Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Reality Vs. Imagination
How to use masking software to make the task of compositing more efficient
|2) This is a color image, flattened, with Photoshop’s Artistic Watercolor filter applied.||3) The inset shows the watercolor effect up close.|
I also decided to experiment with Photoshop’s Artistic Filters, with my final choice being the Watercolor filter. I also made other versions of the composite image using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro plug-ins. After applying the selected Photoshop native and plug-in filters, I saved as a flattened TIFF. The flattened TIFF would be opened with Capture NX 2 and tweaked using Capture’s Control Points and other tools. I especially like NX 2’s new Control Point Selective Tool for selectively applying tools like unsharp mask, contrast, brightness and others. Finally, I saved as a NEF file for future editing opportunities and as a TIFF for publishing.
|4) Here’s the gull image being masked for the composite.|
This final image illustrates the positioning of the gull over the sunrise. The darkened areas within the gull image layer show the beginning of applying Mask Pro 4.1. When masking is complete and applied, the water in the gull image will become invisible and transparent, and the background layer will be visible in all areas except the remaining gull.
Rendering Of Photoshop’s Artistic Filters And Nik Software
Following the masking process in Photoshop, the final image was saved as a TIFF. I proceeded to experiment with Photoshop’s Artistic Filter tools and Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Digital photography’s quick evolution of features, performance and technology is a multi-edged sword. The technology is empowering, but to make use of it you must learn and study to harness the power. Such work may take lots of time, so you may find yourself stuck at a computer, and for photographers, that can be a drag. For me, it has become a pleasure and has influenced the way I think about pictures and, ultimately, allows me to make them with personal control and imagination. Images I used to dream about have become an accessible reality; hence, my feeling that the workflow of experimentation is a wonderful way to transform artistry and provides opportunities to make more great images.
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