The After and Before forum is organised by Stacy Fischer, it is a place where amateurs as well as seasoned photographers explain the wow and how about their photo and editing decision.You can read more here about how to take part.
This is the “After and Before Forum” since Christmas and we have a special twist. Each month one member of the forum will put up an image for the whole forum to edit. This may sound familiar I hear you say. Yes it is, for the 6 month anniversary we did something similar but voted on the picture. With the idea originally being Emilio’s he has the honour of having his picture edited first.
The picture to start with is very much an Emilio image (In my opinion) and I have seen other images of his with a similar theme and subject. With this in mind my creative subconscious may have been trying to channel Emilio during the creative process. When I first looked at the picture I knew there needed to be a HDR like effect to create some contrast.
I am not a fan of making single image HDRs as they feel a bit like a cheat. I did remember however that I had a recipe in my collection for creating a topaz feeling image without the use of the topaz filter, which would give that classic HDR feel to an image.
First I started in Camera Raw and changed the Process from 2012 to 2010. In 2012 there was a major shakeup in the Camera Raw settings going from recover and fill in light to Shadows and Highlight sliders. Although they pretty much do the same thing they did create a slightly different effect when applied.
With the new settlings I pushed; Recovery, Fill in Light, Contrast, and Clarity to 100% and increased the vibrance by 40.
I applied some capture sharpening and reduced the noise as well before creating a custom vignette using the elliptical adjustment tool. I used a large elliptical adjustment and set the feather to 56 and then darkened the area outside of the selection by reducing the Exposure -0.15 and brightness -42, as well as increasing the saturation slightly.
I opened the image from Adobe Camera Raw into Photoshop as a smart object. I created a hue and saturation adjustment layer and desaturated all the colours, -61. The yellow truck was now looking a bit drab so I used the hue and saturation selection tool and selectively increased the saturation of the yellows. Increasing yellow saturation always has an effect on greens in nature for example in the trees and grass and as a result this also became more saturated.
I needed to apply some aggressive sharpening to give that over sharpened feel but I didn’t like how the image looked. In the end I preferred a normal high pass sharpening and then selectively applied this through a layer mask to the yellow truck. In doing this I exaggerated the focus on the car leaving everything else looking soft.
A lot of these classic HDR images have a strange softness to them. I created this by applying a gaussian blur to the back ground image. Because I kept the image as a smart object I was then able to change the blending of the filter to multiply within the smart object. This added a dark glow to the whole image.
Since the whole image was much darker now I created a burn layer ( new layer, filling it with 50% grey and then setting the blending to overlay) and used a low opacity white brush to burn in some details of the truck paying attention to the metal work and lights.
Finally I cropped the image slightly to remove something on the right.
The final image has a HDR contrast feel without being too aggressive and leaves the truck some room to breathe. The great composition and focusing is all Emilio’s work and there was nothing to be improved upon there.
Tell me what you think in the comments below.
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