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Old 03-16-2013, 11:43 AM   #1
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For photography/photoshop geeks only

I recently paid the $99 fee for NAPP to get access to the online tutorials and found one on decorating the outside of a house in Christmas lights fascinating. While the two videos that make up the tutorial are about 50 minutes, the author posted a 3-minute time-lapse video of the process on youtube.com. He just uses stock photo images of the house, a wreath, and a darker sky to completely transform the house. I have to admire the creativity and the in-depth knowledge of the software to do it.

Set to the music of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" it is entertaining.

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Old 03-16-2013, 12:55 PM   #2
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I don't do much in photoshop beyond basic retouching but this was pretty cool. Do you have any of your own PS works to share?
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:33 PM   #3
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Very cool. There was a funny comment on youtube, a guy said he could have put up the lights in less than it took to photoshop it!

I do some photo editing, but few and far between so I end up re-learning most of it each time. Sometimes it's amazing how much I can improve something in a very short time, other times the more work I put into it the sillier it looks and I go back to the original. BTW, I just use the free open-source Graphic Image Manipulation Program (GIMP).

A while back, I put up a little DIY project on a hobby forum, and a piece of wood I used was just a scrap piece, and it just happened to have a hole in it unrelated to the project itself. I didn't want anyone to ask - 'what is that hole for?' or 'what size do I drill the hole?', so I used the clone-stamp tool to copy some near-by wood grain over the hole. It would never fool anyone who studied it closely, but it was good enough that it didn't draw your eye to it, and it took me less than a minute.

Looks like he was using the 'masking' features to isolate the sky/house? I need to learn about those.

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Old 03-16-2013, 01:51 PM   #4
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I do some photo editing, but few and far between so I end up re-learning most of it each time. Sometimes it's amazing how much I can improve something in a very short time, other times the more work I put into it the sillier it looks and I go back to the original. BTW, I just use the free open-source Graphic Image Manipulation Program (GIMP).
+3 - ever use is a re-learning experience. GIMP has pretty much all of the photoshop tools but I like the PS look and feel better. My daughter keeps a copy of her Student/Teacher addition on my PC so I have access. But, if I couldn't get at it free, I would switch to GIMP. The clone stamp can do wonders for repairing scans of old scratched up photos. My favorite tools in PS are curves and shadow/highlights. You you need a light touch with shadow/highlights but can fix a lot of the amateurish lighting mistakes many of us commit. I think GIMP has something similar but IIRC it doesn't have the ease of use of the PS version.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:34 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by photoguy View Post
I don't do much in photoshop beyond basic retouching but this was pretty cool. Do you have any of your own PS works to share?
Actually I don't do much in Photoshop itself as a practical matter. Like most people who have both Lightroom and Photoshop I do most editing in Lightroom. It's only when one gets into layers, layer masks and the like that PS is needed. I have done some portrait retouching of family photos. One niece was happy about me removing a bruise in an otherwise nice photo. And I do the usual brighten the eyes, remove blemishes, whiten the teeth, etc.

While I can't post family since they didn't agree to having their photos published, I can of one of their dogs. Below is Joe, a very friendly 2-year-old Newfoundland. I did a lot of retouching on this in PS, removing grass stuck to his fur, brighten the eyes, lowering the color intensity of the bright blue car in the background that I thought was a visual distraction and creating a blur in the background to focus attention on the subject.

While PS is expensive there is a lot more support for it in the way of books and online tutorials for it and for me the whole digital photography was/is a steep learning curve so I needed all the help I could find.

BTW, the cheap and legit way to get PS is to first buy either Lightroom or PS Elements. Register the software and agree to the spam upgrade notices. Adobe will soon send an invite to buy PS at the regular price. Ignore that. Eventually they will offer it at the upgrade price and that's the cheapest it's gonna get.

Joe:
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:29 AM   #6
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as someone who works with photoshop every work day I'm impressed.
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:04 PM   #7
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as someone who works with photoshop every work day I'm impressed.
Thank you!

