Pop--The next Step

ruttrutt Cave canem!Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
edited January 12, 2006 in Finishing School
[Mod Edit: This post was moved from the Pop Tutorial Thread. If it seems like it's starting in mid-stream, it kind of is, but there's good info here, so read on...]



Look, I hate to rain on everyone's parade here, but by insisting on doing this in RGB, we're making it way too hard.

I followed the simple Chapter 1 recipe from Dan Margulis' LAB book (See http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=18308) The result:

51265110-O.jpg

The LAB curves:


51265923-S.jpg51265915-S.jpg51265918-S.jpg

The USM parameters I used won't work with your original sized image. Here is what I used:

51265927-M.jpg

But see here in order to learn how to use USM properly a different sized image: http://dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=9541

Look it isn't often that I do better with an image than Edgwork, but IMHO, mine is solidly the best version posted. Believe me, it's not because I'm better at this than Edgework. But the restriction to do this all within RGB is a huge handicap. Huge.

It is possible to do even a lot better with this image. But I wanted to show just how far the simplest recipe from the LAB world will take us. Here's my claim: There is no easier or faster way to add "pop" to the vast majority of images than Dan Margulis' basic LAB recipe.
If not now, when?

Comments

  • edgeworkedgework Major grins Registered Users Posts: 257 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    rutt wrote:
    Here's my claim: There is no easier or faster way to add "pop" to the vast majority of images than Dan Margulis' basic LAB recipe.

    Yep! thumb.gif

    The only thing I might do in addition is rob a black channel from a CMYK conversion and use it as a curve layer mask to pump the "blacks" a little bit.

    It's interesting that you say what you do about LAB: when I was working this in RGB I realized how much I've come to depend on basic LAB moves now. I felt like I was fighting with one hand tied behind my back.
    There are two ways to slide through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both save us from thinking.
    —Korzybski
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    edgework wrote:
    The only thing I might do in addition is rob a black channel from a CMYK conversion and use it as a curve layer mask to pump the "blacks" a little bit.

    Sure, we can work this image forever (but it would be more fun with a higher res starting point.) But my point is really very different. We are at a tipping point in color correction. The best thing to teach beginners first is Dan's basic recipe from Chapter 1 of the LAB book. Color enhancement in LAB is much simpler than in other color spaces; why make beginners learn to do it the hard way first?

    Radical claim: Color enhancement in RGB is an advanced technique and should be reserved for experts. Beginners should stick to LAB.
    If not now, when?
  • ThusieThusie Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,818 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    rutt wrote:

    Radical claim: Color enhancement in RGB is an advanced technique and should be reserved for experts. Beginners should stick to LAB.[/bi]

    But what if the PP program you use doesn't have LAB? Just a thoughtne_nau.gif
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    Thusie wrote:
    But what if the PP program you use doesn't have LAB? Just a thoughtne_nau.gif

    What if all you have is a horse & buggy? I suppose that's what you have to learn to drive. But after a while you might begin to question your priorities.
    If not now, when?
  • ThusieThusie Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,818 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    rutt wrote:
    What if all you have is a horse & buggy? I suppose that's what you have to learn to drive. But after a while you might begin to question your priorities.

    I don't think not having a 600.00 software program has a whole lot to do with priorities:): It certainly doesn't mean that you don't want to get the best out of your pictures.. You just have to try and find other ways to get results.
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    Thusie wrote:
    I don't think not having a 600.00 software program has a whole lot to do with priorities:): It certainly doesn't mean that you don't want to get the best out of your pictures.. You just have to try and find other ways to get results.

    You don't need to spend $600 for a version of PS that supports 90% of what Dan teaches in the LAB book. I learned to do it in a class of his three years ago using PS/6 and froogle shows that you can still buy that retail for just over $200. Probably you can get it much cheaper if you shop a bit. (ebay?) If you or anyone in your house is a student, you can buy an educational copy, which is also much cheaper.

    What's your time worth? Fighting with color enhancement without access to LAB will cost you lots of time. Look how hard Edgework had to work in order to acheive an inferior result to the one I got in 3 minutes? And he is a professional with more an a decade of expereince. Imagine how much harder it will be for a beginner.

