Author Topic: The Cyber Darkroom  (Read 14676 times)

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Offline Old Philosopher

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The Cyber Darkroom
« on: November 10, 2012, 02:47:35 PM »
I searched, but can't find this exact topic, so here goes.... We have a thread on analog photography, and darkroom processing, so here's one just for digital techniques.

PW peaked my interest with his talk (and beautiful examples) of HDR photographs. I think Warrior is part of this camp, too.  So, since I don't have an HDR camera, I tried experimenting with the process via my image editing programs. Don't know if I'm on the right track, or not.

This is what I came up with. There were three images, one at normal exposure, one taken 2 stops under exposed, and 1 taken 2 stops over exposed. I went for maximum effect, just to get an idea of how far to bracket the exposures.

Here is the picture taken with 'normal' auto exposure.



This is the merged set of images.



The effect is extreme, so I would imagine 1 stop +/- would be less saturated.

Critique?? Anyone??


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Offline SwampHanger

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2012, 02:52:11 PM »
OP I maybe wrong and need to take a class but with regular photo gallery on my Dell  uping the contrast looks similiar.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 03:07:33 PM »
OP I maybe wrong and need to take a class but with regular photo gallery on my Dell  uping the contrast looks similiar.
Yeah... You can play with the contrast/brightness/saturation/color temperature/gamma on a single photo and get pretty similar results. A LOT of screwing around! The differences are subtle. The idea of the bracketed exposures (if I understand correctly) is 1) expose for the brightest highlights,2) expose for the deepest shadows, and 3) take a mid range 'average' as the camera sees it. When they are merged together, there is a wider range of tones.

Anyway, it seems to me the big deal about an HDR camera is that it does all that for you without having to post-process anything. My big question is, do you have to shoot HDR directly using a tripod, or are these new cameras quick enough you can still get the effect hand-held?
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2012, 05:02:15 PM »
OP I maybe wrong and need to take a class but with regular photo gallery on my Dell  uping the contrast looks similiar.
There are a LOT of options when playing with image processing programs.
Here's the three merged images, but with the saturation reduced.



Here's the original single photo, but with the color saturated, and the hues overlapped about 40%.



Compare all the manipulated images with the original in the OP.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2012, 05:16:35 PM »
HDR is done entirely in post processing for me. The only feature required to make it easy is auto exposure bracketing. Two stops over and under is pretty standard.

If your camera has AEB then spend the coin on software instead.

As for the wood pile shot the highlights in the upper left look a little blown out. You should emphasize the underexposed layer in that area of the image.

Offline Draco

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2012, 08:12:08 PM »
Great topic.  I am always jealous of those images that are so vivid looking.  Sure they are a little unnatural, the colors pop so much, but I sill love them.  Just wish I knew how to take the raw image and post process it in a open source software like gimp to get the results some people do. 

One issue I have is I don't have a high end digital camera.  I have looked at them but the weight and size make it more difficult for backpacking.  You can sure tell the difference a camera makes. 

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2012, 08:21:45 PM »
Great topic.  I am always jealous of those images that are so vivid looking.  Sure they are a little unnatural, the colors pop so much, but I sill love them.  Just wish I knew how to take the raw image and post process it in a open source software like gimp to get the results some people do. 

One issue I have is I don't have a high end digital camera.  I have looked at them but the weight and size make it more difficult for backpacking.  You can sure tell the difference a camera makes.
The camera I'm using is a 7.2 MP Sony Cybershot. They run $100-$150. I have PhotoShop, and Corel Draw, but my go-to photo processor is Gimp. The on-line tutorials for Gimp are awesome, and everything is open source. Compared to PhotoShop, I find Gimp more intuitively friendly, and I hate having to "go back to school" to just learn how to do basic stuff.  I learned a lot of stuff in Gimp just experimenting. CTRL-Z ("undo") is my friend!!!!
The other thing I experimented with in Gimp was comparing the rendering to other programs. I modified the same image the same way in two other programs, and the Gimp final image was sharper, and more vibrant than the other two. FWIW....
Gimp is free, and a decent camera can be had for under $200. Closer to $100 if you shop around.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2012, 08:52:32 PM »
Yep the camera isnt that important as long as it takes decent pictures. Almost all of my knife pictures were taken with a little cheapie canon powershot pocket camera.

