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Author Topic: Whatīs your opinion on changing skys in PP  (Read 6285 times)
MGH
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« on: April 24, 2011, 11:34:04 AM »
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Hi...I would like to know what you think of changing the sky in landscape photos. Iīm not talking about when itīs badly done,but when no one can tell except you know itīs fake. Iīve never done it until today and then just to see how itīs done ( Iīm leaning Photoshop) but somehow I donīt feel good about it.
So my question is if you have a strong composition but a boreing sky of a place that you couldnīt come back to, would you not take the shot or would you take it and swop the sky in PP
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bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2011, 12:25:39 PM »
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I never replace skies, it always looks fake.  However, I don't hesitate to apply about the same amount of post processing to my captured skies as my brain did at the scene.

The problem is, my perception's on-the-scene, real-time, in-brain Photoshop filters manipulate skies in ways the camera does not share.  Poor camera, it doesn't have a visual cortex!  So work is required. That usually takes the form of reprocessing my HDR bracketed sets to create a "sky-only" version that is then layered into the "ground-only" version.  The transparency slider on the sky-only version is often invoked on these occasions, and the sky-only version usually gets its own dedicated Curves control layer.

But don't hesitate to tweak those skies to make them feel in the image the same way as you perceived at the scene.  It's OK, really.  But be subtle, nothing worth than a heavy looking, opaque sky.  Transparency is everything when it comes to skies.

(OK, once in a great while I have stretched the real sky a bit to the left or right to create a better composition.  That's my worst sky offense.)
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PeterAit
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2011, 07:02:21 PM »
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I would never replace the sky with a sky from another shot, but I will manipulate the original sky to make it look better.
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Peter
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2011, 10:47:36 PM »
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I'll come clean.  If an image can be substantially improved with a sky replacement, I'll unhesitatingly do it.  These images are for me.  I don't sell them.  It's not an ethical question for me, just an aesthetic one.

Note, I said "improved".  If it's detectable or "fake" as others have said, then by definition it's not improved.

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2011, 01:20:50 AM »
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Hi!

I'd say it is OK, but it is not easily done. If you have the real Photoshop (not Elements) you may check out this article:

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/46-fixing-sky-with-luminosity-mask

That method may also work if you use sky from a different image.

Best regards
Erik

Hi...I would like to know what you think of changing the sky in landscape photos. Iīm not talking about when itīs badly done,but when no one can tell except you know itīs fake. Iīve never done it until today and then just to see how itīs done ( Iīm leaning Photoshop) but somehow I donīt feel good about it.
So my question is if you have a strong composition but a boreing sky of a place that you couldnīt come back to, would you not take the shot or would you take it and swop the sky in PP
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stamper
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2011, 03:09:09 AM »
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You should do what you think is right for you. It is your image. If as you say someone doesn't notice then where is the problem? If done wrongly then you take the blame. What would you think if you didn't think you shouldn't do it and someone suggested you should have? And worse if you didn't do it and someone said it looks as if you had. Then again there are the ones who state that your image shouldn't be anywhere near Photoshop, and to rub it in by confessing to burning and dodging in the darkroom. You only have to answer to your own conscience. Wink
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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2011, 09:38:41 AM »
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I would never replace the sky with a sky from another shot, but I will manipulate the original sky to make it look better.

This.  If you have no objection to putting a filter on you camera to alter the scene in front of you then using tools like built in gradients etc should be acceptable weather it be physical (with a filter etc) or with software.
 
Combine multiple images (HDR or replacement skies) is sort of over the line for me personally, although some are ok with that.  

You are the artist, it's your pallet.  

This image popped up on earthshot's a month or so ago.  Everyone raved about it.  I thought it looked a little weird and did a little snooping.  Turns out it's a replacement sky.  



http://www.earthshots.org/2011/03/lightning-at-delicate-arch-by-robert-beideman/

Is that a cool thing or are you misleading the viewer?  Is it still a photograph or has it moved to the realm of digital art?  You can answer those questions on your own...



« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 09:43:11 AM by Lonnie Utah » Logged
Justan
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2011, 11:16:48 AM »
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> So my question is if you have a strong composition but a boreing sky of a place that you couldnīt come back to, would you not take the shot or would you take it and swop the sky in PP

You should always get the shot. I don’t know what PP is but with tools such as PS, as long as you are willing to take the time to produce a flawless end result, there is no reason not to. But it is not easy to blend in a sky, so be prepared to spend a fair amount of time and to try some different techniques. Mr Google will help you find everything you will need. In the end your efforts will help you become a much more capable technician.

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bill t.
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2011, 12:19:32 PM »
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The fundamental problem with sky swops is that it rarely looks right, especially when it's a clearsky <> cloudysky swop.  Cloudy skies and clear skies light the ground differently.  Even distant clouds subtly change shadow color, shadow hardness, surface diffusion, specular quality, highlights, you name it.  This is pretty clear in the desert lightning shot.

Replacements leave bloody clues to the crime, and the witness is the very suspicious human visual system.  Of course surrealists may use this to their advantage.  But casual replacementeurs will find themselves unwittingly recast as Dali disciples.

