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Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

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  #11  
Old 09-09-2013, 01:30 PM
baryon baryon is offline
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

I think many of you don't really use the expression "non-destructive" the same way I do. I'm not entirely sure of the true meaning, but here's what I mean by it:

Working non-destructively for me means that every major modification you make to the image can be turned on and off arbitrarily at any point, by using layers, smart objects, smart filters, paths, masks, adjustment layers, etc… This allows you to change your modifications at any point, regardless of when you did them, and independently of any other part of the image.

If I place a red piece of glass over a printed photo, I have not destroyed or changed the photo, I have merely altered its appearance temporarily. If I painted over the photo with red paint, then I would have destroyed information. The fact that you can always reprint the photo does not make it non-destructive. That's the difference.

It does NOT mean (again, to me) that, sure, you can undo or re-process your RAW. You can always do that, it doesn't count as non-destructive.

Why? Because when a client says "oh that's great, but could you not remove the eye bags?", then you simply go to the layer on which you did your blemish removals, and erase the eye-bag area. Copy and pasting back from your original image isn't non-destructive, it's fixing something you broke.

Say you have the base layer, your original file, and then you do some blemish correction on a new layer, and then you add in some hair from another image on a 3rd layer, and so on. You can always delete or modify individual layers without having to fiddle with affecting areas you don't want to, just because you didn't work non-destructively from the start. Directly modifying an important layer (such as the high frequency layer, which is effectively more than half the information content of your image) is not desirable since you cannot easily reconsider those modifications later. Sure there's always a way to fix things no matter what you did, but there's a reason for non-destructive methods.

By the way, anything related to the history brush or the history is irrelevant for non-destructive editing: if you're working on a PSD for weeks, you'll have long lost your initial history states. I'm not talking about fixing things that you messed up by accident, but I mean changing things that you or your client decided to change at a much later time.

This is more a problem from the point of view of how I like to work and what's best for the retoucher, rather than the final outcome. Some people work like me, and others only ever work on a single layer, and deliver the same final results. But when you ask me to change something, it may take me 1 click, while the other person might have to redo the whole image from the start just to make one tiny change…

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewrodney View Post
FWIW, any time you alter the values of an image, there's 'destruction' (data loss). IF the idea of non destructive editing is you can 'go back' to a previous state, well Save As is non destructive...
Once again, that's not true. The idea is not to go back, and true non-destructive editing does NOT cause any data loss. Your original image is always there as your bottom layer - not as a backup, but as a functional, visible base layer - intact, and you build on top of it with other layers and filters. Destruction means loss, not temporary modification.

Last edited by baryon; 09-09-2013 at 01:39 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-09-2013, 01:51 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

Yes, I understood what you meant and the technique I posted above will allow you to treat the HF layer the same way you would treat say a D&B layer. With a D&B you can use a brush on the curve layer to paint more or less or turn the layer off. With the HF layer group you can also turn it on or off, you can continue to clone / heal on the clipped HF layer or paint on the mask to undo previous work. The Freq Split group however is blocking so what you want to do is place that group above you background layer and build everything on top of it. If you need to add another Freq Split layer group somewhere up the stack, then you no longer have a non destructive / non blocking workflow.
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  #13  
Old 09-09-2013, 02:19 PM
RobertGarcia RobertGarcia is offline
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

I work on only one jumped layer and on that layer is all the retouching and maybe another for the liquify that's it for the most part. The rest are silos adjustments a whole lot. That's the way i was learned that said I actually work in the industry full time as a retoucher anyone can go into my file a correct undo anything you can bring back hair, blemishes whatever you like. It's way more simpler and professional. But do it your way eventually you will work with less and less layers especially if you ever land a job at a shop.

Unless it's a comp that is a different story but for editorials and beauty it's not that serious.
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  #14  
Old 09-09-2013, 03:35 PM
Shoku Shoku is offline
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

I always begin with a duplicate layer. Depending on the image, and the instructions I get, that one duplicate may end up in a group with five other layers.

I separate adjustments based on the need and usually blend to a base layer using masks and/or blend modes/options.

Sometimes it is necessary to use CMD + Option + Shift + E to save the adjustments to a single layer, and save the layers to a group which is then turned off. That way if need be, I can always go back and make changes and re-generate a flat composite again.

The most important thing to do - know what you need to do and do it in logical steps.
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:22 PM
baryon baryon is offline
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

Yes, again, it's important to say that HOW you do things is only up to you, and everyone should retouch the way they prefer. The great thing in Photoshop is that it allows so many different ways to do the same thing.

I'm really not saying that non-destructive work is better in any way, I'm just used to it and was wondering whether others who work like me have problems/solutions with frequency separation. Also, since I see that frequency separation is so efficient, I'm probably the one who needs to change the way I work to better accommodate this technique.

But there have been some very useful suggestions that pretty much solve the problem, thanks!
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  #16  
Old 09-09-2013, 04:57 PM
Flashtones Flashtones is online now
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

Working non destructively doesn't mean you'll never need to redo something. Lets say you need to transform an element. You can (and should) jump it to it's own layer and make a smart object of it so the transformation is re-editable, etc, but still... any cloning and masking you do non destructively for that element will need to be redone if you re-transform it later.

There's no free lunch.
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  #17  
Old 09-09-2013, 05:04 PM
baryon baryon is offline
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashtones View Post
Working non destructively doesn't mean you'll never need to redo something. Lets say you need to transform an element. You can (and should) jump it to it's own layer and make a smart object of it so the transformation is re-editable, etc, but still... any cloning and masking you do non destructively for that element will need to be redone if you re-transform it later.

There's no free lunch.
Yes, it will probably never be possible to work 100% non-destructively, though Photoshop is evolving: you can now liquify, warp, skew and puppet warp Smart Objects, for example. This shows that there's a need for a greater level of non-destructiveness. You could take nested smart objects to the extreme, and for example have a separate clone layer inside every smart object… It would work, but it would be too tedious and slow. Maybe in the future Adobe will figure out better ways to do this. For example, Flash has "symbols" which work a lot like smart objects, but they are editable "in place", they don't open in a separate window.
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2013, 09:48 PM
Flashtones Flashtones is online now
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

I don't disagree with what's possible now or in the future, but I also agree, at a certain point, it's just too tedious being a slave to editability. There come times where trying to keep everything reversable is more challenging than committing moves to a copy/merge, and accepting that every so often something may need to masked-off/deleted and reworked.

The goal, ultimately, is to move at a pace that even if, god forbid, some area needs to be done over, it's a not a tragic boondoggle. 10 mins here, 15 mins there. It shouldn't take all day to re dodge and burn a chin, or some such thing.
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  #19  
Old 09-10-2013, 01:19 AM
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AKMac AKMac is offline
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

I totally agree with Flashtones about the danger of becoming a slave to editability. Depending on the client(s), deadlines and the nature of the images, there may be some elements that require extra caution, but in general there is a balance to be struck. Personally I have a very loose approach to workflow issues. Occasionally (like yesterday, in fact) I find myself reworking something that could have been easier if I had taken a different approach. But so what - the other 99 times I got off with it, so in the long run that means my approach is more efficient. Just because you CAN work non destructively doesn't mean you MUST. Risk aversion has a big downside.
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  #20  
Old 09-11-2013, 11:02 PM
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chillin chillin is offline
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Re: Frequency separation: Really non-destructive?

I use a setup similar to mistermonday's, but I don't use masking. If I need to correct something I simply copy the part in question from a layer below.
On the HF layer I use healing brush set to a Current Layer.
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