For hdr you want a tripod to hold the camera steady, and you dont even need auto exposure bracketing. As long as the camera doesnt move between shots you can carefully change the exposure compensation for each shot manually. Use the self timer to take the pictures so you dont shake the camera when you press the shutter button.

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2012, 10:02:58 AM »
Did some more research last night after reading this thread. Photomatix light, the software I used, has been upgraded to Photomatix essentials. It's $39 for the software. The company allowed me to upgrade for free to the latest version, AND they let anyone who owns essentials/light upgrade to the pro version for $60. So upgrading lets you get both programs for the price of the pro version. The new essentials version will remove ghosts or objects that appear in one image but not others, like a bird flying by for example.

Anyhow, some more camera tips...

You will be shooting from a tripod. So, to reduce noise in your images, choose ISO 100 rather than leaving it on auto. Also, make sure that you shoot in Aperture Priority mode so that the aperture doesn't change between your 3 shots. You want the different exposure to be changed with shutter speed. Changing the aperture would give each image a different depth of field and make the final merged image less sharp. Also try to expose for the shadows more so than the highlights. Overexposing in the top end is ok as long as the shadow detail is recorded.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2012, 10:42:05 AM »
...
Anyhow, some more camera tips...

You will be shooting from a tripod. So, to reduce noise in your images, choose ISO 100 rather than leaving it on auto. Also, make sure that you shoot in Aperture Priority mode so that the aperture doesn't change between your 3 shots. You want the different exposure to be changed with shutter speed. Changing the aperture would give each image a different depth of field and make the final merged image less sharp. Also try to expose for the shadows more so than the highlights. Overexposing in the top end is ok as long as the shadow detail is recorded.
I agree 100% that ISO 100 is the way to go, for almost any shot. Just like less grain on camera film, the lower ISO reduces pixelation.
I venture to say that any point-n-shoot camera is not going to have aperture/shutter speed selection. My Olympus Stylus is (was) a $300 camera, and it doesn't have it. It's one feature I really, really miss on a digital.

Question, PW: When merging the different exposures with software, do you vary the transparency value of any, or all of them?
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2012, 01:29:33 PM »
Nope. I just use the photomatix. It is incredibly easy to use. It pretty much does all the hard work for you. You can download and use both the essentials and pro versions for free. They leave a watermark on the finished pictures until you get a registration key. I downloaded the trial version and ended up buying it after just doing three pictures. It really is that easy.

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2012, 01:34:48 PM »
As for the price of cameras ypu could get a canon sx40 hs for about $50 more than the $300 you paid and it has all kinds of creative controls. Manual mode, aperture priority, shutter priority, 35X optical zoom, electronic viewfinder and articulating screen. It also records full hd video and has a super slow motion mode where it records 240 frames per second.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2012, 01:59:54 PM »
I'll make a note of that SX40. To be honest, both my Sony and my Olympus were gifts from my kids. Daughter was taking photography/visual arts in college. She got the Olympus and gave me the Sony. After she got married, hubby presented her with a DSLR, so her brother got the Olympus. He took 6 pictures in a year, and always used his camera phone for snapshots...so I got the Olympus.  Hahaha! They got hand-me-down clothes while growing up, now I get hand-me-down cameras!  8)

As for investing in more imaging software, probably will pass. This HDR thing peaked my interest, and I intend to play more with it. But since I have to take three separate images from a tripod mount, it's going to be more for landscapes and "gee-whiz" pix, than something I'm really hung up on.  If I can do in Gimp with three clicks what it takes one click to do in photomatix, I'll just make the two extra clicks for now.

I may download the trial version just so I can say I tried it, but I really, really hate "tease-ware". Nag screens are bad enough, without the toads putting their stamp on your hard work.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2012, 06:45:04 PM »
Well one of the good things about the trial version is that you can remove the watermark on your pictures after purchasing the full version.

