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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Photoshop still a valid tool for photographers? [A photo rassay]

Photoshop still a valid tool for photographers? [A photo rassay]
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Apr 4, 2008, 05:25 AM
 


This photo is interesting to me in the light of the recent Aperture/Lightroom vs Photoshop debate that has sprung up - especially in the last few days regarding Adobe's no show of a Mac 64 bit version until CS5. (See John Nack's blog, the Wired article on the same and John Siracusa's take on Adobe vs Apple)

While Aperture (and Lightroom) are fantastic tools for us photographers, and Photoshop still continues to be an invaluable illustrative and artistic tool - the all powerful toolbox it is, there are simply some things that requires Photoshop still even in the field of photography.

This photo is such an example. While local adjustment tools in Aperture (and Lightroom) are available, we are really thrown back to the pre-3.0 Photoshop days here. Namely sans layers. I literally grew up with Photoshop, manipulating my scanned in primary school class photographs in Photoshop 1.0 to humorous effect. And when 3.0 arrived I didn't know how to make heads or tails with layers. This might seem strange to a Photoshop user today - but back then the paradigm shift was so strange to me that I continued to edit images the way I had always done it: Using local adjustments with selections. And I did so for quite some time.

Which brings me back to this image:



Trying to correct the exposure, WB and colour casts that were present on the image as a whole turned out to be nigh impossible. I could either blow out the sky, turn the grass yellow or just live with an almost silhouetted Francesca there.

Or I could use layers.

So I made my overall image adjustments so that the sky and grass were kept nice and balanced as well as a nice summery saturation. This made Frankie here look like a darkened lobster though, as well as having a very ugly blue cast on her dress that made it blend into the sky.



Then I brought it from Aperture in to Photoshop and started masking her out from the background using the magnetic selection tool. I normally use the pen tool for masking, but for this purpose a quick and dirty mask that I could adjust later with brushes was enough. Plus I am lazy.

I now had a layer with just Francesca that I could apply adjustments to separate from the background. I brightened it considerably, but not so much that it looked unnatural. I then had to airbrush out the highlights from the layer that were blown out by the exposure adjustments. A manual highlight/shadows if you wish.

This left the dress, which still had a dark blue cast to it. I masked it out, created a new layer and did the adjustments. It got desaturated and curve adjusted. I then adjusted the blending opacity down to where it looked the most natural.

I don't claim the image to be perfect - far from it - but compared to the original it is night and day, and it saved a picture that would have otherwise been thrown away if Aperture had been my only tool in my toolbox.

And thus concludes my rant/essay (hence rassay). Thank you for your time.

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OreoCookie
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Apr 4, 2008, 06:01 AM
 
Have you tried Dodge & Burn in Aperture 2.1?
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Peter
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Apr 4, 2008, 06:23 AM
 
which photo was edited with which software?
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Apr 4, 2008, 10:58 AM
 
The top is the end result from Photoshop. Then the original image. Then the Aperture edited image.

I have tried dodge and burn in Aperture 2.1. My beef with it is - though I understand it is an "example plugin" to demonstrate the new plugin architecture - the tools themselves implemented in this plugin would be much better served to the customers as non-destructive local editing tools just like the retouch brush was implemented.

However, my general point here is that no matter how good the local editing tools are in Aperture, they will never surpass the power of layer adjustments in Photoshop for precise advanced photo edits.

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OreoCookie
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Apr 4, 2008, 11:43 AM
 
You're right, but that's not what Aperture is for IMO, that's what I have Pixelmator for (you use PS)

I think I would have used a flash when taking that picture, though, the shot itself is great (shows the essence of the other person)
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Apr 4, 2008, 07:25 PM
 
The shots were just random (snap) shots when I was mostly out taking nature shots and panoramas. No time / thought to bring or use flash

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powerbook867
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Apr 4, 2008, 08:25 PM
 
I use both for every picture I take.

Layers are a requirement and clone brush is something that I could never live with out...
Joe
     
IceEnclosure
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Apr 5, 2008, 01:34 AM
 
Photoshop is it for me.

I guess Aperture or LR is better for processing multiple/groups/batches of images?
I've been happy opening a handful of RAW images in PS via ACR.
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kman42
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Apr 5, 2008, 11:43 PM
 
Hi Erik,
How about some more detail on your image adjustments for those of us who are new to photography and PS. I've been reading and playing, but there is nothing better than a real-world explanation.
kman
     
IceEnclosure
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Apr 6, 2008, 06:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by kman42 View Post
Hi Erik,
How about some more detail on your image adjustments for those of us who are new to photography and PS. I've been reading and playing, but there is nothing better than a real-world explanation.
kman
He could hardly get any more detailed unless he provided screengrabs or made a start-to-finish youtube tutorial!

kman, you should go lurk at/join dpreview.com or something similar and check out the guys in the forums. Lots to learn there, many talented photogs doing their thing and explaining how they do it.
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Apr 6, 2008, 01:48 PM
 
Aperture 2.1 + PS CS3.
     
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Apr 6, 2008, 04:38 PM
 
These tutorials are fairly good / hilarious:

My Damn Channel You Suck at Photoshop You Suck at Photoshop #1

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RAILhead
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Apr 6, 2008, 05:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by adamfishercox View Post
Aperture 2.1 + PS CS3.
A hearty QFT from me. I do most of my essential tweaks in Aperture, then I'm off to PS CS3 for finalizing my look.
"Everything's so clear to me now: I'm the keeper of the cheese and you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.
That's why he's gonna kill us. So we got to beat it. Yeah. Before he let's loose the marmosets on us."
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