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Blown highlights - please help

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Old 05-23-2006, 01:43 AM
pepperspray pepperspray is offline
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Location: Aotearoa (NZ)
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Question Blown highlights - please help


I just bought my first camera a week ago - a secondhand Powershot Pro 1 - and am slowly coming to grips with it, much to my delight.

It's first outing was at the Saturday morning interschool netball games, and I managed to catch this image of a girl in my daughter's team which I think is nice and I'd like to get it printed for the girl's mother. However, as you can see, it has blown highlights, and I don't quite know how to fix those highlights without ruining the whole image. (You pros out there might think it's a mediocre-at-best image, but I'm a proud first-timer over here! )

The jpeg attached is a conversion of the RAW unedited file. I'm working/playing in Photoshop CS2.

All tips and tricks welcome!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg zoe-079-copy.jpg (37.9 KB, 203 views)
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:45 AM
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creeduk creeduk is offline
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OK to get rid of blown out highlights I always use a combination of layers, there is also a really good tutorial on this site I will try and get the link. But for me I first start with an additional layer set to color. On that layer I will usually use the clone stamp and clone skin tones on to the blown out skin areas. Next I will set another layer and this time set to darken, now I will start to paint in with colors that should be in that area. You will probably have to lower the opacity of the darken layer (about 70%) Then I also see there is the whites of the shirts so lets lower the white value from 255, use a levels adjustment layer and drag the bottom right slider (white) up a little. This means the image is no longer using pure white.

My tip to find the blown out highlights is to add a threshold adjustment layer and drag the slider until only the intense white parts remain. This will be your guide layer to find the highlights. As you paint and clone away turn on and off the threshold layer and you will see the white spots disappear. Finally I added one more levels adjustment, turned on the threshold layer (this must be at the very top to see it work) and adjusted the white until all the white spots (only jerseys left at this stage) had gone. Now this is too mush for the full image so I added a mask all black and started to paint back in (with white on the mask layer) over the white stipes of the jerseys so only those areas are affected by the levels adjustment.

How much you do is personal preference and if we all did the image we would all have slightly different results.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg de-highlight.jpg (96.0 KB, 104 views)
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:50 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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First I created new layer, and using a clone tool set to about 5%, I cloned over the highlit areas on the metal post. (keep a light touch, don't overdo it).

New Curves adj layer, and reduced top end a touch. Put a marker at about 90% and drop a couple of clicks with up/down keys on keyboard.

Lastly, to isolate figure from BG a little, I copied to new layer, blurred using Gaussain Blur, then masked girl.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg zoe-079-copy copy.jpg (94.2 KB, 85 views)

Last edited by Gary Richardson; 05-23-2006 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:56 AM
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creeduk creeduk is offline
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As promised here is the tutorial I saw on here it was done by ByRO vaery good one as well.

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Old 05-23-2006, 08:30 AM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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If you are using Photoshop do a Shadows/Highlight correction

On this one, I set the shadows values at 0-0-0, Then played with the highlights. This might be a little over the top, but I wanted to demonstrate how well S/H can deal with blownout highlights. My highlight settings were 58-59-126, I also clipped the blacks to about 2%

Go for color correction, smooting etc. from here
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File Type: jpg zoe-079-copy.jpg (63.5 KB, 98 views)
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:55 AM
Syd Syd is offline
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I just set the black and white points for this one. To find the whitest part of your image just open the Info pallete (F8) and move the eye-dropper tool over the image (watch the numbers in the Info Pallette change) and look for the highest values of RG&B (Pure white will be 255,255,255). Alternatively you could open Image/Adjustments/Threshold (Attachment 1) and move the slider to the right until you are left with the slightest amount of white. Now shift-click with the eye-dropper tool on that spot to leave a mark there. To find the darkest spot move the threshold slider to the left and put a mark there too. Cancel Threshold and go back to your image. Your markers are still there. In this case the whitest spot is on her right shoulder and it is pure white. We want to bring this down. So open a Curves adjustment layer and double click on the white eye-dropper tool (thanks to Flora for this tip)! Now you will see a Color picker dialogue box. Go to the HSB values and change the brightness to 95. That means you will drop your whitest highlight from 100% to 95%. You could make it lower if you wanted but in this case 95 works perfectly. Now close the color picker box and go back to the levels dialogue box. Use your white eye-dropper (with its new values) to click on the marker you made earlier for the whitest part of your image. Repeat the process with the black eye-dropper except this time set your brightness to 5. Voila you have it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Blown-Highlights.jpg (96.7 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg Threshold.jpg (60.5 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Color-Picker.jpg (73.9 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg Level-Markers.jpg (51.7 KB, 87 views)
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:15 PM
pepperspray pepperspray is offline
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Location: Aotearoa (NZ)
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Thumbs down

Oh my goodness, you guys are amazing! I had no idea there were quite so many different ways to skin one cat! I'll try all the tips you've each given me, just to learn as much as I can about the different ways one can solve a problem like this.

Thank you so much!
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Old 05-24-2006, 12:48 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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welcome to RP.

1. histogram adjustment
2. contrast/lightness adjustment layer
3. crop to 5x7 aspect ratio

Attached Images
File Type: jpg zoe-1-k-1.jpg (91.6 KB, 47 views)
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:09 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Pepperspray, as if you don't already have enough options, here is yet another that is particularly quick and effective to tone down the highlights without further darkening the shadows.
Do Ctrl + Alt + ~ to select the luminosity of the image (Midtones to Highlights). Next Ctrl J to place the selection onto a new layer. Change the blend mode of the new layer to Multiply. If the effect is too strong, just ease back on the opacity slider.
Regards, Murray
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:24 AM
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oltenius oltenius is offline
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My method:
1. Duplicate background layer
2. Go to Mode/Lab color
3. Channels/Lightness
4. Ctrl + Lightness
5. Select all channels and go back to duplicate layer
6. Image/Adjustments/ - Shadow/Highlight
7. Highlights: a bit Amount, Tonal Width combined with Midtone Contrast
You can try multiple adjustements to obtain what you want.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg zoe-after.jpg (96.7 KB, 36 views)
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