Friday, March 23, 2012

52 weeks of editing: Blur & Sharpen


One of my photography students, the wonderful Spring Kraft, submitted this photo as one of her assignments this week. She and I have been chatting about editing lately and I edited this photo for her to demonstrate the principle I was talking about. She gave me permission to publish her photo in this tutorial to demonstrate the edit that I applied to her photo.

There are two things that I see in this photo that need to change. The first, is some distracting background. You can clone that out or crop it out. For the sake of time I choose to crop it out (I'll do that as the final step of this edit). The other issue is one that is super-common, especially when you're shooting with a Nikon - the white balance is too cool. You can correct this in-camera while you're shooting a number of ways. You can set your White Balance to one of the pre-set options. The "Shade" pre-set would be a good one in this situation. You can also set a custom white balance (which is something I teach in my SLR class) or you can set the Kelvin white balance (which is something that I will be teaching in my Advanced SLR class later in the year). Or you can fix it in post--processing, which is what we're going to do. This is only one  of many ways to do this.

First I'm going to show you how to selectively sharpen and blur. If you do this another way I'd love to hear your method!

52 weeks of editing
Original photo by Spring Kraft 
52 weeks of editing
Duplicate Layer
52 weeks of editing
Change layer mode to "soft light"
52 weeks of editing
Apply a "High Pass" filter
52 weeks of editing
I like to over-sharpen slightly and then I use a transparency brush to soften where I want it and will sometimes change the transparency of the layer.
52 weeks of editing
Select the eraser tool, set the transparency to 70% and the radius to 99pixels then erase the high pass filter layer on the cheeks to make the skin look smoother.
52 weeks of editing
Now I'm going to duplicate the background layer again
And I'm going to apply a gaussian blur 
52 weeks of editing
I'm going to use the gaussian blur filter to smooth the skin a little more
52 weeks of editing
Select the eraser tool again
52 weeks of editing

Erase the blur on the eye
TO BE CONTINUED...

That is step 1 of my edit... next I'm going to add some layers of color but I'm going to put that tutorial in a separate post tomorrow.

52 weeks of editing52 weeks of editing
Before/After




Do you enjoy this style of learning? I just got my first copy of CS5 and will be working on writing a class for it soon! I'll be taking you step by step through everything I've learned how to do when it comes to editing.






4 comments:

  1. great edit! I always struggle with the erasing tool in Cs5. I can't figure out why, but sometimes it erases the whole image!

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  2. I'm going to try the gaussian blur on some of my photos; can't wait to try that as at times I know I've needed to soften skin but didn't know how (and was to lazy to look it up :) ).

    I selectively sharpen by doing a high pass filter, layer mask, inverting, and then with a white brush, I brush it on where I want it.

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  3. I have elements 11, could I take the class?

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  4. I love this style of learning - thank you!

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