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Old Nov 11, 2006, 7:38 PM   #31
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Hi, Glyn2:

I know very little about using digital in anything other than natural light, which I prefer. But Nick's advice seemed very sound. I am anxiously looking forward for a break from work so that I can try out the R1 in low light, too.

I am amazed at the clarity and sky detail of the sunset shot on a (point n' shoot?) Ricoh. On my LCD laptop monitor, though, it does look awfully noisy for ISO 64 ... but perhaps that was due to the lowered resolution or a longer exposure. By the way, have you had an opportunity to take identical shots comparing the R1 and the Capilo? If so, could you post some?

P.S. I'm glad you could see the fondness on my friends's face ... lately there have been one or two times when she didn't remember me, so I thought perhaps I had imagined the love and recognition in her eyes in the photo. The thought that other's might see that, too, really gave my spirits a lift.

Howdy, Ken B.:

Very nice edit of the ballroom shots! Thank you in particular for the info on threshold settings. Personally, I liked the first of your two edits the best. Yes, the second one had more detail, but IMO the slight watercolor effect of the noise reduction in your first pic added a dream-like feeling that was well suited to the romantic feeling of the subject matter. Cheers, Ria
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Old Nov 11, 2006, 7:45 PM   #32
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Hi Ken

The subject of sharpening is important to me too. I have been using Noise Ninja and have been becoming all to well aware of the strengths and pitfalls. I appreciate what you have been doing with Ria's and my pictures ... and for the explanations you have been giving of what you are doing. As with Nick's valued assistance, I can feel my future pics improving as a result and for that I thank you.

You mentioned that things would be different if you had been working with the original. I have taken the liberty of going back to the original. It is an R1 10Meg Fine jpeg and the only thing I have done to it a few minutes ago is to crop it tothe same proportion. On account of file size I have uploaded it to the public fileserver Usendit dot com. And here is the link.

http://download.yousendit.com/02752A3611B662FD

To me, one of the beauties of R1 is its ability to keep a good image even when massively cropped .... I enclose attach a heavily cropped flying bird picture

The one that I had posted had been given substantial correction ... followed by a very strong Noise Ninja-ing .... so I think this one I have linked to will level the playing field and give you a better chance to show us how to enhance better ... if you have the time and inclination

Best wishes

Glyn
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Old Nov 11, 2006, 9:14 PM   #33
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Hi Glyn2,

Hrre is my try on your original dance image:

Regards, Nicholas
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Old Nov 11, 2006, 9:15 PM   #34
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Hi, Glyn2:

Hope you don't mind if I radically edited your pic! (If so. let me know and I'll delete it.) It's not an attempt at improving your original or the other forum member's edits; just trying to learn a little PS at your expense.

I downloaded your 10 MB file to try out Kenbalbari's instructions on noise reduction, but I just couldn't get it right. And, something about the background bothered me. I felt that most of the audience's heads were turned in the opposite direction of the dancing pair, which distracted from the subject. (If I knew what I was doing in PS, I suppose I could have somehow selected and flipped the background so that that the heads were looking to the right, but I don't have a clue as how to do that.) Sooo ... I just got rid of the background, decided to go with the watercolor look I kept ending up with after my failed noise reduction attempt, and play on the "Dancing with the Stars" theme.

Only problem, I didn't have any stars ... so, your couple ended up with their heads in the clouds! Ria
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Old Nov 11, 2006, 9:18 PM   #35
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Wow, Nicholas! Do you have a magic wand? How in the world did you do that, if you have time to explain to us PS newbies? Ria
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Old Nov 11, 2006, 9:48 PM   #36
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Hi RiaRia and All,

Glad you liked my touch up of Glyn's dance image.

An image can be worked a million ways and of course, we all have our own opinion as to how a shot would look better. This is very subjective and the result may not reflect the reality seen by the photog through the viewfinder.

My first approach is to trust the content of the original file.

I will try a levels adjustment first, except on images that have alot of shadow, I will use the Shdow/Highlight command and enter the default adjustment by PSE 4.

