Posts Tagged 'photoshop'

Quick and dirty HDR shadow control

Its winter in the southern hemisphere. For my bread and butter, that means lots shots of houses with lots of contrast and heavy shadows. This one taken at 11am is typical. Now I usually bracket everything but sometimes – especially when shooting on my painters pole – the camera has moved too much for HDR to work – and sometimes it just doesn’t cut the mustard, or produces a result too different to the rest of the photos in the set. (See the very end for HDR output from my favourite HDR software – Oloneo).

This is how it looks in lightroom with no develop settings. Theres a lot of dynamic range to deal with and those shadows are blue – because the fill light is the sky.
1st stage in my workflow is to saturate everything and fill light those shadows in lightroom. Then apply a warm tone to the shadows.

So now you’ve got this:

Which is getting there, but those shadows are still distracting. Create a virtual copy and make the whole thing warmer. Get a good level of contrast in the shadows, the export both images to photoshop as layers…

Stack the lighter layer on the darker. Now you can use your blend-if sliders and layer mask to control where the new exposure should be seen:

(Double click on a layer in the layers pallette to access these). You can split the arrows by click alt/option and dragging.

This is telling that layer to make everything lighter than 196 completely transparent, and everything below 159 completely visible. (Where the numbers are the tonal value of the pixels ranging from 0 – black to 255 – white).

That gives us this

Which has warmed up the shadows. Its also not wanted in the rest of the image so create a layer mask and paint over:

To give this:

Now I want to apply extra lightening to the shadow area only. If I apply a curves adjustment layer and apply it only to this layer, it will alter the blend if parameters. A quick solution is to make a new layer, select it and layer 1, and then stamp to a new layer (ctrl+alt+E).

Which gives you this

This new layer combines the output of the blend-if sliders with the layer mask, but note: this is a quick and dirty process, its destructive – meaning that you cant go back and change the blend-if values later, you’ll have to recreate those steps and any others you’ve made after.

Now you can apply adjustment layers as clipping layers with gay abandon:

Finally a curves layer on top just to brighten the postbox area.

Now the concrete path looks flat, but you really want to draw the eye away from this anyway. Bokeh (or CS6’s focus blur) is your friend:

Total process time – about 5 minutes in photoshop, 5 minutes in lightroom.

And from Oloneo:

Which in this case has done well: There are no alignment problems in the 2 source pics, the tone of the green can be warmed and lightened using its hue controls:

However it still needs work in photoshop. You can ad an extra 5-10 minutes for processing – or about an hour per job.

The final shot: Its not art, but it pays the bills:


New computer time: an idiots guide

Written for idiots by an idiot.

I never learn that those ten minute jobs are rarely so. I’ll expand this post later but here’s the last 2 days in a nutshell, and a list of resources for anyone setting up a similar system (or indeed for me for when I have to do it all again)

Skip this if you have a life *********
The system is:
Asus p6td deluxe – a variation on the p6t line that have had several generations to iron out the kinks. I got this board because there were several quality improvements but alas, failed to notice that Asus had removed 2 sata ports. In fact discovered since that Asus does this a lot. They also had removed the SAS ports (meh) and the floppy port (which was a big meh until the excitement of later)
12gb OCZ CL7 ram, which didn’t arrive so currently on 3g geil ho hum
intel x25 SSD 8-gb
300gb WD raptor (which I’ll use if the 80gb starts running out of space and for the print spool file and PS scratch disk)
4x WD green 1.5tb drives in raid 10. Yes they’re green and slow, but I had 3 already so I only needed one more to make the raid set. If I did it again I would’ve forked out for the blacks.
A huge asus graphics card, Nvidea GTX275

And we’re back

I wont tell you what I did wrong, I’ll just summarise what I learnt:

Setting up raid. Never done this before: “how hard could it be”.

Read quickly and weep:

now before you get stuck in you’ll have to TLER your WD drives first. IF you have NO idea what that means, well the green blue and black drives are apparently not meant for raid arrays, but WD provides a tool that no one is supposed to have access to unless you ask nicely but isn’t difficult to find.

You create a bootable floppy, stick the WD utility on it and off you go. Except if you don’t have a floppy. In which case read this:

Read it anyway even if you do it tells you how to use the WD TLER utility.

Caveat: a few steps are wrongish – here’s the corrections:
5: Open up a command prompt and type cd C:ubcd411toolsubcd2iso

also see the “Some problems” post on that page.

If you get a crash on running tlerscan. then have a look at this:

Summary: put your SSD on sata 1 and do one disk at a time (yawn).

Now you can go back to this:
and do the step-by-step

4: ^I is ctrl-I
Select option 1, then tab down though each option (ie choose your raid type – 10 in my case) then down to select drives. This is where you pick which drives will be in the raid – letting you use the SSD as the boot drive and not part of the raid.

Don’t be a big smartypants and install your OS first. You’ll find it wont work and you’ll have to re-install.
If you do have to reinstall don’t do what I did and just install it over the top. Do a secure erase first.

OK, where do you get secure erase from? And how to get it to work? Haven’t got that far yet, will update when I know.

