So, back in December I was excited to see one of my images on the main page of the NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) website. It was a photograph that I almost deleted immediately after tripping the shutter. But for some reason I decided to take it home and see what I could do with it in Lightroom and Photoshop. Lucky for me I didn’t delete the shot, as it was selected as the Image of the Week for the week of December 20th. Being a new(er) member of NAPP, I was unaware that the image would also be shown in an upcoming issue of Photoshop User Magazine. I received an email asking for permission to publish the image, so it wasn’t a total surprise when I saw it. But it still gives me a great sense of accomplishment to open the magazine and see my image along with my name.
Here is the shot that I started with. Dull, boring and gray were my initial thoughts. Not to mention the distracting headstone sitting next to the tree. I also didn’t like the small patch of asphalt in the lower left corner of the photo. I wasn’t planning on spending a whole lot of time on this , but it turned into a three hour post processing marathon.
I started out by importing the image into Lightroom 3 and made a few adjustments to the exposure and color, but nothing really exciting happened. So I sent the image into Photoshop CS5 and that is where all of the fun began. I used about five or six different adjustment layers to bring some color and contrast into the photo.
Next I used a new feature in CS5 called Content Aware Fill to eliminate the headstone and asphalt. This feature is amazing. I simply selected the headstone and the patch of asphalt with the lasso tool and clicked on Content Aware and the program magically replaced the eyesores with grass and leaves that is sampled from the surrounding areas.
It started to look pretty good, but it was still lacking something. I went into a folder or textures that I have on the computer and found a grungy frame that I thought would look good on this particular image. I proceeded to play with a few different blending modes to get the layers to play nice together. Now I started thinking that it was looking good, but maybe missing a little something still. Back into the folder of textures I went. This time I found an image of out of focus circles of light (bokeh in photographer speak). Another experimentation with different blending modes and I had come up with the image you see here.
If I remember correctly, there were about twenty separate layers, as well as a couple of hours at my desk that went into creating the finished image. I guess it just goes to show that you shouldn’t delete any shots until you get them off of the memory card and onto your monitor.
It sort of makes me think of the old saying: “You can polish a turd, but ….”
Maybe you can polish a turd afterall ….
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