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Author Topic: B&W Printing: Creating the Digital Master Print  (Read 21729 times)
slc
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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2009, 12:53:41 PM »
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As someone else suggested, try it for a month and see if you like the result. I do. And it does a lot more than automatically enhance contrast, or at least more than I have ever been able to do manually with any contrast and edge effect work in Photoshop. To the point that I look at my prints made without it and now they all look flat to me, though I was pleased enough with them before I tried the tool.

  - susan

Quote from: JeffKohn
I've read the first three chapters so far now. Up to this point it has been pretty vague, although getting into subsequent chapters will hopefully have a little more meat as he starts discussing the workflow in more detail. He keeps mentioning PercepTool, but I'm still not clear on what exactly it does.

Sounds like marketing mumbo-jumbo to me. From the before/after samples it seems like an automated contrast enhancement tool. I also find it interesting that the books says you can purchase PercepTool for "only $19.95" but his website says it will cost $89.95.
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snickgrr
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« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2009, 04:16:41 PM »
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I've been playing with for the past few days and I'm very unimpressed.
Seems by making a selection based on luminosity values and command J that to put it on it's own layer and through using both a blend mode and a clipped curve you can duplicate it quite closely.
$89 dollars seems way out line.
My .02.
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sergio
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« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2009, 08:55:12 PM »
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I found it painfully slow. Definitely not for a "work"flow where you handle more than a couple images. I have not yet seen it does something I cannot do with my regular tools in less time. However I will use it more and compare results both ways for the rest of the demo mode lifespan.
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pcmurray
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« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2009, 03:07:33 PM »
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Bought the book thinking that there would be something different. Found it very disappointing. Book a shameless promotion for his software. Even with that disappointment, downloaded demo version of PercepTool. Painfully slow on my G5 Mac quad and  got run error messages. Took it off my system.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2009, 06:24:26 PM »
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Finished the book over the holiday weekend. Get past the flowery prose and there's nothing earth-shattering there, the workflow is pretty standard. I suppose his use of the history brush for dodging and burning is novel, but no more effective than other techniques (and I would argue it's less effective than some). If you're looking for any ground-breaking revelations, you won't find them unless he sells you on PercepTool. What's frustrating is that the book promises so much, and has these dramatic before/after examples in the 'Featured Artist' sections but there's really no information provided on how they achieved those results.

I downloaded the PercepTool demo now that it's available for Windows. All it does is reduce global contrast while increasing local contrast. It works very very slowly, so much so that I think I could fire up Lightzone and make my own manual adjustments more quickly than letting the plug-in run. I suppose for some images it might work OK, but for most images I tried there were problem areas, which is pretty much what I've come to expect from 'magic button' post-processing tools. Definitely not worth the $89 asking price, especially considering that it took just under 10 minutes to run on a 40 megapixel stitched shot (on a Core2Quad machine with 8GB of RAM and fast hard disks).
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 09:10:42 AM by JeffKohn » Logged

lensfactory
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« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2009, 08:12:56 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I suppose his use of the history brush for dodging and burning is novel, but no more effective than other techniques (and I would argue it's less effective than some).

Can you elaborate? I am looking for a way to do effective burning and dodging...and other techniques you can link me to?
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2009, 09:36:32 PM »
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Quote from: lensfactory
Can you elaborate? I am looking for a way to do effective burning and dodging...and other techniques you can link me to?
Well the dodge/burn tools in CS4 have been revamped and actually work pretty well, although I would recommend using them on a duplicate layer so you still have your original un-touched image. Another common approach is to use solid-color layers with the various blend modes. For instance create a new layer filled with solid white, and set the blend mode to Multiply, Color Burn, or Linear Burn. Now if you paint into that layer with a low-opacity black brush, you can 'burn' portions of the image. To create a 'dodge' layer, create a new layer filled with black and set the blend mode to screen, color dodge, or linear dodge, and then paint into it with a low-opacity white brush. The different blend modes will have slightly different effects, color dodge/color burn are often good to start with, but if you're not getting the result you want try one of the other modes. It kind of depends on the tonal range you want hit.

