It's all about the details

Photographers are always concerned about what’s in focus - making certain that in-focus areas are tack sharp and when using limited depth of field, that out of focus areas are pleasantly blurred. There is no shortage of advice on how to do this in-camera via careful shooting techniques. Here we will look at the ability to emphasize detail post-capture.

It's important to understand up front that the techniques covered here will not turn a blurry mess into a razor sharp masterpiece. Digital processing does, however, offer a number of options for modifying the appearance of detail.

Enhancing or suppressing detail essentially revolves around increasing or decreasing contrast within the image, whether it’s luminosity or color-based contrast. The key lies in how and where the contrast adjustments are applied. The challenge when attempting to emphasize detail is to avoid also emphasizing image noise. Care must also be taken of course to maintain a natural, believable result.

In this article I will explore techniques for enhancing detail using a single image. We’ll use tools that are common to most major image editing software as well as plug-ins from Nik Software and Topaz Labs. While there are certainly other tools available, these examples can serve as jumping off points for you, no matter which application you use.

Clarity and Definition sliders

We’ll begin with the Clarity slider, which is found in both Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and Lightroom (LR) and the Definition slider used in Aperture. These sliders can be used to increase (or also decrease) localized midtone contrast, meaning that the effect is aimed primarily at 'flat' areas of relatively modest contrast. Furthermore, these tools seek to apply a rather gentle adjustment that avoids setting pixels to either pure white or pure black, which would actually obscure detail.

You can see this by watching the histogram change as you pull these sliders from one extreme to the other as shown in the image below. The distribution of pixels changes so that pixels are slightly shifted away from the midtones towards the extremes, which increases the midtone contrast. Visually these tools can add the illusion of increased sharpness as well as a slight saturation boost. Used to an extreme, of course these sliders can create artifacts, but used properly, they can seem almost magical.

Below you can see a single image and histogram both before and after some localized midtone contrast adjustments. No other adjustments have been applied.

Image with no adjustments Histogram with no adjustments
Image after using the Defnition slider Histogram after using the Defnition slider
Image after using the Clarity slider Histogram after using the Clarity slider

To apply this effect to specific parts of the image in ACR or LR, use an Adjustment Brush and set the Clarity value as desired. Note that you can set a negative value for the slider and this will reduce the details. This provides the option of enhancing the appearance of detail simply by applying brush strokes with a negative Clarity value in background areas; the detailed areas, by comparison will appear to be 'more' detailed.  In Aperture you can paint in the Definition adjustment wherever you like, to increase detail. In order to decrease detail go to Brushes > Blur and paint over the areas you wish to appear less sharp.

Plug-ins for detail modification

For even more control over details, Nik Software's Color Efex Pro 4 (CEP4) plug-in includes several contrast adjustment filters. Topaz Labs also produces plug-in effects that can adjust contrast. Many other tools exist, of course, but these are the ones that work for me and should give you an idea of what’s possible. It's worth repeating that any of these tools can create extremely un-natural results, but when used with a light hand, they can improve your image significantly.

Nik Detail Enhancer

The first filter I often turn to to enhance detail is Nik’s Detail Enhancer. This filter is new to CEP4 and one that I find I am using frequently. As the name implies, it emphasizes details throughout the image. Set the Effect Radius controls to Fine to bring out as much detail as possible, Normal for a moderate amount of detail, and Large to emphasize just the larger details. Which one is best depends on the particular image, but you can see how this setting changes the results in the examples below. The Detail Extractor (DE) slider is the main control or 'throttle' determining how much detail is emphasized, then you adjust the Contrast and Saturation sliders to taste. You can use the Control Points to apply the Detail Extractor just to localized areas or to temper it’s effects elsewhere. Note that in the final image I’ve used a Large Radius setting but decreased the DE significantly.