I am a big fan of open source software, but what you can do with one click in photomatix would take all day with gimp. It is so much more than just merging the three images. At least wih the pro version.

I didnt see anything in heir terms of use that said you couldnt use the software to remove a watermark from an image someone else made so if you want to try it out and then email me the picture I will see if I can remove the watermark for you and send it back.



Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2012, 07:40:23 PM »
Well one of the good things about the trial version is that you can remove the watermark on your pictures after purchasing the full version.

I am a big fan of open source software, but what you can do with one click in photomatix would take all day with gimp. It is so much more than just merging the three images. At least wih the pro version.

I didnt see anything in heir terms of use that said you couldnt use the software to remove a watermark from an image someone else made so if you want to try it out and then email me the picture I will see if I can remove the watermark for you and send it back.
Thanks for the offer! I may take you up on it if I ever get some time running up hill to play with this sort of thing. I'm still processing apples from the first week in October!  :-\
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2012, 04:37:05 PM »
Okay! I need someone to educate me on this one!

I've seen this done a few times before, and supposedly it's pretty easy, but I'm not getting it!

I want to take this picture, and convert the background to black&white, and leave the flower blossom in full color on the b/w background.  Is there a way to do it with layers, rather than a cut-n-past of just the blossom?



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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2012, 05:04:56 PM »
This gimp tutorial might be what you are looking for...

http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Selective_Color/

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2012, 09:12:26 PM »
This gimp tutorial might be what you are looking for...

http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Selective_Color/
Thanks, PW! If I'd known what to call it, I might have found it. When all else fails, read the instructions, right?

Anyway, I just got some time to play with it. It can be a bugger with just mouse. Need a steadier hand, and more time. Now for more subjects to experiment on.

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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2012, 10:04:13 PM »
Looks like it worked out great! Glad to help. :)

Offline zammer

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2012, 06:36:58 PM »
Cool thread idea, thanks for starting it OP
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Easy enhancements
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2012, 08:06:51 PM »
Just thought I'd offer this technique as an easy way to enhance your photos, and really make 'em "pop".
You can do this with any photo taken with any camera, as long as you have a photo editing software that can work with "layers". (e.g., Photo Shop, Gimp, and I believe MS Photo Premium suite).

You open your original photo in your editing program. Find the tab or menu item for Layers. You want to create a "duplicate layer" of the original photo.  Still on your original background layer (original photo) you change the Properties from "Normal" to "Overlay".  If your program is set up to view a preview of your work, the change will be noticeable immediately.

The next step is "Merge" the layers. I use Merge instead of Flatten...just because. You have to merge/flatten the layers before you can save the changed photo as a .jpg, or other format.

Do a "Save as..." and rename your new picture. 

What you have done is create a transparency of the photo, and overlayed it on top of the original. All the details are enhanced.

Example:

This is the original photo of a little campsite I like:



This is the result with just ONE layer overlaid on the original. You can "stack" as many overlays as you feel are necessary, but anything over about 4 seems to be over-kill, IMO.



I know my explanation was a little brief, so feel free to ask any questions. I might be familiar with the software you're using.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2012, 08:53:20 PM »
That is a neat effect, thanks for sharing the technique! I really need to take some time to sit down and learn gimp from top to bottom.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Just for the heck of it....
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2012, 07:38:44 PM »
This sort of thing works neat for holiday cards, or family portraits. A bouquet of flowers with each family member in a blossom.


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Offline Old Philosopher

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Getting radical!
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2012, 07:49:18 PM »
This is a little over the top. An example of what you can play with when you're bored out of your skull on a wintery night.

First, take a picture of a lightning bolt. Then convert it to gray scale, and render it to increase the grain, and reduce the contrast.



Next, flip it over. Now it's no longer a lightning bolt, but a bush that's lost all its leaves.



Next, find a picture of something to make the bush more interesting. In this case, a wolf.



Put the two images together as layers in your photo editor, position the images so they make sense, and play with the transparencies of the two layers.  Then flatten the image(s), and save.

Ta-Da!




