May 07, 2008

My "Lucis Art" type develop preset for Lightroom

I've been very interested in the Lucis Art plugin for Photoshop for a while and I contacted the developer to see if I could get a copy for review for the podcast but they declined my request. So I created a Lightroom develop preset that mimics the process.

It's a 2 step process ... apply the preset in Lightroom and play around with the develop sliders to get the basic look you want (every image will look different, adjust to your liking) ... and then edit the image in Photoshop following these steps.

1. Duplicate the background layer (CMD J or CTL J)

2. Apply Gausian Blur filter to Layer 1 with a value of about 20 pixels

3. Reduce the opacity of Layer 1 to about 50%

4. Click the Add Layer Mask Button (at the bottom of the Layers palette) then select the brush tool with a soft edge and paint (mask) areas you want to keep sharp like eyes, nose, mouth.

5. (Optional Step) Select the background layer and then grab the Smudge Tool (R) and soften further areas that you think still show too much detail (like skin).

That's it. Save it and go back into Lightroom and play around with brightness, exposure, contrast, saturation, etc to you liking if it needs it.

Download the preset for Lightroom here.

January 07, 2008

Questions about HDR

balloon.jpgI received this question from flickr member "Heff" regarding my HDR images from the Indio Balloon Festival.


I just stumbled on your HDR image from the Indio Balloon Festival and I had a question for you...

How do you do HDR with people or action? I've seen a few like yours that show actual action and the people are not blurred. Obviously you can't get the people to stand still, so how do you do it in an HDR image?

Also, what do you use to composite the HDR? I've been toying with them using the compositor in Photoshop, but have been wondering if there is a better, dedicated HDR compositor out there.


Here is my response:


I shot the pix at the balloon fest in aperture priority mode (like I shoot most things) and opened up the aperture pretty wide so that the shutter speeds would be pretty fast. I sat there and waited until I saw little or no movement and then squeezed off my three shots. I do my HDR shots in Automatic Exposure Compensation mode and high speed drive mode so all three shots are usually captured in less than a second ... therefore minimizing the chance of any movement being detected. Also remember that slight movements far away are not likely to show in the composite as much as if someone walked across the frame 10' in front of me. So I'm always waiting for a lull in the action.

For processing the HDR files I use Photomatix ( ). I've tried the HDR function in Photoshop and I'm not happy with the results. CS3's HRD function is better than it was in CS2, but still not as good as Photomatix. Photomatix is about $100 I think, but you can download a demo and play with it and see if you like it.


February 25, 2007

Lines On Images After Export To JPG With Aperture

LinesOnExport.jpgIt was reported some time ago that many Aperture users were seeing strange lines on their images after exporting to JPG. While it seemed that this problem was solved in v1.5.1 it seems that some people (including myself) are still having the problem from time to time.

The fix seems to be to download the Apple Digital Camera RAW Support Update 1.0.1 (Universal) which can be found HERE.

I downloaded the update, installed it and then did a test batch export and I did not see any nasty lines in my images. If you are having this issue, downloading the update seems like the thing to do.

Technorati Tags: Digital Photography, Allen Rockwell,Aperture, Apple Aperture

December 11, 2006

Aperture 1.5.2 Available

Aperture users can download version 1.5.2 (a whopping 129MBs) via Software Update. According to the accompanying notes, this update addresses issues related to overall reliability and performance in a number of areas, including:

* Contact sheet printing
* Smart Albums
* Watermarks ( I hope they fixed the watermark size issue)
* Lift and stamp
* Image export (strange lines showing up on exported images)
* Versions created using an external editor

Technorati Tags: Digital Photography, Allen Rockwell, Apple, Aperture,

November 04, 2006

Really Old Photo...

mini1-01.jpgThis is a really old photo ... that I took tonight.

The old stained photo paper around the edge is a scan of an old photo that belonged to my grandmother. The photo of the old wood stove is one that I took tonight in our back "wood stove room".

The photo of the wood stove was 3 RAW images combined into one HDR image and then lots of post processing in Photoshop.

Click the image to see it a bit bigger.

May 20, 2006

Photo Sharpening Tip

Check out this trick on a photo you've taken that you think is a pretty damn good photo .... And see if it's even better after doing this.

(P.S. If you like this effect you'll want to record an action so you can do it at the touch of a button)

1. Open an image
2. Go to Image menu, select Mode, LAB Color
3. Go to the Channels palette (the tab right next to the Layers palette tab)
4. Click on the "Lightness" channel (image will now appear grayscale)
5. From the Filters menu select Sharpen, Unsharp Mask and use the following settings: Amount 85, Radius 1, Threshold 4
6. Click OK in the Unsharp Mask dialog
7. Go back up to the Image menu, select Mode, RGB

You are done ...

The image attached is an example. The above technique was applied to the right side of the image. Notice the detail in the grass, the palm trees, the panel lines on the car, the difference between the front and back wheels the retaining wall, etc. (OK, so at this size of image you can’t see much difference. Try this on one of your own images and see for yourself. Or email me and I’ll send you the full size image of the car above)

You can run this action twice in a row if running it once does not give you the desired results.

P.S. This should work on all versions of Photoshop except Elements since Elements does not support Channels.