Nature Notes

January 30, 2009

Photoshop CS4 – Content Aware Scaling

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorial — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Before

Before

Adobe always manages to get me to upgrade to their latest version. Often I need to when I get a new Camera body and discover my version of Photoshop doesn’t recognize the RAW files. However I often find they have a great new feature. The great new feature to upgrade to Photoshop CS4 is Content-Aware Scaling. Here’s how it works.

In the above image, I liked the winter atmosphere of this Mallard pair swimming in a snowstorm but I felt they were a bit lost in it. In particular I wished they were closer together.

With the new Content-Aware feature, this is no problem. As always, it is suggested that you work with a copy of your file and work in a layer.

Hitting Edit>Content-Aware Scale brings up a selection, and as usual, grabbing and moving the edge boxes with your mouse, changes the selection.

After clicking on the selection to finalize the change, we notice that the size and proportions of the two Mallards is still the same. Photoshop has “recognized” that they were the important elements in the image and preserved then, while reducing the rest of the image.

The final step is to use the Image>Trim Command (Make sure “Transparent Pixels” is checked).

Incidentally, this new feature is also useful at increasing areas in the image.

After

After


In a straight forward situation like this, Photoshop has done a great job in deciding what can and cannot be changed.  However, if there is any confusion, we have additional commands to fine tune the process. If we make a selection, and save it, we will have the option of protecting that selection when we open the Content-Aware Scale command. There are also other useful options like Protecting Skin Tones so you won’t squish your kids.

Index to Photoshop Tutorials.

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series

All Images are Available for Licensing at Singular Video&Pix

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January 29, 2009

Sintra, Portugal

Filed under: Cityscape,Portugal — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra is a town north of Lisbon, which contains a number of beautiful historic buildings including the summer residence of the Kings of Portugal called the Palacio National, and the Pena Palace.

It is very attractive to tourists and has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sintra, Portugal Sintra, Portugal


All Images are Available for Licensing at Singular Video&Pix

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January 27, 2009

January 25, 2009

Fantastic Fractal Video

Filed under: Video — Tags: — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am


fractal trip to e64
from teamfresh on Vimeo.

Have a look at this amazing work by Teamfresh. It will take you back to your misspent youth. Make sure you have the sound on.


All Images are Available for Licensing at Singular Video&Pix

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January 23, 2009

January 17, 2009

January 14, 2009

Photoshop Tutorial – Selective Sharpening of a web-sized image

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorial — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 4:04 pm
Unsharpened Image

Unsharpened Image

With many of the images we wish to make sharper, often it is just a portion of the image that needs treatment. While this is especially true for nature photographers, it holds for other genres as well.

Too many photographers sharpen the whole image and the result is halos at areas of sharp contrast, artifacts, and unwanted noise in areas where smooth gradients are desirable like the sky.

The method I prefer involves selecting the area you want to sharpen, refining it to ensure minimal unwanted effects, and sharpening in a series of small controlled steps.

If we look at the above image, we could wish to sharpen the bird and perhaps the post a bit as well, but we want the background to remain smooth and without artifacts.

1. Our first step is to open a new layer {Layer-Duplicate} which we could name “Sharpened”

2. We then want to select what we want to sharpen. In the above image I want to sharpen the hawk, of course, but I also want to give some sharpening to the post. It is a simple matter to make a rough outline around these areas using the “Polygonal Lasso Tool” (its under the Regular Lasso Tool). We then could use the Magic Wand” set on subtraction mode and about 15 tolerance to remove portions we don’t wish to sharpen. A final cut with the Lasso Tool (on subtract) to get rid of any of the barb wire which is past the post, and we have our selection for sharpening.

Selected Portion

3. Since sharpening creates unwanted artifacts in areas of high contrast, we are not ready to sharpen yet,if we did we would have a thin edge or halo along the boundaries of the subject. But this is easy to fix. We simply reduce the selection by 1 or 2 pixels and we have eliminated the troublesome area {Select-Modify-Contract(Set to 2 Pixels)}. Now we are set to sharpen.

4. I apply sharpening in a series of steps. For each step I set it as follows

{Filter-Sharpen-Unsharp Mask (Amount 100%, Radius 0.2, Threshhold 0)} I apply this from zero to 7 times,watching the preview until I am happy with the result. If it becomes oversharpened, I can move it back a steo with the Edit-Undo command. It also allows me to provide different levels to different portions. In this instance I can do a couple of steps of sharpening, and then remove the post from the selection and apply a couple more. In some cases I might give a final step just to the eye of the subject, to add a bit of sparkle.

Sharpened Image

The “Sharpened” layer should be part of your master file. You can otherwise prepare your web sized image by “Saving for web”

You can downland the Sharpening Actions which include Contracting the Selection, and the Unsharp Mask Command.

Sharpening Actions

Index to Photoshop Tutorials.

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series

 

All Images are Available for Licensing at Singular Video&Pix

Facebook Flickr Vimeo Twitter LinkedIn Contact Us License Images

January 13, 2009

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