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general color enhancement/sharpening (with example pics)

Jan 23, 2012, 00:21 (This post was last modified: Jan 23, 2012 02:26 by anonn.)
Post: #1
general color enhancement/sharpening (with example pics)
i was curious as to which sharpening/color correction techniques this photographer used to result in such a perfect photo. more specifically, i'd love to learn how he managed to make the blue halter strap almost shimmer and pop out of the image and his face a beautiful, warm and rich coffee color.

i attempted to recreate his enhanced image with the original, but fell slightly short in a few areas. i did eventually manage to get a similar look by simply adjusting input levels and sharpness, but had the toughest time making his head and all the fine details on it really "pop" AND "glow".

i basically increased the black input levels a bit to saturate and bring life to the image, but that resulted in the face and halter also darkening.

thanks so much in advance.

links of his before/after.

before:
http://s176170444.online.de/fileserver/ooc/addy.jpg
after:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/henning-wit...otostream/
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Jan 23, 2012, 08:26
Post: #2
RE: general color enhancement/sharpening (with example pics)
Nothing says if the 2nd image was obtained by processing the RAW file (given this person's other pictures, he is likely getting RAW from the camera).

The whitish spots on the horse indicate an "unsharp mask" a bit overdone IMHO.

There may be also a bit of HDR-like processing to increase local contrast. Ther eis a nice trick to do some with Gimp:

- Duplicate layer
- Tools/GEGL tools/c2g (color-to-gray), decrease iterations and increase samples
- Produces a high-local-contrast grayscale version of your image
- Drag the grayscale layer below the original
- Put the original one in "color" mode

For further enhancements, do "Layer/New from visible" and work on that, for instance add a bit of saturation and sharpening:

[attachment=888]

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Jan 23, 2012, 19:32
Post: #3
RE: general color enhancement/sharpening (with example pics)
i appreciate your fast response. i definitely need to do some more research on RAW files before i get into the more complicated adjustments. i'll get back to you once i figure some of this stuff out.
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Jan 23, 2012, 21:02
Post: #4
RE: general color enhancement/sharpening (with example pics)
A "raw" file is the "raw" output form the image sensor (well, no longer totally true with Nikon cameras). It's a proprietary format (NEF for Nikon, CR2 for Canon, "RAW" for Lumix IIRC). Its big advantage is that it stores more information than a JPEG. A JPEG is 8 bits/color, RAW files are 12 or 14 bits (bit at high ISO this gets a bit theoretical). In the end you have a wider range of exposure to choose from to produce your final image (but this means that most of the processing is done outside of Gimp, because Gimp is currently limited to 8bits/color). You can do HDR-like processing to compress the 12 bits of the sensor into the 8 bits of a JPEG/PNG.

Many photos are over-processed that way to cover technical defects (lack of real sharpness, for instance).

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Jan 23, 2012, 21:17
Post: #5
RE: general color enhancement/sharpening (with example pics)
would you recommend buying a program like Lightroom 3 or Aperture for all the necessary color adjustments with the RAW file and then using GIMP to adjust the sharpness? thx.
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Jan 23, 2012, 22:41
Post: #6
RE: general color enhancement/sharpening (with example pics)
1) If your camera does RAW is likely comes with a free software to process them (Capture on Nikon, DPP (Digital Photo Professional) on Canon), which is enough. There are also pretty good open-source alternatives. UFRaw will work as a standalone application or as a Gimp plugin. Save your money for a good lens/camera.

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