Instead of using separate dodge/burn layers you can also fill a layer with middle-gray and use a blend-mode of overlay or soft light. Then you can paint with either black or white brush at low opacity to dodge/burn. This approach works pretty well for primarily midtones, but not so well for darkening extreme highlights or lightening deep shadows.
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kikashi
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« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2009, 02:37:30 AM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
Finished the book over the holiday weekend. Get past the flowery prose and there's nothing earth-shattering there, the workflow is pretty standard. I suppose his use of the history brush for dodging and burning is novel, but no more effective than other techniques (and I would argue it's less effective than some). If you're looking for any ground-breaking revelations, you won't find them unless he sells you on PercepTool. What's frustrating is that the book promises so much, and has these dramatic before/after examples in the 'Featured Artist' sections but there's really no information provided on how they achieved those results.
That's pretty much my view as well. One thing I did find amusing (and, in its way, reassuring) was that the featured artists could take photos that looked so awful before manipulation and still end up with something looking pretty good.

The main disappointment for me was that although he describes what he did to improve images, the book is very short on why. A cynic might suggest that such an approach would improve sales of the tool he's plugging.

Still, it wasn't expensive.

Jeremy
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2009, 07:25:06 AM »
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Quote from: lensfactory
Can you elaborate? I am looking for a way to do effective burning and dodging...and other techniques you can link me to?

George is a huge fan of the history brush. He was on the Lightroom advisory group and tried to get them to adopt his way of doing things (history brush). His book "Digital Photography Fine Print Workshop" pretty much covers it. Frankly I'm still incensed (over three years later!) that I paid $1100 for this workshop and he gave us the book on a PDF! (Admittedly the book wasn't out yet, but he could have sent it to us, it was only two weeks until release - some in the class went to Kinkos to have the PDF printed - what a waste.)
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 01:00:44 PM by JohnBrew » Logged

Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2009, 08:04:16 AM »
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I've just skimmed the book as well and found it to be wanting.  As others have noted, it is a shameless promotion for his software plugin that I may or may not give a try to see if it's worth the investment.  The images are nice but there is little explanation of why certain choices were made.  Quite frankly one can get more value from Martin Evening's free video tutorials on the Lightroom News website, particularly his use of the desaturation sliders to create the initial B&W image (which leads to less noise).
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daws
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« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2009, 05:28:25 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
...it took just under 10 minutes to run on a 40 megapixel stitched shot (on a Core2Quad machine with 8GB of RAM and fast hard disks).

I've tried the PercepTool demo on a couple dozen 120MB .PSD and .TIFF files in CS4. Processing time is consistently 5 min. 40 sec. per file, +/- 5 sec.

That's on a four-year-old Windows XP machine, 3.06 dual processors, 4GB RAM.


Quote from: JeffKohn
All it does is reduce global contrast while increasing local contrast.

To my eye it does much, much more than that.

Just sayin'.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2009, 05:46:44 PM »
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Quote from: daws
I've tried the PercepTool demo on a couple dozen 120MB .PSD and .TIFF files in CS4. Processing time is consistently 5 min. 40 sec. per file, +/- 5 sec.

That's on a four-year-old Windows XP machine, 3.06 dual processors, 4GB RAM.
And your point is? Do you really find that acceptable? Besides I said 40 megapixels not 40 megabytes. For 12 megapixel images it seems to take about 3 minutes on my machine.

Quote
To my eye it does much, much more than that.

Just sayin'.
If you can explain it I'm all ears. I'd be very interested to hear a real explanation of what this plug-in supposedly does, as opposed to marketing speak about "changing the luminance image into the luminosity percept of the visual cortex."
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keith_cooper
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« Reply #32 on: May 30, 2009, 04:14:16 AM »
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Quote from: JohnBrew
George is a huge fan of the history brush. He was on the Lightroom advisory group and tried to get them to adopt his way of doing things (history brush). His book "Digital Photography Fine Print Workshop" pretty much covers it. Frankly I'm still incensed (over three years later!) that I paid $1100 for this workshop and he gave us the book on a PDF! (Admittedly the book wasn't out yet, but he could have sent it to us, it was only two weeks until release - some in the class went to Kinkos to have the PDF printed - what a waste.)

I like to look at different approaches to my own PS based workflow* every so often, and I recently got the workshop book.

It's an interesting read. However, despite his case for the History brush approach, I still personally find using assorted masks a much more intuitive approach in achieving the 'look I'm after.  That said, I'll mention aspects of his approach next time I get asked to do a talk on aspects of B/W printing.

