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Gargoyle Pic - Recommend Retouches!

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  #1  
Old 08-27-2011, 04:32 PM
jenmichelle jenmichelle is offline
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Gargoyle Pic - Recommend Retouches!

Hi,

I'm new to DSLR... and even more new to photo retouching. I have Photoshop CS and Lightroom 3.

Here are the photos I took:

Gargoyle

Gargoyle 2

What do you suggest doing to make them look better?
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:28 PM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Re: Gargoyle Pic - Recommend Retouches!

Both shots appear to be slightly out of focus on the subject. The first shot you can tell that the focal area is actually on some of the greenery in front of the gargoyle. The second shot the focal area is on the knee of the gargoyle. If you are a beginner, you might try shooting in aperture priority mode, using a higher aperture and then using your manual focus to focus on the subject. These photos feel as if you could be shooting fully auto. The composition could be improved as well, so you may way to take a photography class or even an art class to learn about how to look at life to create more interesting compositions. Again, I am not a photographer, so someone else can offer you better advice with your technical skills. I think the book "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson is a good starting point for someone trying to use their SLR camera (which includes me!)

If you are trying to improve the lack of focus, you have a few options: The easiest for you is the probably the sharpen function of Lightroom, and you can also use the 'clarity' function to give the image a bit more definition. I'm not sure exactly what this slider is but it seems to be some kind of sharpening at a high radius. You also have the sharpen functions, unsharp mask, or high pass methods in photoshop. This might be some things to try. Google and learn...

These shots are really not that dynamic or interesting and I am not saying that to be unkind... I am saying that because it would probably be a good exercise for you to go back and try to come up with some more creative angles and ways of looking at this Gargoyle. Have fun and play around with the post-processing, but remember that the initial capture is definitely going to be the most important part of your final output. Like all artistic process, you will learn by doing and the process of improving your artistic vision is as fulfilling as the final result. Keep working at it!
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:19 AM
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Tony W Tony W is online now
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Re: Gargoyle Pic - Recommend Retouches!

Apart from focus issues you have an image you want to improve on. Improvement is quite subjective and also you may be limited by your experience level in Photoshop.

I had a quick play with one of your images - you may of may not feel that it is an improvement on the original. I wanted to darken the sky and make the gargoyle more dramatic (contrasty!) If you want to try something similar these are the steps in Photoshop

1. Duplicate the background image layer and apply Unsharp mask to try and improve overall sharpness.
2. Using the Color range tool found in the Select menu selected the sky only - this becomes your mask for the next step
3. Add a new Curves layer which should automatically incude your sky mask
4. Using curves darken sky to taste
5. Next step dodge and burn the highlights and the shadows of the gargoyle only to give a little more depth

BTW Welcome to RetouchPro
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File Type: jpg gargoyle.jpg (99.2 KB, 71 views)
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:21 PM
Siciliana Siciliana is offline
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Re: Gargoyle Pic - Recommend Retouches!

Sorry, just because there are some focus issues, I don't mean to imply that you can't have fun with these photos. Out of focus photos are just fine for running all kinds of fun filters and doing painterly effects. It might also be that the photos became blurry due to some kind of compression when you uploaded them to the web, so maybe you original is not as problematic.

One idea is to try playing around making it into a night scene and giving it some creepy atmosphere (there are lots of tutorials out there if you google... many different ways to achieve the effect) Have fun! I've attached a quick and clumsy low-res idea of what I mean but you can do much better with a little effort.
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File Type: jpg gargoyle1.jpg (91.5 KB, 60 views)
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:12 PM
Flashtones Flashtones is offline
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Re: Gargoyle Pic - Recommend Retouches!

Fun image to play with. I agree with the others - dark is the way to go here.
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File Type: jpg Garg.jpg (89.4 KB, 35 views)
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:57 AM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Gargoyle Pic - Recommend Retouches!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenmichelle View Post
Hi,

I'm new to DSLR... and even more new to photo retouching. I have Photoshop CS and Lightroom 3.

Here are the photos I took:

Gargoyle

Gargoyle 2

What do you suggest doing to make them look better?
Welcome to RetouchPRO Hope you enjoy your stay here and make lots of friends. Poke around, ask questions, offer help, have fun!

You might try taking multiple shots using a tripod... to create a HDR/HDRi and then Tone Mapping... (Merging several different exposures.. exposing for the bright lights and the exposing for the dark darks and several exposures above normal and below normal... then blending into a single image)

For these images I would try to bring out some details in the statues using whatever tools you are comfortable with.. shadow/highlight, dodge/burn, curves, sharpen, etc...

Composition of photos like these is a key factor... IE.. a gargoyle looking from the edge into about about two thirds the frame instead of looking out at the edge might be more interesting

I had a play just because they looked like fun pictures to work with...
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File Type: jpg gargoyle_OB.jpg (198.2 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg gargoyle-OB_A.jpg (198.8 KB, 21 views)
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  #7  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:12 PM
jenmichelle jenmichelle is offline
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Re: Gargoyle Pic - Recommend Retouches!

Just wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions. I agree HDR can work really well on that pic.

Sicil - Thank you for your general tips for better composition and a better image taken with a camera. I might go back and re-shoot the same gargoyle from a fresh perspective.

Tony - I really like what you did; thank you for walking me through it step-by-step so I can replicate it myself in Photoshop!!
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