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Author Topic: Textured Overlays - good idea or bad?  (Read 2368 times)
Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« on: August 15, 2012, 11:08:34 AM »
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Hi all,

I have recently been looking at some textured overlay work online and I have to admit it can look very good and as most none photographer/artists, when seeing this type of work seem to go WOW! I got to wondering why and so thought I would have a go myself to find out.

So what are your thoughts on the whole image texture overlaying and general grungifying thing, good or bad?

This is my first attempt, it took me at least 3 hours of tweaking and overlaying and loads of other PS shenanigans to get it to this point, so doing this kind of image is definitely much harder than normal image processing or creating an HDR image for instance, in fact the whole process of shooting specifically with this process in mind and then working the image to get to this point, is really quite creative and dare I say it, artistic. It is not just hitting a button and wanging sliders around like other extreme processing techniques, it is actually quite difficult.

Thoughts?

Oh and I took this image last night on my way home, so it isn't vintage at all, it is actually less than 24 hours old  Smiley

Dave
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 11:27:33 AM by Dave (Isle of Skye) » Logged

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Randy Carone
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2012, 11:54:33 AM »
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Well, if you want to just 'hit a button' for texture effects, try Dr. Brown's script for Texture Panel 1.0.3. He introduced this one at a Photoshop World seminar in DC a while ago. Great fun, though you may perceive it as 'cheating'. I've been having fun with it.

http://russellbrown.com/scripts.html
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 11:58:44 AM »
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Good idea or bad? Bad. . . Definitely bad.
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RobbieV
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2012, 01:25:50 PM »
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I think the trouble here is that even though it took you 3 hours of labour to get to this point, it still looks like you hit set the grungify dial to 1897.

What I think works better is localized textures as a form of sharpening or texturizing. It my earlier days in photography I experimented with long exposure water, selecting it, duplicating and running the "plastic wrap" filter over it in PS. Then adjusting the opacity/blending until the desired look was achieved.

Even though the sky is embarrassingly bad and poorly edited, I was more concerned with the water effects. It's still overcooked here, but I think there is some territory to be explored given the right picture/lighting/environment.

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WalterEG
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2012, 03:55:13 PM »
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It is NEVER about how long it took or the effort expended to get or process a picture.  It is only ever about the picture.  And this picture, whatever its original merits may have been, is simply BAD.

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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2012, 04:33:14 PM »
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There are but three 'effect' filters I have had any time for in my life: pola, Softar and a self-created one of glass and Vaseline smear, the latter being quite 'creative' because it never works the same way twice. I did once use a tobacco one on a set of Greek fishing boats; ruined the skies in a perfectly good set of Kodachromes. Twat! Never again. But a polarizing filter I still respect.

Truth to tell, the best images are the simple ones because they are, well, simple, and if they look good that way then they are good of themselves.

Trying to make photographs look like something other than photographs seems a self-defeating exercise to me. Because it can  be done doesn't mean that it should be done.

Feel good about that; my lesson to myself for the day.

Rob C
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John R
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2012, 04:39:10 PM »
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Walter's advice trumps all, IMO. Good PP, is after all, a craft in itself. Something I have to learn.  If you look at Chris C's tree image in the "without prejudice" section, he clearly went to a lot of trouble to achieve the look he wanted. The first image by Dave, is quite muddy and clutters the image, but if he worked on it, no doubt he can make it look better. The more I think about it, even gausian blur is a kind of texture. And it cannot be applied indiscriminately.

I would regard a polarizer as more of a polarizing screen than an effects filter.

JMR

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Justan
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 05:44:29 PM »
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> So what are your thoughts on the whole image texture overlaying and general grungifying thing, good or bad?

I’ve seen some fairly large scale images at a couple of the major art fairs in this area that use this general kind of technique. The photographer had a lot of western themed images – horses, cattle, cowboys, and so on, and had a unifying overlay that was not so unlike what you did. His works were up to ~ 30” x 72” or so.  I thought most of the works were excellent.

Anyone who is actively trying to learn should pursue a variety of techniques, at least occasionally. They keep things interesting add to the skills.

On the broader issue of photographic overlays, there are some who do absolutely fabulous work. It’s a genre given to highly imaginative results.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2012, 06:04:35 PM »
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... good or bad?...

It's a tool. It could be good (occasionally) and it could be bad (mostly).

In this case it doesn't work (for me), as the mood implied in a textured overlay (dreamy, misty, antique, etc.) does not align well with the over-saturated underlying image. This is not to say you shouldn't continue experimenting in the that direction.
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2012, 06:20:48 PM »
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It is NEVER about how long it took or the effort expended to get or process a picture.  It is only ever about the picture.  And this picture, whatever its original merits may have been, is simply BAD.



Ouch Walter.

My goodness, 'tis only an experiment and the first one at that, so climb down from that high horse of yours before it throws you - jeez!

 Shocked

Dave
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2012, 06:27:18 PM »
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Taken about half an hour before the atrociously "BAD" one above.

So am I to assume the general consensus is that I should forego any deviation from the righteous path and stick with this type of work in the future then?

(Yes that is a house BTW)  Smiley

Dave
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WalterEG
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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2012, 06:40:44 PM »
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so climb down from that high horse of yours before it throws you - jeez!
Dave

I strongly resent that remark.

