Pop Tutorial: New and Improved

DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
edited January 26, 2010 in Finishing School
I've reworked the POP tutorial, take a look at it here.

And use this thread for any discussion or questions!
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  • AndyAndy Registered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    Folks, this is by far the #1 thing any of you can do to improve your photos. If you learn nothing else, learn these basic moves deal.gif
  • saurorasaurora Registered Users Posts: 4,320 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    What am I doing wrong?
    Hi David...I'm going through the new tute and attempting to work on an old image as I go. I have never used Image>Adjustment>Threshold before...pretty cool. I've always just slid the curves over to opposite sides and worked them back gradually. Anyway.....after setting the points, etc. in curves when I choose "ok" and leave curves my image is still in the black and white screen. I have attempted it 3 times and I can't figure out what I'm doing. I use CS by the way. ne_nau.gif
  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    saurora wrote:
    Hi David...I'm going through the new tute and attempting to work on an old image as I go. I have never used Image>Adjustment>Threshold before...pretty cool. I've always just slid the curves over to opposite sides and worked them back gradually. Anyway.....after setting the points, etc. in curves when I choose "ok" and leave curves my image is still in the black and white screen. I have attempted it 3 times and I can't figure out what I'm doing. I use CS by the way. ne_nau.gif


    Thanks for debugging my tute!

    My bad. Don't OK the threshold, just cancel. :D You're just using it to see the threshold, not set it.

    I'm on my way to fix it.
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  • saurorasaurora Registered Users Posts: 4,320 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    Ah! Thanks David! Glad I asked before driving myself nuts! :D
  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    saurora wrote:
    Ah! Thanks David! Glad I asked before driving myself nuts! :D


    Let's see how it worked out! :D
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  • StustaffStustaff Registered Users Posts: 680 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    Feedback - working through this and it could use a tiny bit of clarification I have higlighted in Bold below from your text, It says "In the curves dialog" which one? I have two already one for black and one for white!
    You need to add "Open another new curves layer you will see that there is a line running at 45... etc"

    "Again, click OK in the curves dialog, and save the new target colors as default.

    It's looking much better, eh?

    What we've done so far is to make sure that this image is using the full range of values that are available: from black to white.

    But we can do better.

    In the curves dialog there is a line running at 45°. This is the curve. When it's straight it's telling you that what goes in, is what comes out. The curve is not changing any values.
    "
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  • SystemSystem Registered Users Posts: 8,195 moderator
    edited December 30, 2006
    yes folks, davidto has the nicest tutes I've ever seen-
  • StustaffStustaff Registered Users Posts: 680 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    After following tute, what do you think?

    Before
    98558735-M.jpg

    After
    119849641-M.jpg
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  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    Stustaff wrote:
    After following tute, what do you think?


    I think you've got to be more careful about where you set your black and white points.
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  • StustaffStustaff Registered Users Posts: 680 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    DavidTO wrote:
    I think you've got to be more careful about where you set your black and white points.

    Ok can you clarify a little, where would you set them?
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  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    Stustaff wrote:
    Feedback - working through this and it could use a tiny bit of clarification I have higlighted in Bold below from your text, It says "In the curves dialog" which one? I have two already one for black and one for white!
    You need to add "Open another new curves layer you will see that there is a line running at 45... etc"


    I tell you to open the curves in the next pane. In this pane, I just want you to look at the curves I've got there for you. I'll think about how to make that clearer.

    Thanks!
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  • StustaffStustaff Registered Users Posts: 680 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    Ah I see it now, just me reading too quickly I think.
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  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    Stustaff wrote:
    Ok can you clarify a little, where would you set them?

    Well, personally, I think this shot already has a black point. That is, I think that the area that IS black is significant to the shot, so you don't need to go shopping for another, lighter point to set to black.

    And for the smoke, you need to find a brighter target in it, because wherever it was that you set the white point in there, it lost detail in the highlights.

    Ultimately, with this shot, i think that you can skip to step 3, which is adding contrast with the "S" curve. Your black and white points are already pretty good. Whatever you do, you have to be very careful of those highlights in the smoke, because they are definitely significant to this shot. Don't blow out the detail there!

    Make sense?
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  • StustaffStustaff Registered Users Posts: 680 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    DavidTO wrote:
    Well, personally, I think this shot already has a black point. That is, I think that the area that IS black is significant to the shot, so you don't need to go shopping for another, lighter point to set to black.

