Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Aesthetics Of XDR
Using Extended Dynamic Range techniques judiciously will keep you from taking a good thing too far
3) LDR image with simulated HDR effects using Shadows/Highlights, High Pass Contrast and noise
Shadows/Highlights is Photoshop’s simple tone-mapping operator. It will lighten and darken shadows and highlights; use Amount. It will accentuate contours; use Radius.
High Pass Contrast can accentuate edge contrast without affecting shadows and highlights. Duplicate the Background layer. Change Blend Mode to Overlay. Apply the filter High Pass—Filter > Other > High Pass. Desaturate the layer. Optionally, double click on the layer and use the Layer Styles Blend If sliders to remove the effect from shadows and/or highlights. (Hold the Option key and split the shadow and/or highlight sliders for smoother transitions.)
You can add noise to any image. For the most control, add it on a separate layer. Make a new layer filled with 50% gray. Change Blend Mode to Overlay. Filter with Noise or Texture > Grain.
Smoothing texture is particularly challenging in Photoshop, but you can do it to a limited degree. Apply filters to duplicate layers. Experiment with the Blend Modes Lighten and Darken. (For another option, double click on the layer and use the Layer Styles Blend If sliders to remove the effect from shadows and/or highlights.) Despeckle gives a subtle effect. Gaussian Blur gives an aggressive effect. You can use multiple layers, at different opacities, with different filtration and Blend Modes. (For this type of image smoothing, I prefer using a noise-reduction program like Imagenomics’ Noiseware.)
4) LDR image and HDR effect localized to the sky
You can adjust the saturation or vibrance of shadows or highlights by making a luminance mask. First, command-click on the RGB channel. Then make an adjustment layer for Hue/Saturation or Vibrance. The selection will automatically become a mask. Adjust the image. Then adjust the mask by applying Curves to it.
With these tools, you can produce a classic effect or you can give your images a new look. How far you want to go with each of these effects is a matter of personal preference.
John Paul Caponigro is an internationally respected fine artist, author of Adobe Photoshop Master Class and the DVD series R/Evolution, and a member of the Photoshop Hall of Fame. Read more of his column R/Evolution online at digitalphotopro.com. Get over 100 free downloads and his free enews Insights at www.johnpaulcaponigro.com.