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Thread: Processing RAW images Dec 2011

  1. #1
    Forum Participant Simon Wantling's Avatar
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    Default Processing RAW images Dec 2011

    Hi all,

    Looking at all the wonderful images on here it's clear that a lot of the skill is in the post processing. Although I have been processing RAW images for a while now, I think I have a lot to learn and wondered whether anyone here would be willing to process one of my images so I can compare my results against someone better skilled than I am and I can see how the image should really turn out. I know it's probably a lot to ask, but it would be a really interesting exercise. I've question my lens quality being the 100-400mm lens but looking at it, it looks fine and I think I fall down on the processing of the RAW image. If this is at all possible then it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for the help.

    Simon

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Simon, you can e-mail me a raw file and see what I can do for you......

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    Moderator, Digital Workflow Don Lacy's Avatar
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    Simon I would also be willing to work on one of your images if you want. I also believe that the quality of your processing can be greatly improved by working on a very good calibrated monitor it really does make a difference.
    Don Lacy
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    BPN Member gail bisson's Avatar
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    Hi Simon,
    I have only been doing PP for a year or two but would be happy to work on an image for you. Just send me a RAW,
    Gail

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    Astrogeek Chris Ober's Avatar
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    I think this would be educational to see the results and steps done by each of you on the same image, including you, Simon :)
    Chris

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    I like Chris' idea and would love to see them posted in this thread.
    A Creative Adventure
    PHOTOGRAPHY by denise ippolito


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    Forum Participant Simon Wantling's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. Yes, this would be great to see how you more experienced photographers process them as I'm amazed at the quality. I assume as it's a RAW image it'll be ok to mail a 20mg file. I could upload it to a webspace for easier access save clogging up your inbox's

    The image isn't a fantastic one but it is one of a Robin which I'd like to get the best from.

    Thanks

    simon

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    Forum Participant Simon Wantling's Avatar
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    Hi, thanks again for offering to do this. OK, instead of me emailing the RAW file, I've added a download link from my server. Hope it works ok.

    http://www.back-garden-moths.co.uk/RAW.php

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    Lifetime Member Michael Gerald-Yamasaki's Avatar
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    Simon,

    Greetings. There is a certain point past the basics that pp is a matter of taste, artistry. I suspect there will be quite a range of images from your raw file. I'm used to a Nikon workflow (using CaptureNX for raw conversion) but used LR here for the conversion and PS (CS3) for further processing. Lens seems fine to me. I went minimalist composition with a large crop to 1382x1728 (8x10 aspect).

    Name:  Robin-Edit.jpg
Views: 1510
Size:  185.8 KB

    In LR, WB, some preliminary toning (prefer the exposure and curves controls over brightness which seems to be the LR default), color noise reduction. In PS, Topaz InFocus plugin, Lab Mode curves (Selective for feather detail, eye detail (L channel), global color adjustments (a & b channels)). 2 rounds of smart sharpen (selective), back to LR for crop. I didn't work the perch... it could use some work.

    Cheers,

    -Michael-

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    OK, I had a go at it Simon. I learned that it was tough to process an image without the vision of the photographer for the final result...but I also learned that it is a great exercise, and fun. Saying this, I opted to leave the fence and wires to keep an urban feel to the image. Also, the small size of the bird in the original left me the better option (for me) to keep it smallish in the frame to avoid the "heavy crop" look in the details, thus leaving lots of man-made stuff in there...too much to remove for what little patience I have with processing images

    Here are the steps I took for the procesing:

    Lightroom 3:

    - Exposure + 0.41
    - Temperature 5333
    - Tint +39 (default)
    - Fill Light +16
    - Blacks +5 (default)
    - Brightness +50 (default)
    - Contrast +25 (default)
    - Vibrance +8
    - Clarity +8

    Then on to CS2:

    - Levels (midtones set to 1.13)
    - Selective Color, Blacks +20
    - Dodge iris
    - Burn pupil
    - Dodge belly and flanks
    - Burn left side of right fence picket
    - Clone out OOF vegetation next to middle picket
    - Sponge tool to slightly saturate upper half og background
    - Saturation +7
    - Cropped from 5184 pixels on the long side down to 3036 pixels
    - Sharpened using USM: Amount 160, Radius 1.3, Threshold 0.
    - Added black border for web presentation
    - Resized for web

    Total time from import in LR to resizing in CS2 = about 10 minutes.