    And for the smoke, you need to find a brighter target in it, because wherever it was that you set the white point in there, it lost detail in the highlights.

    Ultimately, with this shot, i think that you can skip to step 3, which is adding contrast with the "S" curve. Your black and white points are already pretty good.

    Make sense?

    Perfect. cheers
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  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited December 30, 2006
    Stustaff wrote:
    Perfect. cheers


    One clue to that is that when you open the threshold dialog box on that original image, the histogram goes from all the way on the left to all the way on the right...you're already using the full spectrum of values.

    Look to practice on shots that obviously need it, to start.
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  • badtzbadtz Registered Users Posts: 20 Big grins
    edited January 1, 2007
    Just one question, whats the advantage to setting the white and black point via multiple layers as opposed to copying a new layer and using levels? Otherwise nice tutorial, thanks for writing it up.
  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited January 1, 2007
    badtz wrote:
    Just one question, whats the advantage to setting the white and black point via multiple layers as opposed to copying a new layer and using levels? Otherwise nice tutorial, thanks for writing it up.


    You're always better off using adjustment layers instead of copying the whole layer. And yeah, you could use Levels if all you're doing is setting the black/white points, but I just never use Levels. They're too limited. But in this case, yes, there would be no difference.
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  • Duffy PrattDuffy Pratt Registered Users Posts: 260 Major grins
    edited January 1, 2007
    DavidTO wrote:
    You're always better off using adjustment layers instead of copying the whole layer.

    There is an exception to that rule. If you make a move in RGB, and you want to limit it with "Blend if..." in LAB, you will have to make the change on a duplicate layer because the adjustment layer won't survive the color space change.

    Also, I think he was asking why you used different adjustment layers for both the white and the black point. And for that, I think the only answer is for clarity in the demonstration. You can just as easily set the white point and the black point in a single layer. If you want, you can set white point, black point, and write the curves all within the same adjustment layer with no difficulty at all.

    Duffy
  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited January 1, 2007
    There is an exception to that rule. If you make a move in RGB, and you want to limit it with "Blend if..." in LAB, you will have to make the change on a duplicate layer because the adjustment layer won't survive the color space change.

    Also, I think he was asking why you used different adjustment layers for both the white and the black point. And for that, I think the only answer is for clarity in the demonstration. You can just as easily set the white point and the black point in a single layer. If you want, you can set white point, black point, and write the curves all within the same adjustment layer with no difficulty at all.

    Duffy


    True on the first point. You can most often, however, set the blend-if on the underlying layer, so an adjustment layer is still preferable in that case.

    On the second, it can go either way. Sometimes for the white point, especially, I want to back off on the correction it's made, so having it in its own layer where I can adjust the opacity is a good thing.
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  • Duffy PrattDuffy Pratt Registered Users Posts: 260 Major grins
    edited January 1, 2007
    Your right about the opacity, of course. It's just that with a black or white point I tend to think that there is a right and a wrong. So, if I didn't get it right the first time, I would go back and do it again, and not just back off the opacity. Unlike other moves, I never deliberately overdo the endpoints and then ease off with opacity. But, like other things I've never done, it might work for a whole lot of pictures, and better on some.

    Duffy
  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited January 1, 2007
    Your right about the opacity, of course. It's just that with a black or white point I tend to think that there is a right and a wrong. So, if I didn't get it right the first time, I would go back and do it again, and not just back off the opacity. Unlike other moves, I never deliberately overdo the endpoints and then ease off with opacity. But, like other things I've never done, it might work for a whole lot of pictures, and better on some.

    Duffy


    I was just working on some engagement pictures on the beach at sunset, and there was no point that I wanted white. I go by the formula in the tutorial, so I suppose I could custom find the white point. But I'd rather just find the white point by the numbers, and if the change is too extreme, then dial it back.

    But mostly I'll put both on one layer, like you do. :D
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  • badtzbadtz Registered Users Posts: 20 Big grins
    edited January 2, 2007
    Thanks for the responses, Im still learning (mostly) basic photoshop stuff at this point, and have been in the habit of doing pretty much what you described using levels. Thanks again for the article.
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Registered Users Posts: 6,524 Major grins
    edited January 4, 2007
    David,

    I read your contrast tute a while ago and was so ignorant that I didn't understand what I was reading. Now I have more experience and I get itclap.gif and, more importantly, why it works.

