Thanks for your input c.pfaffenbichler: I'm trying to isolate when the loss of contrast condition began to occur. Please note the attached images. I went back to images that I processed in January and opened the layer files, reprocessed them using the same adjustment as I'm presently using. As you can see there is NO loss in contrast between the flattened and unflattened version. It seems to me that something has been introduced recently that is precipitating this problem.... thanks again
It is apparent that no change has taken place; the contrast ajustment remains intact upon flattening. I'm narrowing this down and it's beginning to look like the issue is limited to a specific series of photos.
Thanks again to all for your help. When I feel I've arrived at a definitive answer I'll post it to this forum.
Thanks for your feedback Noel: Apparently the driver is not the problem. The Nik conflict disappeared. The issue exists only after a my latest photo date. All the image captured previously are processing normally. Also..... HA!.... Images captured in JPEG are not affected, its only my CR2 images that precipitate the loss of contrast problem.
To make things more visible to others, when a screenshot is posted, please crop off the extra black area ( from a 2nd monitor?) at the right and elsewhere (in Photoshop if there is no other tool available) before uploading. It is impossible to see details with the tiny size the important areas of the screenshots turn out to be when uploaded with so much black surrounding it.
To investigate what is happening, make a copy of the first example you posted from where the gentleman’s face shows a significant change upon flattening, crop it down to just the gentleman’s face, save a copy of that copy and then remove the layers one by one, flattening and undoing each time, to see which layer it was that makes the most difference.
Another idea would be to actually upload your Photoshop file, itself, with the layers still intact and let others try the flatten operation in case it doesn’t happen on other computers. If you don’t have any online-accessible large-file storage, yourself, then you can use something like www.yousendit.com or www.dropbox.com to create a download link and then post that link in a message, here. If the man’s-face crop shows the same symptoms, then uploading that smaller copy would be sufficient.
Are these images a mixture of only black and white pixels, as from a FAX machine or printer halftone or simulated engraving? The reduced size of that sort of image is very sensitive to resizing-artifacts.
I have a layered file loaded into YOUSENDIT. However.... when I enter your email address: forums at adobe dot com - firstname.lastname@example.org - I get this automatic response: "please enter valid email addresses". Is there another email address that I can use?.... every step forward includes a half-step back.. amazing.... thanks
Hmmmmmm... "the URL". Would that be the URL we are using to carry on this discussion: http://forums.adobe.com/message/4350306
Sorry to be so dense but the entire Forun experience is new to me. Usually I lay my PS problems at the feet of my Photoshop Godess, who ownes a design business in NYC. However, neither she nor anyone in her studio could help me with this problem. Thanks again for your patience and forebarence.
I understand the zoning out part.... I feel the same way. I'm uploading three layered files for yousendit and will send the link out today - 367mb, 156mb and 308mb. Two of the images were captured as CR2 and one as JPEG Large.
Regarding the viewing at 100%.... as I've previously stated, the effect I'm getting, loss in contrast, does not take place at that magnification. But that's a moot point, just because the loss of contrast is not apparent at 100% does not mean it isn't doesn't exist. When the image is reduced back to viewable size and prepared for the printer (saved as a PDF or JPEG) the loss of contrast is very evident. Regardless of all that, my distribution of these images does not include printing. They are for electronic publishing only and fur sure the loss of contrast is there. The only time I print is for exhibition or portfolio display.
I'm trying various workarounds at this time. I've even tried re-introducing a levels layer after flattening and loss of contrast in hopes of getting back to the contrasty look I want. It doesn't work.... as soon as I flatten the two layers (background and levels) the loss occurs.
I've considered re-installing Photoshop but I googled that possibility and the horror stories surrounding un-installing and re-installing Photoshop 5.5 are enough to make me want to take a shotgun to my computer. My Photoshop Goddess in NYC is laughing at me because she uses Macs in her studio and she blames it all on my PC.
Thanks again.... Charles O. Slavens
Per your suggestion I've uploaded some layered files to yousend it. Please download the files and open them in CS5.5. Thanks for your time and considerable effort..... http://http://www.yousendit.com/download/M3BtcXlpOC96NEt2eE1UQw
I've considered re-installing Photoshop
That won’t change perfectly normal and expected behaviour (and that is what I assume this is).
