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Author Topic: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art  (Read 8478 times)

2n10

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Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« on: October 13, 2014, 02:30:17 PM »
Here is his findings on the 7 d Mark II AF.

http://www.birdsasart-blog.com/
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 02:35:44 PM by 2n10 »
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Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« on: October 13, 2014, 02:30:17 PM »

westr70

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2014, 04:17:43 PM »
He was quite funny today with his self-depreciating remarks about framing that bird.  It's nice to see some humor.  I was quite intrigued by his comments about postprocessing.  He seemed to have quite a few things he did to refine his image.  Anyone have a similar work flow that would benefit a fledgling birder?
5DIII; 600D; 7D; 100-400mm, f4.5-5.6; EFS-18-135, f3.5-5.6; 100mm, f2.8 IS; 70-200mm, F4 L IS; 17-40mm, f4 L USM; Sigma 50 mm, f2.8.
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2n10

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2014, 04:46:33 PM »
I agree on his comments about himself. 

I was quite intrigued by how well the AF system stayed with focus in spite of his attempts to foil it.  That bodes well for a much higher keeper rate.  I do not have quite as intricate a process as he does but I do some masking for the sky and background noise in my pictures.
Canon EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 7D, EF-S 10-22, EF-S 17-55, EF 100 Macro, EF 50 1.4, EF 100-400L Mk II, Tamron 150-600

Steve

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 12:52:58 AM »
He seemed to have quite a few things he did to refine his image.  Anyone have a similar work flow that would benefit a fledgling birder?

I'm sure if you send Artie some money he'd be glad to send you some info on that!

Seriously though, my workflow for birds is basically this:

I do most of my sorting in Bridge but you can use LR or DPP or whatever.  Once I've found and marked the ones I want to work on, I open them in DPP and zero out the noise reduction and sharpening.  I'll often crop for composition and do a quick fix for WB if necessary, but not always.  Save as 16 bit TIFF.  Open in Photoshop, create a new layer, run Topaz Denoise. 

Here I'll do a bunch of tweaking to reduce noise while maintaining as much detail as possible.  You can use PS's built in NR filter to do just about all the same stuff but the Topaz plugin is better and easier to use, imo.  For low-medium ISO photos, I'll run light NR on the whole image.  If its high ISO or particularly noisy, I'll mask off the bird and run heavy NR on the background, invert the mask on a new layer and run a lighter NR on the bird.  Again, trying to maximize detail is the goal here.  A conservative amount of NR on the subject will help reduce artifacts created by sharpening later in the process, I've found.

After I'm happy with NR, I'll usually do some Detail Extraction with Topaz Detail (Topaz makes great stuff, btw) on a new layer, using the inverted mask for the bird.  You do not want to sharpen or use detail extraction on the background!  This plugin is kind of dangerous because its pretty easy to go overboard with it so I try to take it easy.  The less noise in the image, the better it works, too.  After that, new layer, Unsharp Mask - again with the inverted mask.  I use a small radius and large amount, like .5/.6 and 150-175%.  Depends on how much I can get away with. 

Generally once I'm satisfied with sharpness, I'll do a Curves layer for contrast, sometimes levels.  Often, I will mask out bits to make targeted corrections.  Same deal with Saturation, Exposure, Brightness, whatever sort of adjustments seem to give the photo more pop without getting into crazy town.  If a WB adjustment wasn't enough in DPP I will do color correction here in Curves.

Next, I'll generally do a dodge/burn layer, usually just to bring up the eye.  It always seems like the eye could be brighter.  Any cloning/healing brush that needs to be done to remove blemishes, ugly twigs, crap floating in water, etc will be on the next to last layer.  The last thing I do, occasionally, is run a little bit of Guassian blur on the background.  I'll generally only do this if the background is less than ideal or if it helps to hide any clone stamping that needed to be done.  Usually I try to shoot so that I get good, completely blasted out backgrounds.

