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Genisis X

The atomicans guide to post processing

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Over the years I've been here I've learned alot about photography. Athril's newbies guide is excellent. But the technical aspects aside there really isn't anything here for newbies to get started on post processing so over the next few weeks I'll be compiling an atomicans guide to post processing and, eventually, get it up on here.


So far I've got a few basic ideas to do step by step walkthroughs of various techniques. So far I've thought of:


sharpening with the high pass filter

adjusting brightness and contrast

bleach bypass

colour isolation

noise removal


over-saturation and over contrasting



Of course, I can only write about the things that I know how to do and about the way that I do them. Variety, they say, is the spice of life so if you guys have got a few little tricks up your digital sleeve post them here or feel free to tackle one of the above topics and save me some work ;).


So far I've only written one simple one:


Sharpening with the High Pass Filter


Photoshop has a few sharpening options, the most common tools being the unsharp mask and the smart sharpening function. These tools are fairly good but the range of options presented can be quite daunting to unexperienced users. There is, however, a simpler and, sometimes, more effective way. That way is by using the high Pass Filter.


Step 1: Create a duplicate layer by pressing ctrl-j (comd-J for macs, I believe) or right clicking on the background layer and selecting 'duplicate layer'


Step 2: In the layers tab choose 'overlay' from the blending options menu. This will blow the contrast out alot, but don't worry about it at the moment.


Step 3: Choose the High Pass filter from the filter menu in photoshop. Adjust the slider until the image is sharpened to the desired degree. It's best to start with a fairly small number of about 4 or 5. I generally use 15 megapixel raw files and I find that settings from 8-12 yield the best results.



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I just use the Manny Librodo sharpening action, it's always resulted in the most pleasing sharpening to my eyes.

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A workflow guide would be nice too...


Here's mine for Lightroom. I just developed it myself over the years without much outside input, so it could probably do with some tweaking or expert advice...


01. Shoot in RAW, at maximum resolution, and ISO 100 whenever possible, for maximum detail.

02. Remove SD card from camera, insert in PC card reader,

03. Create new labelled folder on HDD, cut and paste all RAW files from card to folder, and paste to a backup location on separate disk.

04. Import to Lightroom, and sort through all shots from that session.

05. Delete from disk any bad or unrecoverable shots.

06. Choose shot, and view the histogram.

07. Flick through "Presets" to see if there is a group of settings that would be ideal for the shot.

08. Increase "Recovery" to pull in the highlights, or increase/decrease "Brightness" to get tonal range/colour gamut within histogram range.

09. Check edges of shot for Chromatic Aberration, adjust Red and Blue accordingly.

10. Adjust "Exposure", "Fill Light" and "Blacks" to repair poor lighting, or get desire effects.

11. Adjust Whitebalance "Temp" and "Tint" to get accurate colouring

12. Adjust "Contrast" and "Brightness" to improve the tones and finalise the lighting.

13. Check for "Noise", if needed, increase "Luminance" 20% and "Coloour" about 50-60%

14. Add 20-40% "Clarity"

15. Adjust "Vibrance" and "Saturation" +/- depending on the feel I want the shot to exhibit.

16. Adjust Vignetting "Amount" and "Midpoint" at this stage, if needed.

17. Adjust Sharpening: Increase "Radius" to 1.2 - 1.3, then adjust "Amount" around 30 - 50 as needed.

18. For problematic shots, do fine adjustments in Tone Curve, HSL/Colour/Grayscale/ or Split Toning as needed.

19. Export as JPEG with "Quality" at 100, sRGB colourspace, or TIFF with No compression

20. Open image in Paintshop Pro Photo X2

21. Check for vertical/horizontal alignment. If rotation needed, enlarge 200%, rotate, then reduce 50%

22. Check for lens distortion. If needed, enlarge 200%, apply corrections, then reduce 50%

23. Apply any special effects, eg defocussing, film effects, or filters

24. Crop to desired composition

25. Save full sized copy in an Originals folder

26. Resize a copy to medium size, around 1000x700 pixels, for web publishing or upload to pic server.

27. Resize a copy to thumbnail size around 160 pixels height, for webpage gallery index.

Edited by Antraman

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I'd be glad to do a "Natural HDR" tutorial, and versus comparison of Enfusion for natural results for dealing with high contrast scenes.


As well as +/- 0.3 HDR of a non-high contrast scene for increased effective gradiation steps and hence effective bit-depth.


32-bit logarithmic editing space for non-HDR originating images in photoshop/after effects.


And other things.


There are a few special effects I like, such as red/yellow filter effects for colour instead of b&w:)


IE: Duplicate your layer, go to b&w conversion, make your red filter, or whatever you like in b&w for most pleasing tonality, set layer transfer mode to luminance/luminosity.


That's also the work around for getting correct colour with shadow & highlights tool, duplicate the layer, do your shadow and highlights work, set the layer transfer mode to luminance/luminosity.




I just use smart sharpen for sharpening, I find it more than adequate, I dont often find things actually need sharpening, but rather need an unsharp mask of 80-160+ pixel radius, on 10-50% amount for local contrast boost (very different to the contrast tool, try it out).

Edited by Athiril

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Sounds like a good Idea,


I'll try whip something up in msword this weekend and post it here.


What might be a good idea to add to this, which I find is an overlooked procedure by some. The pre-processing of the Raw files (e.g Adobe Camera Raw) prior to your final processing in PS or your editing suite of choice. At times, this can be a powerful piece of software.


I'll also type what I know in regards to understanding your histogram. E.G, what is it, what does it mean, etc..



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would be a useful reference manual although I'm sure there will be lots of suggestions and comments over time about doing the same thing a different way.

Edited by MandoTiM

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Another weekend without much to do and I've made another website with the stuff I mentioned here earlier. And I also wrote a Bleach bypass tutorial as the way I do it is significantly different than others I have seen. Check out the website and if you guys have any inclination to contribute throw it up here and I'll put it up. With credit, of course. ;)


A Guide to Post Processing



Bleach bypass is a photographic technique that was used back in the days of film where when developing the photo, as the name suggests, the bleaching stage was skipped. This meant that the silver was still left on the negative and produced a washed out, undersaturated and high contrast image. Saving Private Ryan is often reffered to when bleach bypass is mentioned. That movie in particular displays how we can achieve a dramatic and gritty look using bleach bypass.


Step 1:


Duplicate the layer (control+J for windows or command+J for mac) and set the blend mode to 'Overlay'. This will blow the contrast out significantly but that's okay for now.




Step 2:


The next thing we want to do is apply a grain filter to the overlay. Go to Filter -> Texture -> Grain and ensure the grain type is set to 'Contrasty'.


Posted Image


Step 3:


Now we need to add some silver to the overlay to replicate the silver being left in the film. This can be done with the 'Photo Filter'. Go to Image -> Adjustments -> Photo Filter. Click on the 'Colour' radio button and then change the colour to a darkish grey. I generally use something around the 105 value for the red, green and blue channels.


Step 4:


Now select the background layer again and go to Image -> Adjustments -> Hue/Saturation. Desaturate the red, yellow, green and magenta channels and oversaturate the cyan and blue channels to achieve a washed out look.


Step 5:


From there go into Image -> Adjustments -> Brightness/contrast and increace both the brightness and contrast on the background layer and adjust the brightness and contrast on the overlay if needed.


Posted Image

Image: Bleach Bypass vs original image




Edited by Genisis X

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