Tag: Color Enhancement

Extreme Color

Here’s a fun image I made recently, and I thought it would be worth describing the processing process a little.

This is the original image, straight-out-of-camera.

I always shoot in Raw+Jpg, so I usually like to take the Raw image into Adobe Camera Raw for some quick processing (usually less than 5 mins, though this one admittedly took longer).  This is what I got after running it through Camera Raw:
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Flying Saucer sighting

crop and enhance photo retouch

This picture almost got thrown out because it was painfully underexposed, and there’s just too much happening in the picture to be very interesting.  Then I noticed the superhuman jump captured on the lower left, as well as the flying saucer that happened to be flying through the frame when I pressed the shutter.  How lucky was that?

These were some of the things done to save the image:

  • Crop in tighter on the jumper.  Luckily with the resolution (14MP) of dSLR cameras these days, cropping in like that is very feasible.
  • Brightened everything up, enhanced the colors, giving extra saturation to the blues and reds.
  • Sharpened the image using a high-pass filter on a copy of the flattened image, then putting it on top of everything in overlay mode.

Out in the Wild

The work on this one is pretty subtle, but much of the time that’s the kind of work that’s required.

CampingWork done:

  • Boosted the contrast in general, and darkened the greens.
  • Added some vignetting to darken the corners and put more focus in the middle.
  • Enhanced the blue eyes a little.

As a change of scenery, here’s an inanimate object that works well for stock photography.  And with stock photography, you’re usually trying to tell a story, so the story could either be a run down railroad crossing sign, or a more vibrant colored setting where it looks like the sign is actually being used.  I chose the later.

RR CrossingWork that was done:

  • Cleanup of the background, to make a nice blue sky.  A little tricky because the sky had some specific texture to the clouds, so you couldn’t just clone from anywhere to anywhere else.
  • Color enhancement – saturated the blues and adjusted the contrast a little, to bring out more texture in the sign.
  • Straightened the sign in the image.
  • “Turned on” the red light by making a curves adjustment layer that brightened up the mid tones and painted a mask just where the bulb was (and right around it for some glow onto the nearby metal).

You can also see this image at fotolia.com.

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Tricycle Accident

This retouch was done mostly to just stylize the picture for art’s sake.  Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it looks.  He cried for about 30 seconds, and then wanted to get back on the bikes and go again.  And most of that redness in the “after” image was enhanced to look more dramatic.

Color Enhancement ExampleI actually liked the image quite a bit straight out of the camera.   It was taken on a sunny day, with some off-camera flash fill on the left of camera (the sun acts as a rim light on his left side).  For the sake of making a fun exaggerated image, I did the following things to it:

  • boosted the contrast
  • erased the white line and the leaves using the healing brush and the clone tool.  I didn’t like the way the line connected directly to his helmet, like it was part of him
  • enhanced the tear on his cheek and the abrasions on his wrist and elbow to be more obvious
  • pulled out more detail in the pavement by doing a high-pass filter of the image and blending it on top in linear light mode.

If I had thought about it when I was taking the picture, I would have placed the crashed tricycle behind him in the background too, to tell the story better!

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