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how do i get textural materials looking great?

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  #1  
Old 03-22-2010, 11:40 PM
Norris Norris is offline
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how do i get textural materials looking great?

I retouch interior and architectural imagery for a photographer. i do all his hdr, stitching, and retouching. I am rather frustrated with how my progress has stagnated. I have been looking at other interior and architectural photographers websites and have noticed that some of them are managing to really accentuate contrast and texture in materials such as bathroom tiles, wood grain and fabrics. I have bee using individual channels (usually blue) to make selections of the desired area on either softlight or overlay but this often quite hit and miss. I would be very grateful to anyone that can share any techniques that helps improve textual contrast in materials.
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:14 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: how do i get textual materials looking great?

Norris, welcome to RetouchPro. In a architectural photos it is probably more appropriate to think of lines and fine detail instead of texture. Assuming you have proper lighting, sharp focus, correctly exposed images, etc, the key to good results in post prossessing of most architectural images is to focus on Contrast and Detail. Contrast should be adjusted for Highlights / Shadows ands also the midtones. Sharpening is also vert important. You need to sharpen the fine edges / archit lines and not skies and blank walls or solid patches.
If your Photographer provides images in RAW format, you can accomplish most of what you need to do in PS Camera Raw module. The attached sample is of a screenshot of a RAW image with no adjustments, the 2nd is after a boost in Contrast (High/Low and MidTone/Clarity) plus a bit of color boost. Only a small amount of camera RAW sharpening was used.
Unfortunately, the images attached below are too low in resolution to give you a scope of the difference. However in hi res, the changes are quite dramatic.
If you would like to speed up the process, especially when you have large numbers of image files to process, it might be worth while investing in a specialized PS plugin like Detail from Topaz Labs. This inexpensive plugin will produce the same image as sample 2 but will do so in about 30 seconds. A trial version is available from TopazLabs if you are interested.
Regards, Murray
Attached Images
File Type: jpg East Wing Before.jpg (167.5 KB, 80 views)
File Type: jpg East Wing After.jpg (171.1 KB, 84 views)
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:56 AM
Norris Norris is offline
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Re: how do i get textural materials looking great?

thanks Murray for your reply. The point you raised about sharpness is an area I have overlooked and will now experiment with selective sharpening. With regards to the plug in you suggested (and although the results looked visually good, to me) they did look digitally manipulated. The type of clients that we work for are architects who will not tolerate any visual giveaways of digital manipulation which unfortunately restricts creative styles.
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:36 PM
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holgaman holgaman is offline
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Re: how do i get textural materials looking great?

Norris,
I believe the effect you are looking for is local contrast. Besides the options mentioned by Mistermonday, you could also try the high pass filter in PS or (my favorite) Photolift by Pixel Vistas. It has a number of adjustments to suit the type of surface you're dealing with. Make another layer first, apply the Photolift effect (more than what you think you will need), scale back the luminosity on the layer and apply selectively with a white brush on a black layer mask.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:30 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: how do i get textural materials looking great?

Norris, the "out of the camera" raw image I attached, while not manipluated, does not depict what the building truly looked like. That is because the RAW image off the camera sensor has "digital softness" which is characteristic of most digital image array outputs. They need to be sharpened to look natural. Furthermore the contrast and saturation are lower than the true scene as well. Now, that being said, the After image, has been pushed a little over the opposite edge for purposes of demonstration. The saturation was deliberately boosted to the high end and the local contrast and sharpening is also on the high side. You would temper the effect depending on your clients intent and requirement.
Other than that the image has not been distorted or otherwise manipulated.
It is a sure bet that all architectural photos are in some way digitally processed - at least to bring out features and lines. Architects sell services and in that profession you can be sure that photos that make their way into powerpoint slides and portfolios have been manipulated - garbage cans and litter removed, building outlines corrected for lens parallax, dirty windows and pigeon poop cloned over, etc. That type of manipulation is not considered bad.
Regards, Murray
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:39 AM
Norris Norris is offline
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Re: how do i get textural materials looking great?

Ok I will check it out and do some tests. Thanks Murray for your explanation.
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