WindyHill Design

WindyHill Design

Saturday, July 7, 2007


Snow Rhythms, from here to there, the first four steps

Snow Rhythms raw Sipix capture
(image 1)

Snow Rhythms cleaned-up Sipix capture
(image 2)

Snow Rhythms Photoshop layer blends
(image 3)

Snow Rhythms Photoshop filters and layer blends
(image 4)

(Please click on each image to see it larger.)

The first image is the original photo. It was taken with a Sipix Blinkcam, which is basically nothing more than a digital pinhole camera, from a moving cab on an early March morning. In other words: cheap camera, low light levels, pinhole effect and motion smear. All of these are noticeable if you zoom in on the photo by clicking on it.

There's no way to correct the low quality of the image, the motion smear, or the pinhole effect (focused and brighter in the center, blurred and darker at the edges. The only option is to approach it artistically, using Photoshop, Painter or both.

By using built-in Photoshop filters such as Noise, Despeckle, and Sharpen, Sharpen More, the original photo becomes something that loses its raw edge and begins to look painterly.

A Levels Adjustment Layer allows me to bring the very dark photo into more of a mid-to-light keyed balance.

The second image is the result of these "clean-up" manipulations.

Because the duns and red-browns in the second image look dull to my summer eye, I began to work with color balance and distribution.

I use a self-developed technique of copying the existing visible effects as a new layer. Then, you work only with that new layer and above, for new changes. You do it by going to the top layer, selecting all, doing a copy merged, and pasting it above everything else as a new layer. I call this a "state capture".

This approach gives a lot of safety. Even better, you can always go back to get a copy of any previous state of the image, and paste it in as a new, higher layer. By changing blending and opacity of the top-most layers, you can often get great results from this approach.

For this photo to get from the second to the third image, I did eight state captures, and manipulated further, above each of those. As a result, in the third image, the photo's duns and red-browns have become warm grays, blues and violets.

To give the image some edge (literally), I ran the Ink Outlines filter over a final state capture, and changed the blending mode and opacity of the new layer until my eye liked what it saw. The fourth image shows the result of the final manipulation. The Ink Outlines-filtered state capture layer was set to Color Burn blending mode at 41% opacity.

The final Snow Rhythms image was the result of an extended session of using these techniques.

what: photo graphic of New York City in the snow, Broadway and 79th (base photo circa 2002)
with: Photoshop CS2
why: how to get from here to there, for Lesly Federici

© 7 July 2007 heather g quinn all rights reserved

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