Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Newbie Help

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 27, 2005, 7:12 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 24
Default

As an amateur, it's rare that I ever get an image that is 100% right straight out of the camera. I usually end up having to tweak it in a number of ways to get it just how I want it. I've really only just started to think about this. Generally, I might end up doing the following:
Cropping - to get the composition right and the relative dimensions of the image how I want them.
Re-sizing - getting the dpi right for printing at the size I am after, maybe a bit of interpolation if needed.
Noise-removal - using something like Neat Image, if it's needed.
General tweaking - adjusting brightness, colour and contrast, and maybe some more involved Photoshop trickery.
I guess there may be some other stuff I haven't thought of on top of these...

At the moment, I don't have a routine to keep to - I just kind of follow my nose for each image and do things as they come up. But my worry is that I am unnecessarily losing some image-quality on the way because I don't have a clear idea of how each change I make affects the overall image-quality. One of the other factors is that working with a large image takes a while - I do a lot of hour-glass gazing, so I tend to scale up quite late to save the time.

Does anyone out there have any good advice about the best way to do these image-adjustments? Do I de-noise first? Or crop? If I crop first, then it's more difficult to change the composition later if I need to. if I don't, then It's more difficult to see where the image is going....

I understand that there are so many variables that it might be impossible to come up with a definitive answer, but I could do with some help so that things turn out as good as they can. What do you think?
shambles is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 27, 2005, 7:44 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 824
Default

I don't claim expert knowledge about this, but from everything I've read, I would recommend at a minimum:

First. Noise-reduction
. . ..

Last. Sharpening


--This is assuming you are using jpegs from the camera. Obviously if you're shooting raw, then some of this may change, since your raw developer may include both these functions (although I would generally rather use a stand-alone NR program (I like Neatimage), and do my USM in either PS or PSP).


Norm in Fujino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 27, 2005, 11:02 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Caelum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,030
Default

Yes, for noise-removal, generally software will look for off-beat pixels, so you should not resize before noise removal, do it to the original photo.
Caelum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 27, 2005, 11:46 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
Default

You don't mention which software program you are using. That will effect things a lot.

I use Photoshop CS2 (just upgraded.) It has something called adjustment layers. They only very minimally increase the amount of ram used and allow me to redo the adjustment (like contrast changes, or a light color adjustment) if I don't like it later. If your editor had adjustment layers, USE THEM. They are wonderful.

Delay your cropping to as late as possible if you can. It sounds like you're computer is under powered for photo editing... so this will be difficult. I often do some test crops to look at the image, but then I undo them and edit using the whole image. Then I can do the crop (or a different one) once I'm done.

But I always save my image before I do anything distructive to the image (resize, crop, sharpen.) That is my master copy.

I also do neat image first thing, but in a separate layer than the original. Then I can always throw it out later if I dislike the results.

Eric
eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 27, 2005, 12:56 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 24
Default

So far then, we have 1 Noise removal, 2 Colour/Brightness/Contrast adjustment, 3 Any other kind of trickery, 4 sharpening, 5 cropping/resizing....(?) Is that about right?

I'm almost bound now to ask about the computer power thing. My PC is a 2.8Ghz HT Pentium 4 with 1GB 3200 memory. I disconnect from the internet and shut down all my antivirus etc. when I am editing. But despite all that, it can take ages sometimes for Photoshop CS to process an image - but granted, this tends to be a problem only with some more involved stuff, like doing a graduated lens-blur (fake DOF) and some other effects on a 3MB+ .psd image. Am I right to assume (from eric s's reply) that no-one else gets this sort of delay?
shambles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 27, 2005, 7:19 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Caelum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,030
Default

I'm not sure what you imply by "Any other kind of trickery", but if you are talking about special effects, like for example, DOF or oil painting, then I think that should be the last step, after cropping/resizing.

As for the performance, so many variables, image size/resolution, process, etc., it's not clear cut. I think eric s interpreted your "a lot of hour-glass gazing" as a very long time, but really, what is that, seconds, minutes?30 secondscan seem like a very long time for some,quick to others.
Caelum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 27, 2005, 7:24 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
terry@softreq.com's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,539
Default

Well....

Best advice is to shoot RAW format.

A RAW formatted file is your digital negative.

All further edits are non-destructive, so it wouldn't matter what order you did things in.

So, shoot raw, edit your photos non-destructively, then process your image down to a JPEG or TIFF or whatever output format you want to use.

-- Terry
terry@softreq.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 27, 2005, 8:10 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
Default

There are a huge number of calculations in that lens blur filter. It drags powerful systems to their knees. If you said that doing sharpening was slow, then that would be another matter. You've got a more powerful system than I do (I think there is a patch to CS to leverage HT... check the adobe web page. That might help. I believe CS2 leverages HT directly.)

If you're running XP (I bet you are) you should bring up the task manager while you're editing and watch how much memory you're using. The instant you start using too much RAM, you'll page to disk and that will kill performance on any system.

Do sharpening after you crop & resize. The amount of sharpening you do is dependent on your end goal. Prints of different sizes require different amounts of sharpening. Images for the web require different amounts too. Enlarging or reducing an image can make it look less or more sharp. You don't want to sharpen it, then reduce it and find that it is over sharp. Likewise, if you reduce it and it looks good you don't want to sharpen it.

I generally agree with Terry but I'll expand on this quote:
Quote:
So, shoot raw, edit your photos non-destructively, then process your image down to a JPEG or TIFF or whatever output format you want to use.
  • conver raw (or load the JPG.)[/*]
  • edit in non-destructive manor. Using adjustment layers whenever possible. They are better in almost every way from regular filters.[/*]
  • save it in a different name.[/*]
  • crop & resize.[/*]
  • sharpen[/*]
  • maybe add contrast (I've found I sometime I need to add extra contrast at this stage.)[/*]
  • Add copyright message.
    [/*]
  • Save it again for the specific use I'm editing for.
    [/*]
That is generally what I do.

Eric
eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 27, 2005, 8:25 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
terry@softreq.com's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,539
Default

I mostly agree with Eric except some of those adjustments, like sharpening and contrast adjustments, your going to get more control and a better result adjusting the RAW image before outputing to JPEG.

I think Photoshop can work directly with RAW filesbut I'm no photoshop guru.

I usually cut my photos to JPEG as the last process, resizing them and picking the amount of compression to get the desired output file size.

There is post processing I can do on JPEGs that I can't do on a RAW file because of the limits of my software, so once in a long while I willdo more processing on the JPEG, but not usually.

Again, I'm no expert , for sure.

Terry


terry@softreq.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 27, 2005, 9:26 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 824
Default

shambles wrote:
Quote:
So far then, we have 1 Noise removal, 2 Colour/Brightness/Contrast adjustment, 3 Any other kind of trickery, 4 sharpening, 5 cropping/resizing....(?) Is that about right?
Again, it depends on the program you're using, but particularly when working on jpegs, I prefer to do sharpening as the very last step before output (printing saving). That's because a given USM setting will have quite different visual effects depending on the size you're viewing. If you sharpen the full-sized image so that it looks good onscreen, then resize it, the sharpening effect will likely look quite different in the newly resized image.

Norm in Fujino is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:33 AM.