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Turn my gray skies to blue!

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  #1  
Old 12-29-2010, 11:54 AM
gilley gilley is offline
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Turn my gray skies to blue!

Hi all
I have a client in Chicago that I shot a job for in November. It was an residential architectural job photographing a bunch of high end homes. I processed and retouched photos to my eye and delivered. This morning I received an email with some retouching requests.

There a few of photos that they asked me to "warm up" and the colors were washed out. I am working on a calibrated Apple cinema display. When I look at the shots, they appear to be fairly rich in color and don't seem to be "washed out". The only thing I could see being washed out is the windows. The client is probably looking at the photos on an old monitor that is not calibrated. I do want some other opinions in case I am looking at my own photos through rosy glasses.

There are also a couple of shots that were shot on a cloudy day. Our shooting schedule was very tight and there was not an option to go back and shoot on a sunny day. The client would like me to make the skies blue. I personally disagree with this but he's writing the check. I have attempted to switch the sky but my efforts are crude. The biggest problem I run into is the bare branches of the trees. If anyone would like to give a stab at it, PM me and I will happily send you the high res files and a blue sky file. If you can make happen, I'll pay you for the work and probably send you more work in the future.

Below is a link to a gallery of 5 photos. There is also a list of instructions from the client for each photo.

http://www.chrisgilesphoto.com/Retou...ery/index.html

93 Crescent Kitchen-Family: All whites make it looked too washed out, warm up

495 Greenleaf Master Bath: washed out colors – warm up / cover up TV above tub

495 Greenleaf Living: washed out colors – warm up

945 Eastwood Front: Need blue sky

684 Bluff Exterior Front 2: Need bluer sky (not conflicting with color of home)

Thanks in advance for any input or suggestions

Cheers
Chris
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2010, 01:15 PM
latoxine latoxine is offline
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Re: Turn my gray skies to blue!

Hello,

I've PM you...
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2010, 01:27 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Turn my gray skies to blue!

Hello Chris and welcome to RetouchPro.
The images you posted are reasonably small so I we can not see fine detail, however, from the high level view here is what I see and then a couple of suggestions.
1. Greenleaf LR
Blown out windows, blown out chair by fireplace, blown out window and drapes on viewer's far left.
2. Greanleaf BR
Blown windows, strong reflection on counter top
3. Crescent Kitchen
Much of flooor is blown away and has srtong relections, strong reflections on light fixtures and ceiling, part of table is blown out
4. Eastwood - sky as you have indicated
5. Bluff - sky as you have indicated

If you are going to be doing real estate shots like these (where there is almost always high contrast scenes indoor and out), you really need to look into HDR image techniques. It is essential to take multiple bracketed shots on a tripod and blend them either manually or using one of the many HDR applications or plugins for PS.
The other tool you should consider adding to your shoot is a Polarizing filter to help avoid or minimize those nasty reflections.

The skys are relatively easy to fix. A Selective Color Adjustment layer can be used to force Blue into the "White" channel.
In the others it becomes difficult to fix areas where the detail has been blown away to white. If you have the RAW files you have a couple of stops to play with and may be able to retrieve some data.

I applologize if there is a lot of detail that I am missing because of the low res flash embedded images you have posted. However to be totally candid with you, as a customer or agent of yours, I would not accept these as good quality real estate shots.
Regards, Murray

Last edited by mistermonday; 12-29-2010 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Typos corrected
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:38 PM
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Boneappetit Boneappetit is offline
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Re: Turn my gray skies to blue!

Hi Gilley: Here is a simple tutorial just in case, maybe it can help... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gySpAuuDM4
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:34 PM
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ray12 ray12 is offline
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Re: Turn my gray skies to blue!

Gilley,

On the 945 eastwood image the gray sky is so white that it can probably be dropped out using the "Blend if" sliders on the Layers Style Function. If you use the option or alt key on the right most white slider you can separate the two sliders and produce a great transparent area where your gray skies are. These sliders will accurately drop away the nearly white sky only... and allow you to insert a sky photo with clouds in it behind the house. The details in the trees will remain OK. The gray sky will easily become transparent in this case. The sky shots can be taken on any good day or you can find some on the net with some beautiful blue skies and some puffy clouds.

