1 2 Previous Next 60 Replies Latest reply: Apr 27, 2012 9:17 AM by oslavens RSS

    FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST

    oslavens

      I'm using a Windows 7 icore7 machine. The file I'm working on is composed of six layers: 1) a masked Levels layer; 2) a masked Noise layer; 3) a masked Hipass layer; 4) a convert to BW layer; 5) a copy of the background layer; 6) the background layer. All the eyes on the layers are ON.

       

      When I Flatten Image the contrasty look I've created with the Levels adjustment layer AND with the Hipass layer disappears and the flattened image no longer exhibits those qualities - in other words it reverts back to being soft, low contrast.

       

      All the eyes are ON.

       

      I tried various combinations of MERGE VISIBLE and the same thing happens.

       

      I swapped Hipass for Unsharp Mask and for Smart Sharpen and even more weirdness happens - These filters have no effect at all.

       

      Short of a re-install, what can I do?

       

      Thanks....

       

       

      Charles O. Slavens 

        • 1. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
          Noel Carboni Community Member

          Do you see the same thing if you are looking at the image at 100% zoom?

           

          Have you checked the web site of the maker of your video card to see if they have released an updated display driver for your hardware and operating system?

           

          -Noel

          • 2. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
            oslavens Community Member

            Please note the entire explanation at the bottom.

             

            Now that I've installed this new driver my Nik Silver effects Pro will not convert a color image to B&W.

             

            http://us.download.nvidia.com/Windows/296.10/296.10-desktop-win7-winvista-64bit-english-wh ql.exe

             

            Geforce g210

             

            The low contrast still exists any magnification.

             

            C:\NVIDIA\DisplayDriver\296.10\WinVista_Win7_64\English

            • 3. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
              Trevor.Dennis MVP

              Blimey!  I'm not so sure it's a good idea linking to exe files on this foorum. 

               

              Noel is making a good point regarding viewing at 100%, but there a definitely times when flaterning the layer stack leads to unexpected results.  The workaround is to add a Copy Merged Layers layer to the top of the stack before flaterning.  (Shift Ctrl Alt e)

              • 4. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                Noel Carboni Community Member

                Trevor.Dennis wrote:

                 

                there a[re] definitely times when flaterning the layer stack leads to unexpected results.  The workaround is to add a Copy Merged Layers layer to the top of the stack before flaterning.  (Shift Ctrl Alt e)

                I'm wondering how...  Incomplete transparency all the way through, perhaps?  Bottom layer over transparency using something other than Normal blending?

                 

                Perhaps it would be good to get into specifics here...  What, exactly, does your Layers panel look like before the flatten operation, oslavens?

                 

                Ideally, could you crop a small part of your document and save it as a relatively small PSD file, then share it here?  We could use that to both try to reproduce the problem elsewhere, and (assuming we can) examine it to see what's up.  I know that with such an example in hand I could tell you why it's happening, as I'm sure could others here.

                 

                -Noel

                • 5. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                  Trevor.Dennis MVP

                  Noel, it is no doubt lazy of me, but I tend to take a 'black box' attitude, and use the workaround and get on with stuff, but I have just had a quick seach:

                   

                  http://en.allexperts.com/q/Adobe-Photoshop-1028/2008/3/Merge-layers-losing-effects.htm

                  http://forums.adobe.com/thread/370669

                   

                  BTW  Thanks for fixing my typo.  I am definitely pants with a keyboard!

                  • 6. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                    oslavens Community Member

                    I tried to send the layered files via www.yousendit.com . However, the above address is rejected as invalid.

                     

                    Do you have a less complex email address. 

                     

                    I greatly appreciate the time you're taking to assist me in tracking down this very frustrating problem. This entire project has ground to a halt.

                     

                    Another quirky little thing that seems to be happening is that it's only the MASKED part of the image that changes.

