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Old Jan 19, 2008, 7:00 AM   #1
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I have spent some time looking back on older pictures from when I was new to digital. I still have a long way to go in pp skills, but these examples show how much a mediocre picture can be improved with just a few steps taken.

First one shot in RAW and converted in PSP without any alterings at all. Seemingly not a keeper:
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 7:03 AM   #2
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The same one cropped, with levels adjustment in PSP. Unsharp mask applied in three steps in PSE3. And a little cloning of the water around the head to get rid of some softness, and cloning out of a dust speck. Still nothing for National Geographic, but presentable to friends and family:
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 7:06 AM   #3
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A water strider shot on a dull day with A*200mm 2.8. Nice subject with the wave pattern and sharp, but dull and flat. Unaltered conversion.
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 7:07 AM   #4
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Very nice, Kjell.

I know my PP skills are weak. When you say unsharp mask in 3 steps could you elaborate on that a bit?
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 7:11 AM   #5
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And the same with a little cropping and levels in PSP, further adjusted in PSE3 (levels).

When I took these photos, I knew nothing about post processing other than "automatic smart correction" and cropping. With the little I know now, I can start toestimate how much pp effort is put into those NatGeo covers!

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Kjell
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 7:20 AM   #6
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Kjell, I think PP is a lot of fun if you have the time. Once you start on a picture you can burn a lot of minutes before you know it. But one thing I've found is that the picture has to be pretty good to begin with or all the PP in the world won't save it. Out of focus or bad compositionseldomend upa good pictureno matter what you do! On the other hand,your two shots really give us an idea of just how much we can do in our PC dark rooms. Really well done! Thanks for posting them for us.
Glenn
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 7:23 AM   #7
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Driver3 wrote:
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Very nice, Kjell.

I know my PP skills are weak. When you say unsharp mask in 3 steps could you elaborate on that a bit?

Benjikan (Ben Kanarek) posted a thread with his procedure for prints quite some time ago. It included enhancing contrast with unsharp mask in two steps: first one with Radius 0,3 Amount120–300 % and then again with Radius40–60 and Amount 10–15%. Trying that I understood that USM can be applied in several steps which can help you to avoid artifacts like halos, and using Ben's method you can also enhance detail contrast. Starting from there I experiment a bit (still in the learning phase) till I'm somewhat pleased.

Kjell
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 9:41 AM   #8
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Nice examples Kjell. I am like you, I have only uncovered a corner of what PSP is capable of doing and I have only just got Lightroom. Right now I generally shoot Jpeg but I am starting to incorporate more RAW images and my post processing tools consist of curves, USM, crop, and dust removal. I remember Ben's post but I have not tried his technique. I will have to do so.

Tim
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 11:11 AM   #9
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I too am a rank novice at photoshop and I'm sure my photos show that. I have tried Scott Kelby's method of using Lab color and the lightness channel to sharpen my photos...Some success but I am still not satisfied.. For this months challenge of Reflections I'm going to try your three step method and utilize the lab color as well...Maybe it will work!?!? who knows? LOL And thanks for this kick in the butt I've needed!

PS I want to know how Walter does his as well!!

Dawg
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 12:32 PM   #10
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NonEntity1 wrote:
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Nice examples Kjell. I am like you, I have only uncovered a corner of what PSP is capable of doing and I have only just got Lightroom. Right now I generally shoot Jpeg but I am starting to incorporate more RAW images and my post processing tools consist of curves, USM, crop, and dust removal. I remember Ben's post but I have not tried his technique. I will have to do so.

Tim
Kjell

I agree with Tim. I have PSE5, CS3 and PSPX and i have only scratched the surface.
I mainly shoot JPEG and just try to get it right the first time. I still use Raw, but rarely.
I really want to Learn More and would like to take a course in Photo Shop, but that cost Big dollars and requires time that i just dont have now.

Thanks for posting these pictures and showing us what can be done with the right knowledge

Phil
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