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Thread: Typical workflow techniques with Photoshop

  1. #1
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    Default Typical workflow techniques with Photoshop

    I know there are lots of variables that make up image quality when looking at a raw digital photo, but what is a typical or standard workflow pattern that you would use for editing photos to get them up to scratch?

    One of the biggest issues I have is the graininess that my Canon 400D gets at or above ISO 200. I've got many pics that seem 'ruined' by the high ISO required to get shutter speed up for the shot, but I don't know how to properly or effectively remove it (aside from getting a better camera body.... ).

    Also with PS, once a basic workflow has been worked out, can that be bulk applied to a series of photos to save the time of going through them individually?

    I look forward to the responses!

    Cheers
    Nigel

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    Default Re: Typical workflow techniques with Photoshop

    G'day Nigel,
    I use the same camera, and I have the same issue as well. I don't shoot in RAW, and I've just started using Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. I find that I can clean up the images a little bit, but generally if the image is grainy, then there's not too much I can do with it.
    I should get around to shooting in RAW one day and seeing what the differences are between the 2 formats.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Typical workflow techniques with Photoshop

    I'm no expert but have had the same noise problems with older camera bodies. Noise is emphasized by under-exposure, by tight cropping and by sharpening, so my normal procedure for the last is to use USM at around 2.x (the x can be decided by trial and error) and around 60% (also trial and error - two passes at a low setting generally give a better result than a single pass at a higher setting). Then after resizing for the website I run Smart Sharpen at the lowest setting (0.01) and around 40%. This is usually sufficient for the main subject but noise may still show up in the BG.

    If the BG needs more NR I find it best to colour-select (magic wand tool) the BG, inverse the selection and, using a matching BG colour, extract the main subject. Then use the NR filter (or one of the blur tools) and paste the subject back. Do any highlight/shadow adjustments for the subject and flatten the layer. All this is to avoid light or dark halos around the subject.

    If the main subject is still noisy use a very light setting with the NR filter before flattening the layer. I see no way this can be automated but would be glad to learn if anyone knows.

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    Default Re: Typical workflow techniques with Photoshop

    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel C
    One of the biggest issues I have is the graininess that my Canon 400D gets at or above ISO 200. I've got many pics that seem 'ruined' by the high ISO required to get shutter speed up for the shot, but I don't know how to properly or effectively remove it (aside from getting a better camera body.... ).

    Hey Nigel,

    I'm certainly no expert when it comes to PS or the technical side of photography, strictly point and shoot.
    I have the 400D also and have very few problems with it (the only isssues are my lack of skills). I always have my ISO set to 400 and have never had any serious problems with noise except of course if I'm doing a big crop.
    I haven't got PS, I just use elements 4.0 which is very basic and limited. To reduce any noise I use noise ninja which is the first thing I do after cropping. Unfortunetly I can only reduce noise over the whole pic and not just the background, therefore lossing detail. I then sharpen, lightening etc etc.
    I do the same procedure for every pic.

    Cheers
    Grant

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    Default Re: Typical workflow techniques with Photoshop

    My workflow is very basic when it comes to birds. It's probably just me being slack and enjoying the simplicity of my subject, compared to my previous photo occupation which could see me spend 2 hours on a photo.

    Firstly, if you have the option of using RAW then I recommend you use it. This will save you some degredation when trying to recover some areas of your shots like exposure for example.

    I go through all my shots individually in my RAW converter. After the deletions, basically I will just sharpen a little, if needed. Then exposure compensation if required. Once i'm done I batch process the lot to convert and save as jpeg. Over to Photoshop and again I do each image individually as it lets me have a good look at the shot to decide on crops or even if I won't bother with editing it and just dump it. Each image will be USM first off, then look at curve adjustments, shadow/highlight and not much else unless some cloning or cropping is required. Save the file under a new name, then resize to 800 long or 600 high and save as a screen res file.

    Like I said I edit each image on it's own merits or flaws. I like to keep it simple
    Life list - 278 species (Painted Snipe) updated 06/11/11
    2011 list - 160+ species (stopped counting months ago)
    Web site http://www.darrylluck.com

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    Default Re: Typical workflow techniques with Photoshop

    Hi Nigel,
    For birds my basic workflow is:
    Firstly - always shoot in RAW. This will give you greater control and ability to adjust imperfect exposures etc. View and rate in Bridge (deleting obvious bad shots), then open individual files in PS3 or 4. I don't have the time to do batch processing for birds so i just back up all the raws and work on images one at a time. If you want to do some batch correcting and processing you could use programmes like Apple Aperture or Capture One (sorry I don't know anything about Lightroom or PC stuff). Note that you can only do these batch corrections etc if you shoot in RAW
    Individual images are opened in the Adobe Camera Raw pane of photoshop. In CS4 there is alot of scope to edit the image in this initial stage if you take the time to go through it all. But mostly i just adjust the white balance and exposure here. I will usually use the recovery slider to bring back some lost highlights at this point if needed.
    After the basic adjustments are made and the image opened the most common thing that i will do is noise reduction. I use a plug-in called Neat Image.
    It is usually best to apply the NR (Noise reduction) only to the background as it can often soften subtle plumage details and worst case make teh bird look like a fluffy cloud! There are two ways that i will select the bird/background.
    1. (most often used method) is to Quickmask the bird, the apply NR to the rest of teh image. To enter the Quickmask mode just type 'Q' (this is on a MAC sorry so not sure what yo do on a PC?) You will notice the only change is that "quickmask" comes up in the title bar of the image. Then select a brush and paint over the bird. It will show up like painting with a red brush. Alter the size of the brush and the hardness to suit. Once the bird is fully painted type Q again to exit Quickmask. The areas that you DIDN'T paint will now be selected. So now apply your NR. You can also make any adjustments to levels etc just to the background at this point too. Then simply select inverse to make adjustments to the bird only.
    2. Make a layer copy. Apply NR to top layer. Use eraser tool to erase the blurred layer in the areas you don't want NR (ie: the bird)
    Once that's done I have actions to resize/add logo/sharpen ready for web/forum.
    Hope that helps?
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

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    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Typical workflow techniques with Photoshop

    Thank you all for the tips! I'll have a crack at some more shots and see how they go.

    Cheers!
    Nigel

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