How did you make that image? #58

by

Walk with me step-by-step

through a Color Efex Pro 4 Recipe

to make this image

It is important to note that although this post illustrates use of a CEP4 Recipe -

The actual adjustment steps apply regardless of the processing tools used

AND the order in which the adjustments are made should be followed regardless of the tool

Before I owned Nik products I used Picture Window Pro – but still did these same adjustments in this same order



Early Autumn Forest

Shenandoah National Park

Technical – Nikon D300, Tokina 16-50 2.8 @38mm, 1 sec, f/11, EV=-2/3, ISO200, WB=Cloudy, multi-segment metering, aperture priority, RAW capture, tripod, circular polarizer, rain cover for camera, foggy/rainy weather

  • Visibility < 100 yards
  • See that 1 sec shutter speed – tells you that it was darker than this image looks (think sunny 16 ; 1/400 sec?)
  • Tough keeping the lens face dry
  • 3-4 hours in heavy rain and even though my Gortex rain gear was drenched on the outside – inside I was dry
  • Used the CP to control the foliage color

Composition (in the camera, not via cropping in post) -

  • Did what I could under the conditions
  • Used a low “horizon” – just gray fog up above
  • Brighter/sharper foliage & red leaves up close to capture the eye
  • Large tree at left for a frame & visual interest

Post-process -

1. Photoshop Elements/Adobe Camera RAW for RAW conversion (Sayanora, NX2)

2.Tonal & color contrast adjustments in Color Efex Pro 4 using my custom designed recipe for basic image post process

Details follow below

3. Added some fog (to the natural fog already there) for demo purposes

4. Added a border – just for the heck of it

Here’s the original & after the Recipe, click to enlarge

My purpose was not to go over the top gaudy – just enhance the tonal & color contrasts and details in a natural way.

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If you’re actually interested in what’s happening on this walk, you should enlarge each image along the way (click it)

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Walking through the Recipe -

Step #1 – open the recipe (made up of six filters)

  • Per my tips this recipe is actually a template (settings nulled)
  • This is the recipe that I use for almost every image
  • It follows the order in which adjustments should be performed (top to bottom in that order)
  • The 1st filter, White Neutralizer, is open
  • I normally do white balance in RAW>jpeg conversion, but keep this filter here in case
  • It doesn’t have to be activated & I didn’t

Get colors correct first

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Step #2 – Move to filter #2, Contrast Color Range

  • One of my “go-to” filters; read about it here
  • Enlarge the image to see that
  • control sliders have been adjusted
  • highlight & shadow adjustments were made
  • the filter opacity was reduced to 54%
  • Left/Right – after previous step/this step

Adjust colors first (after correct WB in step 1 or RAW conversion)

You’ll note that no shadow/highlight adjustments were needed past this point

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Step #3 – Move to filter #3, Tonal Contrast

  • Another of my “go-to” filters
  • Enlarge the image to see that
  • control sliders have been adjusted
  • no highlight & shadow adjustments
  • filter opacity left at 100%
  • L/R – after previous-step/this-step

Next – get the tonal contrast right

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Step #4 – Move to filter #4, Detail Extractor

  • New in CEP4; popular with beta testers
  • Enlarge the image to see that
  • control sliders have been adjusted
  • no highlight & shadow adjustments
  • filter opacity reduced to 65%
  • L/R – after previous-step/this-step

After color & tonal contrast, look at image details

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Step #5- Move to filter #5, Pro Contrast

  • New features in CEP4; popular with beta testers
  • Enlarge the image to see that
  • two control sliders have been adjusted
  • no highlight & shadow adjustments
  • filter opacity left at 100%
  • L/R – after previous-step/this-step

I use this as a “clean-up” step – one last go at color cast & contrast.

This is one of a small number of filters improved/changed from CEP3 to CEP4. Specifically a 3rd control was added – Dynamic Contrast.

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Step #6- Move to filter #6, Darken/Lighten Center

  • Always my final filter
  • Enlarge the image to see that
  • two control sliders have been adjusted
  • no highlight & shadow adjustments
  • filter opacity left at 100%
  • L/R – after previous-step/this-step

It’s good to darken the image edges a bit; helps keep the eye focused on the image core

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That does it for this recipe. Here’s the before & after recipe again.

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For a little extra, I used the CEP4 Graduated Fog filter after finishing with the recipe.

The camera – and polarizer – did too good a job cutting through the heavy mist & brightening the image.

A little touch of fog gets it closer (still not as dark) to what I saw.

And finally – used my fancy image border recipe to, umm, add a border which got us to today’s feature image at the top of this post.

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8 Responses to “How did you make that image? #58”

  1. rmiskinis Says:

    For some reason after this post all I receive are blank email notifications. I can get to the posts by hacking/modifying this URL but it is a hassel. Really enjoy your posts and would hate to lose them.
    Thanks

    • Ed Knepley Says:

      Sorry to hear that. Not sure I understand though. You are subscribed to get email notifications of new posts and there is nothing in the body of the email?

      If that’s it, let me know & I’ll contact WordPress to see what they know about this problem. From my end, I have nothing to do with the notifications but clearly want any problems resolved regardless of their origin.

      Thanks for letting me know.

  2. rmiskinis Says:

    Yes, the notifications I’m receiving are blank with a light grey background…including the notification for your response. I went bak to my email for #58 to get to the reply box. I don’t have a direct email for you otherwise I’d forward the notification for you to see.
    The last good one was this one (#58). I read this email box on my email server rather than use Outlook. Got to be a WordPress problem/glitch. Thanks for your reply and help. This is definitely my favorite photo blog.

  3. rmiskinis Says:

    Ahhh….your avatar and message body are back. Thanks

    • Ed Knepley Says:

      I guess that’s an improvement (not the avatar ;-)). If you follow the link I provided in my previous reply you’ll see that this is a well known problem that WP is working on. I wasn’t aware of it.

  4. rmiskinis Says:

    Went to the link/posts and didn’t really see any solutions which I could initiate. I’m using IE9 and my email server is set to accept HTML and plain text. Looks like an intermittant glitch on WordPress’s part. Anyway, all is fixed and good.
    Enjoy your well deserved vacation.
    Thanks again,
    Bob

Comments are closed.


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