There's a story that goes with this one. The photo itself is related to yesterday's "One Hundred Eighty Panes" and is of the rooftop of the factory immediately to the right. A friend and I discussed the image during the day and I decided to keep a diary of how I do what I do in PhotoShop and what my thoughts were as I was editing. It's technical, but possibly interesting. You'll find it here, behind the
The first step was the crop. It's only slightly smaller and I left the angle of the green trim line alone. I made the stack a bit more vertical and partially straightened the left side. However, I wanted the full word "loser" to remain so did not totally straighten that side. I also like the burnt umber [?] triangles in the lower left. Again that was a part of the logic.
The second step was to come up to full working size. That is 400 pixels by 19 inches wide. When I looked at it I decided that the natural ratio of 13 inches was too high, so I squished things down a bit and am working at 12x19.
The first adjustment layer is levels. It was already at a pretty wide spectrum. I moved the slider from 256 to 250 and moved the middle from 100 to 91.
The next layer is hue and saturation. Typically I leave hue and lightness alone and only play with saturation. Cyan just came up to +80 to bring up some of the blue in the sky. Blue for the same reason, but only +50. Beyond that there was too much grain. Yellow was already fairly strong. A +15 was all that was needed. Green, red, and magenta remained untouched. I used the eyedropper tool to sample the black, just to the right of the "r" in loser. It gave all of the colors a bit of pop.
Often at this point I'll use the "unsharp" filter. This one doesn't need it and we'll leave well enough alone.
OK, nearly finished. A brightness/contrast layer. Contrast gets a +10 today. Brightness does a real mood change by going to a -70 but it's a little too much. I've settled at a -55. That puts the color where I want it but leaves me with a bit more grain and artifacts then I want in the sky.
I merged the layers together and saved so that I have a go back to point if I don't like the next step.
I'm going to do a duplicate layer and apply a filter to try to soften the grain.
I tried several things, the best result was with diffuse glow - 0 grain, 1 part glow, 20 parts clear. But in the end it made the halo at the roof line and the top of the fan worse. I've opted for no filtration at all.
All layers merged down, and one final save as is.
Reduce the image for web display - bicubic sharper - sized at 72 pixels by 797 wide by 497 high. This takes it from a 103meg file to a 1.1 meg file. Still working in PSD / Adobe98 RGB.
Magicians trick. The canvas size, not the image size, now comes up to 800 x 500. The background color is sampled from the image. I opt for a medium brick red. Green or yellow against the blue sky would not have worked. We have a subtle border.
Save for web -->75 quality .1% blur, compresses down to 164k The jpeg compression increases the contrast in the elements of the clouds and also leaves the sky somewhat bluer. It seems to have removed some magenta. I grew up on Kodachrome and am OK with the effect.
I'm reasonably satisfied. It has nice coloration and some good tonal graduation. I don't like the haloing of the sky against the roof and fan, but I can live with it.