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  12. #11
    Avian Moderator Doug Brown's Avatar
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    <embed id="application/x-exifeverywhere" type="application/x-exifeverywhere" width="0" height="0">Here's my version.
    Lightroom:
    1. Crop
    2. Exposure +0.80
    3. Fill Light 6
    4. Blacks 6
    5. Contrast 33
    6. Clarity +31
    7. Saturation +9

    Photoshop (a little complicated):
    1. Selective sharpening of bird and perch
    2. Selective NR of the BG
    3. A low level of Shadows/Highlights on the bird (maybe 3)
    4. Raised saturation and lightness on the BG (+12 saturation, +2 lightness)
    5. Dodge the iris, burn the pupil, and dodge the reflection in the eye
    6. Reduce BG brightness by -32
    7. Raised saturation on the bird by +6
    8. Add a color balance adjustment layer to the whole image (Magenta/Green +2, Yellow/Blue -9)

    I went with a tight crop, even though sharpness could have been better and the image was fairly underexposed. The combination created some issues with noise and lack of detail. Maybe a looser crop like Daniel's would have been a little more forgiving.

    Name:  Robin-Edit-800.jpg
Views: 1508
Size:  248.1 KB<embed id="application/x-exifeverywhere" type="application/x-exifeverywhere" width="0" height="0"><embed id="application/x-exifeverywhere" type="application/x-exifeverywhere" width="0" height="0">
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    Avian Moderator Doug Brown's Avatar
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    <embed id="application/x-exifeverywhere" type="application/x-exifeverywhere" width="0" height="0">Nice job Daniel. My only criticism would be that the iris looks too light. I do some lightening, but I find that dodging the reflection of the sky has a more natural appearance when trying to inject some life into the eye.
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    Moderator, Digital Workflow Don Lacy's Avatar
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    I was going to post my version but Daniels is better and thats about as good as can be done with this file. For me the image has one major flaw and thats sharpness and no amount post processing can fixed that and when you add the subject size in the frame this image would have been a first edit delete for me. Simon looking at the metadata your shutter speed of 1/80s is to slow at 400mm even with a IS lens unless you were using a tripod.
    Don Lacy
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    BPN Member Mike Milicia's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    I agree with Don's assessment but I thought I'd go ahead and give it a try and see what I could squeeze out of it.

    Adobe Camera RAW :
    Color 5200/39
    Exposure +0.5
    Recovery +10
    Fill +10
    Blacks +2
    Clarity +30
    Used adjustment brush to selectively boost exposure on bird by 0.35 stop

    CS 4:
    Capture sharpening with Photokit Sharpener 2
    Creative sharpening selectively with Photokit Sharpener 2
    Midtone Contrast adjustment (low) with Photokit Sharpener 2
    Levels (two layers, one for bird, one for rest of image)
    Slight contrast boost with Curves
    Saturation (+2 for orange breast, +10 for rest of image)
    Output sharpening with Photokit Sharpener 2

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    Forum Participant Simon Wantling's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the examples posted. This really is superb and all look great. I'll post my effort up later tonight, uk time.. Don, agree the image could have been sharper which has been my concern with the lens despite the slow shutter speed. Even at fast shutter speeds it never seems tack sharp, but always on the soft side. This was taken in av control so i should have bumped up my ISO to get the shutter speed up. Funny, but it seems all images I take in av priority are slightly under exposed.

    I don't think I could have got closer to this subject. Not sure of the exact distance but I could only have been 10-15 feet away, so couldn't really get the subject bigger in the frame at 400mm.

    Thanks again for all the examples posted. It really has been great and much appreciated.