Original Image Detail Extractor set to Fine
Detail Extractor set to Normal Detail Extractor set to Large
Final image, Reduced DE slider for subtly increased detail

Nik Tonal Contrast

A potential disadvantage of the Detail Extractor is that it accentuates details throughout the tonal range. Sometimes you’ll want to bring out details not based on their size, but by their tonal value, so that you can adjust details independently in the highlights, midtones or shadows. I use Nik’s Tonal Contrast filter for that. When you first open this filter, by default the highlight and shadow sliders are set to 25 and the midtone slider is set to 50. 

Sometimes this is effective but other times I find it’s a little too strong if I want to maintain a realistic looking image. By adjusting the sliders individually you can quickly and easily enhance details throughout the image. Use control points to limit the effect to specific geographic portions of the image. In the example below, I mainly opened up the Shadow Details to restore detail to the foreground. I subtly added to the midtone and highlight details to maintain a realistic look to the dramatic clouds and lighting.

 Original Image  CEP 4 Tonal Contrast

Nik Contrast Color Range

The other Nik filter I often turn to is Contrast Color Range, to increase the awareness of various color details in an image. The sliders in this filter are a little less intuitive to use, but overall they enhance or reduce the contrast among the colors in the image by lightening a target color and darkening its complementary color. This can help isolate or blend objects and details within the image depending on their color. It’s easier to use than it sounds. I begin by decreasing the default overall Contrast slider. Next I make sure the Color Contrast slider is set to about 75%. (That way it’s easy to see what colors are being affected.)

Next I adjust the Color slider to choose the “key” color, which is the color that will get lightened. The complementary color of the key color will darken. You can make this choice based on the visual results as you move the slider since the image often will change substantially. Then I adjust the Contrast Color slider to adjust the strength of the effect, and then tweak the overall Brightness and Contrast sliders. In the example below, note the separation of colors in the foliage after applying Contrast Color Range.

Original Image  CEP 4 Contrast Color Range

Topaz Detail 2

Topaz Labs offers several filters that enable you to modify the details in an image. Most Topaz products share a common user  interface. On the left there are various presets and as you scroll over them, the preview above changes. In the center is the image showing whatever changes you’ve applied or the initial image. On the right is a navigator and various sliders to allow you to tweak each parameter. As you hover the cursor over each slider a tool tip appears explaining the function of the slider. But often the most effective way to set the sliders is to experiment by pulling them to extremes and then scaling back, always paying attention to how the image changes.

Topaz Detail 2, is a plug-in devoted to detail enhancement or suppression. There are numerous presets for emphasizing details or smoothing out details that serve as good starting places. On the right side of the interface there are six sliders. The Small, Medium, and Large Detail sliders  allow you to determine what areas are considered as small, medium or large details. A quick pull of the sliders to the extremes lets you see what this means for your particular image. The associated Boost sliders then accentuates (or suppresses) these details. Often a very light hand is helpful with the Boost sliders.

Be particularly careful with the Small Boost slider because it can aggravate any noise issues present when pulled to the right - of course moving it to the left can reduce some noise, but it may remove details as well. Topaz Detail 2 contains additional sliders to let you modify the overall brightness and white balance, as well as to protect highlights and/or shadows, modify saturation and deblurring. As you can see in the example below, it’s possible to increase details selectively such as in the raccoon’s fur by adjusting the detail size sliders.

Original Image Topaz Detail 2

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 55
afsheenaziz
By afsheenaziz (Jul 18, 2012)

A couple of pluses to the SEP2 with Luminosity usage are: you can burn in the edges; the sub sliders under Brightness, Contrast, and Structure are quite sophisticated; and I like SEP2's Vignette tool.

0 upvotes
Father Anderson
By Father Anderson (Nov 7, 2011)

Ellen,

I too appreciate the style of your educational article. I have been using CS5 and LR3 and was hoping to add the NIK Collection but I understand that all of the disc versions require extensive "download and upgrade" ....which is a problem on my old dial-up modenm.

Any clarification regarding "currency" of the disc-based Collection directly from NIK would be appreciated.

Also they say they "can't" use the Post Office....everybody can use the Post office except folks on the Homeland Security Watchlist....?

Thanks,
Father Bob Anderson

Comment edited 57 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Nov 18, 2011)

Father Bob, if you check the Nik website, they offer their products either as boxed products or for download. You should be able to buy the boxed product directly from them or from various resellers.