All this is on a duplicate image with the original image closed to avoid altering the original. If the original is a JPEG I will first save it as a Tiff, and work on a duplicate of the Tiff.

Working with levels, you should always have your 'Info' box visible somewhere on your screen so you cansee the values of a given point on your image.

With levels you will establish which part of the image will be 'white' 255,255,255, see info box. and 'black' 0,0,0.

Some parts of the image may be pure white to start with and if you click your white eye dropper on them you will see no change. You must look for places in the image that are near white to different degrees. Click on them and you will see the 'corrections' each selection makes to your image.

Click on reset and try another white location, then once you are satisfied with the white range, do the same with the black eye dropper. ( I never use the grey one ).

You can play with an image until you understand how your selections affect an image.

Once you have a properly balanced image via the Levels adjustment, your contrast and colors fall into place to a great degree.

Once you have your image at this stage then it is easier to achieve noise reduction and then sharpening.

Please remember this is my method, perhaps inferior to may others, but it works for me time wise and quality wise.

Hope you find this of value.

Regards, Nicholas
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Old Nov 12, 2006, 7:32 AM   #37
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Hi Ria and Nicholas

[Rial .. please do NOT delete the image you did!]


I woke up this morning and was amazed to see the work the two of you have been doing ... I forgot to put my morning coffee on until I had already been looking at the closely in photoshop for some time.

Nicholas ... I am getting a clearer picture of what is possible. I get the sense that there is a delicate balance between the process of denoising and the final process of sharpening. I had almost given up as I would find sharpening seeming to put back noise that I had removed so I had been beginning to settle into overdoing the smoothing inNoise Ninja and then pushing the contrast. Both of which are giving IMO a rather cheap sense of boldness which does not stand up to scrutiny. I'm OK with overdoign it for artistic effect but that needs to be a choice and for me it has been my 'only' option. From what you kindly did I am getting more of a sense of what is possible. For example .. Victoria's eye is now showing some distinction between the white and the and the iris yet Ian's hair ... widow's peak and to the left and right has not lost some of the gentlenss of tonal change.

I also notice you allowed some of what looks like chroma ... eg in the more colourful parts of Victoria's dress and on Ian's face. But zooming out .... I see the sense of retained texture and tone due to not overdoing it. I'm still paddling the surface. Thankyou.


Ria ... I very much like what you did and have attached a similar thing [Ricoh Caplio R8 auto with flash] that I did for Rachael and Nick .. novice dancers on the day she arrived with her first ballgown.
I notice you managed to get a nice sense of softening which was more than just putting a lot of feather ..... how did you do it ... firstly how did you get rid of the background and then how did you get that softening effect? .... it looked like Ian and Victoria were dancing in, through and out of the clouds rather than in my attempt where the dancers are kind of frozen against unreality.

Your comment about the context being a bit of a problem is all too true .... a typical headache for me. The Competitive ballroom circuit is full of dancehalls in which everybody is either a competitor or a judge. The mood is very UN-entertaining and apart from the judges, the people in backgound of competitions are getting on with preparing for their own events and the judges are either flicking their attention around or writing in their mark-books so there is often little or no focus of attention on the dancers that I am photoing.

Best wishes

Glyn
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Old Nov 12, 2006, 9:05 AM   #38
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Hello Glyn, Ria and All,

We recently returned from our first cruise and saw alot of dancing in the several night clubs on board. But I always thought what a dance would look like on the prominade deck.

Well as soon as I saw your dancers with the grey background I pictured them

dancing on the deck of the Spirit:

Regards, Nicholas
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Old Nov 12, 2006, 5:39 PM   #39
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Hello, All:

Nicholas, your sunset cruise dancers reminded me a little of the movie "Titanic." I'm glad you and your wife's trip had a different ending!

