Assignment 3 Reworked

Although I received generally favourable comments on my submission for assignment 3, there were a number of things that needed addressing. The overriding issue was that I arrived at the final result without recording what steps I took along the way, therefore it would not be repeatable. In the meantime I have also started to use Lightroom. The original images were worked up in Photoshop and to redo them would give me additional practise with the new software. Lightroom also gave me three further advantages in that it would automatically record my work steps, give me greater control over the conversion with more colour channels and enable me to save versions (or snapshots) along the way.

Another comment John made was that I did not experiment with key. In fact I did, but discarded the results as I did not like them as much as the more conventional treatment. As such I did not record what I achieved and this exercise will also address this.

John also commented that “Footpath” and “Untitled” were conveying the same message as others in the set so this rework will concentrate on the remaining four.

The Hay Wain

Original image:

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First I increased contrast by 0.24:

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In the Black and White conversion, auto settings gave this result:

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I then made coarse adjustments with each slider to get a feel for the effect each had, returning the sliders to auto after each adjustment:

Red – Slight effect on the edges of the trailer (a rusty colour in the original).

Orange – Slightly stronger effect on the bed of the trailer, the pile of sand behind it and the flowers on the right.

Yellow – Quite a strong effect on the foreground grass and leaves, the ground between the rows of vines. Less effect on background trees.

Green – Ditto for the foreground, less effect on ground between rows of vines, stronger effect on background trees.

Aqua – Effect limited to drivers window of the car.

Blue – Darkened the sky but made an odd interference effect with the leaves around the sky when used to excess.

Purple – Very slight effect on car.

Magenta – no noticeable effect.

Firstly I wanted better definition of the stuff on the trailer so I reduced red and orange to darken the trailer.

clip_image008

To make the rows of vines stand out a bit, I darkened yellow, compensated for the darkening foliage by lightening green:

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Image was now slightly darker with some shadow clipping so I lightened blacks so they were not clipping and lightened whites to just short of clipping, then gave it an overall contrast boost:

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There remained a small amount of specular highlights on the car.

Finally I applied sharpening:

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I then created a snapshot of this version.

Then I tried a high key version

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and saved this as a snapshot

Bed and Breakfast

Original image:

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First I corrected the obvious wonkiness:

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The blacks were adjusted to just avoid clipping, the whites so that the walls of the building were at 95% on all three channels:

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Auto black and white conversion gave this result:

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And experimenting with the sliders had these effects:

Red – Profound effect on the framework of the right hand roller.

Orange – Ditto, plus profound effect on both rollers themselves

Yellow – Big effect on foreground grass, less so on background foliage.

Green – Similar to yellow but slightly more so.

Aqua – Noticeable on end and frame of right hand roller.

Blue – Similar to aqua but more so, darkened sky.

Purple – Slight effect on end of left hand roller and roof.

Magenta – No noticeable effect.

Firstly I wanted to create some contrast between the rollers and their frames so I darkened red, aqua and blue and lightened orange:

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Then to increase overall light level, I lightened green:

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Next came sharpening:

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Finally I tweaked contrast, lowered black point, and lightened shadows slightly:

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Checking the white walls of the building they came out at about 97%

This was saved as a snapshot

The high key one was created by increasing exposure and reducing the white point to ensure there was some exposure headroom over the white wall:

clip_image033

Vines and Wire

Original image:

clip_image035

First, I increased contrast:

clip_image037

The auto Black and White conversion gave this:

clip_image039

Checking the effect of each colour slider:

Red – Little discernable effect.

Orange – Noticeable effect on path, ground between vines, pulley bracket, frame and bed of trailer.

Yellow – Noticeable effect on path, ground between vines and area under trailer.

Green – Effect on foreground grass, distant trees and ground between vines.

Aqua – Slight effect on front panel of trailer.

Blue – Effect on sky and front panel of trailer.

Purple – No noticeable effect.

Magenta – No noticeable effect.

The auto conversion is quite good in this case but I wanted to darken the sky and increase the contrast between the vines, the ground and the trailer. First the sky with the blue slider:

clip_image041

Then I lightened green, darkened aqua, yellow and orange:

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Finally, there was a small amount of black clipping so I adjusted the black point to remove it:

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This was saved as the first snapshot.

The high key version was created by increasing exposure and highlights:

clip_image047

Surrey Hills

Original image:

clip_image049

First I lifted the contrast

clip_image051

Conversion to Black and White on auto gave this:

clip_image053

The effect of each colour channel was:

Red – No noticeable effect

Orange – Path, around the vines

Yellow – Just about everything

Green – Foreground foliage and background trees

Aqua – Background trees

Blue – Sky, shadow detail of background trees

Purple – No noticeable effect

Magenta – No noticeable effect

Green and aqua between them were useful to increase contrast of background trees:

clip_image055

And blue darkened the sky:

clip_image057

This was saved as snapshot 1

The high key version was made simply by increasing the exposure until I just retained cloud detail in the sky:

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I struggled with sharpening in Lightroom. Having got used to the Photoshop method of applying an unsharp mask, I could not see how the settings in Lightroom made any difference. I have noticed however that you can apply sharpening at the printing stage so I will see how that goes.

I am also experimenting with different ICC profiles when printing. Although these are Black and White images, the profile seems to make a difference as coloured inks are still being used. Amongst the profiles available to me, the most promising in terms of offered image quality were “Canon iP4600 series GL2/SG2” and “Canon iP4600 series PR1”. The former was the appropriate one for the paper I was using but printed with the green cast. I printed “Hay Wain” using both the settings and I experimented with perceptual and relative rendering intent. Examining the prints under diffuse dayight showed that “GL2” had the green cast whereas “PR1” was more neutral. There was not much difference in intent; relative gave slightly richer contrast. This determined the settings for the final prints.

Finally, I was thinking more in terms of “Monochrome” rather than “Black and White”. Monochrome means one colour. The range of tones does not have be shades of grey, what if they were shades of another colour?

I experimented with split toning in Lightroom using “Bed and Breakfast” and using yellow for the highlights and blue for the shadows, came up with this:

clip_image061

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2 Comments

  1. Very interresting rework chris!
    I am using lightroom since 3 years now and lately I feel that
    I was underusing it,
    I did a tutorial on lynda.com and it was really useful specially before assignment 3!

    Reply
  2. Thanks Stephanie, I think with all this software (same with Elements) that they are so powerful, we only use a fraction of their power. Lightroom though is so different from Photoshop, it’s a different way of working to get used to.

    Reply

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