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The DoubleDip Scallop Tutorial

Discussion in 'Darkroom Tutorials' started by PapaBob, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. PapaBob

    PapaBob ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    THE DOUBLEDIP SCALLOP TUTORIAL

    Objectives - In Photoshop Elements (PSE)
    Crop the image to improve the subject.
    Create a multiply layer to darken the image.
    Make a selection of the Scallop top.
    Use the Hue and Saturation tool in an adjustment layer to improve the selection.
    Make color corrections to the background layer using a Levels Adjustment Layer.

    I want to thank DoubleDip for posting the following image earlier in this thread. All adjustments in this tutorial are made in PSE3, but the same adjustments can be made in Photoshop.

    [​IMG]


    As discussed earlier in this thread, the image does not respond well to an overall color correction attempt. Various methods will improve the overall color in certain image subjects but produce unattractive color casts in others. This image is not quick fix material. That does not mean it cannot be improved.

    The fist step in any project is to analyze what is attractive about the image and what needs to be rejected or improved.. Clearly the scallop and the shell are the primary focus of this image. The reef in the foreground lacks focus and distracts from the primary subjects. The background water, in addition to the color cast, does not add to the image. The area surrounding the subject is sometimes called “negative space” and it can be just as important to the image as the subject by making the subject “pop”. It should not detract or distract.

    You get your shots as you find them. DoubleDip could not separate the scallop and shell from all of the negative space when he took the shot, so I thought the image would be improved by a crop to minimize distraction in the negative space. This isolates the subjects and draws more attention to them. Here is what I thought was a good crop.

    [​IMG]


    Cropping an image is intensely personal. Everyone will do it a little different or may disagree as to whether it should be done at all. The nice thing is that most images will tolerate a diversity of opinion about what looks good or what should be done. I chose this crop because the shell anchors the lower left corner, the scallop is clearly the main subject, the seaweed frames the scallop in part and there is a touch of background water to add depth without distracting from the image.

    I also decided the image could be darkened to improve the negative space and make it less distracting. A blur would not work here because there is no physical separation between the shell and scallop and the reef. Background blurs will be the subject of another tutorial.

    The top of the scallop is the part DoubleDip liked the least and cannot be corrected without throwing the rest of the image out of whack. It has to be handled separately. The overall color of the rest of the image can be improved.

    Next - the steps to adjust the image
     
  2. PapaBob

    PapaBob ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    For this tutorial I will first show you the finished image next to the Layers Palette which show the results of the steps outlined below:

    [​IMG]


    You can refer to the above image as I outline the steps I took in adjusting the image. Starting with the cropped image:

    1. After the crop, make a copy of the active background layer (Control-J). You can tell a layer is active because it is highlighted in blue in the Layers palette.

    2. Click on the background copy name (Layer 1) and change the name to Multiply Layer. This does nothing other than change the layer name.

    3. With the Multiply layer now active, change the blending mode to Multiply. The blending mode box is in the upper left hand corner of the layers palette below the word layers. It starts out with the word “Normal”. Click on the down arrow and find the word “Multiply” (just below Darken) and click on it. The image should darken considerably, in fact, too much.

    4. To the right of the blending mode box is the word “Opacity” which starts at 100%. Clicking on the arrow brings up the opacity slider. Move the opacity slider to the left until the image is balanced the way you think it looks the best. I used an opacity of 46%.

    The following screen shot illustrates parts of the first 4 steps.

    [[​IMG]


    Next - Adjusting the top of the scallop separate from the rest of the image
     
  3. PapaBob

    PapaBob ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    5. Use the selection brush to paint a selection of the top of the scallop. In PSE the selection brush is the 8th tool down on the left side tool bar. It looks like a paintbrush with marching ants (but the don’t march) around the brush. You select by clicking on the tool. If you remember shortcuts, the keyboard letter “A” selects the tool.

    6. You make your selection by holding a left click and dragging. Note the “marching ants” which define your selection. “Painting” with the selection brush adds to the selection. Holding the Alt key down and holding a left click on the mouse and dragging “unpaints” the parts of the selection you drag over. This lets you fix “by unpainting and repainting” the portions of the selection you do not like or want to add back in.

    Tips: the “[“ key reduces the brush size and the “]” key increases the brush size for finer or rougher selections. Charlie’s “grouping layers” is a more flexible method IMO, but I used the selection method here because more of you are familiar with it. Besides we will be able to fix this selection later if we don’t like it. Read on!

    7. With the multiply layer still active, click on the adjustment layer button (just below blending mode box, second from left in PSE - circle with black and white diagonal halves). When the selection box comes up, pick Hue Saturation and click. This makes a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and your selection turns into a layer mask which I call the selection mask.

    8. [Optional fine tuning] Set the Edit mode in the Hue/Saturation dialogue box from “Master” to “Greens”. Pick up the +eyedropper (middle of the three eyedroppers) and click around on various shade of green on the top of the scallop to establish the color range the H/S adjustment will work on. You can check what color range you selected by moving the saturation slider all the way to the left which will turn the area you selected gray. Just remember to move the slider back to 0 before you adjust.

    9. You can play with the Hue, Saturation, and Lightness sliders to see if you can improve the top of the scallop. Don’t worry if your coverage is sloppy. You can fix that. I liked the results at Hue (-109) Saturation (-35) and Lightness (0 - no adjustment on this slider). You might like something different. This is a screen shot of my Hue/Saturation adjustment.