I'm glad you liked the cloud picture, Glyn, but asking me how I did it will show my PS inexperience ... 'cause I'm not sure! Unfortunately I can't "cheat" and look at the CS2 history because I flattened the layers before I sent it. (Normally I keep a master back up, but since it wasn't my file, I didn't think it would be right to do so in this instance.)

Hmmm. I think the first thing I did was attempt to follow KenBalbari's noise reductions settings in CS2, but I couldn't get it to look the way I wanted, (which happens to me frequently. I have a lot of traditional darkroom experience and usually have a very clear idea of how I want to see the final print, but have not yet attained the skills to do the same in PS).

My idea of what I wanted to do started with this: a while ago, a very financially successful photo buddy (he did ad work for Agfa, Pentax) gave me this advice: "if you screw up, put a big frame around it and call it art." He also said, if you intentionallly break a photography or art rule, make sure you emphasize it so people will know you did it on purpose. (Or in this case, fake it to appear as if it was done on purpose.) So this started me to think about going WITH the noise instead of trying to "fix" it. Once I had this idea, I turned the noise reduction way up in CS2. I liked the soft watercolor effect, but the background still bugged me. I tried to blur it with both gaussian and lens blurs, but it just didn't look natural and for some reason, it made it even more of a distraction because of all the different colors. I thought about B&W, but I loved the colors of the dress so much ... I don't think it would have been as lovely an image without them. So, hoping you'd forgive me, I just decided to get rid of the background all together and start afresh, deciding I wanted a a kind of "lensbabies" effect. I opened a pic of the Texas sky, copied it, closed that image, then pasted it onto your picture. I then created a layer mask on that layer, and painted out the couple with a soft black brush so that they showed through the clouds. (I learned how to do this from a free tutorial posted http://www.radiantvista.com. I would also highly recommend Mark S. Johnson's ebook called "Photographer's Photoshop Companion," IMHO well worth the USD $30.00 fee. There's a link on the site.)

I still didn't like the way Ian and Victoria seemed cut 'n pasted on top of the clouds, so after a few experiments, I came up with a new layer and did a motion blur on the whole layer, then applied another mask on the new layer. Painted this mask with black over just part of the couple so that their faces and upper body were not affected. I liked the slight dark halo that the motion blur created around the borders of the couple - it seemed to help separate them from the sky so I left it in place, and even stretched it down a bit to help give them a hint of a "base" to stand on.

Still wasn't perfectly pleased with the way the couple blended in the with background. Awhile back, another forum member, DRL, pointed me toward blending modes; since then, I've been taking his advice and just experimenting, as well as trying to relax and not to worry about the "correct" way to do something in PS. I am a horrid, obsessive perfectionist, so this concept is a huge departure from my normal routine. Many thanks to DRL for opening my eyes to blending layers.

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=55

Even though the pic now looked better, I decided to keep going. (With layers, I can always just turn off the eyeball if I don't like the effect, so it makes it a blast to play around.) I made a new layer; did a radial blur on the background, and played with the blending modes (I think I used multiply or overlay, sorry don't remember which). This helped alot, I now liked it; so I stopped, flattened the layers and saved as a jpeg.

Whew! I just re-read that long-winded explanation; seemed like gibberish to me, and I wrote it! I'm sure there was probably a lot more elegant, simpler way to do what I did in PS, but I'm at the stage where I still have to kinda make it up as I go along, so I may not be the best person to give advice. Later tonight, I'll try to start over with your new couple, not flatten the layers, and then I'll be able to refer to the history and give you (and me!) a clearer idea of what, exactly, I did! Ria
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Old Nov 12, 2006, 6:15 PM   #40
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OK - I attempted to quickly redo what I did last night; here are the somewhat sloppy results but now I think I remember better what I did. This time I kept the original .psd file unflattened; later on if you still want me to I will post the history. Or, if you have Photoshop (any version would work I think), PM me with an email address and I can send you the original, layered file to play with. Then you can not only look at the history but also click the layers on and off. Someone did this for me a few weeks ago, and it really helped me a lot. But please remember there are probably a lot easier ways to do what I did; I'm no expert! Ria
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