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Offline Old Philosopher

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Retouching old photos
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2012, 11:38:07 AM »
Buckskin's post in the Showcase thread made me think of some old photos I've played with on the computer.
I retouched on old, old photo for one of the members elsewhere that was taken back in the 60's. He scanned the original, and I played with it for awhile and it made quite a difference. I can't show that one, but this is what was possible with a once-in-a-lifetime photo taken with an old disposable camera. Nothing was right about it, but I wanted to preserve the moment.

Here is the original scan of the color print:



With a little contrast, color and tone balancing, I was pleased with the results. Now a new, good print can be made.


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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2012, 02:42:58 PM »
Nice job on the restoration. We have some pictures of my wife when she was a baby that might be fun to try that on. She looked so much like our daughter that the only way to tell them apart was from the yellow cast in the old picture.

Offline Buckskin

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2012, 10:33:57 PM »
OP asked about my software from the shutter bug thread.  I just got home from work and have to be right back in the am.  I will tell you about it tomorrow night or Monday.  Sorry for the delay, but will get to it.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2012, 02:46:14 AM »
Love the lightning tree, op. Did you also apply a negative effect?

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Offline xj35s

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2012, 05:13:00 AM »
I really like this thread. I am not getting the HDR effect so much in the first example of the wood pile. I still like the original best ? Maybe it's like music and I'm tone deaf ?

I do love the ability to keep color in a B/M background. The difference in that fish pic is unreal.

I have had Gimp for a long time. I use it mostly for Old model airplane plans and being able to tile print them from a PDF file. Another whole world there...I need to study some of the tutorials now.

This may be too provocative here but it is non nude and I think very artistic. I love this style and would like to play with some autumn photos. A house in B/W with a vibrant front yard with red maple leaves and golden horse chestnut leaves...



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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2012, 08:52:45 AM »
Love the lightning tree, op. Did you also apply a negative effect?

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Actually, I think Gimp calls it "decolorize", but yeah...same difference. It's been awhile since I did that, and memory fails me...again. That particular composite was done with PhotoShop. I'm still learning how to scale layers with Gimp.

XJ: The bikini shot is very dramatic. I think your idea of the fall foliage is great. The first example I saw of this technique was autumn leaves in a forest.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Photographic artwork
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2012, 07:18:06 PM »
I brought this up in the HDR thread, and wanted to expand it a little.

Photo editing software can add a whole new dimension to the world of photography. In the past, there were photographers, and there were artists. The photographer was limited by the conditions at the time of his photograph. Lighting, weather, an uncooperative subject were all elements over which he had very little control. An artist was only limited by their imagination. Paint a landscape of a mountain lake? No sun? No problem...paint in the shadows. Would a trapper's cabin look good on the shore? No problem...paint one in.

Well, in the cyber darkroom, the photographer can now be both photographer AND artist. Without beating the subject to death, here's what I'm talking about.

The first photo was taken in W. Washington by an acquaintance of mine.  The second "photo" is what it became in my imagination. A hiking trail in the Cascade Mountains became a mysterious woodland path straight out of The Hobbit.  ;D


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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2012, 08:25:31 PM »
Really does look painted OP!

True about the processing. There really is no limit to what you can do with enough time and a computer.

Offline Buckskin

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2012, 09:04:03 PM »
Ok, gang.  I have been playing with a free to download photo editing software called PhotoScape.  It is not anything like photoshop but the price is right.  It can be downloaded here http://www.photoscape.org/ps/main/index.php

Here is some info on what you can do right from the link above:

Viewer: View photos in your folder, create a slideshow

Editor: resizing, brightness and color adjustment, white balance, backlight correction, frames, balloons, mosaic mode, adding text, drawing pictures, cropping, filters, red eye removal, blooming, paint brush, clone stamp, effect brush

Batch editor: Batch edit multiple photos

Page: Merge multiple photos on the page frame to create one final photo

Combine: Attach multiple photos vertically or horizontally to create one final photo

Animated GIF: Use multiple photos to create a final animated photo

Print: Print portrait shots, carte de visites(CDV), passport photos

Splitter: Slice a photo into several pieces

Screen Capture: Capture your screenshot and save it

Color Picker: Zoom in on images, search and pick a color

Rename: Change photo file names in batch mode

Raw Converter: Convert RAW to JPG

Paper Print: Print lined, graph, music and calendar paper

Face Search: Find similar faces on the Internet

Here is an image I tinkered with:

Normal



This image I toned down the contrast just a tad.  Added sepia tone and an overlay titled Antique 03:



This image I maxed out the contrast, I maxed out the sharpness, added sepia and the Antique 03 overlay.  I think it is pretty cool.