    [​IMG]

    Next - Adjusting the Layer Mask
     
  4. PapaBob

    PapaBob ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    10. Click on the Layer Mask Icon in the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to make it active. See the top layer in the Layers screenshot below. You can now pick up a paint brush by clicking on it in the toolbar at left or the letter “B” (for brush of course) on the keyboard. Warning: Make sure you pick up the paintbrush tool and NOT the selection brush tool shown below. Paint with white to let more the the adjustment show through and black to block the adjusment. This lets you fine tune the adjustment.

    Tip: You can adjust your brush hardness by selecting “More Options” in the option bar at the top of the screen when the brush tool is active. Same with the Selection Brush. A harder brush produces a sharper edge to the subject and a softer brush produces a more blended edge.

    [​IMG]


    Next - Color Correction with Levels
     
  5. PapaBob

    PapaBob ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    11. Click on the background layer to make it active. Click the adjustment layer button and select Levels. We are now going to adjust the overall color of the image (except the top of the scallop that is in the higher layer and has already been fixed).

    12. This image has wonderful color range and a beautiful histogram. In the levels dialogue box, change from RGB to the color channel Red. You do not need to adjust the left slider (shadows) or the right slider (highlights) because the histogram goes end to end without tails (nice exposure DoubleDip). Instead we are going the play with the midrange slider to improve the color. Increase the reds by moving the midrange slider to the left until the red starts to become apparent and then back off. Then change the channel to green and move the midrange slider to the right to pull some of the green out of the image. In the blue channel tweak the slider to the right to complete the adjustment. The Input Levels box starts at 1 and increases or decreases based upon which direction you move the slider. I ended up at Red 1.30, Green 0.69 and Blue 1.18. You may like a different color balance.

    The following screenie shows my Levels adjustments:

    [​IMG]

    I now have the project where I want it and this is the final image full size.

    [​IMG]

    Next - Saving for a wavy day.
     
  6. PapaBob

    PapaBob ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

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    In case I get “waved out” on a weekend dive (seas over 5' - after all, dives don’t get rained out do they?) I might want to save the image to work on again. Save the image as .psd file. You can go back and change all of the adjustments made in the image. If you want to change the settings in an adjustment layer then click on the layer thumbnail to bring back your dialogue box and redo your adjustments. You can click on the mask thumbnail to block (black paint) or highlight (white paint) the areas covered by the adjustment. The beauty of adjustment layers is that you can go back and readjust them or remask them. The alternative is applying adjustments directly to the layer in which case the only way to undo is to back up in the Undo History palette and start over or trash the layer and start over. Once you deselect a selection in PSE you have to back up in Undo History to reselect it. With adjustment layers you can always go back and fix or tweak.

    Important: Undo history information is lost when you close an image and you cannot go back to retrieve it. Adjustments in adjustment layers can always be brought back if you save as a .psd.

    I did not sharpen this image using the unsharp mask filter (USM). A nice discussion of the USM can be found in this thread. Personally, I like this image better unsharpened.

    I hope this helped. Post or PM me with any questions you have.
     
  7. Uncle Pug

    Uncle Pug Swims with Orca ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Hmmm... actually I liked the first picture better. What you called negative space gave the scallop context. The over emphasis of purple in the bottom photo seems out of place but the biggest mistake was washing out the scallop's eyes! They are clearly visible in the first photo and in my opinion are the most interesting feature of scallops.

    But I admit... I'm just a beginner photographer, don't have a real photo manipulation program and I have a thing for scallop eyes so it is just my opinion as a picture viewer.
     
  8. fpoole

    fpoole Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle, WA
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    Excellant Tutorial Bob,
    you're really doing good work on the instruction level..suspect you'll be coming out with a book soon?? hehehe.. if you can keep up with PS and all the upgrades...
    Thanx again for the step-by-step and the illustratrions... that's a lot of work by itself...

    thanx..

    Pug, as he noted, it's a matter of individual taste as you'll find when you start doing this, each photog has their style as you'll have yours... Bob was trying to show the technique.

    There are so many differences of opinions, like other things, everyone has one... heheh... so some like space and some like the focus on the subject... and the good part is that it changes over time...

    Again, the whole idea of the post was techniques (as you well know - just read your profile - I'm not trying in anyway to be smart arse so please don't take that way)... and that was, IMNSHO, very good...

    Good job Bob, look forward to the next one...
     
  9. Uncle Pug

    Uncle Pug Swims with Orca ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Of course you are right Frank. This was a technical tutorial thread and I really shouldn't have interjected my subjective opinion about the photo itself.
     
  10. fpoole

    fpoole Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle, WA
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    No Problem, I thought you were new to the board posting, Jim??, and posted BEFORE glancing at your profile with, heheh, more posts than I can count.. so thought we were on a different course...
    Anyway, I like you, have different styles and sometimes like the empty space too.. LOL.. It's all the same stuff... it's just a tough photo to work... and Bob willingness to post his rendition was kewl... as I'm sure you thought too..

    Hava good one... Beautiful weather today, Sat eh??? doing Redondon on Sunday.. LOL.. plenty of "Extra Space" out there...

    Lator gator... ;-))
     

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