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Balancing Shadows/Highlights

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  #1  
Old 07-30-2005, 10:01 AM
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Post Balancing Shadows/Highlights

One way to balance Shadows/Highlights, Contrast and bring out Details for Photoshop CS/CS2 [details]
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2005, 10:19 AM
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My usual question .... are all the images visible???

Thanks in advance ...
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:54 PM
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I can see the images.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:58 PM
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Thank you Stroker!
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:59 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Hi Flora,

As usual excellent tutorial, clear concise, easy to understand.

Yes, all the pictures are visible.

One minor typo, you typed in "bearly" instead of "barely" in the second paragraph.

Gary.
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Old 07-30-2005, 01:04 PM
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Gary,

thank you so much for your feedback! ...

....I'm going to correct my typo right now!!! (does 'bearly' exist at all??? )
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Old 07-30-2005, 04:14 PM
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I'm a bit confused by your tutorial, Flora. Let's see if I can explain this.

You talk about lowering the highs and raising the lows (bringing them closer), which will decrease contrast. Yet you show very clearly that you are raising contrast. The dog's fur and the girl's dress have more contrast. And the final example definitely has more contrast.

I think the conflict is in how contrast is viewed. For example, global contrast which can done with Levels/Auto Levels. Then there is local contrast, like using High Pass to sharpen.

I'm pretty sure that Shadow/Highlight works on local contrast, which would explain the Radius sliders. The raising of the lows and lowering of the highs is incidental.

Does that make sense, or am I a babbling idiot? Wouldn't be the first time.

But I've never really gave a good look at Shadow/Highlight.
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Old 07-30-2005, 07:07 PM
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Hi Stroker,

so sorry you are confused by my tutorial ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroker
I'm a bit confused by your tutorial, Flora. Let's see if I can explain this.

You talk about lowering the highs and raising the lows (bringing them closer), which will decrease contrast.
Max Lows=Black=0
Max Highs=White=255

Pure black (0) and pure white(255) = maximum contrast.

Whatever in this range comes just after 0 and just before 255 isn't 'pure' black or 'pure' white anymore ...

In other words, by raising the lows from 0 to 20 and lowering the highs from 255 to 235 you bring the two extremes closer to each other by decreasing the contrast ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroker
Yet you show very clearly that you are raising contrast. The dog's fur and the girl's dress have more contrast. And the final example definitely has more contrast.
I most definitely didn't .... download and compare close to each other image 1 (the original) and image 7 (corrected for Shadows/Highlights) of my tutorial (the dog's coat is the best comparison) ... you will see that in image 1 the 'highs' are higher/lighter and the lows are lower/darker than in image 7 ... making image 1 the one with higher contrast between the two.
The fact that by lowering the highs more details were made visible may give the illusion of more contrast ... but think about an underexposed picture ... it is only by lifting the shadows (raising the lows, decreasing the contrast), that you can uncover details otherwise invisible .... maybe, as soon as you see more details you get the illusion of higher contrast ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroker
I think the conflict is in how contrast is viewed. For example, global contrast which can done with Levels/Auto Levels. Then there is local contrast, like using High Pass to sharpen.

I'm pretty sure that Shadow/Highlight works on local contrast, which would explain the Radius sliders. The raising of the lows and lowering of the highs is incidental.
Well, I agree that to a certain extent, the effects of what has a Radius Slider can be limited to a specific area of an image (is that what you mean by local?) but also the effects Levels and Curves can be limited to specific areas of the image to a certain extent even without Radius Sliders .. Again from PS Help File: "The middle Input slider adjusts the gamma in the image. It moves the midtone (level 128) and changes the intensity values of the middle range of gray tones without dramatically altering the highlights and shadows."

Hope this helps...

P.S. .... I'm not sure if in English 'incidental' means something different than in Italian (fortuitous, chance) ... if it does, somehow I think that all those who worked to get this wonderful Option functioning the way it does would probably object to that ...
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Old 07-30-2005, 08:53 PM
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I get what you are saying raising the black point and lowering the white point. But I'm talking about something a little bit different.

Local contrast is how a given area appears brighter/darker to it's surrounding area. For example, you can make 50% grey appear brighter or darker depending on what shades surround it. It's relative.

When you cull detail, you are raising the local contrast. Since you managed to bring out more detail in the dress and fur, you are raising local contrast.

Simple experiment with little girl's dress. I used the Colour Sampler tool to drop two sample points. One on the crease and one to the side a bit from the crease.