    Being the OCD type that I am, I like to know how to do stuff, but I REALLY like to know why something works.

    OK, the questions:
    • In the last pane of page 1 and the first of page 2, you set the black value to #070707 and the white to #f7f7f7 (247, 247, 247). Why did you choose these values?
    • And, why is the black point not, for example, 248, 248, 248 (which would be 7 off of white - 255, 255, 255)?
    • Is there something magical about the number 7 (as in offsetting from full black by 7)?
    Thanks again for the tute and TIA for the answers to the above questions.
  • AZsnapperAZsnapper Registered Users Posts: 99 Big grins
    edited January 4, 2007
    Tut
    This is pretty good. I read this a while back. I kinda started getting away from this method after reading Dan M's Professional Photoshop book.

    My only comment on the 'after' picture in this turorial is that the backfround now seems to have to much 'pop' - is that just me?
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  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited January 4, 2007
    AZsnapper wrote:
    This is pretty good. I read this a while back. I kinda started getting away from this method after reading Dan M's Professional Photoshop book.

    My only comment on the 'after' picture in this turorial is that the backfround now seems to have to much 'pop' - is that just me?


    Maybe. I wasn't really all that concerned with getting the photo just right. I was more interested in the concepts.
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  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited January 4, 2007
    OK, the questions:
    • In the last pane of page 1 and the first of page 2, you set the black value to #070707 and the white to #f7f7f7 (247, 247, 247). Why did you choose these values?
    • And, why is the black point not, for example, 248, 248, 248 (which would be 7 off of white - 255, 255, 255)?
    • Is there something magical about the number 7 (as in offsetting from full black by 7)?
    Thanks again for the tute and TIA for the answers to the above questions.


    Those are numbers I picked up from Welcome to Oz (in our book review section, if you're interested). Most books will suggest numbers that are similar. In Oz he says that those numbers are tied into the Zone System, and basically they are the numbers that are the limit of being able to see texture.
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  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Registered Users Posts: 6,524 Major grins
    edited January 4, 2007
    DavidTO wrote:
    Those are numbers I picked up from Welcome to Oz (in our book review section, if you're interested). Most books will suggest numbers that are similar. In Oz he says that those numbers are tied into the Zone System, and basically they are the numbers that are the limit of being able to see texture.
    Oh, goody - another book to read!!

    Has anybody but me come to realize that the depth of resources on DGrin is nearly endless. Just when I think I have expored it completely, someone shows me where I've failed. This is so much fun!!
  • Duffy PrattDuffy Pratt Registered Users Posts: 260 Major grins
    edited January 4, 2007
    Margulis recommends using 15,15,15 for the black point, unless your output device can handle detail with lower numbers. And he suggests 245, 245, 245 for the white point.

    The white point number is close to Versace's, but the black point difference is very large. There probably is considerable room for disagreement on this. Versace also recommends that you use the first catchlight, whatever it is, as the white point. I think that advice is off base.

    Duffy
  • DavidTODavidTO Registered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited January 4, 2007
    Margulis recommends using 15,15,15 for the black point, unless your output device can handle detail with lower numbers. And he suggests 245, 245, 245 for the white point.

    The white point number is close to Versace's, but the black point difference is very large. There probably is considerable room for disagreement on this. Versace also recommends that you use the first catchlight, whatever it is, as the white point. I think that advice is off base.

    Duffy


    I'll have to look, but that is not at all my recollection of Versace's white point advice re: the first catchlight. His advice for the white point is the same as for the black point--go to the first significant area of either to set your point.

    Either set of numbers work, it depends on your technique for finding the black point, and how far "in" you go, IMO. If I had 15,15,15 set as my black point, my choice for the point would shift a bit to accomodate.
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  • Duffy PrattDuffy Pratt Registered Users Posts: 260 Major grins
    edited January 5, 2007
    I read the first chapter of the Versace book in a Barnes & Noble this weekend. I'm pretty sure he recommended setting the white point on a catch light on the woman's eye, and saying that this sort of thing was generally good practice. But of course, I could be wrong.

    I don't particularly like the Threshold method of looking for B&W points. Instead, I open up a curve, slide the bottom endpoint to the right, then shift click on something important and neutral. Slide the point back to the bottom left. Then do the same with the top right point of the curve, sliding it to the left. For me, this lets me judge the picture a bit better as I do the sliding.

    Duffy
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