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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The High Pass Filter

In the ongoing search for new techniques that will give your images a unique look and set them apart from the competition, the High Pass Filter can be another valuable tool for your business

This Article Features Photo Zoom

high pass
Final Step For Retro Look
As I’ve played around in Photoshop, I’ve found that I can create an interesting retro look after
a High Pass image that has been created and flattened by backing off the saturation and adding some warmth. Here’s how to do it:
Repeat Steps 1-6 (or continue from Step 6 if you’re using the same shot). Step 7)Return to the pull-down menu. Choose Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation to desaturate the image; backing down to -20 is a good place to start. Choose Image > Adjustments > Color Balance > Tone Balance; add warmth by increasing 10 to 15 points of red in each -Shadow, Midtones and Highlights.
High Pass Filtration has been around for a while. You may already be familiar with a cousin of High Pass in Photoshop—Unsharp Mask. But where Unsharp Mask (despite its contrary name) sharpens an image, High Pass is Unsharp Mask on steroids. It not only sharpens, but it alters colors in a way that makes an image pop right off the page. Everyone creating High Pass imagery does it a little differently. What’s described here is just a starting point. Play is always involved if you want to push the envelope and make it your own.

Using The High Pass Filter
To use High Pass, little more than a basic knowledge of Photoshop and Layers is necessary. The image in question must be shot in the RAW format to ensure the best results. I open all my Nikon D3 digital files as RAW files in Adobe Camera Raw and no longer bother to shoot JPEGs as a backup. In the early days of digital photography, I shot both RAW and fine JPEG, but over time realized it was overkill. Now, I simply don’t want to waste the space on my CompactFlash card.

Upon opening a RAW image in Photoshop, there are 11 slide control bars inviting an adjustment. Most of the time I adjust Exposure (RAW converters have varying limits) and Saturation, leaving all other settings alone unless I’m addressing a borderline exposure or it’s a very tricky lighting situation. The 11 slide bar settings in Photoshop CS3 and CS4 for RAW images give the photographer almost unbelievable control of an image.

Start with the best RAW image you have, something that’s exciting and dynamic, with a full range of colors. Begin with a normal exposure. Usually, I open my image in the largest setting Photoshop allows—a 71 MB file. In my most recent work, I’ve even been combining three layers to accomplish an alternative surreal outcome: 1) a finished original image layer; 2) a Gaussian Blur of the original; and 3) a finished High Pass image.
The Future
We all struggle to maximize the value of our existing libraries and new images in a shrinking economy. High Pass images are appreciated not only by those who buy cutting-edge photography, but also by people looking for maximum-interest images. To many, the work seems not completely avant-garde, just bold and unique. More than once, my clients have quipped, “I don’t know what you did here, but it’s so cool!”

To see more of Pete Saloutos’ work, visit www.petesaloutos.com.


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