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  • Adding mood to match this composition

    Hi everyone,

    I have been struggling with this photo for some time. It was taken on the occupied side of Cyprus, and shows my family longingly gazing at a ghost city through barbed wire. I am relatively happy with the composition and the captured expressions. My plan was to convert it to a high contrast black and white, to give it a more sorrowful, dark mood. However, the bright sand, sea, and dull light colored sky have made that very difficult.

    I have tried burning various regions, or adding a gray layer and darkening the photo, but I just cant get a nice dark, grimy look out of this photo. Please HELP!!!

    I would really appreciate anything you masters can do to help me.

    Thanks,
    Andreas
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Don't know if this is anything like what you want -- first I cropped out most of the foreground sand (eliminate what is extraneous to the subject matter, and eliminate problems with brightness), then duped the original twice. Set the layer blend mode (in Photoshop 7) for the top layer to Exclusion, then made a merged copy of that result (Shift+Control+E). Desaturated that layer (using Hue/Sat -- lowered Saturation to zero, but can desaturate in other ways). This gives the image a different contrast, but you can make further changes by adding an empty layer with layer blend mode set to overlay -- this lets you brush on shadows with black or gray on your paintbrush (and brighten highlights with white, if you want). You can do a variety of things after this; I added a couple of layers -- one was a desaturated copy of the original image with the layer blend mode set to Color Dodge - gave more definition to the men/boys. I also sharpened and added some noise.

    Even if this is nowhere near what you had in mind, hopefully it will give you some ideas of things to try. I'm sure there will be other folks giving you some other ideas.
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Andreas, had a play with your picture.

      Duplicated to new layer. Desaturated to give greyscale image.
      New Layer set to Hard Light, split gradient applied, mid-grey to black, adjust layer opacity to about 65%.
      Levels adj layer to up contrast, and clip whites a little.

      Cropped slightly.

      Sorry, sky seems to have banded on posting, this was not on my unposted version. Should be OK on a larger image.
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by akellas
        Hi everyone,

        I have been struggling with this photo for some time. It was taken on the occupied side of Cyprus, and shows my family longingly gazing at a ghost city through barbed wire. I am relatively happy with the composition and the captured expressions. My plan was to convert it to a high contrast black and white, to give it a more sorrowful, dark mood. However, the bright sand, sea, and dull light colored sky have made that very difficult.

        I have tried burning various regions, or adding a gray layer and darkening the photo, but I just cant get a nice dark, grimy look out of this photo. Please HELP!!!

        I would really appreciate anything you masters can do to help me.

        Thanks,
        Andreas

        Hi Andreas, I can give it a go, but does it need to be edited in PS? Or is the overall effect you want regardless of the programme? I use several programmes to achieve the desired effect for most of my stuff.

        Maureen

        Comment


        • #5
          it's difficult to tell exactly what you want from your description. in fact, even with a minute description it can be hard to get exactly what someone wants in a picture, but i gave it a shot.

          i tried to give this a 'war cast' as best i could. not sure if it's what you're looking for or not. and no point listing the steps if it's not what yer after.

          Craig
          Attached Files

          Comment


          • #6
            oh, and welcome to RP

            Craig

            Comment


            • #7
              OK, I gave it a go and don't think I got the size right for proper viewing.

              How do I make a thumbnail, please?

              Maureen
              Attached Files

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by maureeno
                ...don't think I got the size right for proper viewing.
                How do I make a thumbnail, please? Maureen
                Check out this link to Flora's tips on sizing images -- it has the info you need. If you have any other questions, just ask again -- someone will answer...

                http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/sho...5171#post75171

                Comment


                • #9
                  Had a go at it. Roughly selected the figures with a feather of 15. Inversed it the selection, used hue and saturation sliders to reduce saturation and applied a center burst gradient at an opacity of 21

                  Bill
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow,

                    I am amazed at the responses I recieved to this. All were very helpful, and gave me many ideas, even if the specific result each of you achieved was not exactly what I had in mind.

                    CJ, your idea of cropping the photo was excellent. I dont even know why I didnt think of doing it, as it makes the composition much stronger. The look of your edit is very strong, although I guess I would like to keep the photo looking as "un-edited" as possible. Thanks for your suggestions.

                    Gary, your edit is basically what I am looking for. The darker mood looks menacing but yet realistic. I guess I will follow your procedure, and compliment it with some burning to take away the consistency of the sky. Thanks for your edit.

                    Kraellin, you're right, I wasnt very descriptive with my request. Your edit indeed looks very war torn. I think it fits very well with what I wanted, although I wiould like to stay closer to the image of the photo. Thanks for the welcome as well

                    Maureeno, I really really like the toning of the edit you gave. I think thats exactly the kind of atmosphere I am looking for, although I think in my case I may leave out the bluring effect. Can you tell me how you accomplished the toning? Thanks.

                    Bill, your edit is very different from the others. At first i didnt like it, as it was not B&W nor high contrast. But now I think the hazy, desaturated look may suite the photo as well if not better. How did you select the figures in a way that there are no jaggedy edges showing?

                    Thanks to all,
                    Andreas

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by akellas
                      Maureeno, I really really like the toning of the edit you gave. I think thats exactly the kind of atmosphere I am looking for, although I think in my case I may leave out the bluring effect. Can you tell me how you accomplished the toning? Thanks.

                      Thanks to all,
                      Andreas
                      Andreas, I edited your image in Photo Impact XL using several edit FX.

                      To achieve the toning, I used a built-into PI "task," which is used to create the sepia tone.

                      You can achieve a similar effect in PS by desaturating your image, adjusting your colours (highlights, shadow, midtones) then deeping your tones in Curves.

                      I copied and pasted the image onto itself, reduced transparency to 44%, flipped the copied/pased image horizontially and applied a fadeout effect, then flattened the image.

                      After that I used the zoom blur, cropped a wee bit, and dodged the bottom of the children's feet area to deepen the effect.

                      Maureen

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by akellas

                        Bill, your edit is very different from the others. At first i didnt like it, as it was not B&W nor high contrast. But now I think the hazy, desaturated look may suite the photo as well if not better. How did you select the figures in a way that there are no jaggedy edges showing?

                        Thanks to all,
                        Andreas
                        Andreas,

                        I used a feathering selection of 15 which was pretty wide for the size of the photo. Then I selected a rough outline from well inside each figure so that the feathering extended beyond them when the selection was inverted.

                        Personally, I thought Maureen's version was great! It would be my first choice. One of the always interesting things here is to see how different folks approach the same photo or solve the same problem. That's why I so enjoy the challenges

                        Bill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          hi,

                          it looks like the picture is flat, so my approach to do this, handle buildings, sky, people etc seperatly. I used many channel mixers burns and curve.

                          ralaqu
                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by realaqu; 07-06-2005, 07:21 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi all,

                            Taking a bit of advice from everyone, I have arrived at the image atached below. I think its a bit less "extreme", than some of the edits posted, not that thats good or bad, just more towards my taste.

                            I would appreciate any comments or further edits if any one has anything to contribute.

                            Thanks again,
                            Andreas
                            Attached Files

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Andreas,

                              Looks good, and what's more to the point, it's as you want it.

                              Glad we could help.

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