But that's a moot point, just because the loss of contrast is not apparent at 100% does not mean it isn't doesn't exist.
The contrast you see in the smaller magnification is in all propability basically a »display error« due to a noisy image – it is not really there, only what you can see at Actual Pixels magnification is really there.
If you were to downsample the layered file to the pixel dimensions at which you are displaying the image you might approximate the result – albeit at the cost of the resolution naturally.
If you need credentials try this thread, where Mr.Cox talks about the issue:
My Photoshop Goddess in NYC is laughing at me because she uses Macs in her studio and she blames it all on my PC.
As far as I can tell so far she is wrong in assuming this is a Mac/PC issue.
FYI, you formatted the link badly in the above post, but I managed to download your files. I'm kind of surprised you didn't think to crop the files to just the parts showing the problem in order to reduce their sizes, but it's no matter, I have a fast connection.
It is EXACTLY as Christoph has said above - you're working with images that are substantially black and white (mostly grain/dots, not grayscale), and are expecting Levels operations to affect the downsized previews, which are necessarily resampled, in exactly the same ways they affect the black and white dots. They don't - it's as simple as that.
Do you really NEED these tremendously grainy images to be that way? If not, blur them some then you will find the flattened images match the previews much better.
By the way, from everything I have seen, PCs can actually run Photoshop as well or better than Macs.
Which means post 1 had hit the spot …
Another thing, Charles, your Layers/Layer Masks could maybe be more efficiently structured.
It seems you have two Masks that are negatives of each other and both of them on two Layers.
By clipping masking the Adjustment to the Layer and moving that Group up you might be able to save yourself three Masks (though maybe there are reasons for the structure I’m missing).
This might save very little in disk space but make editing a bit easier.
I will follow up on your suggestion, but I'd like to reiterate that I've been using this workflow for years and this is the first time I've had this problem. Why would it suddenly start happening? The only thing I'm doing different is that I inserted Nik B&W conversion into the process. I thought, heck... this must be the problem! But, I went back and used Photoshop's adjustment to B&W with the same results.
Quite frankly I tire of what seems to be your reluctance or inability to accept or understand what has been explained again and again (and again …).
If the issue did not arise with other images then those images were (obviously) different; the one image I downloaded seems to have been shot with very little light wherefore it is extremely grainy.
But as Noel has pointed out you could alleviate that (see screenshot) …
Also I think you should log in to the Forum and assign Noel’s post 1 the correct answer tag.
Well I composed a very carefull and detailed Word document (complete with photos), in which I've addressed your last five posts. However, your format for replying in the forum does not allow me to copy and paste it into this response. However, in short.... I'd like thank c.pfaffenbichler, ssprengel, emil emil, and Noel Carboni for your patience and forbarence as I stumbled through my frirst "forum" experience.Charles O. Slavens
I spent a lot of time composing a word document in answer to the last 5 posts from the Forum responders. However I could not paste, attach, or insert it into your "reply" form. So, I'm hoping the attached .doc file will be openable.
I've also included a link to my YOUSENDIT page where the layered .psd files are available.
Some further explanation:
These photos were shot at a deployment ceremony for troops on their way to Afghanistan. I used flash for the on-stage speakers but felt it was inappropriate to use flash on the audience. I had to raise my ISO to 3500 (Canon 40d), which meant very grainy images. Very grainy images mostly look awful in color and that's why I converted to BW. I did NOT see a loss of contrast upon flattening in COLOR. Some kind of anomaly was introduced after conversion to BW and that apparently precipitated the loss of contrast.
Believing that NO problem is unsolvable I experimented. I discovered that if I add a small LEVELS correction (not an adjustment layer) starting at IMAGE/ADJUSTMENTS/LEVELS on the background layer immediately after opening and before converting to BW that step will block the loss of contrast upon flattening.
I've tried this on three images that exhibited the problem and it's working so far.
This was my first FORUM attempt and again, I want to thank everyone for their extreme patience.
It's been a knowledge-enhancing and enlightening experience... Charles O. Slavens