I find his assertion that "... it is counterintuitive to an artist to subtract something" (p161) as a somewhat dubious approach towards justifying what is for all of us, a personal choice as to what best fits our vision.

I was also somewhat disappointed to find colour management relegated to a few pages in an appendix, almost as an afterthought to the process of getting good prints.

Keith Cooper

* A short -basic- (for this list!) tutorial showing my own typical B/W workflow is at http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/tutoria...hite_print.html
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nemophoto
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« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2009, 03:56:38 PM »
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Personally, I enjoyed the book. Yes, it promotes his plug-in and Lightroom (but, so what --it's his book). In a way, it inspired me, and not much inspires me these days. There were some interesting tips and alternate ways of doing things. And, there was some great photography within -- both George's and other photographers. I may be teaching a photo seminar coarse at a boarding school this fall, and if I do, I'll make this one of my text books.

Nemo
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Chris_T
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« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2009, 08:19:45 AM »
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The comments about the PercepTool is yet another good example of the importance of providing some context. It would be much more helpful is the posters can support and substantiate, however subjective, their pros and cons with:

- their level of expertise and experience prior to using the tool

- the kind of images the tool is applied to (good captures vs problematic captures, tag sharp landscapes vs blurry abstracts, etc.)

- samples of before and after the tool is applied

- methods used but failed to achieve the same without the tool

Without these, comments can only lead to confusion and frustration.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2009, 08:46:01 AM »
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Quote from: Chris_T
The comments about the PercepTool is yet another good example of the importance of providing some context. It would be much more helpful is the posters can support and substantiate, however subjective, their pros and cons with:

- their level of expertise and experience prior to using the tool

- the kind of images the tool is applied to (good captures vs problematic captures, tag sharp landscapes vs blurry abstracts, etc.)

- samples of before and after the tool is applied

- methods used but failed to achieve the same without the tool

Without these, comments can only lead to confusion and frustration.
Chris,

You do have a way of picking out the essential issues of a discussion like this (very much like the way you critique websites.) I have been following this thread since it began, hoping to get a good idea of whether either the book or the PercepTool would be of any use to me. You have spotlighted exactly the things I have been missing here. Thank you!


-Eric

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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
keith_cooper
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« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2009, 09:03:48 AM »
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Still waiting for the book to appear over here (UK).

My own comments were regarding his previous book - I'll get the demo and give it a blast once the book turns up...  I might not buy into some of the 'philosophy' that seems to go along with it, but a useful tool is a useful tool whatever ;-)

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kikashi
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« Reply #37 on: June 15, 2009, 11:51:55 AM »
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Quote from: keith_cooper
Still waiting for the book to appear over here (UK).

My own comments were regarding his previous book - I'll get the demo and give it a blast once the book turns up...  I might not buy into some of the 'philosophy' that seems to go along with it, but a useful tool is a useful tool whatever ;-)
Keith,

It's here - I bought it through Amazon from a firm called The Book Depository about three weeks ago. Amazon themselves say it's available only for pre-order, but follow the "used and new" link and it's listed as in stock with the Depository. I had good service and quick delivery as well.

Whether it was worth the money is another matter entirely, of course, but it didn't cost too much.

Jeremy
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keith_cooper
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« Reply #38 on: June 15, 2009, 03:36:54 PM »
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Quote from: kikashi
Keith,

It's here - I bought it through Amazon from a firm called The Book Depository about three weeks ago. Amazon themselves say it's available only for pre-order, but follow the "used and new" link and it's listed as in stock with the Depository. I had good service and quick delivery as well.

Whether it was worth the money is another matter entirely, of course, but it didn't cost too much.

Jeremy
Thanks - unfortunately I didn't see that, and got it as part of an Amazon gift certificate I was using. So I'm waiting for Amazon themselves.

Still, about time I finished some of the other books I picked up recently ;-)
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Chris_T
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« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2009, 07:26:33 AM »
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Thanks Eric, it takes one geezer to appreciate another  

The problem with Net postings, especially in forums like this, is digging out the few gems in mountains of noise. IMHO, *the* key to good postings is in their *context*.

Quote from: EricM
Chris,

You do have a way of picking out the essential issues of a discussion like this (very much like the way you critique websites.) I have been following this thread since it began, hoping to get a good idea of whether either the book or the PercepTool would be of any use to me. You have spotlighted exactly the things I have been missing here. Thank you!


-Eric
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