tutorial: nightshot post processing

AndyAndy BicameralNew YorkPosts: 50,151Registered Users Major grins
edited March 12, 2010 in Grad School
hey guys.... my good friend and fellow photographer florindo gallicchio asked me to see if i could work on one of his photos... and i said yeah, but only if i could use it as an example for dgrin :deal

so, here's what florindo made from a shot he took on the brooklyn side of the brooklyn bridge:
4283140-L.jpg

hey now, nothing wrong with this, but .... well florindo wanted some more "pop" and he wanted it not to be so brownish-green :puke1 :puke1 :puke1

let's take a look at what i did with the image. florindo sent me the raw file. so, first thing that must be done is raw conversion. this is what the camera recorded:

4283141-L.jpg

the big benefit of raw is you never have to worry about white balance in-camera, you can easily set it in the raw conversion. notice on the above pic the color temp is 3800 degs kelvin... a bit warm, and that's where the yellow green comes from. watch what happens if you cool the temp down to 3000 degs kelvin, and slide the tint bar over to the right, to +22:

4283142-L.jpg

there, that looks like a good place to start from.... ok, now we click on "ok" and the file comes into normal photoshop. very very important step here! save your file as a .psd! repeat after me: save your file as a .psd! this is a non-compressed photoshop file that you can keep, and all your layers will remain intact. you'll create your final .jpgs from the .psd file.

4283143-L.jpg

always always do this, never work on the raw file or original jpg for that matter, and you won't end up like this :dunno :scratch :doh :dgrin

ok... now on to the fun part. hey this image didn't need much, and the whole post processing took me less than 10 minutes. first, let's look at levels. i always give photoshop's autolevels a try, it sometimes gives quite a good result. use the following sequence: layer>new adjustment layer>levels>auto and take a look. you can then do a comparison manual levels adjustment and see if you can do it better yourself if you like. i will often do this, and then click the eyeballs off/on to see which version of levels i like better. the reason to work in adjustment layers is that we can also learn to use *layer masks* within our adjustment layers. the layer mask is that square on the right of your pic icon in the layers palette. the layer mask is simple. it's an "undo" for what's going on in that layer. how do you use it? simple: grab a soft edged brush, make sure black is the foreground color, and simply brush over the areas you don't want the layer's effect to apply to. this is a hard concept to grasp, but if you practice it you'll get the hang of it in no time. keep in mind that you can go full strength on the brush (undoing 100% of the effect) or you can lower the opacity of the brush by x% and you'll be undoing by that %age....again, just practice it :thumb

if you mess up on your layer mask, you can discard it (right click on it) and start an new mask (circle in square at bottom of layers palette) and just start over!

4283144-L.jpg

ok in this case i really liked the autolevels so i left it. and nothing to mask..but now i wanted more pop, so i went for a curve :rofl layer>new adustment layer>curves ... here you play with a graph, looking usually you want a slight s-curve, but here i bulged it upwards some, which lightened the whole image... i'll mask most of that brightness away.... again, this is an effect that's easy to play with and practice, and in this case, i also heavily used the layer mask...notice that some of the mask was full 100% and some was only at 50%. you can see which is 50% by looking at the layer mask icon (to the right and the 50% part is grey, not black).

4283145-L.jpg

hey we're getting there! but the colors are a bit flat still, let's try some hue saturation.. layer>new adjustment layer>hue saturation ... i usually will try the rgb first, and just slide the saturation slider to the right... be very careful! oversaturation can kill most images. normally i will only do this about +10 and sometimes as high as +20 but watch out for fake looking colors and noise and other hinky stuff in your image. here, i was able to get away with +40 and no harm to the image. always look at 100% magnification to ensure you aren't harming the image quality with these adjustments. again, i used the layer mask to remove the saturation from the brooklyn side bridge tower, it was a bit facacta so i just brushed away by 50% and voila, it was un-facacta-d.

