Course structure/content

Do you have a systematic way to process your images?
mikemeister_admin
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Postby mikemeister_admin » Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:41 am

Excellent starting points Greg, and 'decision' points seem to be an way to structure our thoughts and the course.

Personally I have never decided my final destination, in terms of medium output, at the start.  After I have adjusted an image, I would then expect to produce variants of it for viewing and/or web and printing.

Also I tend never to flatten an important image – I use to do that and then cursed when I spotted some change I wanted to make that was buried in earlier layers!  Leaving work over night and re-evaluating is part of my workflow on important images.  So I now arrange my work from an Input folder to a Psd/working folder and then Output folder (and don’t throw away the Psd one!).  Storage is so cheap these days that even with mirroring/backup one can keep an awful lot.  The problem, which I don’t think we should address, is how to index them all – as the longer we leave it the worse it will get over the years.

I think we could break up the 'Color and Contrast' section a bit.  As Derek said, and I agree, he handles the basic tone/colour correction before thinking about contrast etc.

We then need to define
- your Target participant
- the expected level of experience
- what they will get out of the course – and, for me, the interaction with like-minded people will be one of the biggest ‘selling’ points

In addition I think you need to consider
- having full resolution images to play with
- and normal-ish images, rather than bad exposed ones – but still included mixed lighting etc.

Another attribute of Workflow is how much time a person is willing to spend.  I have not yet had a chance to view the new Dan Margulis’s videos, but I get the impression they are geared towards professionals (whose objectives are rather different from amateurs).  Should Batch processing be excluded?

I also think we need to define those areas we are not going to cover – certainly at this stage and perhaps in the course synopsis - and I would suggest the following be excluded:

- multiple image manipulation – panorama, HDR, merging, frame stacking, object removal, pseudo depth of field
- specialist areas - restoration, forensic
- technical control - lens distortion, perspective correction
- image resizing
- screen/monitor calibration
- printer calibration
- framing/presentation
- composition analysis/decisions, as this is a subject in it’s own right



mikemeister_admin
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Postby mikemeister_admin » Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:42 am

I just love "spelawn jockeyt" - 'twas not what I typed - I tried for "spelawn jockeyt"
- yea gods it has done it again - the word was s p e c i a l i s t

derekfountain
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Postby derekfountain » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:33 am


- and normal-ish images, rather than bad exposed ones – but still included mixed lighting etc.


Let me just pluck that one out for emphasis. The ability to make subtle adjustments that will turn a good image into an excellent one has got to be a selling point.

It's a lot harder to make that last 5% improvement to a good image than it is to make the first 80% improvement to a bad image. Less spectacular, granted, but more important to more advanced users like me.

mikemeister_admin
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Postby mikemeister_admin » Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:00 pm

Should we include/exclude B&W conversion from colour? - possibly the hardest of all things to do

derekfountain
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Postby derekfountain » Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:35 pm


Excellent starting points Greg...


Personally, I'd go the other way. Take out the non-CM stuff from Greg's list and see what's left. There are countless articles on print vs web vs press, scanning, composition, sharpening and all that stuff. I don't think that should be detailed too much in a CM advanced course. (This is the course content thread, not the workflow thread, right?)

The CM related things are:

Limits of RGB. Show me an image that responds badly to RGB correction. We're told all about RGB introducing colour casts - show me that happening in practice.

Which colour space to use and why. Show us some images that are easier to fix in, say, RGB than LAB, explain why, then let us have a go in order to learn the practical lesson.

Subtle colour casts. Some colour casts are very subtle, and even an experienced eye can't spot them. Show us some images that look pretty much OK, then show us how much better they look when the cast is identified and corrected.

Fixing certain colours. I still struggle with this. Suppose I have an image that looks right, except maybe the grass is a bit too yellow. Or the sky isn't the right shade of blue. Or the skin tones are slightly off. How do I choose which colour space to work in, and what do I do to fix the problem without messing up the rest of the image?

Pin modes. I hardly ever use pins. My experience of them always comes down to "let's pin those trees, this pin will do, -drag-drop-, ye Gods, what's that done to my image?" The trees might look right (rarely in my case!) but the pin screws the rest of the image. I've no idea why, or why CM people think pins are such a good idea. So show me a bunch of images that pins help fix, and tell me how and why pins are the answer for each one. Oh, and pin modes. No clue there either... :-[

Masks. Something else I rarely use. How about some examples of where masks are useful, and why?

B&W conversion? Not for me, thanks. I'm not convinced CM is the best tool for that. Does it allow me advantageous B&W conversions that other techniques don't give access to? If it does, fine, otherwise it's a red herring.

ggroess
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Postby ggroess » Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:02 pm


Should we include/exclude B&W conversion from colour? - possibly the hardest of all things to do


Mike was going to work on the B&W work flow as a separate week for the course.  More on that offline...

Greg

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Postby ggroess » Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:13 pm



Masks. Something else I rarely use. How about some examples of where masks are useful, and why?



hmm...How to bring this out more...
For me I use masks both in and out of CM to limit changes.  One of the best uses for me is the K mask in the Man from Mars correction.  I also use the principle from that process to quickly clip colors.  It's kind of the CM equivalent of "Blend If" for instance,  someone posted an image I think it was Derek with a child on the beach the child was under an umbrella and the color of the umbrella cast a odd color over the face and shirt of the child. 

One of the best "solutions" was a mask that targeted the color cast using the skin mask.  During the correction I was able to select the areas that were effected by the color cast and reduce the color without effecting the rest of the image and causing a color shift outside the areas I was working on.  All within CM.  That really opened my eyes to using CM as a blending tool.  You have to be selective but it can be the right wrench for the job on some especially tough images.

Greg

derekfountain
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Postby derekfountain » Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:26 pm


You have to be selective but it can be the right wrench for the job on some especially tough images.


I don't doubt that masks are useful, but I rarely see images that would benefit from them. That's probably more because I don't spot problems in images that cry out for the use of a mask to fix them, rather than my not getting such images.

I use more traditional Photoshop techniques for partial curve fixes - for instance, if I need to deepen the sky while leaving the rest of the image alone, rather than trying to find the right mask in CM, I'll make the correction across the whole image (ignoring all but the sky) then use the history brush or a layer mask to paint the correction into the image as required. Compared to painting in just the right places with a brush on my pressure sensitive tablet, CM masks always seem clunky to me. Even when a mask within CM seems like a good idea, I'll normally create the mask/selection within Photoshop and start CM with it selected.

I suppose the key to using masks in CM is to spot images where a problem can be identified across a part of the image that isn't easy to select with a brush or path, and is selectable using channel data. A few examples of those, where my usual history brush/layer mask technique won't work, might be useful in a 201 course.


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