YAY! Its time for the One Photo Focus for March – hosted by the lovely and delicious Stacey at Visual Venturing.
For those new to this challenge, its where a group of us all edit the SAME image and see what wild and crazy variations result. This is my third entry and I really enjoy seeing all the different and creative ways people approach their image.
This months image was supplied by Lore from Snow Fissures and Fractures
I looked at the image and decided it needed to be about the sculpture and the plants and foliage. I wanted more texture and contrast and there was a lot of distracting stuff around the edges that I needed to cover up in some way, so that was my approach
Post Processing Steps:
1. Tweak image in LR a bit with exposure, contrast, highlights, clarity, shadows and blacks.
2. Bring into PS and duplicate the background layer – this had the immediate effect of adding lots of contrast and detail into the stone bowl and sculpture
3. Added a quite dark grunge layer on top, one with heavy dark edges to cover over the stuff I wanted covered up. Added a mask in and painted through to the layer beneath to remove the heavy grunge over the sculpture and foliage
4. Copied the Layer in step three to enforce the dark grunge edges and again paint through on a mask to remove the grunge on sculpture and foliage.
5. Add a brightness layer as the grunge had darkened the whole image a lot and added a mask and very lightly touched up some of the over bright areas with a low opacity brush to keep tonal ranges consistent and not blow out the whites on the curve of the bowl.
6. Added a quick mask into the background on Step 4 and managed to blur it quite a lot, I also wanted to darken it too but couldn’t figure out how to do it and the blurring helped achieve what I wanted to. Cropped image a tiny bit on right side.
I’m not 100% happy with how the flowers and foliage ended up looking a bit *too* perfect compared to the rest of the image but overall I am happy with what I achieved.
Like it? Hate it? All comments and feedback welcome, its how I learn!
Wonderful editing job on this photo. I like your results. 🙂
Thanks Cee, there were so many different takes on this image again!
Yes, I like it. Such an interesting look, totally changes the photo.
Thanks Mary, I still wanted the heart of it to be the statue and get rid of the rest 🙂
I really like the version of the picture you created, it’s one of my favorites. To me, you brought out a sort of creepy feel to the photo, and I could easily see it used on the cover of a book. Really nice work!
I can see with the grunge where the creepiness might come in, Im flattered you think it worthy of a book cover!
I like the grungy look you gave it. I think it adds to the texture of the stone beautifully.
Thanks Sara, that was one of the aims, to get that aged look to the stone 🙂
I kinda agree with your last comment. I like the grunge texture but find it heavy on the sides. I do recognize that you were using the texture to cover areas that you weren’t sure you could remove. Possibly cropping the left side of the image and a softening of the texture, I think then the picture would be great.
Thanks Ben, can always rely on you for honest good critique 🙂 I did consider cropping the darker edges but it interfered with the balance of the photo a bit much for what I was imagining. It *is* a dark grunge and so yes a bit too heavy but I struggled to find one that had all the elements I needed.
Now that I think about it I could have made the grunge layer a bit bigger than the image and just laid the lighter part of the grunging around the frame of the image!
I am glad you take my words as they are intended. I also didn’t think about enlarging the grunge layer, that would possibly work as well.
I think part of the problem is I did crop it a bit on the right so the grunge framing around the edges is more unbalanced on the LH side as a result.
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Great work. Interesting editing.
Thanks Raewyn, there were a lot of fun variations. How is your computer going with LR and CC now? Hope its better 🙂
Hi Lensaddiction, I like the idea of the grunge layer, but as noted above it might be a little to dark. I see by your comments to Ben, that you might have found a solution! Another solution, and you might already be aware of this is either changing the blend mode and or the opacity of the layer!? I am not sure if these were options you experimented with, just some of the things I do when working with textures. I love how the dark grunge takes the image to a whole new different place. I love this forum, I learn to see things in new ways!
Thanks Janice, yes I know about blend modes and opacity and those were all tweaked. While I like the quite dark effect it may well be deemed too dark by others, and those are valid comments. I was trying to use the grunge to hide the stuff around the edges but maybe laid it on a bit thick 🙂 Something to remember for next time!
I really like the dramatic mood created by the darkness surrounding the central subject. Ben’s point on the darkness being just a tad bit strong on the left side is well taken, but I don’t have a good suggestion on resolving it. Maybe an exposure (say about +0.40) gradient coming across from the left side using the Camera Raw Filter. But regardless, very interesting approach.
Hi Robin, general consensus seems to be the concept was good but the application a bit lacking LOL And thats all part of the learning exercise. I havent yet mastered the art of the gradients in PS but something to keep in mind 🙂
I wouldn’t say that it was lacking, I really liked it. The little tweak suggested for the left side was a minor point.
I think this is my favourite of them all!! I love the texture and the shadowing!! It reminds me of a garden in Pompeii!!
Thanks Cybele, high praise indeed 🙂
Hmmm. I don’t see grungy as much as I see Renaissance. The darker tones remind me of old world paintings. Well maybe that is today’s grungy?