Of course the guy with the lighting shot probably sells dozens of them, sigh.  I know at least one highly regarded landscape professional who does pretty well with his obviously bogus Grand Canyon lighting shot, sigh again.  Surrealism seems to sell.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 12:25:13 PM by bill t. » Logged
Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2011, 01:43:53 PM »
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I try to limit what I do in the digital dark room to what I could do in the real dark room...
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bill t.
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2011, 01:57:06 PM »
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I try to limit what I do in the digital dark room to what I could do in the real dark room...

Fair enough!

But what if Jerry Uelsmann said that?

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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2011, 03:37:13 PM »
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Fair enough!

But what if Jerry Uelsmann said that?

As noted, my original statement opens a pretty wide door.

I used to do double exposures all the time when I was a kid in by B&W darkroom (most of them looked awful, but hey, I was a kid!  Smiley )
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bill t.
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2011, 04:53:46 PM »
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I used to do double exposures all the time when I was a kid in by B&W darkroom (most of them looked awful, but hey, I was a kid!  Smiley )

With that background, you have earned a carte blanche in the post processing deptartment!
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louoates
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2011, 07:12:47 PM »
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Painters have been changing skies, trees, lakes, moons, etc. forever. In a few years the same will be said of photography. The images stands or falls on its own merits. I swap elements all the time. To me it's a vision thing. Luckily I have a good memory for images buried deep in my hard disk. Often a scene will present itself that I can match an older shot with. I've got a huge folder with nothing but skies. Happy skies. Troubled skies.  Angry skies. Lots of skies looking for a home.

Warning -- shameless biased opinion based upon my personal experience:
The days of a photographer getting by with the claim of "traditional" darkroom prints are numbered--at least at art shows where the saleability of landscapes are increasingly dependent upon how perfect they are and how cheaply they can be purchased. Most shoppers eyes glaze over when technical matters are discussed.

I have an art gallery that asked me to remove houses from a large (84" panorama) canvas mountain landscape that had been a best seller. I did so. It now outsells the version with houses. But they both are still selling great...side by side no less. They were smart to listen to customers. And I put more money in the bank too. Love it.
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bill t.
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2011, 07:55:56 PM »
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art gallery that asked me to remove houses from a large (84" panorama) canvas mountain landscape that had been a best seller. I did so. It now outsells the version with houses. But they both are still selling great...side by side no less. They were smart to listen to customers. And I put more money in the bank too. Love it.

LOL!  My usual fall back position when people start to get aggressive about the post processing thing is to use the painter card.  If painters can alter scenes with impunity, why the heck can't I!

This is my all-time best seller photo.  I lose maybe 1 sale in 20 because of the buildings at upper right, but I have held my ground on this one.

But don't give me too much moral credit. In almost every other panorama with houses, I have stomped them out like cockroaches.  Not to mention phones lines, power lines, cars, contrails, fences, posts, surveying flags, beer bottles, tires, Slurpee cups, disposable diapers, plastic bags, and occasional non-indigenous nearby plants.



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louoates
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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2011, 09:26:13 PM »
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Bill, I like the house you left in because it really helps with the scale without distracting from the overall effect. Great shot.
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stamper
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« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2011, 02:32:18 AM »
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I attended a camera club presentation a few years ago. There was a slide show. First slide was a person in a small boat sailing across a lake in Asia with hills and a sky in the background. The presenter explained that it was two slides sandwiched together. One for the sky and one for the foreground with the boat. Nobody complained. Smiley
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Pete_G
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« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2011, 10:06:42 AM »
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Painters have been changing skies, trees, lakes, moons, etc. forever. In a few years the same will be said of photography.

Photographers have been using Cloud Negatives since the late 1800's. The only difference between then and now is some people use PS and do it really quickly and really badly. I think it's a personal choice anyway.
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bill t.
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« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2011, 11:13:38 AM »
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But what's here now that wasn't there in ye olden times is the widely held public concept of Devious Image Manipulation.  It's turned into a meme, or if you wish an urban legend.  Those darned photographers are tricking us!  It's something our tight-lipped forefathers didn't have to face with their cloud negatives hidden in the back of the bottom drawer.

But we have to deal with it.  At art fairs and openings I get asked if I "used Photoshop" by at least every third person I talk to.  They don't even view Photoshop as what it is, but more as an soul-withering invention of The Devil.  Maybe the next time I get one of those, I will tell them there's even a Photoshop trick that can make them not look so fat.

I even remember some those old photo books covering how to drop a sky into another image!  Was it Lutens or Lootens, or something?  Mortensen?  I though it was cool.  Cardboard masks, a little dodging, piece o'cake!



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MGH
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« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2011, 02:21:02 PM »
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Well thanks for all your replys. Iīm still not sure how I feel about it, I seem to agree with nearly everything thats been said. It seems to come down to where does photography end and image creation start. Or is that just a personal thing ?

  this is the ofending image




 
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 02:22:43 PM by MGH » Logged
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