                     

                    Throughout the entire process I use positive and negative masks to control the foreground and the background separately. I start with the color image, in addition to the BACKGROUND layer and a COPY layer,  I have two LEVELS masks, two HUE/SAT masks, a SHARPENING mask for the foreground, and a NOISE mask for the background. This is a standard workflow that I've been using in various combinations for years. When I flatten the COLOR layers the change in contrast does not take place.

                     

                    This series of photos that I'm working on at the moment requires a conversion to BW. So the next step is flattening of the color layers and converting to BW. Here again I use a combination of masks to control various elements of the image.

                     

                    The loss of contrast only happens when I flatten after converting to BW... and it doesn't matter if the conversion is done in Nik, or in Photoshop.

                     

                    When flatten the color layers

                     

                    Thanks.... Charles O. Slavens

                    • 7. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                      c.pfaffenbichler Community Member

                      The low contrast still exists any magnification.

                      Just to make sure: You are viewing at 100% before flattening and on flattening the appearance changes?

                      • 8. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                        westcopake Community Member

                        I had the same problem six years ago and addressed it to the Forum and was told it was a problem with not viewing at 100%. However, when I made a print of the unflattenned and then the flattenned print, there were definite differences of loss of shadow details and other subtle differences which lead me to believe that there was a real difference in some images between unflattenned and flattenned. Try printing a flattenned and unflattenned version of the image.

                        • 9. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                          Noel Carboni Community Member

                          Send it to your own eMail address when using YouSendIt, then put the URL here.

                           

                          -Noel

                          • 10. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                            Noel Carboni Community Member

                            Something to try, oslavens, is to create a 100% opaque white background layer at the very bottom (assuming you don't already have an opaque bottom layer), and see if the problem is alleviated when the image is flattened.

                             

                            -Noel

                            • 11. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                              oslavens Community Member

                              Viewing at 100% does not change the effect caused by flattening - loss of contrast. An odd twist is that only that part of the image that is revealed by a mask is effected by this change.

                               

                              I'd be happy to send the layered files of both the color (no problems here) image and the BW layered image where the low contrast effect does take place.

                               

                              I tried uploading the files (240mb each) to www.yousendit.com but your email address seems to be too complicated for their program. Do you have a less complex email address? If so I'll send them immediately.

                              • 12. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                oslavens Community Member

                                I tried your suggestion - created an empty layer and filled with black (also tried white). In addition I moved the layer up and down the stack with no change in results. The portion of the image revealed by the mask is where the low contrast change takes place.

                                 

                                I'd be happy to send the layered files of both the color (no problems here) image and the BW layered image where the low contrast effect does take place.

                                 

                                I tried uploading the files (240mb each) to www.yousendit.com but your email address seems to be too complicated for their program. Do you have a less complex email address? If so I'll send them immediately.

                                 

                                thanks for taking the time to consider my dilemma.... Charles O. Slavens

                                • 13. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                  c.pfaffenbichler Community Member

                                  Could you please post two screenshots (before and after) at 100% view with Layers Panel visible on this Forum?

                                  • 14. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                    oslavens Community Member

                                    Here's a print screen of the flattened and unflattened files. Hope this help you see the problem. Only the revealed part of the mask is effected by the loss of contrast when the files is flattened....

                                     

                                    Thanks.... chas.

                                    • 15. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                      oslavens Community Member

                                      Here's a print screen of the flattened and unflattened files. Hope this help you see the problem. Only the revealed part of the mask is effected by the loss of contrast when the files is flattened....

                                       

                                      Thanks.... chas.

                                      • 16. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                        oslavens Community Member

                                        These files will never be printed. It's just for web distribution. Attached are some screen shots. You'll notice that it's only the revealed portion of the mask that loses contrast.

                                         

                                        Something new every day....

                                         

                                        charles o. slavens

                                        • 17. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                          oslavens Community Member

                                          Waaaaaaaaaaa? You cannot examine a photo at 100%.  At 100% you can only see a small portion of the entire image. These photos will never be printed, they are for web distribution ONLY.

