Photography: Post processing

I’ve decided to change this around a bit. The “How I got this shot” section has been somewhat assimilated.

A selective look at certain photos, this shows my tips, tricks and techniques put into practice.

Part I

Working with Zerene Stacker (ZS) photostacking software

Furry legged Mantid

This is more of a tutorial on Post processing but with an emphasis towards the artistic rather than technical aspects of software processing. Here I used Zerene stacker (ZS) a stacking software to combine 2 photos of different focus planes. I then retouched them both in ZS and in Apple Aperture to remove highlights and artifacts resulting from stack.

Mantid final composite image with retouching.

My goal was to show the furriness of the mantid by having the hairs displayed to good effect. This required one shot to get the hairs in focus. Also the eyes had to be in focus. With just one shot, the front eye and front antennae was in focus, the combined result was able to get the whole head. I also wanted a soft image that complemented the mantid’s colours. The final mantid shot came from two separate shots that were stacked using Zerene stacker. The two individual shots are here:


Initial image worked with 1 of 2.


Initial image worked with 2 of 2.

As you can see I would like more of the face to be in focus, as well as the hairs on the body. Neither photo alone will suffice, so it is needed to combine the two. I chose PMax setting in order to preserve the detail in all the fine little hairs. I didn’t like the rendition given by The DMap setting, typically good for preserving colours and tones. The initial output image is shown here:

Pmax initial output image.

Now I have the body and head in focus, however, I found that I didn’t like the in too in focus but not enough out of focus background arm. So using the retouch feature of Zerene program I retraced the limb using the first photo as my guide, leaving that limb more out of focus. The results can be seen here:

Mantid with harsh highlights and grainy background.

Now I liked the soft quality of the light of the image and so I wanted to accentuate this. So I imported the file into aperture and change the lighting parameters. I changed luminance levels, saturation, vibrancy, shadow/highlight details. Two of the main problems are the specular highlights which really go a long way towards disturbing the soft feel of the photo, and the grainy noise in the background. First I used noise ninja to give a softer background, with the luminance slider set to 100%. Giving a noise free shot, seen here:

Nearly completed mantid shot.

Finally I removed the specular highlights by using the repair retouch tool at high magnification. Use the brush as small as the area you wish to change. An irregular shaped brush will also help conceal the changes to the eye.

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