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Old Feb 22, 2006, 7:23 AM   #1
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I know there is a separate forum section for this, but it closely concerns editing of FZ (20) images.
I am often required to precise PP of single images so...

I use Photoshop 7 (with plenty of plugins) for all the editing.
Irfanview, ACDSee 3/4, PSP 5 to browse images directories.

Generally I try to be cautious when I shot, changing image settings according to the scene (only NR is always on LOW), and also WB and framing, but often there is no time to do these things, so they must be done in PP.

Shoot as much as you can, but be VERY SELECTIVE when first visualizing pics after downloading to the HD.
No need to keep 5 pics of the same subject, or with only a few different particulars (WB, exposuer..).
And also eliminate full size images which you know you'll never want to print.
It's not only a matter of space (CD and DVDs are cheap) but also something deeper, which I don't want to explain in this technical post.

My standard PP consists in:

1) I work on the resized picture (my 1 year old FZ20 has never seen a print bigger than postcard: I must do that before or late). Rarely PP the 5Mp image, whichgenerally remains untouched.
If an image is really OK, it's very important to leave it as out of the camera for archiving.
For example: if I am in a mood that I use to oversaturate colors (esp. blue skies) and I accordingly edit the original image, next year when I want to print it I may have changed my mind and like a natural colors image, rather than a oversaturated one. So I would have to re-edit with further loss of quality.

- Best resize is by even submultiples.
Try to resize your cat portrait from 2560 to both 1280 (50%) and 1024.
Then sharpen: in the oddly resized pic the furof your cat will look more aliased.

So if possibleI resize by 50% and then crop, or I resize directlyt oscreen size or slightly smaller.

Cropping can be very important is some circumstancies.

2) Photoshop 7: Autocontrast (with some "undo") and Autocolor (some undo) to balance the image contrasts and color cast.
Yellow cast FZ20 pics always turn too blue with PS autocontrast, so I only apply 10-30% of the adjustment.

LOW contrast in camera setting helps retaining detail in shadows and not washing out HL (broadening Dynamic range) but it makes pics too monotone espec. Tele shots.
I sometimes can set High Contrast in Camera settings, but only when I am shooting at an evenly brightened area with no high contrasts between shadows and lights.

3) Selective colors adjustment and saturation (even by separated colors) adjustment.
Red often need separate adjustment for, even shooting at LOW satur. they are too saturated or too purplish (unless a perfect Manual WB is taken).
So some warm hue must be added to reds, and a few saturation subtracted.
I have a selective color setting saved in PS 7 to achieve "canon like" colors:
the changes to standard WB FZ20 pics colors are:
- more or less slightly enhanced BLUE sky color (recently I am starting to become disgusted of too saturated blue skies)
- changes in the greens (trees, foliage, grass) which have too much yellow. I add some blue and green to greens and make them a little more bright.

4) Noise Ninja
Learn how to properly use NR filters, or you risk to spoil your images.
- Landscape shots:
The resize images generally can benefit of some NN only in the skies areas (sometimes they don't if not too UE).
I select the sky color (Select>Color range) and only apply NN to that.
NN can help to perfectly smooth the dark BG and also add sharpenss to the main subject, especially if it has a different color than the parts which need Noise removing.
It could become necessary to isolate with selections the main subject and apply sharpening to it and NR to the inverse selection (background and OOF parts).

5) sharpening
Rarely use USM. Generally I use even, normal sharpening.
Resized FZ 20 pics shot with LOW sharpening (camera settings) can hold a "full" Photoshop sharpening cycle (espec. if resized at less than screen size).
Pics shot at STD sharpening, IMO, only need 50-70% of the sharpening filter (so "undo" the whole effect to its proper percentage).
HIGH sharpening is a useless image setting on FZ:
For High contrast see above.
High NR, I only use it when shoot with digital zoom (rarely)
High saturation may give more pleasing images, but it also increases noise and color shifts. I have used it some times, but then it's harder to achieve different colors...
Maybe better set STD satur (and LOW in some cases).
United with Low Sharp- (and eventually LOW Contr.) and the invariable LOW NR, it provides a more RAW image.
Maybe pics will look duller, but ALL FZ images need some PP if you have an aye to recognize image issues, so no need to apply too forced settings in order to think the pics will be better for print (noise will also be more).

