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Building Interior retouching

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  #1  
Old 11-02-2010, 06:14 PM
zolo zolo is offline
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Building Interior retouching

I am new to the forums and would like to get some workflow advice from more experienced retouchers.

I have begun shooting commercial building interiors which, depending on the time of day have fairly high contrast ratios with the exterior windows and the interior lights vis-a-vis ambient light.

In terms of work flow, which is the best way to deal with these issues when for example only one photograph has been shot? I have attached a recent photo so that you can see my challenges.

When I have the option of shooting bracketed images (which I assume is always preferable??), what is the best way to deal with these bracketed images? Using a program such as Photomatix Pro or the like or is it better to deal with the images in Photoshop via the auto align layers and auto blend layers?

Thanks in advance for your time as I teach myself how best to deal with retouching of these types of images.

Dave
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File Type: jpg 543 Howard LL office1 low-rez1.jpg (72.4 KB, 92 views)
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:19 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Building Interior retouching

Zolo, welcome to RetouchPro!
Your image is very typical of high contrast interior scenes particularly in commercial buildings, where a single shot rarely gets the exposure right for the whole scene.
Ideally, you should be bracketing - preferably 5 shots at 0 ev and 2 stops over and 2 under. You can often get away with 3 ( 0 +/- 1ev). The images should be in RAW format, taken on a tripod with the camera set to Aperature Preferred so the lens maintains the same depth of field across all frames.
If you have Photoshop CS5 you can use the new Merge to HDRPro, which will give you a photo-realistic result unless you choose a surreal preset or you start moving the sliders off the default settings. You can also open the images in a stack and use Auto Align and Auto Blend but the Merge to HDRPro has more flexibility and probably better results. You do not need Photomatix or other HDR s/w.
If you only have a single exposure, hopefully it is a RAW file. That will allow you to open it multiple times in Camera RAW each time adjusting for proper exposure of a different area - highlights, shadows, mid tones. You can then auto blend them in PS.
Regards, Murray
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:55 PM
zolo zolo is offline
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Re: Building Interior retouching

Murray,

Thanks for the reply, I will try CS5 merge to HDR Pro with some recent shots that I bracketed. Regarding the posted shot, what is the best way to deal with a single high contrast interior shot which will effectively deal with the blown out windows and lights? I unfortunately did not bracket this shot.

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 11-03-2010, 06:36 PM
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MacBurg MacBurg is offline
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Re: Building Interior retouching

Not too many options really, it's more to do with the shooting stage and the contrast range you find in every scene you shoot. Some interiors benefit from just a well exposed shot in good light, others with a huge contrast range need the addition of flash to balance the light but still keep contrast.

Otherwise as Murray has mentioned above, if you have the Raw file, blend a few differently adjusted versions of it together.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:33 PM
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Re: Building Interior retouching

If you do not have a RAW file, I would still open the image in Camera RAW. I would use the Curves tab to pull the 255 point (Top point on curve) down to darken the the blown out area of the ceiling, which will also darken the entire image, then adjust the clarity and vibrance and open the image in PS. I would then go back and open it again in Camera RAW this time ignoring the blown out areas make all you ajustments with fill light, clarity, vibrance to get the good parts of the image the way you like them. Open it, copy and paste it on top of the first image. Add a layer mask and with a black brusk paint over the blown highlights which could include the windows if you like. It is not optimal but neither is the single camera output.
If you actually have the orig RAW file the above process might not be necessary because you should have a stop or two to play with in the RAW filr.
Regards, Murray
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