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Posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Are you a photoshop guru? Writing tutorials can be quite a challenge, and PSDRockstar.com is always on the lookout for talented photoshoppers

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Posted by Joe on Monday, December 15th, 2008

This free icon sets collection contains all most all popular social media icons like del.icio.us, Digg, Mixx, DesignBump, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Developer Zone, DesignFloat, Technorati, Twitter and RSS feed. The icons which you see below are some real creative and most beautiful, ranging from web 2.0 to hand drawn designs. Although initially intended to be used […]

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Post Processing – Methods to Improve your Photos

Posted by Joe on Monday, September 21st, 2009

 

I thought I’d share with you today a few post processing techniques I use when importing photos. It’s possible to make some subtle and in some cases not so subtle enhancements to your image to really make them stand out.  A potential danger of post processing is to go too far in making alterations which can make the photo look false and unrealistic (if that’s not what you’re aiming for), so it’s important to bear that in mind.

You might have already come across the tips I’m going to list below but if you have a great post
procesing technique that I haven’t mentioned, please post a response at the bottom of this post.
Take RAW Photos
One of the most versatile ways to alter your photos is to take pohtos in RAW format.  I use a Canon
EOS 20D and I’m sure it’s similar with many cameras but you have the ability to take photos in RAW &
Jpeg mode at the same time.  This takes up more space on your card naturally but it means you have a
jpeg image for immediate use and then a RAW photo for making alterations at a later date.
If you open a RAW image in photoshop, an editor window will apear (as shown below).
<PHOTO>
From this window you can change virtually all characteristics of the image ranging from
brightness/contrast & colour alterations to vignetting and sharpness.
Once you are happy with your settings, you can then save you settings and/or open up the image in
photoshop and then make further alterations if you so wish.
Sharpen using the High Pass filter
This can be found in the menu Filter > Other > High Pass
To use this filter, open up an image that you wish to sharpen. In the example below the butterfly is
slightly blurry.
<PHOTO>
If you duplicate this layer(control/cmd +j) and then run the high pass filter, a box will appear
with a radius slider. The image will be mostly gray.  To achieve the optimum sharpness, move the
slider so that the edges of the image are starting to come through the gray, in this case 1% seems
to work well.
<PHOTO>
Hit “OK” and then set the layer mode to overlay.  This enhances the edges of the image and makes the
photo look sharper.  If you want the image to be sharper still, simply duplicate the high pass
layer.  If that makes the image too sharp, then simply reduce the layer’s opacity.  The finished
effect is shown below
<PHOTO>
Remove Artifacts using the clone stamp tool ( S )
The clone stamp tool is useful to remove unwanted elements in a photo.  This could be anything from
facial blemishes in a portrait photo, to unwanted elements in a landscape scene.
Clone stamp copies an area which is artefact free and pastes it on top of the unwanted element in
photo.
In this example, I want to remove the leaves on the ground.
<PHOTO>
Simply select the clone stamp tool (s), adjust the brush head ( using [ or ] ) to get the right side
and then hold down the alt key and click near to the area you wish to hide. Release the alt key and
then proceed to brush over the unwanted element. The result is shown below
<PHOTO>
Soften a photo’s background using gaussian blur.
This is useful when you wish to improve the blurred background of the image.  It’s often the case that noise will creep in when taking photos at a high ISO level and that is particularly noticeable if it is noise within a blurry background. I’ve found this also useful when taking photos in Zoos, when you dont want the blurry cage in the image. Below is such an example.
<PHOTO>
So here, I want to blur out the cage. In order to do this, duplicate the layer (ctrl / cmd + j) and select filter > blur > gaussian blur.  Next, add a layer mask to this blurred layer and then proceed to hide the blurred layer where the owl is in focus. Use a brush with 100% opacity for the centre of the owl and then use a lower opacity for the extremes where the owl and the background meet.
The end result will look like something like this
<PHOTO>

I thought I’d share with you today a few post processing techniques I use when importing photos.  It’s possible to make some subtle and in some cases not so subtle enhancements to your image to really make them stand out.  A potential danger of post processing is to go too far in making alterations which can make the photo look false and unrealistic (if that’s not what you’re aiming for), so it’s important to bear that in mind.