                                           

                                          I put the UNflattened, layered file through the SAVE FOR WEB process. Please notice the attached image. The contrast is missing from the revealed portion of the masked layer.

                                           

                                          This is a phenomenon that has recently arisen. I've been using this work flow for YEARS! And NOW I can't flatten an image and retain the adjustment layer effects.

                                           

                                          Something is happening that I can't control.

                                           

                                          Problem not solved so far...... thanks for your time... please don't give up on me!

                                          • 18. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                            emil emil Community Member

                                            oslavens, I don't see any images and files attached in any of your posts. If you can't examine and see an entire image intended for web usage at 100% zoom, then the question is what kind of screen are you using - it should very small in comparison ot the monitors of the intended web users. If you have an average size monitor and you can't see the entire image at 100% zoom then probably no one on the web will see it either unless the image is resized by the web program which naturally will remove detail information and can indeed loose contrast.

                                            • 19. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                              oslavens Community Member

                                              Hmmmmmm ..... I just examined all of my sent items and all but one of my returns to you guys has images attached. Another cyber mystery.

                                               

                                              Regarding your definition of "100%".... There must be a discrepancy in TERMS here. I'm using two 17 inch screens with a dual head video card and I normally view the image on one screen while the 2nd screen shows my layers, tools, and adjustments. If I magnify an image to 100% I can only see part of the image. Yes, you are correct - If I raise the magnification to 100% and flatten there is no APPARENT CHANGE in contrast... BUT... when I reduce it to full screen size the contrast disappears and I'm back to the original problem. The exercise of enlarging to 100% seems kinda pointless if the REAL result is still a loss in contrast.

                                               

                                              Please note the attached examples of the low contrast shift.

                                               

                                              Thanks for your continued help on this matter. Please understand, I've been using this workflow for years with consistent results, but now I'm absolutely at a stand-still on this project because I can't save flattened images that retain contrast..... charles o. slavens

                                              • 20. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                c.pfaffenbichler Community Member

                                                Images attached to emails are useless on this Forum. 

                                                 

                                                »If I raise the magnification to 100% and flatten there is no APPARENT CHANGE in contrast...«

                                                Now you finally state it … it has been asked several time!

                                                Views of other than Actual Pixels mean that Layer Masks and the other Layers are interpolated and therefore the result can differ.

                                                • 21. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                  oslavens Community Member

                                                  I gotta say, I'm a little flummoxed here. We're talking discussing a VISUAL medium and you're saying that I can't send visuals to demonstrate my problem? Would you like me to post the image on PICASA? I think it's important that you are able to see what I'm taking about.

                                                   

                                                  The key word here is APPARENT. Yes, you are correct - If I raise the magnification to 100% and flatten (while still at 100%) there is no APPARENT change in contrast... BUT... when I reduce it to normal full screen size the contrast disappears and I'm back to the original problem.... no contrast.  The exercise of enlarging to 100% seems kinda pointless if the REAL result is still a loss in contrast.

                                                   

                                                  And oh.... just a little note here... this change in contrast ONLY occurs in the REVEALED portion of the mask.

                                                   

                                                  And, I'd like to re-state - I've been using this workflow pattern for years with consistent results. This is a recent phenomenon and it has absolutely stopped me in my tracks.

                                                  • 22. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                    c.pfaffenbichler Community Member

                                                    You can post images on the Forum in the browser (with the camera icon), but not via email replies.

                                                     

                                                    The previews are derived at from the interpolated elements (so for example a layer with only pure black and white may develop intermediate tones that are then affected by Adjustment Layers that dio not affect the actual pixels); any preview size other (at least bigger) than actual pixels can differ from the actual result therefore.

                                                    If the workflow has worked for you so far without noticing that it seems likely that this image differs significantly from the ones you usually edited.

                                                    • 23. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                      oslavens Community Member

                                                      I'm sorry about the missing attached images, I had no idea that you couldn't attach images to the emails. I'll go to the Forum browser and do that. Regarding the appearance of the "preview" image..... I'm not sure what you mean by "preview". I make adjustments on my photos based upon what I see in my layered image. When I flatten it I expect it to retain all the corrections that I've worked so hard to achieve. Are you telling me that I should ignore the appearance of the flattened image and proceed to print?

