the same results. I now tend to use LR by itself sans plugins. If you find Perfect Photo Suite and the Nik Collection to be helpful then by all means use them.

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