You might have already come across the tips I’m going to list below but if you have a great post procesing technique that I haven’t mentioned, please post a response at the bottom of this post.

Take RAW Photos

One of the most versatile ways to alter your photos is to take pohtos in RAW format.  I use a Canon EOS 20D and I’m sure it’s similar with many cameras but you have the ability to take photos in RAW & Jpeg mode at the same time.  This takes up more space on your card naturally but it means you have a jpeg image for immediate use and then a RAW photo for making alterations at a later date.

If you open a RAW image in photoshop, an editor window will appear (as shown below).

RAW Photo editor in photoshop

From this window you can change virtually all characteristics of the image ranging from brightness/contrast & colour alterations to vignetting and sharpness. Once you are happy with your settings, you can then save your settings and/or open up the image in Photoshop and then make further alterations if you so wish.

Sharpen using the High Pass filter

This can be found in the menu Filter > Other > High Pass

To use this filter, open up an image that you wish to sharpen. In the example below the butterfly is slightly blurry.

butterfly1

If you duplicate this layer(control/cmd +j) and then run the high pass filter (filters > other > high pass), a box will appear with a radius slider. The image will be mostly gray.  To achieve the optimum sharpness, move the slider so that the edges of the image are starting to come through the gray, in this case 1% seems to work well.

butterfly2

Hit “OK” and then set the layer mode to overlay.  This enhances the edges of the image and makes the photo look sharper.  If you want the image to be sharper still, simply duplicate the high pass layer.  If that makes the image too sharp, then simply reduce the layer’s opacity.  The finished effect is shown below

butterfly3

Remove Artifacts using the clone stamp tool

The clone stamp tool is useful to remove unwanted elements in a photo.  This could be anything from facial blemishes in a portrait photo, to unwanted elements in a landscape scene.

Clone stamp copies an area which is artifact free and pastes it on top of the unwanted element in the photo.

In this example, I want to remove the leaves on the ground.

grass1

Simply select the clone stamp tool (s), adjust the brush head ( using [ or ] ) to get the right size and then hold down the alt key and click near to the area you wish to hide. Release the alt key and then proceed to brush over the unwanted element. The result is shown below

grass2

Soften a photo’s background using gaussian blur.

This is useful when you wish to improve the blurred background of the image.  It’s often the case that noise will creep in when taking photos at a high ISO level and that is particularly noticeable if it is noise within a blurry background. I’ve found this also useful when taking photos in a zoo, when you dont want the blurry cage in the image. Below is such an example.

owl1

So here, I want to blur out the cage. In order to do this, duplicate the layer (ctrl / cmd + j) and select filter > blur > gaussian blur.  Next, add a layer mask to this blurred layer and then proceed to hide the blurred layer where the owl is in focus. Use a brush with 100% opacity for the centre of the owl and then use a lower opacity for the extremes where the owl and the background meet.

The end result will look like something like this

owl2

Posted in: Photo Effects.

Tags: , , , , ,

7 Responses to “Post Processing – Methods to Improve your Photos”

  1. arenacreative.com Says:

    These are great basic tips that I personally use – I never really used the high pass filter for sharpening, though. I’ll have to try that 😀 Thanks.

  2. dave Says:

    Thanks for the tips, some good ones. I’ve never played with the high pass filter either, & look forward to giving it go!

  3. thewebtuts Says:

    Tutorial added to thewebtuts.com

  4. nico Says:

    high pass is really beautiful!:)

  5. Manmohan Says:

    These are nice tips. high pass & gausian blur is very effective filter for cleaning photoes. Thanks a lot.

  6. Texas Green Blog Says:

    I will give these techniques a try, I particularly like the Gaussian blurred background, very cool technique for those of use without fancy focal length lenses!

    Thanks for the great article :)

  7. Fotografia ślubna Poznań Says:

    I like your highpass example :) Could you write about general sharpening methods?

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