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Any More Improvements?

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  • Any More Improvements?

    I'm thinking of getting the local online photo shop to do a 20" x 16" print of the attached picture. Before I do this I'm wondering if I can make any more improvements.

    What I've done:
    Enlarged the original by about 10% using the ResizeIT plugin so it meets the resolution requirements.
    Used Paint Shop Pro 8's Auto Color Balance, Auto Contrast, Clarify, Auto Saturation, Edge Preserving Smooth, and Sharpen tools, tweaking the defaults of the first four steps.

    The original 700K JPG can be found here:

    A full size retouched 8.06MB TIFF is here:

    Any suggestions?
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Nice photo - but there is one more improvement that you can make - I think that you should level the horizon. The mountains seem to be slipping off to the left.

    You might also try to reduce the haze a little by using USM at 40, 90, 0 - if you don't like the effect you can reverse it out.

    This has the potential to be a great shot - the copter in the center works beautifully to focus the viewer's attention, and give scale to the landscape.

    Well done!



    • #3
      Thanks for the Unsharp Mask tip. It really made the picture pop. I've never used that tool before - how did you come up with those values?
      I also levelled the horizon a bit - it's not perfectly straight as doing so would cause most of the sky to be cropped out.

      I see what you mean about pixellation. I tried Neat Image but the demo version only allows you to save as a jpeg. I did that and didn't see much improvement. Don't know if saving as a TIFF would be much better.
      Next, I tried resampling the image to 300dpi using various methods in ResizeIT! I found one that produced a bit better results than Neat Image.

      I've sent the file off to the photo shop and the print should be ready by this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out.


      • #4
        Please post the new version. It would be cool to see what you have done.


        • #5
          Hi guys -- I tried your suggestions and added a little of my own.

          straightened, cropped
          patched empty areas (didn't spend much time on that)
          contrast masking from this thread to bring more detail out of the shadows

          unsharp mask
          dup layer/soft light blend to bring colors out more and add a little contrast back
          slight smart blur to reduce some of the noise

          Attached Files


          • #6
            I think overall the picture is a bit too flat (lacks contrast) to make a good might be disappointed with the results. Since there is a lot of haze in the scene, I would suggest removing some of the haze (like using a digital haze filter) and correcting the colors and levels a bit. Here is what I mean.

            Attached Files


            • #7
              Here you can see how much of a change I made in tone and color.

              Attached Files


              • #8
                Here's a (severely shrunk) image I sent to the photo shop. As Toad suggested the Unsharp Mask worked wonders.

                Got back the 20x16 tonight. As ugot2bkdng suspected, pixelation in the lake and sky is visible (some pink colour). However since the most of the sky is cropped off that's not too bad and the lake pixelation is barely noticeable from a distance. I'm planning to frame and hang the picture so no one should get too close :-)

                It was an interesting experiment. The original shot was taken with a 3.3 megapixel camera using high quality jpeg compression (one step down from super high quality - had to save space). I now have a 4.0 megapixel camera so I expect that I'll have even better results if I do this in the future.
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Very nice Neil! You have a picture to be proud of.



                  • #10
                    I certainly don't mean to be critical -- this is a great photo of a wonderful moment in time... but in the interest of learning one of the things to watch for when doing unsharp mask is halo around high contrast edges. You can see it around the lake shore... definitely does not make this a bad photo and most people would never be aware of it. I wish I had been there to take this shot!



                    • #11
                      You're right Scott, I never really noticed that halo effect. I guess I chalked up the colour change to shallower water.

                      I note that Phyllis's image doesn't have this halo. Phyllis can you recommend a digital haze filter?

                      It's pretty remarkable how much a photo can be improved. The original was shot through a helicopter cockpit window (thus the flatness and I think the haze) with the helicopter tilting upwards. Got a bunch of these shots - tried working with the best one. One thing I've learned - carry extra memory cards! Downgrading from super high quality to high quality will affect any prints bigger than 8x10.



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