13 Replies Latest reply on Sep 30, 2011 5:35 PM by areohbee

    Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge

    Noel Carboni Level 7

      No pressure, just a bit of fun here.  In a recent thread I posted a raw file to illustrate a sky color issue, and several people showed an interest in processing it into an image using techniques they often use.

       

      Let's do it again, with a better image this time.

       

      Imagine you've been contracted to do a shoot of a Dark Charcoal Mustang GT for a brochure.  You drive the car to a scenic spot on a pretty day, take some photos, and now you're back at your computer with the raw files.  Your goal is to produce the following:

      A 2400 x 1600 pixel sRGB image that makes the car look great.

       

      The image might have elements you want to remove, colors you want to improve, shapes you want to distort...  Do anything you want to try to make the car appealing - mild to wild!

       

      I've posted a Canon EOS-40D raw file here:

       

      http://Noel.ProDigitalSoftware.com/ForumPosts/IMG_1728.zip

       

      Open this image using Camera Raw, tweak it as you see fit, and post the 2400 x 1600 pixel result in this thread.

       

      Have fun!

       

      -Noel

       

       

      P.S., here's my result.  You might want to wait until you finish until you look at my interpretation.  Or look at it now and one-up me!  All in fun!

        • 1. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
          Jeff Schewe Level 5

          Noel,

           

          So...is this your car? Is this a fancy stunt to get really cool images of your car?

           

          Just joking...I may take a whack at it but I'm kinda under deadline at the moment. We'll see...

           

          Jeff

          • 2. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
            Noel Carboni Level 7

            My son's car, actually.  And it's now a whole generation out of date.  This is one of a set of photos I took of it when it was new.

             

            I actually got the images I wanted from it, and even made him a big print from an image much like the result I posted above (though I didn't get the sky color as good).

             

            This is really just a fun little project, something to do, the kind of which I'd like to see more of here.  I find I learn more seeing what other people accomplish than I can by experimenting with techniques on my own.

             

            If you'd rather, post a raw file of your own.

             

            -Noel

            • 3. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
              Yammer Level 4

              ACR 6.5: White balance 6000/-4, fill 10, brightness 60, contrast 35, clarity 35, saturation 6, sharpening 30/1.4/30/30, HSL green/blue lum -10/sat +20, horizontal transform -10, rotate -3.7, Lens Correction, r/c -5, b/y -3, Gradient -0.70 from cloud to bonnet, PC vignette -80/60/-20/70/0, Adobe Standard, sRGB/2MP/screen standard. No Photoshop.

               

              IMG_1728.JPG

              • 4. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                areohbee Level 5

                I don't trust this forum to display my photos properly, so...:

                 

                http://robcole.com/Rob/Personal/Pictures/Pictures.cfm?embedSWF&startDir=2011&openDir=Misco r&openFile=IMG_1728.jpg

                 

                100% Lightroom - mostly globals but a few locals too...

                 

                Portrait Profile:

                car-compare.png

                Surprised me that I preferred the portrait profile for this photo.

                • 5. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                  Noel Carboni Level 7

                  First, I want to say that I hope you don't mind some critique...  None of this is meant to be negative, but simply observations heavily salted with my opinion and preferences.  Take my comments with a grain of that salt, please.

                   

                  Yammer P:  Nice work!  I like how the vignetting brings the viewer's focus in, though I might have preferred it a bit softer.  The clouds have excellent depth in your rendition - really nice, almost stormy - and you achieved a nice deep sky color.  You've balanced it perhaps a bit warm, to where the road is almost brown, but this works because it makes it feel more rich, and the clouds are still nice and white (and better than mine).  The tone curve and clarity setting you chose worked to enhance the car's shine, but the only downside is that the tires are on the edge of blacked out.  That, and the fact that the distant trees are pretty dark may not be bad things, though...  They give the image some mystery, enhancing that "stormy clouds" impression.  Looks like other than rotating the image so the pole was straight up and down, you didn't try to distort it any further.  When I shot the image I intentionally put in some angle for "attitude", but in processing it I felt like it was a bit extreme. 

                   

                  Rob Cole:  Also nice work!  You also chose a bit warmer color balance than I did, though not quite as warm as Yammer's.  However, in your case the sky and clouds seem to have less depth than I would like (e.g., the subject of my other thread on sky colors being a bit washed out).  And, like Yammer's, the tone curve in the darker parts almost hides all the tire detail, though as I mentioned above maybe this is actually a plus.  You did also bring out the depth of the reflections in the surface of the car nicely.  Looks like you distorted the image as I did to both level things a little and offset some of the perspective distortion.  P.S., I didn't figure out which buttons to press on your site to download the full resolution image.  But I was able to get it full screen, which was enough to judge quality.