4283146-L.jpg

okay at this point i think i did all i could do. so i first saved the .psd file, then i flattened it. then, ctrl-j (copy the background) and i'm ready to apply some sharpening. for this web display, i first resized to 800x533, then i applied unsharp mask settings of 150% amount, .4 radius and 0 thresholds. do your usm this way, and you can easily see the effect by clicking on/off the eybeall in the layer... and in this case, if you did that, you'd see the window lights in the buildings just pop with a bit more brightness and clarity!

here's the final version (photo by florindo gallicchio):

4283147-L.jpg

i hope that this is helpful to you guys!

enjoy (getting the most in post) photography,

Comments

  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Administrators moderator
    edited May 16, 2004
    Wow, that's amazing. It's gorgeous. I'm really loving these get the most from post threads.
  • michael972michael972 Big grins Posts: 43Registered Users Big grins
    edited May 19, 2004
    Andy, thank you for this great tutorial..please post more!
  • digismiledigismile Major grins Posts: 955Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 19, 2004
    Andy wrote:
    hey guys.... my good friend and fellow photographer florindo gallicchio asked me to see if i could work on one of his photos... and i said yeah, but only if i could use it as an example for dgrin deal.gif







    i hope that this is helpful to you guys!

    enjoy (getting the most in post) photography,
    What a great photo! Can you give us any of the exposure details? I have tried a few night time digital exposures and have been a bit disappointed with the noise.

    Brad
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 50,151Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 19, 2004
    exposure details
    digismile wrote:
    What a great photo! Can you give us any of the exposure details? I have tried a few night time digital exposures and have been a bit disappointed with the noise.

    Brad

    hey brad, all the details are there at the top of the first pic window (the raw conversion shot) .... iso 100, 10sec, f/8, 24mm
  • DoctorItDoctorIt vrooom! Posts: 11,940Administrators moderator
    edited May 19, 2004
    Andy - i have one question/point of contention... you save all your shots as PSD!? So, for most photos, you have 3 versions (2 of them VERY large - RAW and PSD) of each taking up space on your hard drive? Wow, I can't afford that kind of storage space. I always went by the fact that the RAW file saves your conversion, I've selected them to use sidecar xmp's, so if I did want to go back after making a jpg, just go to the RAW file. Yes, if I did some blending and what not after the RAW conversion, that would be lost, but I doubt that if I went back to the image I would want to follow the same steps - would probably be on the contrary, to try something different.

    But AWESOME work, again, as usual... !!! :D

    PS> can we try not to quote andy's original message in our replies... it will get REALLY hard to follow.
    Erik
    moderator of: The Flea Market [ guidelines ]

  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 50,151Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 19, 2004
    mwink.gif
    DoctorIt wrote:
    Andy - i have one question/point of contention... you save all your shots as PSD!? So, for most photos, you have 3 versions (2 of them VERY large - RAW and PSD) of each taking up space on your hard drive? Wow, I can't afford that kind of storage space. I always went by the fact that the RAW file saves your conversion, I've selected them to use sidecar xmp's, so if I did want to go back after making a jpg, just go to the RAW file. Yes, if I did some blending and what not after the RAW conversion, that would be lost, but I doubt that if I went back to the image I would want to follow the same steps - would probably be on the contrary, to try something different.

    But AWESOME work, again, as usual... !!! :D

    i absoulutely save all my psds. i want the layers maintained intact, so that if i come back, i may need to do only slight adjustments. i never alter the raw file. nor the orig jpgs on my sony.

    check out this thread i started

    PS> can we try not to quote andy's original message in our replies... it will get REALLY hard to follow.

    i agree! folks have to start trimming the pics out of the responses. oh and it applies to any thread, not just mine!
  • lynnmalynnma Moddess Emeritus Homosassa, Florida (Paradise)Posts: 5,163Registered Users, Retired Mod
    edited May 26, 2004
    i hope that this is helpful to you guys!

    enjoy (getting the most in post) photography,[/QUOTE]
    Wonderful tutorial Andy... now I'm rumaging about in my files looking for a night shot of something.... anything...
  • DavidTODavidTO Mod Emeritus Thousand Oaks, CAPosts: 19,160Registered Users, Retired Mod Major grins
    edited May 26, 2004
    Andy,

    You apply USM to the RGB image? What about the technique of applying it to the lightness channel in LAB mode? Or applying a fade effect and applying it to the luminosity? Any comments on these techniques? This is an area (alternative methods of applying USM) that I'm just learning about, and I'd appreciate your input on them.