I have just scratched the surface with software.  There is more that can be done with it.  I am just offering it up as an example of some editing software that is out there and is FREE!

Comments are welcome!


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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2012, 09:35:29 PM »
Thanks for the info, Buckskin! It's always great to hear about software that is high quality and offered by programmers just for the love of contributing, rather than just to make a buck.
Got a question about PhotoScape. Does it have an easy method for extracting segments of a photo, and pasting them into other photos? The one thing that keeps PhotoShop on my computer is its "extract" routine, and "smart edge finder". I haven't found another program that does it so easily yet.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2012, 12:21:20 PM »
I got a little time to play with Gimp over the weekend. I didn't find much help with the on-line tutorials for Gimp, but I got it figured out eventually. I found Gimp has what they call "intelligent scissors" to select edges in a photo. I finally puzzled out how to extract the selection, and paste it to a new layer.

I had a picture of a Hummingbird Moth from earlier in the summer so I chose that for the experiment.

This is the original picture of the moth on some phlox.



I gave it a new background. Here's the "photoshopped" (Gimped?) version.


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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #35 on: November 28, 2012, 10:39:28 PM »
Nice job! The diffuse light in the second photo is a good match for the moth, and doesn't require you to insert a shadow like hard light would.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #36 on: July 09, 2013, 03:35:29 PM »
Been awhile since there was any input here. I've been trying to set up a new computer with my flat screen TV as a monitor. After playing with all the adjustments in the OS, and the adjustments for the TV itself, I've come to a conclusion: What we see when we look at our digital photos might not be what others see when THEY view them!

Tint, contrast, color saturation, gamma, channel levels, blah...blah...blah.

What looks good on our monitors might look like crap on someone else's.  Or am I just looking for excuses?  ;D
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Offline zammer

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #37 on: July 09, 2013, 10:47:08 PM »
True...that's why there is calibration for monitors, so folks are seeing the exact same thing.. but for all intents and purposes we are all seeing a very similiar thing even without the calibration.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #38 on: July 09, 2013, 10:56:32 PM »
True...that's why there is calibration for monitors, so folks are seeing the exact same thing.. but for all intents and purposes we are all seeing a very similiar thing even without the calibration.

I'm using a flat LCD TV for my monitor. Dedicated LCD monitors are pretty limited in their adjustments, so it's probably not a problem. But on an HD TV here are my preset choices:

Custom
Standard
Movie
Game
Vivid
Football
Golf
Basketball
Baseball

WTH?  Each one of those has its own adjustments for brightness, contrast, color, tin, and sharpness.

Eash of the presets has its own unique rendition of the image. Each preset can then be adjusted outside its default values.

So what I'm saying is that I can set my monitor to whatever looks good, and then go edit a picture. When I have the brightness, hues, etc., adjusted so they look good to me, and save the picture, the next person to view the picture using THEIR settings might get a whole different brightness, tone, etc.

I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline zammer

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #39 on: July 09, 2013, 11:04:21 PM »
Might it be different? yes, will it matter? no................ :cheers:
"big fish like to live in bad places, that's how they get to be big fish"

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2013, 11:34:34 PM »
I'm just relating this to say, the Photobucket experience. I look at one picture, and it looks flat and washed out. I look at another and it's super saturated with glaring colors.  But maybe they looked just fine to the guys who post-processed them, and uploaded them. I dunno.....
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline crashdive123

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2014, 07:02:34 PM »
I've still got a ton of learning to do when it comes to photography.  My picture processing knowledge is probably my weakest area.  The good news is that there is always room to learn more.  The other day I was having a conversation with another member about the ISO settings on digital cameras.  I want to experiment with it - so that started tonight.  Admittedly, taking pictures of a brightly lit object in the sky is not the best test, but it is a start.  Basically - the lower the ISO the less noise (grain) there will be.

