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Techniques to remove shadow?

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  #1  
Old 05-03-2010, 09:28 AM
photodabbler photodabbler is offline
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Techniques to remove shadow?

Hi all!

A while ago we snapped a photo of our 1st born holding our 2nd born the first time they met. Very cute picture, but there is a square block of shadow that makes it unfit to be blown up.

What techniques could I use to fix this image?

I have photoshop CS4 and photoshop elements 8. I spent a few hours on Saturday working with it and have had some luck, but nothing great. The hardest part seems to be the edge of the shadow because it isn't a fine line. The bulk of the shadow looks much better when I increase brightness then lower saturation, although it does turn out a bit grainy.

This is a link to the picture.
http://imgur.com/e0pRa

What approach would be the most effective to making that shadow less noticable?

Thanks.
Brian
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:12 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Techniques to remove shadow?

Brian, welcome to RetouchPro!
The shadow is pretty harsh and the that side of the image is underexposed. For an effective elimination I would recommemd adding a dodge and burn layer above the background and dodge the left side of the image. Then add a Hue/Sat adj layer to adjust the shift in saturation. You will require a Selective Color adj layer to remove the yellow cast which will present itself after dodging. You should also run a noise filter to get rid of the noise resulting form the underexposure. You also need to brighten up the background and possible adjust the skin tone.
If you spend some time on the dodging layer you can neutralize the shadow very evenly. I just did a quick 5 min dodge on the sample attached, so it is not very uniform but just to show you the path I would follow.
Regards, Murray
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File Type: jpg Photodabbler Shadow MM.jpg (148.6 KB, 99 views)

Last edited by mistermonday; 05-03-2010 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 05-03-2010, 03:16 PM
Gary Gary is offline
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Re: Techniques to remove shadow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by photodabbler View Post
Hi all!

A while ago we snapped a photo of our 1st born holding our 2nd born the first time they met. Very cute picture, but there is a square block of shadow that makes it unfit to be blown up.
What techniques could I use to fix this image?
What approach would be the most effective to making that shadow less noticable?
Thanks.
Brian
I used the blue channel to select the shadowed area, feathered the selection and saved it to an alpha channel. Now, with this selection active, I used Image/Apply Image to apply the R,G & B channels in various blend modes to lighten, add contrast, color, etc. Each time, I applied the effect to a duplicate layer and used a white brush and a hide-all mask to selectively apply. Fine-tuning was done with curves adjustments, skin smoothing and Chip's Paint-with-Light action at Action Central.

http://www.pbase.com/image/124184513

Cheers.

(Babine)
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:05 PM
photodabbler photodabbler is offline
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Re: Techniques to remove shadow?

Hello Babine (or Gary, not sure!). I was trying to follow your steps and got stuck pretty quick. I've got the blue channel in a new layer, but I don't see how you use it to select the shadow.

Do you just use the square selection tool with a 10px feather? If so, how does having the blue channel help with that?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:58 PM
photodabbler photodabbler is offline
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Re: Techniques to remove shadow?

Hi Murray thanks for the welcome! I have a few questions about your approach.

When you talk about adding layers, are you implying that the way you control them is by using a brush to manually paint the mask? Or do you try and do a rectangle select with feather?

I tried using the rectangle select with a 10px feather then using the paint bucket to fill white in the selection. I used this approach with a linear dodge layer at 100% and a saturation layer at -50. Here is the result: http://imgur.com/IwFmj

As you can see, this method does terribly on the edges of the shadow. Please advise.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:35 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Techniques to remove shadow?

Brian, please see the two screenshots attached.
Sometimes with these types of images (Shadows, light leaks, partially covered lenses) making a selection of the dark areas and adjusting the lightness works, more more often than not the dark area / shadow is not uniform. When you have the problem on a portrait of people you usually need to make the lighting pretty even and the only way to have maximum control is often to dodge or burn.
Screenshot 1 shows the basic beginning. You add a Curve adj layer over your background and drag the center way up to brighten the entire image. Then while still on that curve layer hit Ctrl I to invert the mask (make it black). This completely hides the curve's effect and you see your original image.
Using a soft white paint brush (0 hardness) with low opacity (about 20%) and a flow of 15% you can now paint on the dark areas of the image. In doing so you apply the curve which gradually brightens the dark areas and you do so until they match the lighter ones. You can adjust the opacity and flow to give you very very fine control. If you over do it, just hit the X key to switch the brush from white to black to paint over where you painted with white. You can perfectly match the dark to the light areas - its just a matter of taking the time to paint on the mask. Screenshot 2 is a blow up of the curve's layer mask as I did a quick paint job.
A Hue/Sat adj layer with Sat set to -100% and placed above the Curve Adj layer will allow you to visualize your work more easily as it will eliminate any color shifts that may trick your eyes.
There are a ton of tutorials at RetouchPro and on the internet on Dodging and Burning if you would like to learn more.
In the case of your particular image, after you finish the dodge layer you will notice the colors are more saturated where you brightened. You can fix that in 1 min by adding a Hue/Sat adj layer, copying you dodge layer mask to that Hue/Sat adj layer and reducing the saturation.
You should be able to get an image which is of good print quality.
Regards, Murray
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Photodabbler Screenshot 1.jpg (156.5 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg Photodabbler Screenshot 2.jpg (163.5 KB, 33 views)
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Old 05-04-2010, 01:14 AM
Gary Gary is offline
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Re: Techniques to remove shadow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by photodabbler View Post
Hello Babine (or Gary, not sure!). I was trying to follow your steps and got stuck pretty quick. I've got the blue channel in a new layer, but I don't see how you use it to select the shadow.

Do you just use the square selection tool with a 10px feather? If so, how does having the blue channel help with that?

Thanks for the help.
That's one way that will work and you can play with the feathering. Another is via use of Quick Mask mode. Simply paint over the dark area in the blue channel, feather that and exit quick mask. You will now have a 'marching ant' selection that you can save to an alpha channel.
From your example, it appears that the selection was a bit too large or the feathering was too much. Try this: once you have made the selection and saved it to an alpha channel, go back to RGB, activate the selection and copy it to a new layer. Now apply the changes to this layer. That way, the opacity and blend modes can be controlled as well as the size via masking to remove any over-effect.
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:37 AM
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chillin chillin is offline
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Re: Techniques to remove shadow?

I used a number of curves.
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File Type: jpg e0pRa_Chillin.jpg (185.2 KB, 82 views)
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  #9  
Old 05-04-2010, 12:51 PM
photodabbler photodabbler is offline
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Re: Techniques to remove shadow?

Murray, thanks for the great explanation. I was able to follow along and get decent results. Would you please explain how I would perform this step you wrote: "You will require a Selective Color adj layer to remove the yellow cast which will present itself after dodging"?

I tried adding a Selective Color adjustment layer but it looks like I then need to choose a color from a drop down box to determine which channel(?) my adjustments effect. I tried a number of them while dragging the yellow slider left but I was not able to successfully reduce the yellow in the image.
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:58 PM
photodabbler photodabbler is offline
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Re: Techniques to remove shadow?

@chillin, that looks great. Looks like it took you some time. If I wanted a PSD file of your work, is that something you accept payment for? Or maybe that's not kosher, I'm new here...
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