                                                       

                                                      I'll print some of those images today just to see if what you say is correct. HOWEVER.... as I've stated previously... print is not the intended use here and the images which I'm generating DO retain the lack of contrast problem that I'm trying to find the solution for. Regardless, how can I expect to make correct creative decisions as I proceed to work on the image if the image does not reflect the sum of all my efforts? You're saying... 'just ignore what it looks like and plunge forward?'

                                                      • 24. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                        c.pfaffenbichler Community Member

                                                        I'm not sure what you mean by "preview".

                                                        When Photoshop displays the effect multiple (Adjustment) Layers have on each other it does not actually calculate a flattened resulting image in full res and downsamples that to the magnification you view at, but performs those operations with the resampled elements, so it is a preview.

                                                        curvesAtActualPixelsScr.jpg

                                                        Edit: The issue applies to Layer Masks and Layers alike.

                                                         

                                                        Are you telling me that I should ignore the appearance of the flattened image and proceed to print?

                                                        Others and I are telling you that any preview other than Actual Pixels is not reliable, so what you think you have achieved you may not have achieved at all so long as you don’t see it at Actual Pixels-view.

                                                        • 25. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                          oslavens Community Member

                                                          I'd be happy to post screen shots that demonstrate what we're discussing. I've examined every square inch of the Forum screen and I failed to find the "camera icon". I have:

                                                          compatibility view button

                                                          command bar

                                                          status bar

                                                          ask took bar

                                                          address bar

                                                          I'm I nuts?... blind?... or what?

                                                          • 27. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                            oslavens Community Member

                                                            Well, I'm lucky... I learn something every day.

                                                             

                                                            But I gotta say... I've been using PS since about 2000 and what I see on my screen and what I'm sending out seem pretty much the same to me. I don't think what I'm doing today differs from what I did last week when I didn't have this problem.

                                                             

                                                            Also... I want to reiterate.. this ONLY occurs on the REVEALED portion of the layered image.

                                                             

                                                            If I could find the "CAMERA" button on for Forum screen I'd send some PRINTSCREEN examples. Please give me a hint where it is, cuz I've examined the screen from top to bottom

                                                             

                                                            Please hang in there... and... thanx...

                                                            • 28. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                              c.pfaffenbichler Community Member

                                                              There is a screenshot in my last post – please visit the Forum with your browser.

                                                              • 29. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                ssprengel MVP

                                                                A link to your image is contained in the e-mail from the forum to the rest of us and shows the camera icon on the forum-post entry box toolbar highlighted in dark red.

                                                                • 30. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                  oslavens Community Member

                                                                  Thanks... I will proceed.... chas.

                                                                  • 31. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                    oslavens Community Member

                                                                    This link opens in LIVEMAIL which I'm not using. Is there another link for those of us who are not using this email client?.... thanx

                                                                    • 32. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                      emil emil Community Member

                                                                      This is basically how you make images intended for viewing on the web.

