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My World: Exploring commercial filters in post processing an image of flowers.

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Asher
Keep at it. It does take some time to get your own voice/stlye when trying new things- For me I like the black and white however imho I would have added much more drama to the shadows to light which would make for an interesting metaphor but you know me and my shadow work!
Charlotte,

I'd love to be a "fly on the wall" as you make your layered transparencies, Charlotte!

Here I wanted to share walking into, what is to many, "enemy territory" of creative filters. I only use them customized to certain aspects of the image a tad, then to only a certain strength, so as to maintain the integrity of the photographs overall structure. I do it mostly to degrade transitions in materiality between the flowers and the background. Such jolts in texture and color can make composition dynamic or else too harsh and clinical. This flower picture was just the latter, far too crisp and clinical, made up of merely adjacent disparate overlapping parts. That is not what I want here!

I want to obfuscate the truth a little and even splurge and decorate, to allow the full beauty to be expressed, like a spring dress on a young woman makes her hop and skip and not just walk, ignoring the flowers and children along the way!

Hardly ever, the unaltered image recorded by my Japanese or German cameras have, on inspection, the esthetic unity to achieve a sense of "being" !

Asher
 

charlotte thompson

Active member
I do understand what you are trying for Asher. Trust me these "artsy places" where you take your work will lead you far far and away to so many adventures! Happy Trails! If you were a fly on the wall watching me work most likely your wings might fall off just like many many times I want to pull my hair out to achieve the results I want. I think you are on that same trail.
 

James Lemon

Active member
Now for the global, (with local adaptive changes) transformation of the color picture.

If you HATE use of artistic filters, then skip this and go on to the two monochrome versions, to follow, which might be more to your style.




Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

1000 pixels reduced file, uncropped, from out-of-the-camera jpg with no other processing






Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Direct from Adobe Camera Raw CC 2014, cropped to 8x10 format and then resized to 800 pixels, with no other processing





Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Version Above Processed with Topaz Impression - Turner Storm 2.



This departs in a major way from the original form of the image. The flowers and drinking glass are now connected via a zone of commonality, like a cloth in a still life composition, so that all elements are united and should now appear to be feeding off the same "esthetic blood flow".


This is either brave and wonderful or else frighteningly destructive, depending on one's core values as to art and photography. My job here is to investigate the consequences of using this filter and although I'm testing the waters, I am pretty pleased with the result. Perhaps I'd do this by actually bringing in a colored cloth to the next shot of such flowers and even painting over with acrylics on the finished print. either way, I have, for myself at least, dealt with the gross discordance of materials and made everything connect to my satisfaction. I like attachments, that's how family and community is built. I like to see it as a possible quality and this exploration confirms my suspicion that it works for pictures too!

If this exercise pushed futurism too far, venturing into brush strokes on a photograph, then a clean monochrome version to follow should reset your clocks again!

Asher
Yes this is a departure in a pleasing direction! I would be pleased as well with this painted version. I really like what you have accomplished with this particular rendition. Well done Asher!
 

Lee Tracy

New member
The problem with the filters is not that they are 'the enemy' as such, but that they are generic. When you use them enough, or see the results often enough you start to recognise the individual filters. Personally I want to see the individuality of the artist, not the result of a filter.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
OK, let's switch back to monochrome. We can take the two version and judiciously blend them.





Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Monochrome Derived through Nik Silver Effex Pro adjusted to the different tonality zones of the, (Adobe
Camera RAW derived), cropped color image with no other adjustments before conversion, 800 pixels reduced file








Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Monochrome Derived through Topaz Analog B&W Effects, adjusted to the different tonality zones of the, (Adobe
Camera RAW derived), cropped color image with no other adjustments before conversion. 800 pixels reduced file







Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Monochrome Blend of the two images above from Nik Effex and Topaz respectively.



Now we can start to optimize this for printing.


I have used a contrast adjustment S curve in Photoshop and then removed all of the changes with the original layer placed over the curve modified layer. Then using a mask and a black brush at 5% I gradually returned the increased contrast to limited lines and areas I wanted to bring out and increase in "rank". This way, the changes are only applied cautiously and reversibly.




Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Monochrome Blend selectively enhanced by an S-curve to increase dimensionality


So now I have a B&W version ready for printing! But what! Can I obfuscate the harsh zonal division of the component zones of

  • background
  • table
  • Flowers and water glass
before I commit to a print?: But then, we need a "NSFPP", (not suitable for photography purists) warning! As for this we need to move, repeat or stretch some pixels to fuse some adjacent areas.