Crease = 216
Lapel = 234
Difference = 18

After Shadow/Hightlight, these are the new numbers:

Crease = 185
Lapel = 231
Difference = 46

After the correction, there is more contrast between the crease and the lapel. This is local contrast.

You say you are lowering contrast, and yet you are pulling out detail. Those two don't go together considering your context of contrast.

Then there is this:

Quote:
...getting darker and lighter areas of an image 'closer' to each other in other words 'decreasing' the contrast..
And the final example of the guy with a moustache. Looks to me like the the right side has more contrast - not decreased contrast.

My eyes are seeing more contrast, but you are saying less contrast. That is why I'm confused. Does that make sense?

I spent about an hour figuring out how Shadow/Highlight works (I can show you how to do the same thing with regular tricks). S/H may or may not modify the high or low depending on settings and how busy the photo is. If the high or low is changed, it is by chance (incidental).
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Old 07-31-2005, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroker
I
get what you are saying raising the black point and lowering the white
point. But I'm talking about something a little bit different.
Local contrast is how a given area appears brighter/darker to it's
surrounding area. For example, you can make 50% grey appear brighter or
darker depending on what shades surround it. It's relative.
It seems we are indeed talking about something different ... The definition of overall/local contrast I read is: The overall contrast refers to the extremes of brightness and darkness in the image. Each area in the image, however, has a range of lights and darks. This is local contrast...It doesn't say that it is relative to what shades sorround it ... But, sure, by tweaking the sorrounding areas you can make lights/darks/midtones of a given area appear relatively brighter/darker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroker
When you cull detail, you are raising the local contrast. Since
you managed to bring out more detail in the dress and fur, you are
raising local contrast.
Simple experiment with little girl's dress. I used the Colour Sampler
tool to drop two sample points. One on the crease and one to the side a
bit from the crease.
Crease = 216
Lapel = 234
Difference = 18
After Shadow/Hightlight, these are the new numbers:
Crease = 185
Lapel = 231
Difference = 46
After the correction, there is more contrast between the crease and the
lapel. This is local contrast.
I'm not going to argue with the fact that by raising the black point and lowering the white point, you get an enhancement or increase of the local contrast in the midtones ... but this is a consequence of decreasing the overall contrast which is all I did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroker
You say you are lowering contrast, and yet you are pulling out detail.Those two don't go together considering your context of contrast.
I strongly disagree because I think they do ... the 'contrast mask' method which is an old and well known procedure started in the traditional photo Labs, later 'translated' for digital manipulation, works exactly by enhancing details by lowering contrast ... Katrin Eismann's 'Fill Flash' technique, as another example, is also exclusively based on decreasing the shadows and therefore the contrast ... but then, our context of contrast is quite different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroker
Then there is this:
And the final example of the guy with a moustache. Looks to me like the
the right side has more contrast - not decreased contrast.
My eyes are seeing more contrast, but you are saying less contrast.
That is why I'm confused. Does that make sense?
My last image, the one of the guy with the moustache, was simply an example of something extra that can be done with PS' Shadow/Highlights Option ... I thought I had made that rather clear with what I wrote
Quote:
Just one go with the SHADOW/HIGHLIGHT Option can also be a great help in 'bringing back to life' evenly, strongly faded images ....
... I also thought it would be obvious that in this case, working on a "strongly faded" image, the contrast had to be increased and not decreased... Obviously, I was wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroker
I spent about an hour figuring out how Shadow/Highlight works (I can show you how to do the same thing with regular tricks). S/H may or may not modify the high or low depending on settings and how busy the photo is. If the high or low is changed, it is by chance
(incidental).
I have to admit that I haven't yet figured out how exactly Shadow/Higlight works ... What I understood pretty soon was that it seems to work in a similar way to Contrast Masking (which I've been using since years ... and still do) ... but most of the times it gets better results and it has the added bonus of Midtones Contrast and Color Correction in the same dialog (not possible with regular tricks) .. and I also still disagree on the fact that an Option/Tool named Shadow/Highlights would only manage to change "the high or low by chance (incidental)"

Anyway, by writing this tutorial which, on purpose, I called "Balancing Shadows/Highlights", where I specify what I mean by it ... I simply wanted to help those who had asked me how I got to some results ... It is supposed to be a simple 'description' of what I do with certain kind of problems ... It was never meant to be a lecture and, as I wrote in the description, it's "One way to balance Shadows/Highlights, Contrast and bring out Details for Photoshop CS/CS2" ... I never thought or said it was the best, or the only way ... and I also never said it is the only way I know how to do it ... nevertheless, thank you for your kind offer to "show me how to do the same thing with regular tricks" I might get back to you for that ...
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