    Simon

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    BPN Member Dan Brown's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Ok, I'll play! Here's my attempt. I too usually convert with Capture NX2 and then open into CS5-ACR but here....... I opened in CS5-ACR, cropped at 3:4 ratio to 8.5mp, which is about 50%, to preserve as many pixels as possible. I tried to place the bird near a "rule of thirds" spot and use the posts as part of the framing.

    Adjustments as follow -

    White balance - Daylight, 5500
    Exposure - +.45
    Recovery - 0
    Fill light - 38
    Blacks - 0
    Brightness - +50
    Clarity - 0
    Vibrance - 0
    Saturation - +8
    Open shadows with slight tone curve
    Canceled all in-camera sharpening and NR

    Open into CS5
    Create BG copy layer
    Clone out dark OOF weed below bird
    Select green OOF bg with magic wand
    Switch to Quick Mask mode and paint in mask where needed
    Switch out of QM mode back to marching ants
    Open "refine edge" and adjust
    edge detection - 1.2px
    adjust edge - feather - 1.2px
    output - check "decontaminate edge"
    amount - 6%
    output to - new layer with layer mask
    OK
    Apply "shadow and highlight" on bird and fence
    Apply a slight S curve overall
    Reduce noise slightly on bird and fence with Topaz Denoise
    and strong on BG
    Sharpen bird and fence with Topaz infocus
    reduce to 800x1024 and save for web to 246kb

    Oh, and I cloned the bird poo off the perch post!

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    Here's my shot at is using only Lightoom 3

    values were
    Temp 4900
    Tint +30
    Exposure +.14
    Recovery 36
    Fill Light 20
    Blacks 5
    Brightness 40
    Contrast 47
    Clarity 36
    Vibrance 40
    Saturation 8
    Tone Curve highlight +9, Light +9, Darks -5, shadow -7
    Sharpening amount 66, raduius 2.3, detail 41, masking 32
    Noise reduction Luminance 16, Color 55



  19. #18
    BPN Member Dennis Bishop's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Here's another one -- with a different look in at least some respects. So far, all my images have been posted on the Out of the Box forum, and this version reflects my leaning to that type of output.

    Adobe Camera Raw
    bumped up the saturation of the greens and yellows
    darkened the greens just a little
    lightened the yellows

    CS5
    cropping for composition -- I wanted an odd number of posts, and three worked. I used divine proportions, DP, (but not with a golden rectangle) as a guide. The bird's eye is on a vertical DP line. The post on the right is just to the right of the other DP vertical. The upper DP horizontal passes between the bird's body and the tops of the two posts on the left.

    Topaz Simplify -- 2 layers using a preset based on BuzSim; one as is, the other with reduced simplification (Some spaces -- like where the wire leaves the post were filled in at the greater level of simplification. These and the entire bird were masked out to reveal the lower amount of simplification. The bird's eye was masked back to the original in the raw file.)

    subdued out of focus vegetation to the right of the center post
    Alien Skin Snap Art -- Stylize line art for dark detail lines on posts and around bird (reduced layer opacity)
    Levels
    Nik Color Efex -- Tonal Contrast
    Curves -- linear contrast, masked from bird
    uniform gradient vignette
    Content Aware fill to get rid of right end of wire, which was leading the eye out of the image. Partially masked back in with a soft, low opacity brush to get fading effect
    Nik Color Efex -- Darken/Lighten Center to lighten the bird and a little of its surroundings and somewhat darken the rest of the image
    “ . . . The executional characteristics of the image should not be the first thing you notice when you look at the photograph: you can overdo it. They should support the compositions, but not detract or outweigh it. This is one of the things I don’t like about overdone HDR, Instagram and other photo apps – the processing is so overdone to the point that fundamental compositional structure is overshadowed, and any flaws hidden. You only see the processing, and not the subject.” -- Ming Thien, in What makes an outstanding image? (part 1) on his blog, http://blog.mingthein.com, October 6, 2012

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    Macro and Flora Moderator Jonathan Ashton's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Here's my take on it:
    ACR Sharpening:
    Amount 36
    Radius 1.2
    Detail 80
    Masking 0
    I used Adobe Standard Colour Temp as shot
    Exposure 0
    Recovery 9
    Fill Light 5
    Blacks 8
    Brightness 36
    Contrats 30
    Clarity 30
    Vibrance 10

    In Photoshop I selected the background and lowered the brightness and I masked the bird and increased levels at tad. I then made a mask of the eye and brightened that a little.
    Then I resized for web and Save for Web at 250kB
    My monitor hasn't been calibrated for a while but I don't think it is far out.

