Plug in and Play…

Well here we are again… that rare, but non the less momentous event – a blog post.

As I’ve said on numerous occasions, post processing is really not my thing, I simply haven’t got the patience. Furthermore, I’m not comfortable on relying on endless tweaks in various software to produce a decent image; if it isn’t there after some basic adjustments, then that’s it; it aint happening etc.

Up until now I’ve developed a reasonably straight forward worflow which has produced some reasonable images. One of the big leaps forward for me was using DxO software – Optics Pro for “developing” my RAW files, and FilmPack5 for adding some different “looks” etc. The use of FilmPack led me to look at other Photoshop Plug-ins: Topaz Labs (which I quite like) and since it’s been made free, Google’s Nik Collection.

One thing that I find myself drawn to is the use of local contrast adjustment in various presets; particularly as this is one thing that I found made a big difference when I started using DxO Optics Pro.

So, having played around with a few presets and developed a couple of more “manual” methods, not least of which being the Unsharp mask tool in Photoshop (using low amount and high radius), I thought I’d share my thoughts. And it was high time that I wrote another blog post!.

I revisited some images from a climbing shoot which I particularly liked and chose one that I thought was quite a good image; although it does indicate some questionable belaying technique!

As always, click on the image to see it full size (2048 x 1367 – may open a separate window or tab etc).

First of all is the original published image, very little processing and it looks okay:

Original published image.
Original published image.

Then, there’s the same image where I’ve applied the adjustments using Unsharp mask:

Local contrast adjustments using Unsharp mask (High radius, low amount) on separate layers and luminosity blend mode etc
Local contrast adjustments using Unsharp mask (High radius, low amount) on separate layers and luminosity blend mode etc

A stronger effect using Nik Collection’s “Bleach Bypass” preset as a starting point:

"Bleach Bypass"...
“Bleach Bypass”…

And finally, the image above converted to black & white:

Bleach Bypass converted to B&W
Bleach Bypass converted to B&W

So maybe I will be spending a bit more time in post processing after all…


Published by pgtim

A UK amateur photographer.

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