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blown highlights

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  #1  
Old 02-15-2011, 05:01 PM
Caravaggio Caravaggio is offline
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blown highlights

I don't know how an image I am retouching is going to be printed. I know it is for print and not for the web. It is a sun-washed patio with white-washed walls and a lot of the white-washed walls are blown. Some of the numbers are as high as 255,255,255. Should I be concerned? I have tried to correct the whites by putting darkening curves adjustments over the blown areas, but the client asks me to remove them and prefers the blown out look. I think I read once that the maximum numbers for whites should be 245, 245, 245. Do I need to correct the image so that no numbers are more than 245 or is this step unnecessary as the printing by its very nature will lower the numbers? Sorry for the dumb question.

Last edited by Caravaggio; 02-15-2011 at 05:04 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:20 PM
thehjj thehjj is offline
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Re: blown highlights

If it's reading 255 across the board, I don't think there's much you can do.
You could open the raw file, and see if the recovery slider does anything in camera raw. Then maybe pull the exposure down a little. You may have to do multiple raw conversions for different parts of the photo with different levels of blown highlights, then carefully mask them off in photoshop.

As for print, if it's reading 255, 255, 255, then nothing will print there. It will be paper white. If it were me, I'd pull the highlights down to a reasonable number. Use your better judgement about about what looks best with keeping the highlights bright while maintaining detail.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:34 PM
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Repairman Repairman is offline
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Re: blown highlights

If it looks pleasing as white you may be better off leaving it; to add tone would imply you should also see a texture (however subtle). Generally, white (no dot whatsover) in CMYK is not desirable and even the lightest area should have some 'dot' value. Don't get hung up on the numbers game though - it's no good the theory being correct if the picture looks crap!
R.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:37 PM
Caravaggio Caravaggio is offline
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Re: blown highlights

Thanks. I will see if they can give me the raw file to do multiple conversions. Would a general rule of thumb for printing be that no numbers for whites should be more than 245?
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:42 PM
thehjj thehjj is offline
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Re: blown highlights

It really depends on the printer I guess. Is this going to be printed in a magazine or other publication? Or will it be printed at a lab to hang on the wall or something? Some labs will let you download the profiles for their printers and you can soft proof your files to get an idea of how it will print on their different papers.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:47 PM
Caravaggio Caravaggio is offline
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Re: blown highlights

Thank you Repairman. It looks kind of pretty as white. It is a white wall interrupted by a regular pattern of cast shadows. The whites have some subtle variation in color, but there is very little texture. But I suppose that none of the variation in color is going to print and it is all going to be paper white.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:09 AM
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andrewrodney andrewrodney is offline
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Re: blown highlights

Can you get access to the raw (if shot raw?). You can generally re-render and recover a huge amount of highlight data from the raw capture.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:39 AM
Caravaggio Caravaggio is offline
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Re: blown highlights

The client has told me to leave the image as shot even after I explained that the blown areas won't print. It was shot raw, but I don't have the raw file. I guess I will fix it after they print it if they don't like the way it looks.
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:09 AM
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shift studio shift studio is offline
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Re: blown highlights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caravaggio View Post
...leave the image as shot....
In today's RAW workflow, that doesn't really mean a thing. But good luck explaining that to your client.

Just fyi, one way to recover lost detail in highlight is to use the image adjustment Shadows/Highlights.
See attachement - note most times step 3 is not required. Once you get to step 4 just tweak, and tweak and tweak the sliders.

--Shift Studio.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Highlight-recovery.jpg (44.5 KB, 37 views)

Last edited by shift studio; 02-16-2011 at 11:38 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:30 AM
Caravaggio Caravaggio is offline
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Re: blown highlights

Thanks, Shift. I will try out your suggestion to increase my knowledge.

I wasn't very accurate when I said the client wanted me to leave the image as shot. What I really meant was that he wants me to leave the image the way he processed it in raw.
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