  21. #20
    Lifetime Member Michael Gerald-Yamasaki's Avatar
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    Dennis has a good point. Here's a OOTB riff on the image (keeping it nearer to in the box ). A collection of Topaz plugin adjustments - Simplify, Denoise, Detail, InFocus...

    Name:  Robin-Edit-Edit.jpg
Views: 1410
Size:  210.6 KB

    Cheers,

    -Michael-

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    BPN Member Roger Clark's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Simon,

    Here is my attempt. Processing went like this (many steps took longer to write down than do):

    raw: exposure=0
    recovery=0
    fill light =0
    blacks=0
    brightness +50
    contrast +25
    clarity +7
    vibrance +10
    saturation +13
    save as image a, 16-bit tif.

    cs5:
    select background with magic wand tool

    refine edge: smooth 12, feather 8.2, contrast 9, shift edge +10

    darken with curves

    select bird

    refine edge: smooth 12, feather 13, contrast 9, shift edge -35

    curves: increase brightness

    select bird again, smaller parts of main body

    refine edge: smooth 12, feather 13, contrast 9, shift edge -35

    curves: increase brightness

    save image (new name) (image b)

    ImagesPlus (software package, version 3.0):
    Richardson-Lucy image deconvolution: 5x5 12 iterations; save image

    open image b again:
    Richardson-Lucy image deconvolution: 5x5 25 iterations; save image

    back to CS5:
    Stack the 3 images in layers: image b (top), 5x5 12 iterations, 5x5 25 iterations (bottom)

    erase layers so bird is 5x5 12 iterations, stump is 5x5 25 iterations

    select background of top layer: gaussian blur radius=1.8 (noise reduction)

    unsharp mask 5x5 25 iteration layer (stump): radius 1.5 pixels, 81%, threshold 6

    unsharp mask 5x5 12 iteration layer (bird): radius 1.5 pixels, 81%, threshold 6

    save image (d)

    flatten image

    clean up a few places of ringing (around bill and legs) with blur and clone tools

    final tweaks:
    select bird body: curves for some contrast
    select stump: curves for contrast

    convert to sRGB, 8-bit

    convert to LAB, sharpen luminance channel radius=0.7, amount 120, thershold 6
    convert back the RGB

    save a tif

    save for web

    In the attached image, I pushed the deconvolution steps more than I normally would to illustrate the effect of true sharpening to bring out feather detail on the bird and fine textural detail on the post. The result is a little more noise than I would normally accept in my own images, but I think the idea is illustrated. One can trade noise for detail and where one sets the bar is up to the individual.

    In the posted image, there is some residual ringing that I would clean up (e.g. with clone or blur tool), but also would be less with less aggressive processing.

    Roger
    Last edited by Roger Clark; 12-11-2011 at 02:08 PM.

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    Forum Participant Simon Wantling's Avatar
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    Dear all,

    Firstly, I'd like to say a very big thank you to all that some of there personal time to process this RAW image. It's greatly appreciated. What is very clear is that everyone have a very different interpretation of what an image should look like after processing as you can see from the various examples posted here. It has certainly steered me in the direction I'd like to go with my processing and has also allowed me to answer whether there was anything wrong with my lens. Over recents weeks I have adapted my photography technique along with my RAW processing to produce images which I'm starting to become very happy with. I feel I still have a long way to go in terms of reaching the quality posted on this site, but that's half the fun.

    Anyway, here is my posting the the Robin image. I've not concentrated on composition but more final image quality so this probably wouldn't be how I would crop any final image, but it's not far off.

