Interesting tools and techniques

14 07 2009

To fill the time until I will post my first photos taken with my new Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens I would like to mention few interesting software tools and techniques which caught my attention in last couple of weeks.

The first technique is Michael Brown’s Orton method for boosting colours. This easy technique containing only a couple of steps in Photoshop provides very interesting results which may be suitable for some kind of images. You will probably get better results with lighter images but basically it can be used with any type of photo. Here is an example:

Click to see larger version.

Click to see larger version.

On the left side is original image, in the middle is fully applied Orton method and on the right side it is set up to pleasing level. You can see that this method really boosts colours and brighter colours seem to be glowing. Note that this is just one Orton method, you’ll find more of them if you’ll search the internet.

Another interesting technique is High Pass Sharpening. So far I used simple Sharpen filter or Unsharp mask in Photoshop but High Pass Sharpening has some indisputable advantages. As the sharpening is done in different layer, you can cancel the effect any time and moreover the sharpening works even if you resize your image and that’s what I like about it the most. As this technique works with edges in the picture it’s rather suitable for images with blurred parts where normal simple sharpening doesn’t work so well. Here’s an example:

'Before and after' comparison. Click to see larger version.

'Before and after' comparison. Click to see larger version.

On the left side you can see original image before applying sharpening, on the right the high-pass sharpening is applied fully to exaggerate the effect a bit. You can see that the petal leaves are not sharpened much while on the green leaves a lot of details have been sharpened.

Third tool/technique which interested me is the Mogrify plugin for Photoshop Lightroom 2 created by Timothy Armes, presented by Jim M. Goldstein on his photo blog. This plugin allows you to add borders, watermarks and notes to your photos during their export from Lightroom. As this plug-in looks very interesting it’s not much useful for me because I usually enhance a photo in Lightroom, then take it to Photoshop, make final tweaks there and then export it. The Mogrify plug-in for Photoshop would be handy here. If you’re using only Lightroom then you can give Mogrify a try, though.

Last tool that I would like to present here is Topaz adjust plug-in for Photoshop developed by Topaz Labs and tried and presented by Mark Graf on his photo blog. This plug-in allows you to enhance your images dramatically in a matter of exposure, contrast, colours and overall feel so they look light HDR images then. I haven’t tried this tool yet but I’m convinced to give it a try as soon as it will be possible as well as try other tools by Topaz Labs which look really great. You can find samples and tutorials on Topaz Labs homepage.

That’s all for today, I hope it was useful for you.

~ All images in this article are copyrighted by the author of this blog, Tomáš Tureček.




2 responses

15 07 2009

hmmm nice article… I’ll try some of these… thnx

15 07 2009
Tomas Turecek

Thanks, I’m glad that it’s worthy. I’m going to try Mogrify and Topaz Adjust myself very soon.

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