                                                                      First find out what is the average pixel count size of the monitors of your intended viewers. This is a link to a web site that can give you a clue for the general trends http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_display.asp and if you are interested in specific group and web sites you can use tools like this http://www.tastyplacement.com/monitor-size-statistics-for-web-design-html . After  you know the average pixel count size of the monitors of the intended viewers then you can decide how large as pixel count you want your images to appear in that space. You have to make this decision by viewing your images at 100% zoom. At 100% zoom one pixel of your image fits into one pixel of your monitor. When you zoom out less then 100%, a group of pixels from the image will be represented using their average color with one monitor pixel and this causes loss of detail and changed image appearance like the one you are experiencing. When you zoom in more than 100%, one pixel from the image will occupy a group of monitor's pixels and this will give enlarged pixel appearance (steps like effect) jaggies. Web browsers by default display images at 100%.  If your images are for a web site that is yet to be designed, and you are one of the design decision makers, create a new Photoshop document with a pixel count that is the average pixel count size of the monitors of your intended viewers and having in mind the other elements of the web page, decide the amount of space your images will be occupy in the overall design. If your images are going to appear on existing web site/s. Visit the site and make a screen capture of your screen, go back in Photoshop, choose to create a new document which automatically is set to the the pixel count of the content on your clipboard, and after that paste the screen capture. Then create or scale down your images to fit in the desired space. Again, the final effect will be what you view at 100% zoom. With all that said, have in mind that if your images are going to be posted on certain web site like this Adobe forum - images posted here are displayed in the messages as previews with certain size limit. Images larger than this limit will be scaled down automatically by the site but if you click on the preview image, it will show the full size as it appears at 100% zoom in Photoshop. You have to check how your images will be treated on the web sites you plan to use and then you can create them with the optimal pixel count size.

                                                                      Another thing that you also have to be aware is that you don't have control over the physical size of your images because different monitors and display devices have different size pixels and this will make an image with the same pixel count displayed with the same zoom to appear at different physical sizes on the various monitor models and devices such as smart phones.

                                                                      • 33. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                        oslavens Community Member

                                                                        These are screen shot examples of the flattened image loss of contrast problem.... thanx for your time'

                                                                         

                                                                         

                                                                         

                                                                         

                                                                        Charles O. Slavens 

                                                                        "The apparent is never the real!"

                                                                        WEBSITE - http://winterscreen.com

                                                                        FLICKR - http://www.flickr.com/photos/37058183@N06/

                                                                        PICASA - https://picasaweb.google.com/home

                                                                        FACEBOOK - http://www.facebook.com/media/albums/?id=1386465259

                                                                        FOTOBLUR - http://www.fotoblur.com/portfolio/coslavens?p=1

                                                                        • 34. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                          ssprengel MVP

                                                                          View the forum message on the web-version of the forum, to see the image indicating the camera icon’s location inline in the forum post.  If clicking on the link in your e-mail does something you’re not expecting then copy/paste or type-in the following link to the forum message:

                                                                           

                                                                          http://forums.adobe.com/message/4349088#4349088

                                                                          • 35. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                            ssprengel MVP

                                                                            There are no images contained in your forum post, probably because you’re not using the camera icon, in the web-forum version of the posts, yet—see the link to the web-forum posts in my other post, just now.

                                                                             

                                                                            Perhaps you can create a hidden gallery on your winterscreen.com site and post a link to it.  A hidden gallery containing the screenshots you’re unable to post, here.

                                                                             

                                                                            BTW, your Fotoblur link in your sig leads to a page that doesn’t exist, and the Picasa link in your sig is something generic that shows everyone their own photos, not yours for others to see.

                                                                            • 36. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                              oslavens Community Member

                                                                              I'm sorry I neglected to delete that link from my signature. I abandoned FOTOBLUR months ago and asked to be removed from their site..... chas.

                                                                              • 38. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                                oslavens Community Member

                                                                                UNFLATTENED_9544-1.jpgThanks for the feedback Trevor.Dennis: I when I MERGE LAYERS or MERGE VISIBLE I get the same results - loss of contrast in the flattened version. BTW this only occurs in the REVEALED portion of the masked layer. Note the attachedFLATTENED_9544-1.jpg

                                                                                • 39. Re: FLATTEN IMAGE LOSES CONTRAST
                                                                                  oslavens Community Member

                                                                                  I seem to have committed multiple error in communications procedure during this session. I'm very unfamiliar with the processs. I was REPLYING to the email responses rather than clicking on the REPLY button. Apologies to all and I'd like to thank everyone for the patience. I always thought my fallback position would be to uninstall/reinstall CS5.5. This is on a Windows 7 machine with SP3. HOWEVER.... upon googling that thought I've now discovered another galaxy of problems which make my current issue pale in comparison.

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