    Again, thanks for all the postings. I found it extremely useful.

    My processing was carried out in Lightroom 3 and Aperture.

    Last edited by Simon Wantling; 12-16-2011 at 12:10 PM.

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    BPN Member Dennis Bishop's Avatar
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    Well done, Simon. I like the simplicity and the composition. I also like that eye.
    “ . . . The executional characteristics of the image should not be the first thing you notice when you look at the photograph: you can overdo it. They should support the compositions, but not detract or outweigh it. This is one of the things I don’t like about overdone HDR, Instagram and other photo apps – the processing is so overdone to the point that fundamental compositional structure is overshadowed, and any flaws hidden. You only see the processing, and not the subject.” -- Ming Thien, in What makes an outstanding image? (part 1) on his blog, http://blog.mingthein.com, October 6, 2012

  25. #24
    BPN Member Valerio Tarone's Avatar
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    Default Processing Raw images

    Simon I have the same problem as you. But I use only Capture NX2. My reference point is the ebook by J. Odell 'The photographers guide to Nikon CaptureNX2'. The first issue is,certainly, to perceive whether amd where's a problem to be readjusted. Better few than too much. Don Lacy, Roger, and others, would you make the same work, some example with Nikon CaptureNX2? Thanks.
    Valerio Tarone

  26. #25
    BPN Member Jerry van Dijk's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Hi all, I found this thread very informative! I like how it shows all of our different interpretations of the same image and also shows the importance of post processing for the looks of the final image.
    Of course I also had a go. Here's my 2 cents.

    ACR 6.3<o:p></o:p>
    Temp 5400<o:p></o:p>
    Tint +21<o:p></o:p>
    Exp -0.10<o:p></o:p>
    Fill light 55<o:p></o:p>
    Clarity +45<o:p></o:p>
    Vibrance +42<o:p></o:p>
    Saturation +2<o:p></o:p>
    Levels<o:p></o:p>
    Sharpening amout 98, rad 0.6, detail 1, masking 35,<o:p></o:p>
    NR luminance 13, detail 39, contrast 100<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    CS5<o:p></o:p>
    Burned fencepost on the right 50% on highlights<o:p></o:p>
    Selected eye, auto tone, contrast and color<o:p></o:p>
    Selective USM on the bird rad 0.6, amount 163<o:p></o:p>
    USM amount 130, rad 0.6<o:p></o:p>
    NR on BG<o:p></o:p>
    Crop 16:9<o:p></o:p>
    Added some contrast (don’t remember how much, did it on sight)<o:p></o:p>
    Save for web 1000px


  27. #26
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    Here's my attempt using Photoshop Elements 7.

    RAW
    Increase exposure +0.3; Fill 6; Black 9
    Open copy

    Elements
    Crop
    Adjust layers black to 16 (shows my RAW processing not quite right)
    Image - Mode to 8 bits/channel
    Clone stamp to remove the fence posts at left and right of crop

    When the image looks OK then I sharpen.
    Duplicate layer - set Blending Mode to Overlay
    Filter - Other - High Pass - Radius 1.0 pixels
    Layer - Flatten Image
    Image - Resize - 850 pixels
    Save As


  28. #27
    BPN Member Roger Clark's Avatar
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    Dave,
    As a forum participant, you'll need to supply a link to your image on another web site. If the site allows hot links, you can do a hot link and the image appears here just like it was an attachment.

    Roger

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Clark View Post
    Dave,
    As a forum participant, you'll need to supply a link to your image on another web site. If the site allows hot links, you can do a hot link and the image appears here just like it was an attachment.

    Roger
    I tried adding the image to my Flickr account but could not link to it - I did receive a positive comment in the short time between posting and before I deleted it.

    So it's back to lurking for me.

    If Simon wants to see the result I would be happy to send it to him.

    Dave

    My Flikr images are at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davethebird/

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    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    That's too bad Dave, we would have loved to see your version...and we would love to have you participate on BPN! If you need any help don't hesitate to ask
    Last edited by Daniel Cadieux; 12-19-2011 at 12:53 PM. Reason: bad typo!!!

