Since I'm not familiar with the program you used, I'm not sure how easy it actually is to use, but it seemed pretty complex. Isn't by far the easiest way to bring out shadows by using the fill light slider (ACR, LR) or an adjustment layer mask (PS)?
There are definitely easier ways to do it in photoshop which I will go over in the next few posts. Photoscape is a free program and is actually really, really easy and fun to use so I start with that one because it is available to anyone. You should check it out. I think you would enjoy playing around with it.
Here's the "Pretty" for today. Believe it or not, this was taken at 12:30 on July 4th. You can see how completely empty the park was that day. It really was a delightul day to be in the park because it was similar to to a rainy week day in mid February.
8-12-11 Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” continues the discussion about how to lighten up specific areas in a photograph. This might seem kind of long but that is only because I wanted to show all the little buttons necessary in case there are any readers of this that are new to Photoshop Elements. It is actually quite simple and depending upon the shapes and details in the image only takes a few minutes once you know how to work the tools effectively.
Today we use the Screen Layer mode and a Layer Mask in Photoshop Elements to achieve our goal.
Here is the original image. I took this from the side of the shop in front of Grizzly Rapids. I loved all the detail and texture in the tree that was in front of me and that is what I really wanted to showcase, using the river and the boat as a background detail for the image.The tree was pretty close to me and in a shadow, with the background being very bright. The resulting image made the tree really dark, losing all the detail that I wanted to show.
To start, let’s open it in Photoshop Elements.
The first thing I want to do is tone down the blown highlights in the background. I went into the Quick edit mode and darkened the Highlights by 15.
Next, go back into the Full edit mode and in the layers panel, right click the background layer and click Duplicate Layer.
Click on the Background Copy.
Next, right above that is the layer mode drop down menu. Change the layer mode to Screen.
You can see how it brightened up the entire image, including the background, which we don’t want any brighter.
At the bottom of the layers panel are these buttons. Click the square button with the white circle to Add a Layer Mask.
This is what your layers panel will look like now. The White Square next to the Background Copy thumbnail is the layer mask.
Over on the left side of the screen is our tool palette. Down at the bottom, make sure the Foreground color is set to Black.Then click on the spilling Paint Bucket tool like you see in the top of this photo.
Simply click the paint bucket tool anywhere on the image and it will restore it to the original darker copy. We just filled the layer mask with black, so now the layer mask thumbnail in the layers palette will be solid black.
Now we can paint over the areas we want to lighten, leaving the background the way we want it to be. Select the Paint Brush Tool.
At the bottom of the tool palette, change the Foreground color to White. Whatever parts of the image we paint with white, will be the lighter image showing through.
I chose a brush size large enough to let me paint most of the tree in a few strokes. You can see in the Layer Palette, the Layer Mask shows white wherever I painted with white.
Now I can zoom in and using a smaller brush paint the edges of the tree to make it cleaner. If you go outside the tree and paint something you want to keep dark, simply change the foreground color back to black and paint it back. Then change it back to white and continue working on the tree.
I also zoomed way in so I could paint white onto the branches that I want to be lightened as well.
This is what it looks like at this point.
And here in the Layer Mask box, you can easily see what we’ve done.
The tree still isn’t as bright as I would like it to be, so here is a simple trick to make it a little brighter. By Right Clicking the Background Copy Layer, and Duplicating it again, it automatically sets that Background Copy 2 as a Screen mode, thus brightening up the tree even further. Only the parts of the image that we painted will be affected, leaving the river and the raft the way we want it.
Now this is what the image looks like.
This is what our Layers Palette will look like.
The tree is a bit brighter than I want it to be, so we can go into the Opacity Slider for the newest layer and simply drop the opacity of that layer down until we get the brightness of the tree exactly where we want. I set it at 60%.
Here is another great trick to make sure that we painted all of the tree we wanted to and didn’t miss any spots. (I missed a spot intentionally so I could show you this trick) In the Layers Panel, click on the little eyeball of the bottom Background layer. This will turn itoff so we can see only the parts that we painted.
This is what your image will look like so you can easily fill in the spots you missed.
To do this, click back onto the middle layer “Background Copy” so we are working in our original Layer Mask Adjustment Layer and with your paint brush, simply paint over the necessary areas.
This is better.
I’m not happy with this branch at the bottom. It is still too bright for my liking.
Click the foreground color back to black. Using the paint brush tool, I set the opacity(at the top of the screen) to 36% and using a large brush, simply brushed over the whole thing. It won’t harm the river or anything else because those are already black.
So here is our final result.
When you save the image, make sure you save it as a PSD so it will save all of your layers as they are. in case you spot something you missed and/or need to make any additional changes. Then you can also save it as a jpeg for your normal viewing.
I know this seemed like a lot of steps, but once you understand how layers work and what a powerful tool they are, you can do this very quickly. I timed myself editing this photo and it took me about 10 minutes. The reason this is a great way of doing this type of editing is because it does very little harm to the actual pixels of the photo. Simply brightening up the photo using a Brighten tool affects the entire image and damages it a little bit.
The next tutorial will go over the same subject of lightening specific areas in a photo using a different tool.
8-26-11 For “Today’s Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” I wanted to take a quick break from the post processing tutorials on lightening up areas of a photo and revisit the post I did on 6-13-11 about Panning. The Disneyland Photo of the Day...
Since it was my first time attempting a panning technique, I was not very happy with my results in that post. I was at Disneyland on Saturday and decided to give it another try on something that moved a little faster, not in circles like the teacups or Dumbo and gave me a better opportunity for a more dynamic motion blur. Big Thunder Railroad was my muse this time and provided me with some very interesting results. I definitely got a little better at it with more practice and learned something that I didn’t know on the first post.