    Look, I know I'm in danger of sounding like a snob. Sorry for that. Color enhancement in LAB is really a better way. Right now there is a dollar cost for access to this tool. The same an be said about smugmug or digital photography itself.
    If not now, when?
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Registered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    Well, I ended up liking the lab version best, not a lot, but best. So I picked another bridge shot and worked at it using LAB then switched to RGB to use my tricks there. I did not use as many as usual, but a bit of saturation and selective colors, where you might get those in LAB, I am used to selective colors. I do not remember how to shoot my curves, I am not very methodical, but this is one version I ended up with.

    I like it better than anything I had done before in this whole disappointing bridge saga. This photo actually does what I was after at the time. Morning sun on the darn bridge. NEW bridge.

    51281833-L.jpg


    The thing that was really new to me was David's info on setting the dark and light points................I used that knowledge in LAB.

    g
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • DavidTODavidTO Mod Emeritus Thousand Oaks, CARegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    ginger_55 wrote:
    Well, I ended up liking the lab version best, not a lot, but best. ...
    The thing that was really new to me was David's info on setting the dark and light points................I used that knowledge in LAB.

    g


    Ginger, keep with the LAB. You'll be happier in the long run. It's the better way to correct you images and give them pop.
    Moderator Emeritus
    Dgrin FAQ | Me | Workshops
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    I don't want to thrash this out again. It's just too sad. See: http://dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=9009
    MrBook2 wrote:
    I know I will be accused of comparing apples and pears, but you could also use the GIMP. http://www.gimp.org/ It is free and although its treatment of LAB color space isn't the most convient, it does work.

    You can decompose your RGB image into greyscale LAB layers, make your adjustments, and then recompose it back into a color image. Sure it introduces an extra step, and you can't preview the results in real-time, but again, it is free. And if you are a linux guy like myself, PhotoShop isn't really an option. The GIMP lacks only two major things that I know of. One is "adjustment layers" and the other is true LAB space. I am a big fan of the GIMP. It does have a bit of a learning curve and the controls are not layed out like the same as PS, but since I don't use PS, it isn't really a problem! :)

    --Aaron
    If not now, when?
  • ThusieThusie Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,818 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2006
    Ok I'll play
    I have the 30 day CS2 so decided to give it a go. This in NOT a prize picture:):. The deal with CS2 is only money because I don't want to spend it on a program that might/could drive me nuts to learn...Rip a PC apart, put it back together, make everything play well, yea like that..Operate software Bluh! A camera is the same, old long running joke, if you want a mucked up picture let me take it, there is no talent here at all:D But I digress

    However getting into lab, into curves wasn't a huge trial. So first is with PES and curves. The second is with CS2 and Lab

    51273748-L.jpg

    51299778-L.jpg
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited January 9, 2006
    Can this technique really be a beginners first color enhancement technique in Photoshop? DavidTO, Edgework, and I had a lot of discussion offline on the topic. Dan Margulis has posted some speculation about the unexpected success of his LAB book wondering whether this could actually be true.

    As an excercise, I wrote a competing Dgrin How To based on Dan's Chapter 1 recipe. I took pains to try to make it accessabe to anyone who could also follow David's Pop How Tos (see: http://dgrin.smugmug.com/gallery/1075277). Ignore the unfortunate name for now. It shouldn't be called "Pop - Part 3", it really should be called something like "Pop, A New and Better Way For the Adventurous Beginner" (except that name doesn't "pop"). But I have a slight disagreement with my editor about the title.

    Anway, does it work as an intro for at least some beginners? Is it a better way to get people hooked? Comments, criticism, improvements, disagreement all welcome.
    If not now, when?
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited January 9, 2006
    rutt wrote:
    As an excercise, I wrote a competing Dgrin How To based on Dan's Chapter 1 recipe.


    It's not a competition lol3.gif it's another method, a different method, and a more advanced method. A good one, too.

    Let's lose the word competition - it's all good!
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited January 9, 2006
    Andy wrote:
    It's not a competition lol3.gif it's another method, a different method, and a more advanced method. A good one, too.

    Let's lose the word competition - it's all good!

    OK, what about "alternate staring point"? It's competitive in the same sense that "New Math" was a competing method for teaching numerical reasoning to children when it was introduced. Maybe not better, but not something meant to be attempted later, rather something to be tried instead.

    It might not work as is. It might not work for everyone. But I contend that it's worth pursuing this as a possible FIRST lesson. It's not meant to be a third lesson.