On some of your other shots...you can do a non destructive curves adjustment layer on images that have bright spots. Drag down the center or upper area of the curve and it will darken the whole image. Do a control or command I to invert the layers mask and then the picture will revert to normal looking again...except this time...you can paint on the mask with a soft white low opacity brush...and it will nicely darken up the area your client wants brought down. This is selectively painting on a darkening curve...and it will allow you to darken down about 1.5 to 2 full stops.

This is a bit technical if you are new...but it is the way architectural retouchers work here in the city. They use curve adjustment layers to selectively paint on lightening or darkness or color casts.

Some others use Vertus Fluid Mask to cut out the sky with great precision and speed...its a very powerful extraction tool. It is a $139 Photoshop Plugin if your budget can afford it. Its one of the best on the market for architectural use.

Cheers,

Ray
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:06 AM
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Repairman Repairman is offline
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Re: Turn my gray skies to blue!

The colours look very warm on my home iMac. This could be a problem if the images are for print output as CMYK will struggle with some of the punchy colours. Some 'illegal' colours will appear muddy. For the outdoor views I would replace the skies (try Dreamstime library) and keep white cloud butting up to the building with soft blue creeping in from the top of the crop. You won't need to mask the trees if you are cunning. A Mackeral or high altitude sky would work. You can use a bluer sky for the blue building as there are reflections and shadows already indicating clear sky.
Don't go too blue though!
R.

Last edited by Repairman; 12-30-2010 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:57 AM
gilley gilley is offline
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Re: Turn my gray skies to blue!

Thank you all for your replies and advice. In the last six months, I have been learning a lot of the techniques shared above. I'm not the greatest but I'm starting to learn some advanced techniques that can broaden my options.

@mistermonday - I've played with HDR in both architectural and landscape photography. I can't say as I am totally sold on it either. It seems to be a technique that has to be perfectly mastered or it too has many ill effects. I see some feature photography in high end magazines that have the signature HDR effects like reverse halos around high contrast zones. Personally, I've always had problems with bright direct light sources like chandeliers. The gradation from the highest value to the falloff of light never looks natural. I seem to put as much or more work into correcting the HDR image than if I would if I just mask different images together. I'd really like to see your work with HDR to see how its done without issues. I know it is a strong tool, but have not been able to utilize it to its full potential. I'm always open to learning all I can.

@repairman - This one of the reasons I posted images here. When I look at the images (interior) on my monitor, I see fairly warm colors. When dealing with a client who I know is working on a monitor that is less than ideal, I am reluctant to go making big changes. Again, that's why I'm trying to get more opinions.

As for the skies, I sent some files to some who PMed me and waiting to see all of the results. I've never understood how to extract really fine details like branches and hair, but I'm not a retoucher. It's easy if you have blocky solid objects. One of the issues I had with some of my photos on this job was branches that were blowing in the wind. The moving branches were a bit soft and all my efforts resulted in the old grey sky remaining on the borders of the old branches.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:45 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Turn my gray skies to blue!

Hi Chris, I can relate to your comment about having mixed results with HDR merge s/w. I used to have the same problem until I evaluated Photomatix 4.0 by HDRSoft. All of the products I evaluated showed poor performance in merging the highlights - they managed to either blow them out or posterize. While Photomatix does not have the snazziest interface, it has the absolute best algorithms for blending highlights without blowing them out. Please see the examples I posted at the following link and also go to the beginning of that thread to see Darren's work.
The term HDR tends to be misused these days. Those images with the giant halos that are over saturated and over sharp are just over-processed true HDR images where you have captured the full dynamic range of a scene without grossly distorting it. With Photomatix, if you leave Light Smoothing set on high or max, you do not get those halos and the image looks realistic. So far with Photomatix I have not had a single problem in the highlights of a merge. Anyway a fully functional free trial version is available.
http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/hdr...tml#post281924
Regards, Murray

Last edited by mistermonday; 12-30-2010 at 11:17 AM. Reason: Typos corrected
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