So forgive me, but once again we use the word "filter" so 'dissed by some. Artistic filters move pixels. The one that is most suitable here is from and cautiously by a skilled user.



Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

S-curve enhanced result above processed selectively with Topaz Impression to texturize junctions between image zones.


Well I do like the removal of the sharp zones of "foreignness" between the flowers, wall and table, and I like this, but I need to give attention to the wall to make the materiality more consistent. The lines of light and shadow have to fit in better. So let's work on this more shortly. However, the result itself can be used to beef up the color version we prepared earlier in post #26 above.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief


Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

S-curve enhanced result above processed selectively with Topaz Impression to texturize junctions between image zones.






Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Color from RAW, further processed with Topaz Impression



Now to complete the color version ready for print, we deliver it the texture and emphasis crafted in the monochrome version. The two layers are stacked, the monochrome version above the color version. Blend mode is set to "Darken" and the percent effect of the monochrome layer was reduced to 67 percent.





Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Two versions above blended in Photosghop


I'm delighted with the result. I achieved what I was trying to build into the picture the camera delivered.

This is totally new exploration for me, as I have been an obsessional purist with portraits and figure studies for most of my work. I do find my "genetic approach" challenging, interesting and fruitful. It seems worthwhile to create and "mate" new version of an original image.

Commercial filters can be used to deliver complex and otherwise difficult to achieve artistic changes. They must be limited in scope, strength and location, or else one is going to simply duplicate a mechanical and synthetic look. So I will work more to discover both what alterations I need and what parameters of a filter's control panel might deliver only effects needed. Even then, using layers to fine tune the result by only using part of the changes is an important tool for refinement of the result.

In this vein, the center flower on the right in the front could be worked on to include more of the original color version. Now, perhaps the decorations are a little too obvious and it's no hard task to correct that. Otherwise I'm very happy to make a first print!

Anyone can snap a picture with a modern camera. If the flowers are arranged well, it's not hard to get something pretty. but can one go beyond that? Well, I think that filters can open one's mind to new possibilities for consideration. Art should be iterative. If one does not venture to try out new tools, then one misses out on breaking boundaries that limit our thinking!

Doubtless, all this effort on just one photograph manipulated in a number of ways, each time exploring how the flowers could be more expressive provides feedback to one's brain to be able to build such feelings into the original image from the outset! That's the great challenge!

Asher
 

James Lemon

Active member


Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

S-curve enhanced result above processed selectively with Topaz Impression to texturize junctions between image zones.






Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Color from RAW, further processed with Topaz Impression



Now to complete the color version ready for print, we deliver it the texture and emphasis crafted in the monochrome version. The two layers are stacked, the monochrome version above the color version. Blend mode is set to "Darken" and the percent effect of the monochrome layer was reduced to 67 percent.





Asher Kelman: Flowers in A water Glass

Two versions above blended in Photosghop


I'm delighted with the result. I achieved what I was trying to build into the picture the camera delivered.

This is totally new exploration for me, as I have been an obsessional purist with portraits and figure studies for most of my work. I do find my "genetic approach" challenging, interesting and fruitful. It seems worthwhile to create and "mate" new version of an original image.

Commercial filters can be used to deliver complex and otherwise difficult to achieve artistic changes. They must be limited in scope, strength and location, or else one is going to simply duplicate a mechanical and synthetic look. So I will work more to discover both what alterations I need and what parameters of a filter's control panel might deliver only effects needed. Even then, using layers to fine tune the result by only using part of the changes is an important tool for refinement of the result.

In this vein, the center flower on the right in the front could be worked on to include more of the original color version. Now, perhaps the decorations are a little too obvious and it's no hard task to correct that. Otherwise I'm very happy to make a first print!

Anyone can snap a picture with a modern camera. If the flowers are arranged well, it's not hard to get something pretty. but can one go beyond that? Well, I think that filters can open one's mind to new possibilities for consideration. Art should be iterative. If one does not venture to try out new tools, then one misses out on breaking boundaries that limit our thinking!

Doubtless, all this effort on just one photograph manipulated in a number of ways, each time exploring how the flowers could be more expressive provides feedback to one's brain to be able to build such feelings into the original image from the outset! That's the great challenge!

Asher
Asher

If I had to choose it would be the first version. I prefer the tonalities and the separation achieved between the different tones.

