SP reader Nitin Prakash T. J. has sent us this photo of what appears to be a part of the Botanical Garden in Bengaluru.
Though the picture has been taken in overcast lighting conditions, the bright sky has fooled the light meter in the camera, resulting in an underexposed foreground. Such exposures are very easy to correct in post-processing. I once again urge all SP readers to learn to do basic corrections in Photoshop (or in any other image editing software).
This is how I corrected the original image in Photoshop CS3:
1. I first created a Levels adjustment layer (by clicking in the half-black, half-white circle at the bottom of the Layers palette and selecting Levels. You of course open the Layers palette by pressing the F7 key on the keyboard). I lightened the mid-tones by dragging the middle slider to the left. Whilst this lightened the mid-tones, it also lightened the sky (something that I didn’t want).
2. To bring the sky back to its original tone, I made a layer mask by clicking on the ‘Add a layer mask’ icon at the bottom of the layers palette (this is the square with a circle within it). Then, using the Brush tool from the toolbox, (with black as the Foreground color), I painted on the sky at 100-percent Opacity. (In Photoshop, if you press the letter ‘D’ on the keyboard, the Foreground Color will turn black).
3. Next, I created a gradual darkening for the sky. To do this, I first changed the Foreground Color to match the sky color. To do this, you double click on the Foreground Color square and select the required color from the menu that opens. Then click on the Gradient Tool (G) and select Linear Gradient, and Foreground to Transparent from the Options bar at the top. Hold down the Shift key and draw a vertical line from the top of the frame to the top of the roof. If you are not conversant with this part of the editing process, you can skip this step.
4. The next step was to crop the image as shown. Finally, the image was sharpened.
Those wanting to learn the basics of Photoshop can join the SP workshop. Look for details in this issue
SP reader Mayur Gogoi from Assam obviously loves flowers. He has sent us this lovely picture showing three red poppy flowers. He wants to know if this picture could be improved and if yes, how?
First, let me say that this is a very nice picture. Its almost like a painting. I like the triangular composition and the fact that the background is thrown out of focus. This keeps the viewer’s attention directly on the flowers.
The lighting is soft, which brings out the delicate modulation of tones. The central flower is sharper than the other two, which further pushes the viewer’s eye to the central flower, which forms the center of interest. Red is the most difficult color to reproduce for a digital camera, and yet, the reds here are not too bad.
So, can this picture be improved? What would I have done if I were you?
Digital cameras seem to overexpose reds. Using Selective Color in Photoshop, I merely added some black
Secondly, I think I would have shot the picture vertically as shown here.
Finally, I sharpened the picture.
Thirumalai Naik Mahal
SP reader Mahendra Surya has sent us this picture of Thirumalai Naik Mahal in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
Even though he has used a wide-angle lens, it was not possible to cover the entire structure and he had no choice but to tilt the camera which has caused this perspective distortion. What would I have done if I were you?
Sometimes we like to create such perspective distortions. If that be the case here, then that’s fine. But I assume that Mahendra would have liked to portray the structure as upright as possible.
In the absence of a Perspective Control lens (Tilt-Shift lens), the only way out is to try and straighten the structure in Photoshop. When we straighten this kind of distortion in Photoshop, we always end up cropping some picture area. With that in mind, if I were you, I would have allowed more space on either sides so that there would be a minimal loss of the image area whilst straightening.
As it turns out, no extra space was left on the sides and this has caused some area to be cropped during the straightening process.
1. Take the Crop Tool and mark the entire picture area. Don’t crop!
2. Check (tick) the Perspective box at the top of the screen and then holding any one ‘handle’ on any side, drag the ‘handle’ inwards till the crop line is parallel to the pillar. Repeat this for the other ‘handle’. (See printscreen above). Now pull the middle ‘handle’ to the top
3. Press the Enter key to accept the straightened perspective.
4. At this point you can further edit the photo using any other required tools in Photoshop. I cloned out the person in the foreground.