Thursday, 3 June 2010


I'm actually going to write something. As some of you may be aware I have changed from GIMP to CS4 mainly because of the banding artefacts caused by the feathered brush in some of my B&W work.. thanks for the heads up on that Mark.

The first thing I noticed about PS was the instant I loaded up a pic was that it gave the shot a look, a look that I had always found missing from my previous work. Thee missing thing I could not put my finger on, thee exactly what was missing. Yeah I thought!

Before I go any further I'd like to say this could just be (probably) my lack editing skills, or it was just a strange night light wise etc but I have tried to recreate the way it all looked. Anyhoo, I have started to think PS has giving my work a toy town look, synthetic, plastic. The first shot shows what I mean!

click all pic's to enlarge
or the orange

Toy Town

Up until now and when I had gained some kind of handle on PS I didn't want to edit the same shot in GIMP to compare, but now I have. This second shot was done in GIMP edited the same way as close as possible to the first and I think it's slightly better. It's the foreground that mainly concerns me! To my eye although the GIMP version perhaps needs a slight bit of sharpening it looks more real, less plastic? Oh and please excuse the obvious mistake in the GIMP shot, I missed a section with the brush while adding an adjustment and now I have sore thumb syndrome.


To add to my confusion I thought I had my PS editing problems fixed after watching some 101 tutorials concerning ACR by Mark Johnston (thanks for the heads up on that also Mark) now I'm not so sure. This third shot is a re edit in PS and I thought I had it right until I was ready to post. I'm not sure "toy town" wise it's an improvement lol. As I said its the foreground that bothers me the most as the sky is almost as it looked, perhaps it's the combination of the FG and BG that just make this all look odd?

CS4 improved lol

1 comment:

Mark Alan Meader said...

Yep.. I personally prefer the sky in #1 and 3 ..and the foreground in #2.
Everyone has to find a set/sequence of tools that produces the look they want and I'm sure you'll find it... don't get frustrated. It's an ongoing process no matter how long you're at it.. otherwise it would be kind of boring, right?:)
Not sure which tools you are using, but #3 especially has a bit of "the look" that you get from the "shadows/highlight" adjustment (there are other ways to get it, but that is the quickest and most dangerous). Crank the "shadows" slider up to 20-30% on any image and you'll see the look I mean.. very unpleasing, but tempting to use when you have underexposed areas. I suspect that's what you had in the foreground.
I'm not suggesting that you "go HDR", but since you shoot a lot at twilight, have you tried bracketing multiple exposures, or even processing one RAW file at different exposures and then combining them, rather than just bumping up the shadows with curves or levels? No matter how you do it, I guess the real quest is to find the point where you get some detail but not go so far that the eye knows it's unnatural (of course a lot of folks like it that way these days..I don't mind heavily stylized images if they work, but so many don't.) If you haven't already, go to my sidebar blog-list and click over to Patrick at French Landscapes.. he does a LOT of processing, but ends up with a very natural and pleasing look.. then check Wayne from Australia at "WD Photographics".. he goes way beyond what you would normally call photography, but it really works.
BTW, your latest post looks perfect.. very, very classy.

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