And that's it.  Throughout the process, I'll regularly do comparisons between layers to see improvements.  After all the Photoshopping is done, I'll save a final TIFF and convert a couple of jpegs (large and small) by going to Save for Web, saving in original color profile and bicubic sharper.  If you are saving for print, you'll probably want one last sharpening layer for output but for web I think the jpeg sharpening algorithm is plenty for final.  Then I upload to flickr and become enraged at how their upload algorithms oversharpen and oversaturate my artistic genius!

westr70

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 12:59:07 AM »
Nice Steve.  That's the kind of information that I'm looking for.  I have been looking at Topaz lately for the masking aspect but I can see that there is more to it.  I have not used DPP and will look into that.  Generally, I do LR, then PS, and then some Nik work.  Depends.  Your workflow gives me a place to start.  I appreciate your time and guidance.
5DIII; 600D; 7D; 100-400mm, f4.5-5.6; EFS-18-135, f3.5-5.6; 100mm, f2.8 IS; 70-200mm, F4 L IS; 17-40mm, f4 L USM; Sigma 50 mm, f2.8.
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Steve

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 12:04:22 PM »
Sure, and my method is in no way meant to be the definitive method.  I'm still learning and tweaking my PP workflow.  I've found this to be a good template, though.  You may not need Topaz if you have Nik and like to work with their plugin suite.  I can't stand Nik's interface but everybody's different.  Also, everything can be done from within photoshop itself although its usually much more work intensive and less intuitive.  Topaz/Nik just turn a bunch of things you can do in Photoshop into sliders.  I know a lot of people use Topaz Remask for selections but, honestly, for sharpening and NR masks I just use the paintbrush with a really soft edge.  The selections don't have to be precise since I'm not doing BG replacements or anything.

privatebydesign

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 12:44:17 PM »
Sure, and my method is in no way meant to be the definitive method.  I'm still learning and tweaking my PP workflow.  I've found this to be a good template, though.  You may not need Topaz if you have Nik and like to work with their plugin suite.  I can't stand Nik's interface but everybody's different.  Also, everything can be done from within photoshop itself although its usually much more work intensive and less intuitive. Topaz/Nik just turn a bunch of things you can do in Photoshop into sliders.  I know a lot of people use Topaz Remask for selections but, honestly, for sharpening and NR masks I just use the paintbrush with a really soft edge.  The selections don't have to be precise since I'm not doing BG replacements or anything.

I find that taking an hour or two to learn the PS way of doing it pays off big in the long run. I have Topaz but rarely (never) use it, because I end up doing a YouTube search on how to do the same thing in PS and invariably there are a few videos that demonstrate it.

Besides, knowing why something works as it does can really help rather than just pushing a slider.

But as you say, we each find our own best way of getting there.
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 12:44:17 PM »

Steve

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 05:35:32 PM »
I find that taking an hour or two to learn the PS way of doing it pays off big in the long run. I have Topaz but rarely (never) use it, because I end up doing a YouTube search on how to do the same thing in PS and invariably there are a few videos that demonstrate it.

Besides, knowing why something works as it does can really help rather than just pushing a slider.

But as you say, we each find our own best way of getting there.

I'm sure that there is a lot that can be done better when you dig into the PS interface.  Its a really powerful and extensive program.  Some of the methods are really time consuming like making tone masks to do micro contrast adjustments when compared to adjusting some sliders in Topaz Detail.  I agree that knowing what's happening helps you in PP rather than just slamming the "Make Awesome" slider all the way to the right in some plugin.  Before I got a bunch of the Topaz plugins I was doing multichannel noise reduction and tone masked contrast adjustments and all that stuff so I kind of know whats going on a little bit.  Enough to recognize that Topaz Denoise was basically doing the same actions but with the controls laid out more simply in a single window with some other tools (like detail recovery and color correction) close at hand.  But of course, YMMV as always. 

privatebydesign

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2014, 06:54:45 PM »
I find that taking an hour or two to learn the PS way of doing it pays off big in the long run. I have Topaz but rarely (never) use it, because I end up doing a YouTube search on how to do the same thing in PS and invariably there are a few videos that demonstrate it.

Besides, knowing why something works as it does can really help rather than just pushing a slider.

But as you say, we each find our own best way of getting there.

I'm sure that there is a lot that can be done better when you dig into the PS interface.  Its a really powerful and extensive program.  Some of the methods are really time consuming like making tone masks to do micro contrast adjustments when compared to adjusting some sliders in Topaz Detail.  I agree that knowing what's happening helps you in PP rather than just slamming the "Make Awesome" slider all the way to the right in some plugin.  Before I got a bunch of the Topaz plugins I was doing multichannel noise reduction and tone masked contrast adjustments and all that stuff so I kind of know whats going on a little bit.  Enough to recognize that Topaz Denoise was basically doing the same actions but with the controls laid out more simply in a single window with some other tools (like detail recovery and color correction) close at hand.  But of course, YMMV as always.

We are definitely painting from the same brush Steve  :)

I don't find making tone masks time consuming though, and it is a great example, once you know how to make and target your own it can work out faster.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPszOHLmSws

Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

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Re: Arthur Morris' blog - Birds as Art
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2014, 06:54:45 PM »