James
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Asher

If I had to choose it would be the first version. I prefer the tonalities and the separation achieved between the different tones.

James
Hi Jim,

I think you may be right. This exploration has the a self-willed intent, mating things together, but one cannot totally determine the success of all one's offspring. Ultimately it's the survival of the fittest!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Let me admit that I really appreciate the availability of commercial filters. They allow one to experiment with image presentation and mood separate from the content and most of the composition.

See an example with this picture of abandoned boats

Asher
 

Jean Henderson

New member
Asher, I applaud your persistence in playing with this image. Last month I did some playing of my own with the Nik Fx filters mostly because the two images I was working with I did not like the color in my flowers and I have ALWAYS loved B&W photography where I got my start.

Let me say that the pastels remind me of some of Maggie Terlecki's images in their soft beauty and that, although I am mostly a purist, I really liked the painted effect look of the color version -- partly because that central bloom that we can look into gives my eyes a place to rest a bit as they travel the image.

The table is off and, I'm thinking, it may be because the color of it takes away from both the diagonal light rays of the background and the flowers -- I would almost like to see the image done on a roll of paper instead of on the table. I think that might add to both the color and the monochrome versions. It just might also improve the composition a bit.

Just my 2 cents...

Jean
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Yes, Maggie's sensibility for color is something I watch for and wish I had!

What's special about modern pictures is that we can redistribute contrast and tonalities far more than say simply choosing a color film or transparency film with a particular response curve. Essentially, we can now even change the color sets at a whim as if we were inventing new emulsions or processing chemicals for a particular shot.

This is where some measures of skill, intuition, caution and discipline are needed or else one can end up esthetically lost! The great thing about Film emulsions is that they were always safe bets! All films have been refined for particular uses - weddings, portraits or landscapes, for example - and always deliver that kind of picture for that purpose. Today, we're free to go beyond the limitations and safe boundaries of particular film types and mix colors and tones just as painters do with the same benefits and risks of success or abject failure!

Asher
 

Maggie Terlecki

Active member
Yes, Maggie's sensibility for color is something I watch for and wish I had!

What's special about modern pictures is that we can redistribute contrast and tonalities far more than say simply choosing a color film or transparency film with a particular response curve. Essentially, we can now even change the color sets at a whim as if we were inventing new emulsions or processing chemicals for a particular shot.

This is where some measures of skill, intuition, caution and discipline are needed or else one can end up esthetically lost! The great thing about Film emulsions is that they were always safe bets! All films have been refined for particular uses - weddings, portraits or landscapes, for example - and always deliver that kind of picture for that purpose. Today, we're free to go beyond the limitations and safe boundaries of particular film types and mix colors and tones just as painters do with the same benefits and risks of success or abject failure!

Asher
Asher, I am surprised I didn't see this before, but I only look at the recent posts, and if something falls off the page, unfortunately, I miss it.

The painted effect is pretty cool, better than most filters I've seen. It does have a bit of a scrumbled dry brush effect on the background. I prefer the greyer background as it sets off the flowers more but it is still in a warm tone and all shadows are warm and would be a bit better I think with a cooler purple cast to really set off the warm tulips. I do like how you lowered the saturation in the second one though that has a more pinkish background as they are more delicate than in the first that feel a bit bright and the flowers feel more delicate in that one. I will message you something to show you what I mean.

I think it is fun that you are experimenting; I think you have nothing to lose by doing so and every chance of learning something. I think the discoveries that you learn by playing around seem to stick to the brain better than anything you'll ever read in a book. It doesn't matter if you are playing with filters, with color, with lighting or graphics ... they all lead to a richer understanding of visual art.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Asher, I am surprised I didn't see this before, but I only look at the recent posts, and if something falls off the page, unfortunately, I miss it.

The painted effect is pretty cool, better than most filters I've seen. It does have a bit of a scrumbled dry brush effect on the background. I prefer the greyer background as it sets off the flowers more but it is still in a warm tone and all shadows are warm and would be a bit better I think with a cooler purple cast to really set off the warm tulips. I do like how you lowered the saturation in the second one though that has a more pinkish background as they are more delicate than in the first that feel a bit bright and the flowers feel more delicate in that one. I will message you something to show you what I mean.......
Maggie,

I think you're on to something with the ranking of the flowers versus the b.g. And the idea of a tad of purple is most interesting! Please conjure up any possibilities you can!

Asher
 
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