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Author Topic: Working with foggy subjects  (Read 4127 times)
Justan
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« on: June 18, 2009, 05:12:22 PM »
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I have a photo of a foggy forest scene. In a small portion of the upper left where the sun is trying to shine through the fog, the image is verrry thin, so thin that it is blown out (all white) when printing.

If I put the exposure slider to about -2.5 the details of this area can be seen, but everything else is too dark.

I played with the white balance tool and that took the thin area down to almost nothing.

I tried using the burning tool and it doesn’t do the job.

What other techniques are there used to correct this kind of problem?

Also, what techniques are used to help bring out the delicacies of foggy scenes?

Many thanks in advance!
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bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2009, 06:34:10 PM »
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Process several separate versions to bring out the various parts of the image, sun, foggy texture, just bringing out the best of specific parts of the image while letting everything else go on the the individual images.  Stack them up in PS and blend together with painted masks.  It's actually not quite that easy, but sometimes a single processed perfect image is simply not to be.  Often partially painted over luminance masks are a good starting point when soft edged brush masks are too coarse.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2009, 06:41:23 PM »
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You could also try the gradient tool in Lightroom - its useful for bringing bright areas down to help preserve detail.
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Colorwave
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2009, 07:47:54 PM »
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Bill's method is the best, but if there is information that can be used in the rendered file and it is just too blown out in the printed version, you can stack a copy or two of the same image as additional layers, set to multiply, with a black mask.  Then paint in the part you want to keep using white on your mask.  Not much of a useful technique if there is no detail to preserve, however.
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dwood
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2009, 08:23:23 PM »
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Is this "small portion of the upper left" part a critical piece of your picture? If not, could it simply be cropped out?
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2009, 12:18:25 AM »
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Quote from: Josh-H
You could also try the gradient tool in Lightroom - its useful for bringing bright areas down to help preserve detail.

The gradient tool or sometimes just the brush tool.  Mask the white area with the brush, and sometimes bringing down the Exposure by 0.2 or 0.3 is enough to make a difference without being obvious.

Mike.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2009, 12:19:26 AM »
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Quote from: Josh-H
You could also try the gradient tool in Lightroom - its useful for bringing bright areas down to help preserve detail.

The gradient tool or sometimes just the brush tool.  Mask the white area with the brush, and sometimes bringing down the Exposure by 0.2 or 0.3 is enough to make a difference without being obvious.

Mike.
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Justan
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2009, 11:18:53 AM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Process several separate versions to bring out the various parts of the image, sun, foggy texture, just bringing out the best of specific parts of the image while letting everything else go on the the individual images.  Stack them up in PS and blend together with painted masks.  It's actually not quite that easy, but sometimes a single processed perfect image is simply not to be.  Often partially painted over luminance masks are a good starting point when soft edged brush masks are too coarse.

This sounds cool! Can you tell me more about this or aim me towards a tutorial or even a key word search? My knowledge of PS is spotty.
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Justan
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2009, 11:20:25 AM »
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Quote from: Josh-H
You could also try the gradient tool in Lightroom - its useful for bringing bright areas down to help preserve detail.

Thanks, but I have PS and not LR but it has a gradient tool as well. The problem is that I’d just need to bring out detail in a small area and if I darken the layer then the area looks okay but the rest of the image sucks
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Justan
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2009, 11:27:31 AM »
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Quote from: Colorwave
Bill's method is the best, but if there is information that can be used in the rendered file and it is just too blown out in the printed version, you can stack a copy or two of the same image as additional layers, set to multiply, with a black mask.  Then paint in the part you want to keep using white on your mask.  Not much of a useful technique if there is no detail to preserve, however.

I don't know enough about PS to decipher what you wrote. Can you provide a reference or a keyword search so I can research it?
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Justan
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2009, 11:28:37 AM »
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Quote from: dwood
Is this "small portion of the upper left" part a critical piece of your picture? If not, could it simply be cropped out?

Where is the fun in that??

