Thursday, November 13, 2014

Replacing Danica's Head

Well over a month ago, I signed off for a short while with Thanksgiving plus a weekend on the road coming up after TG. That was then, and once the ship was righted, and I was back on an even keel, I found that I didn't want to return to my blog. Still don't really.

But, a few kindly souls have been emailing to wonder about my whereabouts, so I am dropping in to thank them for their concern and to let the world in general know that all is fine here. It's just that, I don't know what I want to do with this little space on the interwebby thingie. So, I'll will probably revert to dithering some more after posting this. In the meantime I will, however, make the supreme sacrifice of paying you all at least one little visit.

I have been pondering a couple of directions for this blog. One of them is to post just a single photo every now and then and 'talk' about it a bit. I won't get into my other idea right now.

However, to try out the photo notion, here's one that I didn't take; Sue did, but I processed it, and the steps are still somewhat fresh in my mind.


Danica wanted a snuggle the other night after she and Mom stopped over for supper. Sue had her camera nearby, so she hopped up to snap a few photos. Of the group of shots that she grabbed, we had a decent one of her and the same for me. The problem was that they were on different images.

So, I decided to use the good one of me as the base photo and to replace her head from the other picture. This is what I did — more or less anyway since I am going from memory.

  1. Before trying to merge the two images, I adjusted the White (ie Light) Balance in each. Sue had used a flash, but the ambient lighting was tungsten (as you can see), and the mixed lighting came out oddly. It still isn't perfect by any means, but it is better than it was.
  2. I sent both images from Lightroom to Photoshop as two layers in one file and had the program align the two layers. PS lined up walls and railings quite well, but people move, and her two faces (in the two layers) still needed some manual nudging to line up.
  3. Aligning the photos left some odd white space around the edges, so it was time to crop. I crop a lot in post processing. Unless the photographer is in a perfect position with the perfect lens and gets the shot perfectly straight, the majority of photos can do with subsequent cropping in post. I used to think that having to crop in post was a failure, and perhaps it is, but it is also reality, and it no longer bothers me to do it.
  4. I then masked out the whole top layer — the one with her good face (this one) — and painted just her face back in exactly over top of the poorer version of Danica.

  5. Replacing the face worked well, so I just had a few final steps to finish it off. First: in order to draw the eye, I used the iris blur filter in PS to slightly blur all but the area around our faces. Second:I added some vignetting (darkening) around the edges of the photo to continue to draw the eye to the important area.
  6. I almost forgot, but at some point in the process, I used the radial filter in Camera Raw to brighten both out faces, just a little.
It's still just a snapshot, but I enjoy taking an ordinary photo and making it just slightly better, and I am fairly well pleased with this result. Post processing in Photoshop or in any program will not turn an ordinary photo into a studio-quality shot, but it can bump it up a grade level, and that's what I think I accomplished in this case.

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Edit: some people wished to see the original. The main thing was to replace her head, but while working on it, I did the other things mentioned above. It would have been a 'good enough' snapshot just replacing the head though.


20 comments:

Hilary said...

Wow you put a lot of time and effort into this. I think we're going to need to see the before shot!

Anvilcloud said...

I enjoy this fiddling and faddling. Some don't, but I do.

Shammickite said...

I dropped into your blog a couple of times, so I'm glad you are back. I unblogged for about 3 months early this year and wasn't very keen to get back at it, but somehow I did, and I'm enjoying it again. I don't care how many comments I get, just a couple is fine, I don't have a huge following. I think I blog for myself, not for others, just so I can scroll back and see what I've been doing.

ADRIAN said...

There is nothing I like better than an hour or two Photoshoping.
It's a good job you have done.

Tabor said...

There are days when I fiddle and faddle...but usually with lighting and color. I do adjust the horizon line and crop a tiny bit sometimes. But your photos are really good and I can tell y9u take care. I have not done the extensive layering that you do and masking is something I really need to learn! Hope you do post now and again if not so often.

TexWisGirl said...

would have never guessed. :)

Linda Kay said...

The photo looks untouched. Thanks for paying us a visit...we've missed you.

Donna said...

Love the edit job!! You are really good...
Also helps to have such a sweet subject!
It's not that I don't want to blog, it's just been busy around here...
hughugs

chickensconsigliere said...

Hi AC, so nice to see a post from you in my reader. Your passion really shows. I'm with Hilary, now I want to see the before photos! About the "Not wanting to" part of your post, I completely understand that. I left mine for about a year. When I missed it, I came back. I hope you don't go away for a year, but if you do, I get it.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Welcome back, John, for however long and how often you decide to post. As someone already commented, you really do put a lot of post processing effort into achieving a better result. Perhaps, this is the direction you will decide to move in - showing what can be done tho improve or alter an image and the steps you take as you have done here.

Mara said...

Good to hear you are doing fine, albeit a little on the fence about this blogging thing. Hope you will continue though, I always look forward to your posts/photos!

Ginnie said...

We've been blogger pals for many years AC and I'd really miss your photos and what you share with us ... but I understand that it often seems to become a "job" rather than fun. I've cut back to posting every 5th day and that seems to work for me.

Mage said...

First: Welcome back. I missed you and worried tho I only know you for a short time. Yes too, this is truly fascinating stuff. I have had no lessons in PS, but I understand all but the layers. Classes here are at night, and I can't drive at night.

Yes, often I don't have anything to say or show. Sometimes I skip a day. Then again, there are days I get few notes. LOL Yes, at my old site I got lots of notes a day. Here sometimes only three so I feel that no one cares. In the end, I found a format that works for my fading memory, and I use it for me.

EG CameraGirl said...

I enjoy playing with my photos, although I don't post many as they don't turn out as well as yours. I also enjoy seeing what other people do with their photos.

troutbirder said...

Blog fatigue can creep up. Remember it's supposed to be fun. If it is it is. If it isn't ....

Regenia said...

Wow! The title of this post certainly intrigued me! I have no understanding of photocropping, etc. BUT I appreciate the end result of those who do.

Gail Dixon said...

I am always so impressed with your editing skills! What an amazing job.

I am experiencing blog fatigue and lack of interest, too. I'm hoping it passes. I do hope you will continue to blog.

Hilary said...

Thanks for adding the original. You did a great job of it.

Kerry said...

I'm glad that you came back to share your thoughts. I've been kinda absent from my blog this year, too. A dry spell. Then there will be a flash of light & I'll put something out there, but be far behind on reading everybody elses' stuff.

Mary Gilmour said...

If you are planning to take the blog into discussion of photography, I will be most happy to sit at your feet, oh skilled one.
On the other hand, I love the grandkid posts, although as they get older you may (as I have) want to be selective in what you describe.