It dawned on me later that I should have posted the original unprocessed photo to show the difference. Actually I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I shot this (underexposed, camera tilted) but even then I had the camera set to +2/3 exposure. Glad I shot it in RAW or the data wouldn't have been there to save it.

Anyway, this is straight from the camera:
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:49 PM   #8
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How many people use Photoshop, which costs like $700. Even Light Room is more than most people will spend but pretty much most people who shot RAW will use LR.

lynda.com also has long videos that you'd subscribe to. They have samples up on YouTube too.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:58 PM   #9
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How many people use Photoshop, which costs like $700. Even Light Room is more than most people will spend but pretty much most people who shot RAW will use LR.
Photoshop is really expensive but for some types of retouching/layers work there is really no alternative and it's pretty much an industry standard. Even something simple like cloning out power lines is a complete chore in LR but easy in PS.

But I agree I spend probably 90% of my time in lightroom (even use it for printing now), 7-8% in stitching/HDR software (photomatix/autopano) and perhaps just a few percent in PS.
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:53 PM   #10
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Thank you!

It dawned on me later that I should have posted the original unprocessed photo to show the difference. Actually I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I shot this (underexposed, camera tilted) but even then I had the camera set to +2/3 exposure. Glad I shot it in RAW or the data wouldn't have been there to save it.

Anyway, this is straight from the camera:
Very nice result! Looks like all the bits were there at least. Always shoot raw! It looks like some of the HDR type processing you often see on the dog - bringing out all the detail.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:05 PM   #11
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Though you can rent Photoshop now, through the Creative Suite Cloud or whatever they call it.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:56 PM   #12
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Though you can rent Photoshop now, through the Creative Suite Cloud or whatever they call it.
I have this, and really enjoy the all you can use buffet of Adobe products. Pricey though.

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Old 03-17-2013, 08:02 PM   #13
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Very nice result! Looks like all the bits were there at least. Always shoot raw! It looks like some of the HDR type processing you often see on the dog - bringing out all the detail.
Very nice. My fist impression was HDR too. I use Photo Shop Element and PhotoMatrix Pro for HDR. Tried RAW but sticking with jpg for now
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:41 AM   #14
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Very nice. My fist impression was HDR too. I use Photo Shop Element and PhotoMatrix Pro for HDR. Tried RAW but sticking with jpg for now
Posting from IPAD so I hope the example of jpg + HDR attachment works
Wow, very nice! I'd be thrilled to have taken that one.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:50 AM   #15
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How many people use Photoshop, which costs like $700. Even Light Room is more than most people will spend but pretty much most people who shot RAW will use LR.

lynda.com also has long videos that you'd subscribe to. They have samples up on YouTube too.
I can't justify the expense. I use Lightroom for 99% of my photo editing. The latest version is much better than ever. I keep Photoshop Elements around for layer work and other more advanced touchup but that's pretty rare. A lot of my photography is motorsports where I will typically shoot 2-3,000 shots over a 2-day event and they need to be processed and available to media & teams the same day or the next day. Lightroom is great for this as I can quickly organize a large database of photos and synchronize edits across as many photos as I want at one time.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:24 AM   #16
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I can't justify the expense. I use Lightroom for 99% of my photo editing. The latest version is much better than ever. I keep Photoshop Elements around for layer work and other more advanced touchup but that's pretty rare.
The first couple of photography classes DW and I took were taught by a working pro who used Elements instead of the full PS for exactly that reason.

I bought the full PS mostly because I wanted to see what I was missing and while Elements does have some functionality with 16-bit files it will mostly only work on 8-bit files. And I could afford it at the upgrade price.

But I see so much difference now using Lightroom and PS than so many other people get with the consumer-level cameras that only shoot .jpg's and they leave it on "auto-everything" and then are disappointed in the results.

Not to say that dropping a bundle of cash on gear will get terrific results but one does run into the limitations of less expensive gear.

Then I see something like Toolman's terrific shot in .jpg and think I must be missing something.

Like everything else it depends on the effort one is willing to expend to get the better results.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:07 AM   #17
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The first couple of photography classes DW and I took were taught by a working pro who used Elements instead of the full PS for exactly that reason.