My goal is to learn some of the techniques for solving this kind of problem
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Justan
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2009, 11:32:05 AM »
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Quote from: wolfnowl
The gradient tool or sometimes just the brush tool.  Mask the white area with the brush, and sometimes bringing down the Exposure by 0.2 or 0.3 is enough to make a difference without being obvious.

Mike.


I'll look into this. With the raw slider it was a -2.5 to produce something I could see. What i didn't understand is by changing the white point, it greatly reduced the blown out area. I don't understand the relationship between the white point and the blown out area. Also how would i mask everything except this area and then produce the unmasked part on another layer?

Thanks all for the feedback!!!
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 11:32:59 AM by Justan » Logged

Jack Flesher
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2009, 12:39:08 PM »
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Justan,

If you want to learn a global editing technique, try dragging the upper tip of a Curve Adj Layer straight down about 3-5 points -- input 255, output 250 or so...  In fact, you may want to then boost the upper quarter tone up about 3 points on that same curve, and drag the lower quarter tone down a few points to balance the mid-tones back to just a few points above middle.  This will generate a slight increase in lower tone contrast and a slight softening of the upper tones along with the protection of the whites -- but in total it eliminates paper white and would be considered a fairly common practice for a "print output" curve...

A basic one might end up looking something like this:
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 01:12:14 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

dwood
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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2009, 12:51:01 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
Where is the fun in that??

My goal is to learn some of the techniques for solving this kind of problem
Not trying to spoil your fun there Justan. If this piece of your picture is integral to the success of your image then by all means, have at it. If not, cropping can certainly be a useful technique for problem solving. Carry on.
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Colorwave
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2009, 01:12:34 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
I don't know enough about PS to decipher what you wrote. Can you provide a reference or a keyword search so I can research it?
Here's a little more of a breakdown:
In the layers palette, select Duplicate Layer from the pulldown menu in the upper right, then change the blending mode of the new layer to multiply.  With the new layer selected, click on the layer mask button on the bottom of the layers palette (it has a white circle on a gray BG).  This will add a layer mask icon next to the main icon of the layer content in the layers palette.  Click on the icon for the mask and make sure that it is selected by noticing the bracketed border around the icon for the mask.  Go to Edit>Fill, and tell it to fill the mask with black.  This will turn off the effect of the mask everywhere, but you will then be able to selectively paint in the part you want to use of your multiply layer by painting with white.  Make sure that your mask is still selected and use a white paintbrush to paint in the part you need of your multiply layer.  You will probably want a soft brush, and you may want to turn the brush opacity down and layer the white bit by bit, depending on how strong the effect of your multiply layer is.  You can see the mask itself by going to the channels palette and turning on the channel for the mask.  By double clicking on the layer in the layers palette, you can bring up a dialogue box that allows you to change the mask color and opacity, to make it the appropriate level of visibility against your image.  Most of the time I leave the mask visibility off and just look at the effect of what I'm doing, but there are times when it is very helpful to see the mask itself.  If you like the effect, but need more of it, you can duplicate the whole multiply layer and mask, or make it less strong by turning it's opacity down or painting with black at a lower opacity back in your layer mask.  Layer masks are a wonderful tool, and are easy to copy to additional layers by option dragging in the layers pallete to copy them to new layers.  I hope this helps.

PS:  This same technique works even better if you want to reprocess your raw file as a darker version and stack it on top of your original image.  You might find that it works better in normal blending mode if you just have a slightly darker version that you have processed to blend with the previously processed image with the blown highlights.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2009, 06:43:00 PM »
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On top of what has already been said:

- When doing multiple conversions, manual layering in PS is one option that works well, but all the HDR options with local contrast control can also be used (Photomatix or all the Enfuse based options),
- Capture NX would do a great job at handling this thanks for control points if you shoot Nikon,
- Other raw converters doing a good job at retaining highlights are Raw Developper on Mac, and Capture One,
- Otherwise, an additional tool that can do wonders in such a case is the Photoshop highlight-Shadows tool, but the Raw conversion does of course have to be done without blowing any highlights.

Cheers,
Bernard
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