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    Astrogeek Chris Ober's Avatar
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    Flickr has made it more difficult to post direct links to images stored there and require the link to be to the Flickr page that contains the image instead of the image alone.
    Photobucket or Imgur are free alternatives that should still allow it.
    Chris

    "You can't fix stupid."

    - Ron White


    0 .· ` ' / ·. 100
    I have a high sarcasm rate. Deal with it.
    include('sarcasm.php')

  32. Thanks Dave Curtis thanked for this post
  33. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Curtis View Post
    Here's my attempt using Photoshop Elements 7.

    RAW
    Increase exposure +0.3; Fill 6; Black 9
    Open copy

    Elements
    Crop
    Adjust layers black to 16 (shows my RAW processing not quite right)
    Image - Mode to 8 bits/channel
    Clone stamp to remove the fence posts at left and right of crop

    When the image looks OK then I sharpen.
    Duplicate layer - set Blending Mode to Overlay
    Filter - Other - High Pass - Radius 1.0 pixels
    Layer - Flatten Image
    Image - Resize - 850 pixels
    Save As

    And now from my shiny new Photobucket account.

    [IMG][/IMG]

  34. #32
    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Cool Dave! Thanks for taking the time to post your image Lots of ways to interpret the image isn't there!

  35. #33
    Forum Participant Simon Wantling's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting your image Dave and the workflow. From what I've learnt from this forum, it's best to resize the image before sharpening as I've noticed it's loses some crispness during this process. Image looks great though

    Thnaks

  36. #34
    BPN Member Valerio Tarone's Avatar
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    Default Processing Raw file

    Hello. I'm sorry as my Nion Capture doesn't open the raw file. How to do as I would like try?Thanks. Mybest wishes.
    Valerio Tarone

  37. #35
    Lifetime Member Michael Gerald-Yamasaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerio Tarone View Post
    Hello. I'm sorry as my Nion Capture doesn't open the raw file. How to do as I would like try?Thanks. Mybest wishes.
    Valerio,

    Greetings. The RAW file is a Canon RAW file (CR2). Nikon CaptureNX doesn't work for Canon files. You would need to use another converter... Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), Lightroom, etc.

    Cheers,

    -Michael-

  38. #36
    BPN Member Valerio Tarone's Avatar
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    Yamasaki thanks, I see it impossible.
    Valerio Tarone

  39. #37
    Forum Participant John Chardine's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    I am late on this thread but I wanted to see what I could do with the image.

    The image was a bit noisy so I went with a looser crop and cloned out the right hand fence post.

    In ACR, cropped, adjusted Tint a little to the greenish side (to +21), increased the exposure (+0.5) added a little fill (5), added some Blacks (5), ran default Capture sharpening (25, 1, 25, 80). In Photoshop, boosted colour contrast a little in LAB, ran some NR with Topaz Denoise (Raw moderate), selectively burned eye a little to lighten, resampled to 1024 wide and selectively sharpened (Smart 99%, 0.3).

    I am processing on a calibrated Macbook Air 13" monitor right now and I have noticed that on other monitors, the images I process look a little dark. Anyway we'll see with this one.

  40. #38
    Forum Participant Mital Patel's Avatar
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    Attached Images Attached Images
     
    Late but seem fun to watch and discuss here.

    Mine Process

    ACR
    Temp 5300
    Tint +20
    Exp +20
    Recovery +10
    Fill light 15
    Blacks +5
    Brightness +50
    Contrast +25
    Clarity +8
    Vibrance +8


    Level : Midtones 1.10
    Crop for Compo 3:2 900x600


    Clone the fence picket's on left and right


    Burn Perched fence picket


    Sharpened USM Amount 180, Radius 0.3, Threshold 0


    Saturation boost


    Save for web.

    ====
    Missing the Sharpness that Daniel has got. Just that it seem more reddish to me for the plumage we do have.
    May be as close crop i lost bit razor sharp details but still would love to discuss the methodology on sharpening.

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