The following pictures have received no processing other than loading them onto the computer.  I did not adjust contrast, brightness or color in any way.  The camera settings are listed above each picture.

f stop 5.9, shutter speed 1/30 sec, iso 100

As you can see, the biggest factor in this picture was shutter speed - way too slow.



f5.9, 1/640 sec, ISO 100



f 5.9 1/500 sec, ISO 100



Same as above, but cropped several times.



f 8.3, 1/320 sec, ISO 3200



f 5.9, 1/1000 sec, ISO 3200



f 5.9 1/2000 sec, ISO 3200


Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2014, 08:49:56 PM »
Nice series of tests, CD. THANK YOU!
That moon shot I posted in another thread was shot at f6.3, 1/30 sec, ISO 200 with manual focusing.
If the haze clears some more tonight, I'll try a couple different exposures. The one you shot at ISO 3200, f5.9 @ 1/1000 came out pretty good.
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Offline zammer

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2014, 09:33:34 PM »
F/8      Exp 1/125     ISO 200     Focal Length  215mm.....for me the greatest thing to help with moon shots is

A, to try to take them when there is still a bit of Blue in the sky, this lessons the stark contrast
B, Big focal length, the closer you can get the better the detail

I delete way more moon shots than I ever keep due to the fact that most are never really in focus for good crater detail, If I'm lucky then some will turn out like the one below ( no post processing ) and then I can spend some time cropping and playing around with a few settings to try to bring out a little more detail.

"big fish like to live in bad places, that's how they get to be big fish"

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2014, 10:52:07 PM »
Yeah, no matter what auto focus setting I tried, it couldn't make up it's mind. What I used to do with the 35mm was just set it on Infinity and not worry about it.
I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do.

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2014, 05:41:58 PM »
Yeah, no matter what auto focus setting I tried, it couldn't make up it's mind. What I used to do with the 35mm was just set it on Infinity and not worry about it.

Some of my lenses will focus "past infinity" and very distant objects get blurred that way too. You really are better off focusing manually.

However, there is a trick you can use to help the camera's autofocus work (but I haven't tried it on the moon). When your autofocus won't lock on your subject, try moving the autofocus bracket (usually a rectangle) over to the edge of the subject, or different parts of the subject until you get a lock, then while keeping the shutter button pressed halfway to maintain focus lock, recompose the shot and take the picture.

The autofocus needs contrast and texture to work. If all it sees is bright white and dark black, it will have a heck of a time. For the moon you might try moving the focus bracket right over the edge of the moon so it gets some of the moon and some of the sky inside the bracket and see if it will focus there, then recompose and shoot.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #46 on: January 11, 2014, 06:32:40 PM »
Well, this NEX-5 has a 3rd focusing option, besides full auto (spot, area, etc.) and full manual.
It has a hybrid setting that is pretty amazing.  With this setting you let the camera auto focus, and then you fine tune the focus manually. With the shutter release half depressed, the focusing 'box' PW talks about changes color. The instant you start to rotate the focus ring on the lens it magnifies the image about 30X!!!  With this magnified view, you can focus on the exact spot on the subject you want.
I took a test shot of one of my rabbits from across the yard. I had what I thought was a good auto focus on it, and then 'tweaked' it. When I started to manually fine tune it, all I could see was the stupid bunny's EYE!  Whoa!  For a full frame average shot, that is over kill, but if you want to be able to crop a tiny part in post-processing, it really makes a difference.
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #47 on: January 12, 2014, 02:00:30 PM »
I've been playing with that Nature's Illusions program a bit. This is what it did to a stock wallpaper photo:


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Offline crashdive123

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #48 on: January 12, 2014, 03:49:26 PM »
Cool effect.

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Cyber Darkroom
« Reply #49 on: January 23, 2014, 08:04:12 PM »
Working on a new camera platform. Still have a long way to go. I will eventually have a gimbal set up for really smooth video.

I think this will allow for some great photo/video options...