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 Post subject: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:11 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi all,
For the first time I tried some post-processing of images. All I did was crop and clone out some branches that clouded the image. I'd like your opinion whether the cleaning up was successful, and whether I've made the crop too tight (i.e. degraded quality too much). I used the GIMP for all processing and it was all done on the JPEGs.

Both shots were taken last weekend, in Welgevonden Game Reserve (adjoining Marakele NP).

Bar-throated Apalis
Image

Striped Kingfisher:
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:25 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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ho joshilewis,
Not bad for a start.
I do this sort of thing every day and it takes a while to get a hand of it.

I can see the cloning on left of the kingfisher pic. A little advice, if GIMP allows it of course!, set your cloning tool between 50 and 75% transparency and not at 100%. This will give you a smother result, in particular when it gets to skies and clustered colours.

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thanks for the advice Andy, I will use it.
I did try to soften the cloning by cloning with a 'pencil sketch' brush, and then smudging it after.
As far as I know, the GIMP should offer everything Photoshop does. I have also come across a new UI for it which emulates PS, in terms of menu structures and key shortcuts.

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:31 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Should I post the originals as well?

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:35 pm 
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They look quite good, i prefer the kingfisher though :thumbs_up: maybe try sharpen the Bar-throated Apalis a bit? I usually use lightroom so i dont clone anything out so i cant comment on that, and i have only seen GIMP once.

I used to use photoshop but found that lightroom was far better for me and now very seldom use PS :D

I saw them in the flash thread maybe you could just put a link

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:37 pm 
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Maybe this could be a before and after type thing?

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:41 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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oddesy wrote:
They look quite good, i prefer the kingfisher though :thumbs_up: maybe try sharpen the Bar-throated Apalis a bit? I usually use lightroom so i dont clone anything out so i cant comment on that, and i have only seen GIMP once.

I used to use photoshop but found that lightroom was far better for me and now very seldom use PS :D

I saw them in the flash thread maybe you could just put a link

Thanks for the compliment.

The photos in the flash thread are from the series but different shots :)

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:07 am 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Evening joshilewis, as I said today fiddling with pictures is my everyday bread and I enjoy every minute of it. Here is an example of what you can do to save a good picture, cloning where it's needed!, and given it that extra touch to make it good enough for print.

This is the original picture - 400 mm!
Image
Pretty soft on the focus side and too many branches cluttering.

This is the final result, 20 minutes work!, no colour correction but a good go at pruning a few branches and twigs. Look at the beak of the left bird and the tail of the right one!
Image

I work a lot with Photoshop CS4 which is by far the best around the market today.

Please give me your opinion, thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:29 am 
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Joshilewis - this is all Greek to me, but sounds really fun to do - could you please post the original images too? :?

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:06 pm 
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Hi RUMURUTI
This is a great photo but I would take it a bit further.
I would clone out the stick in frount of the left hand bird and also clone out a portion of the stick between the two birds. My reason for this is that the two bird would then be "looking" into "clean" area without obstructions.
The right hand bird has a nice "eye highlight" and if you lasoo the eye, feather 1 pix and then sharpen it , then the highlight may become more promenant. You could also push up the brightness (curves or layers) a tad.
This is my 2c worth - not a crit but some shared thoughts

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:50 pm 
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Hi Papa Smurf, Thanks for the advise. Tried it out and must say looks clean.
I don't like touching pictures too much but and generally have a go at them for printing purposes.

Here's a corrected version, the eye looks definitely better!
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:42 pm 
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joshilewis wrote:
Hi all,
All I did was crop and clone out some branches that clouded the image. I'd like your opinion


Hi JS,

I can give you tons of opinions on post processing, but there's one aspect you mentioned that stings me a bit... The part you mentioned you cloned out braches... I FIRMLY do not believe in manipulating wildlife shots. I do, however enhance images meaning cropping, lighten, darken, tweak saturation etc etc, but I do not put in or take anything away. I keep mine the way I shot it.

If you enter your shots into competitions, they almost always ask for you ORIGINAL file to check out if you manipulated or just enhanced your shot.

From reading this thread you're not the only one manipulating, and they may stone me now, but hey, that's just me, I like to keep things "natural". In the end of the day that one GREAT shot is going to mean a lot more... :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:59 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Sure, I agree with you from a purist's point of view. I will say that in the two shots posted above, the branches that were cloned out were not in front of the bird, they were in the periphery of the image in both cases. I will post the originals soon, but I'm having an issue with external drive (yay!).

I have however read quite a bit of comment on the Internet about manipulating nature shots. A lot of people say that by taking a photograph, you're manipulating the scene anyway, (white balance, perspective distortion due to focal length etc), so in any case there is no such thing as a 'true to life' or 'realistic' image.

This is the first time I've post-processed any images.

Switchback wrote:
If you enter your shots into competitions, they almost always ask for you ORIGINAL file to check out if you manipulated or just enhanced your shot.

As far as I know (open to be proven wrong), there is no way to definitively prove that an image has not been altered since it left the camera. (Sure, things like cloning may be detectable to a degree, but if its done well enough, one can't prove it.)

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:16 pm 
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There are plenty ways to see if an image has been altered....
As we are planning to run the annual photocompetition again I'm not going to list them, but you can trust my words....

And only silly people shoot in jpeg, so we ask for the original RAW and...

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 Post subject: Re: Post-processed Photos
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:19 pm 
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I must say that I agree with Switchback 100%. :thumbs_up: I do not clone anything on a wildlife shot, all that I do is levels and sharpening.


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