    These are techniques I picked up in Scott Kelby's book, Adobe Photoshop CD for Digital Photographers. (Awesome book)
    Moderator Emeritus
    Dgrin FAQ | Me | Workshops
  • mrleomrleo Beginner grinner Posts: 9Registered Users Beginner grinner
    edited June 18, 2009
    WOW. That really makes the picture pop. Thanks for sharing the inside tips on how to accomplish the post-picture process.
  • KatmitchellKatmitchell Banned User Posts: 1,548Banned Major grins
    edited July 1, 2009
    I have a question on the PSD Andy.. I shoot in RAW, then use CS3 to open that RAW and process it. Then, before I begin to really work on it, I save it on the desktop as a .PSD file because like you said, I need it to save all the layer work..

    My question is this: I notice that any change I make to my original RAW file while in the RAW editor is being automatically saved to my original RAW file.... I can't stand this because I would like my RAWS to stay unedited in case I want to go back and process them in a different fashion... Now, I did notice out of desperation one day, because I had opened a RAW and converted it to grayscale in the RAW editor and later wanted to go back and process it in color, that if I find that RAW file and rename it, then it recognizes its original state..

    However, it sure would be nice to not have to do this with every file... The only other solution I have found, is to make a backup folder with "all" the RAWS out of camera before starting, but it sure takes up the hard drive space doing this everytime..

    Is there anyway to tell PS not to save the changes while in RAW editor to the original?

    Thanks,

    Kat

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,427Super Moderators moderator
    edited July 1, 2009
    Your Raw files are entirely unchanged by Adobe Raw Converter or the Raw processing engine in Lightroom. The changes are written to an XMP file, but you can just reopen your RAW files in ARC and start over from the beginning, just like you had not previously edited it.

    In Lightroom, you can even create Virtual copies of your RAW file to your heart's content, and edit each one differently. Doesn't take much hard drive space as the files are Virtual - all that is stored is your editing steps.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • KatmitchellKatmitchell Banned User Posts: 1,548Banned Major grins
    edited July 1, 2009
    pathfinder wrote:
    Your Raw files are entirely unchanged by Adobe Raw Converter or the Raw processing engine in Lightroom. The changes are written to an XMP file, but you can just reopen your RAW files in ARC and start over from the beginning, just like you had not previously edited it.

    In Lightroom, you can even create Virtual copies of your RAW file to your heart's content, and edit each one differently. Doesn't take much hard drive space as the files are Virtual - all that is stored is your editing steps.

    Thank you.. I use just CS3 and open it, and edit it, then when I go back to that same RAW and open it, it holds the editing changes on the original RAW file..


    I have Lightroom, I just have not learned to use it yet.. I suppose I will work on using that program instead..thumb.gif

    I appreciate your time and help..

    Thanks..

    Kat

  • sara505sara505 Major grins Posts: 1,667Registered Users Major grins
    edited August 9, 2009
    Andy wrote:
    hey guys.... my good friend and fellow photographer florindo gallicchio asked me to see if i could work on one of his photos... and i said yeah, but only if i could use it as an example for dgrin deal.gif

    so, here's what florindo made from a shot he took on the brooklyn side of the brooklyn bridge:
    4283140-L.jpg

    hey now, nothing wrong with this, but .... well florindo wanted some more "pop" and he wanted it not to be so brownish-green :puke1 :puke1 :puke1

    let's take a look at what i did with the image. florindo sent me the raw file. so, first thing that must be done is raw conversion. this is what the camera recorded:

    4283141-L.jpg

    the big benefit of raw is you never have to worry about white balance in-camera, you can easily set it in the raw conversion. notice on the above pic the color temp is 3800 degs kelvin... a bit warm, and that's where the yellow green comes from. watch what happens if you cool the temp down to 3000 degs kelvin, and slide the tint bar over to the right, to +22:

    4283142-L.jpg

    there, that looks like a good place to start from.... ok, now we click on "ok" and the file comes into normal photoshop. very very important step here! save your file as a .psd! repeat after me: save your file as a .psd! this is a non-compressed photoshop file that you can keep, and all your layers will remain intact. you'll create your final .jpgs from the .psd file.