I grabbed a spot on the bridge along the walkway from Frontierland into Fantasyland, right where Big Thunder curves into the short cave and watched a few trains go by to get used to the speed. I set the camera on Shutter Priority and chose a shutter speed of 1/80th and set the ISO on Auto. This first photo was at 1/80th, with the Exposure Compensation at 0. The camera set the aperture at F/4.0 and the ISO at160.
I thought it was a little too overexposed on the mountain so I dropped the exposure compensation down -2/3. The camera chose an aperture of F/4.5 and ISO of 160. It worked better but was too fast of a shutter speed to give me the motion blur I was looking for.
Next I dropped the Shutter Speed down to 1/60th and left the exposure compensation at -2/3rd. The camera set the aperture at F/4.5 and the ISO at 100. This also worked well but still didn’t give me a blur that was appropriate for the speed and excitement of this ride.
Next, I went down to 1/50th and left the EC at -2/3rd. With a slower shutter speed, the sensor receives more light, so this time it set the aperture at F/5.0 and the ISO at 100. Once again, it was well exposed but still didn’t give the blur I wanted.
Down I go to 1/40th. For all of these shots I was starting my shooting as the train was approaching me and continued firing and panning with it as it went by. What surprised me the most about this was how the camera was reading the distance and light and adjusting as fast as I could hold down the shutter. I’m not sure if the camera wasn’t fast enough to read everything properly at that speed and adjust that fast but it made some decisions that seemed a bit odd. In this shot, the shutter speed was 1/40th, EC at -2/3 and it set the aperture down to F/11 with the ISO at 100. You can see that it is too dark because of the smaller aperture.
The very next frame (remember I have it on continuous shooting mode so it is firing at 3.9 frames per second) it changed the aperture to F/10 and as you can see it is still too dark.
The next frame it changed the aperture all the way to F/5, which exposed the image much better. I don’t know if any of these aperture changes were because of the distance the train was from me as it came towards me and was at the closest point or if it was just that the camera needed more time to adjust than I was giving it. Either way, it was still a hair too fast for what I wanted.
I dropped the shutter speed down to 1/30th and kept everything else the same. Once again, the slower shutter speed will expose more light onto the sensor, so the camera decreased the aperture (made the hole smaller) to let in less light. It set the aperture at F/14 for this one.
The next frame was 1/30th EC at -2/3, Aperture F/10 again and ISO of 100.
Finally I got the shot that I wanted. This was at 1/30th EC at -2/3, Aperture went to F/8 and ISO still at 100. This one is my favorite of the bunch because I finally froze the train pretty cleanly and I also got a motion blur that seems consistent with the speed of the ride.
I know I learned a lot more about panning on my second try at it and also found it to be a lot more fun than the first time. I was shooting with Tiki Mike and it seemed like he was having fun trying it too. Hopefully you will as well.
8-19-11 Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” is a simple little tip that can fix one of the common problems we all encounter when photographing characters in the parade. Today we fix the Blur caused by Waving Hands. This doesn’t work for every photo with this problem but it can save some of them.
There are several challenges to overcome when photographing parades at Disneyland. You have to think about location, background, where the sunlight is coming from and where it is hitting, what lens to use, what shutter speed and how to illuminate faces that are always looking downward or wearing some type of costume that creates a shadow on their face. One of the smaller but equally difficult challenges is getting a nice clean shot of a character that is not only lit well but is in sharp focus. The sharp focus can be tough because they are always moving. Even if that character is sitting still, they are almost always waving their hands which will cause them to be blurry. Here’s a somewhat quick tip using Photoshop Elements that can fix some of those waving hand pictures.
I’ll start with this shot of Peter Pan. I love the photo because he is coming right at me and it has Tinkerbell appearing as though she is the size of a Pixie sitting on top of his head. Almost everything about this shot is wonderful except his hand is blurry. Luckily his hand is mostly straight and has only the sky behind it to deal with, so it’s a pretty easy fix.
First, we’ll open it in Photoshop Elements and zoom in on his hand.
Using the Clone Stamp Tool (it looks like a rubber stamp) and a pretty small brush size around 15 pixels, select a spot very close to his hand that is right outside the blur that surrounds it. You want to select a spot as close to it as you can so you match the background around it without seeing a difference. I usually set the circle of the brush over the spot I want to get rid of and then move beside it by the thickness of the brush. Whenever you are doing a process like this, keep the area that the clone stamp is cloning right next to the spot you are working on so you can easily match up the backgrounds as you go along. Then simply work your way along the side of the hand cleaning up the blur.
The tips of the fingers will need some extra work but for now, I just worked my way around them getting rid of the blur.
You can also see that there is some red fringing in the blur farther down his arm.
The same process of keeping the clone stamp very close and right next to it applies here to clean that up.
Because the hand was moving, when we clean up the fingertips they might look like they are missing some pieces.
That is easy to fix as well. Once the outside blur is cleaned up, simply clone a spot inside the fingertip and rebuild the shape of the finger until it looks normal.
And here is the final result.
While working on this tutorial I tried it on a few other photos that had the same problem. One of them was Minnie Mouse and the other was Rapunzel. It didn’t work on either of them. Minnie’s hands were too big and blurry throughout the entire hand and Rapunzel’s were pointed towards me in the middle of her body so I couldn’t find a way to clean it up. Obviously the best way to avoid this problem altogether would be to have a faster shutter speed but sometimes that doesn’t always work out. Hopefully this can save a few of them for you.