So install your OS, pop you motherboard driver disk in and install everything (I installed the raid driver first in case a reboot for something else made it go tits-up).
Go into computer management > storage and you should see your raid. Initialise it as GBT, not MBR. (MBR cant handle partitions greater than 2TB, but you can only boot from an MBR). If this doesn’t make any sense and your setup is like mine you’ll be booting from the SSD, keep the raid as one great big drive, choose GBT, and set the cluster size to 32kb. (I’ve got lots of big files so that makes sense).

Now you’ll need to do things to your OS to make the SSD run sweetly, and apparently help it live longer. Although the rate these things are developing I can’t imagine you’ll be still using it in 4 years time. Everyone will be going: “ha 80GB? Hilarious – I paid like $400 for it too. I’ve got more than that in my iwatch”. Unless of course the global economy has finally collapsed taking civilisation with it, in which case this is as good as it got before the end of the age of enlightenment and we all start eating each other. (Shudder)
read this, or skip to my list, below (its about setting up ssd’s not canibalism):

crikey what a palaver!

I have saved all of the pages listed here locally, so if any links break, let me know

update: setting up ssd

I used the list  in the link above, but found the tool below and ignored some items – mine is a conservative list, feel free to comment


A tool to help ssd setup, it makes adjustments to registry – takes care of items greyed out below.

Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet \Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
Change Enableprefetcher value from 3 to 0

Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet \Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
Change clearPageFilesAtShutdown from 0 to 1

Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet \Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
Change LargeSystemCache value from 0 to 1

DISABLE 8.3 FILENAME CREATION – didn’t do it (my value was 2)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\FileSystem
Change NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation value from 0 to 1

NTFS MEMORY USEAGE INCREASED – increased from 0 to 2 in my case
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\FileSystem
Change NtfsMemoryUsage value from 1 to 2

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\FileSystem
Change NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate value from 0 to 1

Hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
Change EnableSuperfetch from 3 to 0

In computer management services set service Superfetch to Disable

Heres one I added:

MOVE SPOOL FILE (windows 7)
Open Devices and Printers. Click on any printer. Choose printer server properties from just below address bar.  Click on advanced tab

DISABLE WINDOWS SEARCH (do I want to disable windows search on all drives!? Ignored!)
In Computer Management > Services set Windows Search to Disable

DISABLE DEFRAG – disabled for drive C only
In properties of SSD drive (my computer) open the defrag service and go to the defrag scheduler
Un-check schedule defragmentation for this drive

DISABLE DEFRAG 2 (optional) ignored
In Computer Management > Services set Defragment to Disable

DISABLE PAGEFILE – set to system managed for E, disabled on C.
System Properties > Advanced, turn off for SSD. Set up for 512min/512max on your second platter drive (if present).
NB: Value is just my preference, feel free to experiment. Having no pagefile at all can cause problems with some games.

Type CMD in search, right-click Command Prompt or Cmd.exe, and click Run as Administrator. Type “powercfg.exe -h off”

Right click My Computer, properties, device manager. Enable write cache and advanced in policies for the SSD drive
Set Write cache + Advanced performance to Enable

In My Computer, in the properties of the SSD drive disable drive indexing (untick the box)

Start Menu > Right-Click Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings > System Protection Tab > Configure > Turn off system protection

System Properties > Advanced, move TEMP and TMP to a platter drive
Also move the User TEMP and TMP to a platter drive

DISABLE ReadyBoot – ignored
Launch the “Performance Monitor” program (via Administrative Tools). Then on the lefthand side of your screen click “Data Collector Sets”, and underneath that heading click “Startup Event Trace Sessions”. Now on your righthand side you’ll see a list that includes ReadyBoot, and you’ll see the word ‘enabled’ beside the word ‘Readyboot’. Double clicking the list item brings up the ReadyBoot Properties dialog. This dialog has a number of tabs. Pick the “Trace Session” tab. Finally, uncheck the “Enabled” checkbox on that tab

MOVE USERS “SPECIAL” FOLDERS TO PLATTER DRIVE (optional) – ignored (I’d moved most of these already)…2114&SiteID=17
This refers to moving My Doc, My Pics, Downloads etc. that are usually inside Users folder on the root of your boot drive to your platter drive.

Open IE > Internet Options > Tools > Internet Options > General Tab > Browsing History. After this has been done you will need to log off and back on again for the cache to be moved

Type about:config into the address bar. Click OK to the warning message. Right click somewhere on the opened age and go to new -> String. Enter browser.cache.disk.parent_directory into the first dialog box and then the location you would like the cache in the second. Restart the browser and then this should now be moved. To check type about:cache into the address bar and all the info about the cache will be displayed

MOVE APPS DATA FOLDER TO PLATTER DRIVE – wrong link given (I’ve manually moved several folders to platter drive including:
Bridge Cache
Camera RAW Cache
Font Agen Pro Data
Outlook files (psts)
and spool file as mentioned.

More things that went wrong

If I did it again I would turn UAC off from the word go, theres been a few things that dont play niceley with it.
Font agent pro doesn’t like windows 7, their support sent me a 4.1 beta which is working OK except for type one fonts in photoshop

Doing the monitor calibration had its issues – as does the monitor itself (an HP LP2475w) more on that later.

There are a few minor bugs and niggles in system software, hopefully these will be resolved in the fullness of time


January 2023