Nature Notes

August 12, 2012

November 15, 2010

Fun with Pixel Bender

Filed under: Graphic,Processing Tips,Reviews,Video — Tags: , , , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

Adobe offers a free plugin called Pixel Bender which allows filters to be written and run on a number of their products. These effects may be run in Photoshop, After Effects and Flash.

You can download the plug-in for PS CS4 at Adobe and for PS CS5 at Adobe. You can find free filters to run at Pixel Bender Exchange. Some of my favorites follow:


The Droste Effect

The Droste effect is where an image has a smaller image of itself which has another smaller image of itself, and so on. It is named after a cocoa manufacturer who used it on their package labeling. There are settings that can also give you more extreme abstract views.

Droste effect bridge

Gold Starfish

Gold Starfish

The Crystal

The Crystal

Future Shop

Future Shop

Time Lost

Time Lost

RippleBlock Effect

The effect to defaults make ripples in the image. I think it gives the most interesting results by increasing the amplitude in the x and y axis to about three time the defaults.

Pixel Bender Plug In (RippleBlocks effect)

Pixel Bender Plug In (RippleBlocks effect)

Morning Already

Morning Already

Clock

Clock

Alien Schematic

Alien Schematic

Stenographics

This effect creates some stunning burst patterns from images. Images with bold colors seem to work best.

Gone Nova

Gone Nova

Little Red Bike

Little Red Bike


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November 9, 2009

HDR Lite

Filed under: Photography Tips,Photoshop Tutorial,Processing Tips,Waterfalls — Tags: , , , — Harold Stiver @ 7:10 am
Borers Falls: Finished Image

HDR Lite

For my purposes, HDR processing is successful if the viewer is not sure if it was used. Lets call this HDR Lite.

I have been working on a project to photograph Ontario’s waterfalls, and often these images have a large dynamic range. Consider that these images my be required to record the near white of the water to the near black of rock crevices and it is easy to see that it could be a problem for any camera.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing is designed to tackle this type of problem, it is a process where a series is taken of the same scene with a range of exposures. An example may be three images taken at -1, regular, and +1 exposure. These are then combined in the computer for a composite image. I use Photomatix for this.

Minus 2 Exposure 0 Exposure Plus 2 Exposure

Above are the base exposures used at -2,0,+2 exposure (You can click on them for a large resolution). While I didn’t want an extreme example of HDR processing, I did want to bring out the natural fall colors as well as the complete dynamic range. Photomatix has different processing methods available but each on their own was not what I was looking for. Lets take a look.

Details Enhancer

The above image is the result of using Details Enhancer at the default settings. I like the foliage detail it has brought out but it lacks contrast and is too light.

Tone Compressor

This image above was processed using the Tone Compressor method. I like the contrast and color but it is too dark and lacks detail.

Lets see if we can get this porridge just right. I opened both images in Photoshop and copied one as a layer to the other. I then adjusted the Opacity of the second layer to incorporate the best features of each image. This can range from 30-70% but often I find I am happy with it at 50%.

For waterfalls, HDR processing has a bonus in that it gives the water a nice blur.

Thanks for reading this, I hope you find it useful.

Processing Tutorials Index

 


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July 25, 2009

Rating and Sorting in Lightroom

Filed under: Processing Tips — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Lightroom Rating

Lightroom Rating

One of the best of Lightroom’s features is the means of quickly and easily rating and sorting your images. It offers the following three methods.

Three methods of rating

You can rate each image as per the number of stars. I think most people who use this method tend to rate with either 4 or 5 stars and leave the rest unrated. You click one star with your mouse to set the rating. A click on the fourth star sets the image to four stars.

Rating the images by flags, involves clicking on Flag (Pick), No flag(No Pick) or leaving it unflagged.

Rating by Color involves picking a color by mouse for an image. You cannot pick more than one color for each image.

At the far right edge of this toolbar is a small icon you can click on to bring up a menu which allows you to choose any or all of these systems to appear on the toolbar.

Sorting Your Images

Below the toolbar, you will see a duplicate set of each of the three rating systems. Clicking on this set sorts your images by choosing all images which match the value you’ve picked here. You can choose by more than one of the systems, for example you can choose all flagged items rated green. The star has an equal or greater than icon which allows you to pick all starred items in this manner.

In fact this system is only part how you can sort. You can also sort by keywording (which will be covered in a separate post), by metadata, by folder, and by any combination of these things. For example you can sort by the folder 2008, by all images of ISO100, by all images tagged Yellow. You would be wrong to think this would not be useful, as in my own setup, this would nicely pick out all of the images I have applied HDR treatment to in 2008, and not yet processed.

My system

You can see that there is a great variety of rating and sorting methods available to a user.

My own method is very simple. After uploading a new folder to Lightroom, I go through them and rate them either Red for items I will trash, or yellow for items which will be processed first. After this run through, I select all red, and right click-delete them. I can then select all yellow and begin processing them. After processing an image, I change the rating for it and any processed copies to green. When I do this, it also withdraws them automatically from the group rated yellow.

At any time I can go back to unrated items to pick further candidates, remove candidates yellow ratings, etc. As I often don’t process all images immediately I can return anytime and readily pick up with my sorted images.

I will often use other colors where I want to make a special collection. After an overseas birding trip, I often assign another color to bird images where I am unsure of the identification.


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