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2012, 06:48:18 PM »
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... So am I to assume the general consensus is that I should forego any deviation from the righteous path...

No, my take would be to continue working on that. First attempts are rarely the most successful ones. Mastery in any field requires a lot of work (the 10,000 hours "rule"), experimenting, and, yes, errors.

The panorama is as good as it gets. Very classical (in a positive sense), warm-toned, recognizable, competent. Again, nothing to nitpick.

Which brings me back to textured overlays style. I did suggest to continue experimenting in that direction, but I am now having second thoughts. Why? Simply because it denotes a very different style of photography from what you are apparently very good at. Again, I am not suggesting to completely abandon any other style or experimenting, but ultimately you want to build a style that works for you (both commercially and intimately). It is hard to imagine, say, Jerry Uelsmann build a career doing his style and simultaneously the style of, say, Peter Lik.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2012, 11:28:15 PM »
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So what are your thoughts on the whole image texture overlaying and general grungifying thing, good or bad?

some examples of good = http://www.flickr.com/photos/olwizard/
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kikashi
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« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2012, 02:34:52 AM »
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This is my first attempt, it took me at least 3 hours of tweaking and overlaying and loads of other PS shenanigans to get it to this point

Thoughts?

FWIW, I dislike the result and I think your time could have been much better spent.


What I think works better is localized textures as a form of sharpening or texturizing. It my earlier days in photography I experimented with long exposure water, selecting it, duplicating and running the "plastic wrap" filter over it in PS. Then adjusting the opacity/blending until the desired look was achieved.

Well, you've certainly managed to make the water look as if it's wrapped in plastic. Was that what you desired?

Jeremy
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RobbieV
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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2012, 08:36:38 AM »
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Well, you've certainly managed to make the water look as if it's wrapped in plastic. Was that what you desired?

Jeremy

Well, that was the direction I took, so yes.

Have I used it since the experimentation?

No. But I have learned from it.
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RSL
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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2012, 09:08:40 AM »
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Don't think I've ever seen this much agreement among critics on LuLa.
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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2012, 09:44:54 AM »
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Don't think I've ever seen this much agreement among critics on LuLa.


Then beware Slobodan's catch-line!

Rob C
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fike
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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2012, 12:06:09 PM »
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I think the effect is neat...maybe it is novel. It could under the right circumstances be fabulous.

This issue reminds me of modern film where special effects become the entire reason for making a movie, and the producers forget the characters and plot. Effects like this need to contribute to the overall effect...they need to be congruent with the subject matter.  I am not sure that this shot does a lot for me except make me say 'cool.'  That may not be enough. 

I feel this way about black and white conversions, sepia, self-evident HDR, exotic frames (virtual and real).  If you are going to bring some new element of style into the work of art it should contribute to the aesthetic. If it doesn't contribute to the aesthetic, the attribute (colors, framing presentation, whatever) should be transparent to the viewer.  When post processing becomes soo apparent, the work suffers by being distracted from the depth and substance of the image.  To borrow a technical photo idea, it is our jobs as artists, photographers and post processors to amplify the image's story with post processing without increasing distracting noise. 
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Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2012, 01:07:11 PM »
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This issue reminds me of modern film where special effects become the entire reason for making a movie, and the producers forget the characters and plot.


That seems like progress to me; watching old movies has convinced me that they are seldom the iconic masterpieces they are supposed to be. Speech often gives way to mannerism, and slowness of expression isn't the same thing as the silence between notes in a blues, regardless of what Wayne might have suggested or believed.

La Dolce Vita is probably one of the only old(ish) movies I've watched a few times and enjoyed each time; that's possibly because I know some of the locations to a vague extent; Blow Up was okay for two viewings or so and then it crawled away into deep sleep. I enjoy a bit of action movie, dislike horror intensely; I suppose I might enjoy seeing some Bardots again, but that's because I've snapped her and that makes it personal, and she was my last movie love ever, replacing Ava in the batting of a Parisienne's eye.

What other contemporarily valid reason can there be for movies? Every story has already been told; audiences are far more sophisticated and blasé about stuff and droning actors/actresses (notice how females want to be males in that business?) contribute very little anymore. I don't think it's as simple as philistinism, I think that people live in a world that's simply too quick for the old-style movies - tv series are about as slow or wordy as people will bear.

I used to enjoy Formula 1 until it turned into a religious procession; GT racing isn't any better and maybe saloon car championships offer the myth of a relationship betweem track and road vehicles. It's all too slow and uneventful; ordinary life offers more for many people so why settle down with the cocoa and a blanket over the knees?

Drawback? Yes; once you go the way of effects you have to get better and better at it; we've all seen a bullet drift slowly through the air, Kung Fu flew too often and now that's corn.

Character and plot don't do it anymore; they take time nobody has and, ultimately, disappoint because plot only works because the writer says it does, regardless of what your own intelligence might suggest...

If you want non-effects entertainment, read a book. Even a photography one. In a book you use the words and create your own characters as you go along, far more convincingly than in any film. Try 'Mockingbird (as in To Kill) if you don't believe me.

Rob C
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