    4283143-L.jpg

    always always do this, never work on the raw file or original jpg for that matter, and you won't end up like this ne_nau.gif headscratch.gif 11doh.gif :dgrin

    ok... now on to the fun part. hey this image didn't need much, and the whole post processing took me less than 10 minutes. first, let's look at levels. i always give photoshop's autolevels a try, it sometimes gives quite a good result. use the following sequence: layer>new adjustment layer>levels>auto and take a look. you can then do a comparison manual levels adjustment and see if you can do it better yourself if you like. i will often do this, and then click the eyeballs off/on to see which version of levels i like better. the reason to work in adjustment layers is that we can also learn to use *layer masks* within our adjustment layers. the layer mask is that square on the right of your pic icon in the layers palette. the layer mask is simple. it's an "undo" for what's going on in that layer. how do you use it? simple: grab a soft edged brush, make sure black is the foreground color, and simply brush over the areas you don't want the layer's effect to apply to. this is a hard concept to grasp, but if you practice it you'll get the hang of it in no time. keep in mind that you can go full strength on the brush (undoing 100% of the effect) or you can lower the opacity of the brush by x% and you'll be undoing by that %age....again, just practice it thumb.gif

    if you mess up on your layer mask, you can discard it (right click on it) and start an new mask (circle in square at bottom of layers palette) and just start over!

    4283144-L.jpg

    ok in this case i really liked the autolevels so i left it. and nothing to mask..but now i wanted more pop, so i went for a curve rolleyes1.gif layer>new adustment layer>curves ... here you play with a graph, looking usually you want a slight s-curve, but here i bulged it upwards some, which lightened the whole image... i'll mask most of that brightness away.... again, this is an effect that's easy to play with and practice, and in this case, i also heavily used the layer mask...notice that some of the mask was full 100% and some was only at 50%. you can see which is 50% by looking at the layer mask icon (to the right and the 50% part is grey, not black).

    4283145-L.jpg

    hey we're getting there! but the colors are a bit flat still, let's try some hue saturation.. layer>new adjustment layer>hue saturation ... i usually will try the rgb first, and just slide the saturation slider to the right... be very careful! oversaturation can kill most images. normally i will only do this about +10 and sometimes as high as +20 but watch out for fake looking colors and noise and other hinky stuff in your image. here, i was able to get away with +40 and no harm to the image. always look at 100% magnification to ensure you aren't harming the image quality with these adjustments. again, i used the layer mask to remove the saturation from the brooklyn side bridge tower, it was a bit facacta so i just brushed away by 50% and voila, it was un-facacta-d.

    4283146-L.jpg

    okay at this point i think i did all i could do. so i first saved the .psd file, then i flattened it. then, ctrl-j (copy the background) and i'm ready to apply some sharpening. for this web display, i first resized to 800x533, then i applied unsharp mask settings of 150% amount, .4 radius and 0 thresholds. do your usm this way, and you can easily see the effect by clicking on/off the eybeall in the layer... and in this case, if you did that, you'd see the window lights in the buildings just pop with a bit more brightness and clarity!

    here's the final version (photo by florindo gallicchio):

    4283147-L.jpg

    i hope that this is helpful to you guys!

    enjoy (getting the most in post) photography,

    For some reason, I am not able to see any of the above-referenced photos, or most others in the entire forum for some reason.

    Any ideas as to why?

    GREAT forum, btw.

    Edit: Oh - but I see them now in my reply. Weird. Must be some widget lose someplace?
  • elizabethelizabeth Big grins Posts: 20Registered Users Big grins
    edited August 14, 2009
    I have a question on the PSD Andy.. I shoot in RAW, then use CS3 to open that RAW and process it. Then, before I begin to really work on it, I save it on the desktop as a .PSD file because like you said, I need it to save all the layer work..

    My question is this: I notice that any change I make to my original RAW file while in the RAW editor is being automatically saved to my original RAW file.... I can't stand this because I would like my RAWS to stay unedited in case I want to go back and process them in a different fashion...
    Kat


    hi. i'm not sure i have your workflow, but i think you can get back to the original camera raw unedited data by reopening the camera raw file in Camera Raw and resetting to the default settings. In my version this is on the 'basic' tab - just right of the basic label there is a little down-arrow. it allows you to click 'default' and it should reset to your original data.

    elizabeth
  • RidgetopRidgetop Major grins Posts: 214Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 12, 2010
    sara505 wrote:
    For some reason, I am not able to see any of the above-referenced photos, or most others in the entire forum for some reason.

    Any ideas as to why?

    Sometimes you need to give the pictures a little "bump" so to speak. First, try refreshing the page to see if they come up. If not, right click on the picture, pull up the properties, copy and past the URL into your browser. Then go to that URL which will bring up the pic. Hit the back button. An voila, all the pictures will start to come up.

    I have this issue on my laptop but not on my desktop. Not sure why.
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