I bought the full PS mostly because I wanted to see what I was missing and while Elements does have some functionality with 16-bit files it will mostly only work on 8-bit files. And I could afford it at the upgrade price.

But I see so much difference now using Lightroom and PS than so many other people get with the consumer-level cameras that only shoot .jpg's and they leave it on "auto-everything" and then are disappointed in the results.

Not to say that dropping a bundle of cash on gear will get terrific results but one does run into the limitations of less expensive gear.

Then I see something like Toolman's terrific shot in .jpg and think I must be missing something.

Like everything else it depends on the effort one is willing to expend to get the better results.
You do have to have decent gear. Poor focusing ability, poor quality lenses, noisy camera body, etc., will not result in decent photos not matter how hard you try.

But unless you also learn good photography technique in the field, AND how to use the software well, your results will fall far from potential. Those are both impressive learning curves - especially the software one (even if you are a lifelong computer guru like me).

I read a lot of books, read a lot of websites/web tutorial, do a lot of "experiments" in the field to try out ideas and learn my camera better, and then of course try to apply all I've learned to various photography projects. We've been serious photographers since the late 1990s. We got well up to speed with film photography, and then had to learn all over again with digital photography - which is still evolving! Seems like we have to learn all over again every 5 years! Well, not so much DH, as his gear and favored subjects haven't changed that much in the last 8 years - he just gets a better camera body every few years. Me, because I'm exploring new subjects and techniques and software, I'm back on that learning curve! It's a very rewarding hobby, but it does demand quite a bit of effort.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:53 AM   #18
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But I see so much difference now using Lightroom and PS than so many other people get with the consumer-level cameras that only shoot .jpg's and they leave it on "auto-everything" and then are disappointed in the results.
Yeah the same thing happens to those people when they upgrade to a DSLR, shoot in RAW because other photogs said so, and then wonder why their pictures don't look too good. It takes a while to learn how to properly edit a RAW file. It also takes a while to get out of "green box mode" and learn how to use the manual functions of a camera. I like to control the exposure decisions, not the camera. Even with white balance I don't use auto because it causes big color changes when I'm shooting different color race cars at different parts of the track. Such a pain to edit when WB is all over the place. Knowing your camera and what to do in different lighting conditions is most of what's needed to produce a good photo. Editing makes up that last little bit.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:15 AM   #19
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[QUOTE=audreyh1;1296893
But unless you also learn good photography technique in the field, AND how to use the software well, your results will fall far from potential. Those are both impressive learning curves - especially the software one (even if you are a lifelong computer guru like me).

I read a lot of books, read a lot of websites/web tutorial, do a lot of "experiments" in the field to try out ideas and learn my camera better, and then of course try to apply all I've learned to various photography projects. We've been serious photographers since the late 1990s.[/QUOTE]

It is a learning curve, but one that I enjoy. The technical stuff I do okay with, but the artistic "vision" is hard for me. I have several shelves of books - Amazon.com loves me - and one of the concepts repeated is "get out there and shoot every day". Which I'd like to do but there are other obligations that have to come first now. In the meantime I do what I can.

The bright side is that there is an end in sight for those obligations and when they're done I'll be over at the nearby university signing up for photography classes. Me, enrolled in a Fine Arts curriculum? No one who knows me would have ever thunk it!

One of the eye-openers for me was playing around in the basement with a cheap 3-light studio light set and discovering that I could add or subtract 10 years on myself with just the lighting. I used a remote to trip the shutter, and DW will not sit there for two hours at a time while I play with the camera. Sometimes she is such a pill!

So I have a lot to learn yet.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:33 AM   #20
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Far from an "expert" at photography, but I've found that what you shoot makes a big difference in the final result.

Folks have told me what great pics I have taken, but if you're in the Rockies or the Columbia River Valley or The Bahamas, mostly all you need to do is keep your finger out of the shot...

I mostly edit to improve brightness/contrast, and to increase color saturation on shots not taken during the best lighting, i.e. sunrise/sunset.
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