I generally UNDO the whole effect of sharpening, in areas which don't need it (Sky, OOF macro backgrounds...)
Some macros don't need further sharpen. esp. if I have already applied a USM in Noise Ninja.

6) Framing (not too intrusive, or it's distracting).
Many of you are not frame fans, buty I admit it ALWAYS turns image better, when they're nicely done and sober).

7) a general look to the pic to see if there are lacks.

8 )Savewith another name than the original:
"Save as"* in PS7, @ IQ 8-10 (out of 12) depending on needs (not too crowded 800x600 pics should be 140-240Kb). Sunsets or other pics with smooth gradient-like color tones may turn patchy if too low compression is used.
If I have edited 5MP images, I resave them at level 11 (out of 12), and the file is generally a little larger than the original one from the FZ20.
* This saving retains jpg EXIF: Photoshop's "Save for the web" eliminates exif data, makes images less heavy but sometimes too compressed.

9) One CD backup of my photos (excursions: generally I come back home with 300-500Mb of pics, but after deleting some and resizing those which I know I'll never want to print, they become 200-300MB, so three full day photo sessions enter in a CD).

I make a second backup of the older photos when I erase their dirs from the HD. Use good brand CDs. When CD engraver breaks I'll buy a DVD engraver.

Non standard image editing.
too long to summarize, each pic may need a different editing, retouch etc...
- enhancing OOF (need to know how select and graduallysmooth selections)
- adding external objects (flying birds, bigger and better exposed moon)
- retouching faces
- eliminating objects or whole areas (clone tool, copy and paste)
- FILTERS MAdness:
although some are really excessive, I am a fan of Flaming pear plugins, 55mm (Digitalfilmtools), Kai, KPT 5-7, and to a minor degree AlienSkin/EC, Colorwasher 2, Virtual Photographer and many many more which I use however always more rarely)
- B&W (taking generally the less noisy GREEN channel, or the red, or a mix of the three channels best areas)
- partial desaturation
- Bracketing of 2 pics with diff. exposures

sky from a sky esposure and grounf (and fa├žade, here) from another one.
- Stitching horizontal, vertical or mosaic pics
(Panorama Maker 3, or, when it fails, Autostitch or PTA Assembler)

Sorry for the long post.
Indipendently from my Photographic skill, I sometimes succeed in giving the pics a dSLR look thanks to the use of Photoshop.
This needs a few years of experience and a critic analysis of pics taken by professional photographers (Pbase, Smugmug galleries...).

But apart from these nouances, the undeniable truth is that DC pics ALWAYS benefit of good PP, some more some less.
And FZ pics are among those to which oftena good PP turns a Wow image into a WOOOOWWW picture (although some of you may not be fans of Photoshop or not able to PP pics).



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Old Feb 22, 2006, 7:42 AM   #2
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Very nice of you to take the time to do that and while I do not agree with some of that (especially the resize and the save for web) ,I am sure many can benefit from your experience.
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Old Feb 22, 2006, 7:53 AM   #3
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I have changed Genece: did not mean Photoshop's "Save for the Web" tool.
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Old Feb 23, 2006, 5:50 AM   #4
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Thank you Narmer for taking the trouble to post this information.

From the photos you have posted here it sure looks like you know what you are doing.

Gene, would you like to add some words of wisdom? (I know you are wise!)


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Old Feb 23, 2006, 6:48 AM   #5
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I have been called many things ...but wise ...that may be a first.

One thing if you are using PS or PSP or any editor that allows you do all your work on a duplicate or adjustment layer.....do nothing to the original copy.

And then when you save the work just add a letter to the file name and you will have your adjusted copy and the undamaged original.

Here is a sight that has the best tutorials I have ever seen on photoshop.....you can spend quite a bit of time watching them but they are good.

There is also some photograhy tutorials. there are about 20 quicktime tutorials and 11 pdf ones. And they add a new one every once in a while.


I would suggest you watch the Photoshop reference one first....even if you do not use PS you will see how they go about making the adjustments. And the workflow could be adapted to most any editor.
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