Renaissance – I will take that with thanks 🙂
I like it. The final cropping is a great touch.
Thanks Nancy – I did crop but not as hard as I might have
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I really like the edit. The viewers eye is really drawn to to the foliage and sculpture.
Thanks Kirsten, that was my aim 🙂
Well you achieved your goal 🙂
Cool edit Stacey, I like the grunge look, I have to agree with earlier comments that it may be a little too dark, or maybe its the balance between the foliage. Have you tried desaturating the colours of the leaves in the planter a little, perhaps this could help with the balance. Overall though, I think it is a really good edit, very different! 🙂
Well, I have to say I really do like the dark grunginess of the photo, Stacey 😀 I understand what others are saying, but all the tones and textures created by duplicating the background layer work really well with the dark vignette. With a stylized approach like this, I think you can get away with more 🙂
Thanks Stacy, I liked it but was concerned it was a bit too heavy around the edges which was a catch 22 because I needed it to be heavy around the edges to hide them LOL
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Hi Stacey! The comments have been interesting. I think for me, I wouldn’t have liked the grunge quite so dark either, but there is no right or wrong answer. It comes down to personal preference and of course, trying to solve the problem you had with the edges. If we all had the same tastes, Stacy wouldn’t have to bother doing this challenge! As it is, your picture turned out great and quite different than the others.
What I found fascinating was how the foliage really popped out, even though it darkened up quite a bit. Although my eye was drawn to the cherub and the bowl, I kept looking at that foliage and enjoying how pretty it was.
One suggestion – had you used a vignette to darken up the edges, you could have put the focal point onto the cherub’s face (remember you can move them around). Right now, I think both the bowl and cherub are the focal points. Not anything major, more something to keep in mind the next time you’re editing.
Thanks Nancy, the grunge got a range of responses, and it was there for a reason so Im just taking that on on the chin really 🙂 It *is* all about the learning after all.
Your comment about the focal point is interesting cos I structured it around both the bowl and the cherub face. The foliage has a bit more visual weight due to the colour I think part of the way I layered the image was to give extra impact to the cherub as well – I felt it needed to be that way to balance out the size and impact of the foliage.
Thanks for your feedback, I preferred the more broken unstructured style of the grunge layer vs a harder vignette, and for the effect I wanted it needed to be quite dark and I thought that would be a bit too much of an abrupt framing.
It was quite a challenging image actually, and of course my PS skills are still at beginner level so I struggle in different ways to more experienced people.
So much to learn!
There is a lot to learn, but with the photography there will always be a lot to learn too! At some point, you have to just create and show it off.
As I said in my comment, some of this comes down to personal preference and what your artistic vision was, within the constraints of your technical abilities. I think that artistically, you did what you set out to do. And be proud of that! The fact that others of us wouldn’t put such a heavy grunge on it is no more than feedback. That doesn’t mean you did something right or wrong.
Having said that, my photography has evolved based on comments back in my blog. My loyal band of commenters really like the bright splashy colors. And you know, when I thought about it, so did I. That’s why you see my stuff be a little more eye popping in brilliance. It’s pretty different than what I posted back in 2011. But if I hadn’t agreed with them, I wouldn’t have changed it.
Thanks for clarifying the focal point being meant to include the bowl. Obviously, you achieved that! And I think you’re right that the vignette would not have given you what you were trying for.
Thanks Nancy, I was proud of what I achieved, I did several new things in this image I hadn’t done before and the learning is the heart of participating in this challenge (as well as interacting with a great community and creating cool images LOL) from my POV so I count that for the win.
Editing is still such new ground for me and also so much of an aesthetic choice that i find all comments valuable!
I love it. But than again, I am addicted to darkness. I often get comments how my images are too dark. The grungy effect works nicely, it adds a bit of mystery to the image, removing it from the original.
Thanks Lore, I liked it to but was concerned the grunge was a bit heavy, I liked the way it bought the focus to the foliage and the face of the statue tho 🙂
Having just looked at your March Week 3, and listening to Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters currently, this image has a much darker tone than when I saw it on Friday! Ha! 😀
This is one of those images that grows on you, maybe I’m in a more grungy mood currently, but I like it.
I’m not sure what you mean by adding a grunge layer (I’m assuming it’s a preset filter?), but if you wanted to add a bit more texture to the foliage, you might try the grunge effect I did back in December (http://photography-by-nic.com/2014/12/02/one-four-challenge-december-week-1/)… the technique is from a Scott Kelby book.
LOL thats one of my fave Metallica songs – maybe I should listen to more of it while im working 🙂
The grunge layer refers to adding an image that had been grunged up giving the black texture across it and around the edges – its a style of image for layering and artistic effects and I have a small archive of them now.
I apply it as a layer with suitable blend mode, adjust the opacity and then put a masking layer on top and paint thru that with brushes of varying opacity to increase or decrease the effect
Thanks for clarifying the grunge layer 🙂 It’s a good Metallica album 😀