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What makes an image "flat"?

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  • What makes an image "flat"?

    And more importantly, what can I do with PSE to make it less so? For instance, an image taken with my digital camera on an overcast day appears somehow "flat". I'm still new enough at evaluating images to not know what must be done to give the image more depth. Would making the image a bit brighter and more well defined would do the trick? I realize image retouching is very image-specific, but is there a standard approach to making an image less flat? What qualities of the image woud I need to change?

    Thanks for the help,

  • #2
    Typically you would want to increase the overall contrast with Levels, maybe do some selective dodging and burning, and perhaps boost the saturation slightly.

    If you post an example image I'm sure you'll get some more specific suggestions (I don't seem to be able to lay my hands on a sample "overcast" photo right now).


    • #3
      It has been awhile since I have used PSE but I'm thinking a levels adjustment would be your first step. That usually will have a positive effect right off the bat.


      • #4
        I'll be level headed about it

        Thanks for the suggestions. I'll try the levels adjustment first and see if that gets the image closer to where I want it.



        • #5
          Shotster, try this link - scroll down to the curves, levels and colour correction links:

          Although written for the full version, the theory should help - even if the controls may be a bit different.

          Stephen Marsh.


          • #6

            If you have the book, there is an outline for correction, which really starts with the Levels correction as suggested by others here. Pages 4-9 might help with where to get started!



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