    I might be wrong about this. It might not be a good idea to teach this lesson first, but that's worth a discussion, isn't it? The experiences with teaching this technique to people with curve-phobia here on dgrin have actually been very positive, dating back to when I first started doing it, almost 2 years ago.
    If not now, when?
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited January 9, 2006
    rutt wrote:
    OK, what about "alternate staring point"? It's competitive in the same sense that "New Math" was a competing method for teaching numerical reasoning to children when it was introduced. Maybe not better, but not something meant to be attempted later, rather something to be tried instead.

    It might not work as is. It might not work for everyone. But I contend that it's worth pursuing this as a possible FIRST lesson. It's not meant to be a third lesson.

    I might be wrong about this. It might not be a good idea to teach this lesson first, but that's worth a discussion, isn't it? The experiences with teaching this technique to people with curve-phobia here on dgrin have actually been very positive, dating back to when I first started doing it, almost 2 years ago.

    I'm open to title changes! Let me know what it should be. Just not "The Best" or something like that...
  • ginger_55ginger_55 Crazy Creek Babe Registered Users Posts: 8,416 Major grins
    edited January 10, 2006
    One could be called "Pop" through RGB, and the other could be called "Pop" through LAB: that simple. IMO.

    I have been using Lab the last few days as a way of getting things posted in some sort of reasonable time frame with a bit less stress to me.

    Rutt always said that LAB was fast and easy, well, it never sounded like that to me. But I have taken the easiest, most basic part of it, applied it to my images, boosted the subsequent saturation by the number of 15, used the USM, didn't frame and uploaded to smugmug. Yesterday I shot over 400 photos. So far, I have posted two series.

    And they aren't much worse than if I had sweated over them for hours in layers, etc. And they are being seen.

    I just wanted to extol the virtues of LAB, regardless of how complicated it can be made, it can also be used in a fast simple manner.

    I think the user can determine, better, number one, number two, etc.
    One is just RGB and the other is LAB to me.

    If one wanted to title the whole thing it could be titled something like: "Working in colorspaces found on photoshop", or something like that. But, to be honest, I think the very word "colorspaces" is something scary to some, it was to me. I think simplicity is key here.

    RGB Curves yield pop, a how to.......

    LAB Curves yield pop, a how to...........

    ginger
    After all is said and done, it is the sweet tea.
  • Mark HornMark Horn Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 9 Beginner grinner
    edited January 12, 2006
    It's interesting that you say what you do about LAB: when I was working this in RGB I realized how much I've come to depend on basic LAB moves now. I felt like I was fighting with one hand tied behind my back.[/quote]


    I couldn't agree more. Once you start using LAB, RGB color corrections seem so difficult. I find I fiddle around in LAB for a while longer than is necessary because I can't I have achieved such a good result so easily. One almost feels cheated of the whole PS Experience. You know the one. Slave over an image all night. Look at it the next day and wonder what on earth you were thinking, spend the next night on the same image and finally get something that you may be happy with. LAB should be kept a secret (only joking) because for most images its almost to easy to get results that are 90% of the way there.
  • AnsonAnson Major grins Registered Users Posts: 207 Major grins
    edited January 12, 2006
    Rutt
    thanks for your inputthumb.gif

    ...the immediate (valuable) lesson for me from this photo and the discussion around it, is that there are numerous methods in POST to tweak a photo

    ...the trick is simply spending enough time with PS, to know what options/fixes on a given photo are available.
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Registered Users Posts: 6,511 Major grins
    edited January 12, 2006
    Anson wrote:

    ...the immediate (valuable) lesson for me from this photo and the discussion around it, is that there are numerous methods in POST to tweak a photo

    Very true.
    Anson wrote:
    ...the trick is simply spending enough time with PS, to know what options/fixes on a given photo are available.

    Not exactly. Reading is really really good. Learning to use PS just by playing with it is like learning to fly jet fighter just by playing with it. There are all these switche and dials and some of them do really insane things. You need to learn procedures (we call this workflow) in order to put them together in meaningful ways. The dgrin how tos are a starting point here, so is the Dan Margulis LAB Book Reading Group. Look in the Books section. You can't beat a good book that provides some organized view of how to put it all together.
    If not now, when?
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