                   

                  I note that neither of you chose to use Content Aware Fill to get rid of the poles in the image. 

                   

                  Thanks for your efforts here, guys.  I love seeing other folks' perspectives.  Feel free to post files of your own any time.

                   

                  -Noel

                  • 6. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                    Yammer Level 4

                    Noel Carboni wrote:

                     

                    I note that neither of you chose to use Content Aware Fill to get rid of the poles in the image. 

                     

                    I thought that would be cheating. As this is a Camera Raw forum, I thought it would be best to limit processing to ACR.

                     

                    You're right, the picture is warmed up quite a bit—this was deliberate. I thought a hot car deserved a hot environment. I also used a bit of horizontal perspective adjustment—the wrong way—to emphasise the bonnet even more.

                     

                    If I allowed myself to use Photoshop, I would have done two more things: used a bit of shadow contrast enhancement plug-in, to bring out more detail in the car; and used content-aware fill and clone stamp to get rid of the poles!

                    Also, given another stab, I might have used a bit less fake vignette, which didn't look as extreme in the larger version.

                    • 7. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                      MTSTUNER Level 6

                      On the road for a few days, so this gave me something to fool around with between jobs.

                      Sorry about the small size, but they only have dial-up here.

                       

                       

                      IMG_1728.jpg

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      MTSTUNER

                      • 8. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                        Noel Carboni Level 7

                        Cool, looks like he's drifting!  Interesting use of yellowing to make the car stand out from the background too.  Also makes it seem like evening, and the lights being on seems all the more natural.

                         

                        -Noel

                        • 9. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                          areohbee Level 5

                          I like the effect - are you not going to share your secret recipe?

                          • 10. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                            areohbee Level 5

                            Noel Carboni wrote:

                             

                            Rob Cole:  Also nice work!  You also chose a bit warmer color balance than I did, though not quite as warm as Yammer's.  However, in your case the sky and clouds seem to have less depth than I would like (e.g., the subject of my other thread on sky colors being a bit washed out).  And, like Yammer's, the tone curve in the darker parts almost hides all the tire detail, though as I mentioned above maybe this is actually a plus.  You did also bring out the depth of the reflections in the surface of the car nicely.  Looks like you distorted the image as I did to both level things a little and offset some of the perspective distortion.  P.S., I didn't figure out which buttons to press on your site to download the full resolution image.  But I was able to get it full screen, which was enough to judge quality.

                             

                            I note that neither of you chose to use Content Aware Fill to get rid of the poles in the image. 

                             

                            I don't mind "criticism", as long as I *think* we're looking at the same thing - the business of color management really grinds me though - lots of people think they understand what's supposed to happen, but that's not whats happening but they don't know it, and they think others are messed up or wrong, and maybe they are, but nobody really knows... - been there too many times.

                             

                            My take on your take:

                             

                            - I agree the sky needed more work, but also: the overexposure/clipping made it difficult to bring out cloud detail without it looking artificial (next time drop exposure by 1/3 or so when shooting).

                            - I like the pinch of warmth in the background (most of the clouds, and foliage), but not in the car nor the road .

                            - tire detail: agree again - I enhanced it a smidge in the next version (see link below).

                            - I applied default distortion correction (via profile-base lens corrections), but no perspsective adjustment - mostly just rotated it (counter-clockwise).- I'm waiting for Lr4 to remove telephone poles;-}

                             

                            Note: The next version:

                            (additional enhancements done entirely in NX2)

                             

                            You may need to clear your cache if you recently viewed the previous version.

                             

                            http://robcole.com/Rob/Personal/Pictures/Pictures.cfm?embedSWF&startDir=2011&openDir=Misco r&openFile=IMG_1728.nxc.jpg

                            • 11. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                              Noel Carboni Level 7

                              Very nice.  Your sky looks much more dramatic now.  Really underscores how much more I should have done to mine. 

                               

                              -Noel

                              • 12. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                                Noel Carboni Level 7

                                Okay, I've done a bit more work on mine, taking cues from you guys.  This version has a much more dramatic sky, warmer shadows, and some HDR Toning to further increase the feeling of clarity and detail in the foreground.  What do you think?  Over the top?

                                 

                                http://Noel.ProDigitalSoftware.com/ForumPosts/MustangImage_NoelCarboni_2.jpg

                                 

                                -Noel

                                • 13. Re: Camera Raw Photo Processing Challenge
                                  areohbee Level 5

                                  Very nice. - you really made her shine... - sky nicely done...

                                   

                                  I don't think its too much at all, assuming the objective was to make the car stand out under a dramatic sky - mission accomplished. If the purpose was to shoot the lake and trees, if it weren't for that darned car in the way, and that darned sky diverting attention, then just the opposite..

                                   

                                  PS - Nice job removing that pole!

                                   

                                  Rob