0 upvotes
JACK LARSON
By JACK LARSON (Nov 5, 2011)

As an avid user of Nik's plug-ins, and a sometime user of the Topaz plug-ins, I very much appreciated the article. All of hullabaloo about Ellen's relationship with Nik cluttered up the Comments section.

A couple of pluses to the SEP2 with Luminosity usage are: you can burn in the edges; the sub sliders under Brightness, Contrast, and Structure are quite sophisticated; and I like SEP2's Vignette tool.

Although I manage everything from LR3, I generally send Nik's plug-ins to PSCS5 because I like the Smart Filter capacity and I love being able to use the Brush tool.

1 upvote
kantucky
By kantucky (Nov 4, 2011)

I can't imagine my life without Color EF Pro now...one can imagine my disappointment when I found out that the updated version, 4, does not work with Capture NX2! BOO! I hope Nikon soon updates Capture to take advantage of all of Nik's software

0 upvotes
cbarnett
By cbarnett (Nov 4, 2011)

I found this article incredibly informative. I am new to Nik software and am grateful to find such high quality instructional material freely available. Thank you.

1 upvote
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Nov 18, 2011)

I'm glad you found it helpful - that's my goal! Thanks for posting.

0 upvotes
Bill2975
By Bill2975 (Nov 3, 2011)

Thank you for posting this interesting article. The examples were very clear and I appreciated reading your perspective on the tools.

Please ignore the paranoia and vitriol of the troglodytes - they're typical of any open forum we read these days. There's plenty of people who spout things on boards that they would never be brave enough to say to you in person. Isn't anonymity a wonderful thing? <grin>

1 upvote
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Nov 18, 2011)

I'm glad you enjoyed the article - thanks for posting!

0 upvotes
seenugj
By seenugj (Nov 3, 2011)

Informative article Ellen. Thanks for sharing.

2 upvotes
mikesd
By mikesd (Oct 25, 2011)

Nice article Ellen.

Clarity slider in Camera Raw is excellent and the latest upgrade to Nik's CEP4 is off the charts. Waited a long time for that and they didn't disappoint. It speeds the workflow and variety of things you can experiment with by a lot.

I'm also going to try some of Topaz's free demos...

1 upvote
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Oct 24, 2011)

So, Ellen, when are we gonna get CNX3?

1 upvote
kameralady
By kameralady (Oct 22, 2011)

Well written and informative.

1 upvote
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Oct 21, 2011)

As a new Lightroom user I'm a little disappointed the article on increasing "detail" does not touch on any of the settings under "Detail" in Lightroom.

I was a little confused by the clarity description but after watching this short tutorial all was clear:

http://lightroomkillertips.com/2007/video-behind-the-scenes-with-clarity/

The plugin demonstrations would have been enhanced if you compared the end results against not only the the original image, but against what could be accomplished in LR/PS without the plugins. As this would have been easy (just use the same image in all the examples) I have to assume not pitting the plugins and LR/PS against each other "head to head" was intentional?

Ref:

In LR 3.5 under Develop/Detail are the following sliders:

Sharpening: Amount, Radius, Detail, Masking
Noise Reduction: Luminance, detail, contrast, Color, Detail

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Art Guertin
By Art Guertin (Oct 21, 2011)

I too use NIK & Topaz software. I enjoyed this article and also find that I benefit from what I consider the value added part of NIK - their webinars.
I join the webinars frequently just to refresh my memory on the use of some parts of the software that I use less often.
For me, knowledge is an ongoing quest and I appreciate anyone taking the time and effort to provide an insightful and useful article, such as this one.

Thank you

3 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

Thanks Art. I too enjoy watching the Nik webinars. Did you know that Topaz also offers some webinars on their software?

0 upvotes
JimStrutz
By JimStrutz (Oct 21, 2011)

Very good. I appreciate seeing what some of these filters (that I don't have) can do. Especially with before and after examples. Thanks for the help.

1 upvote
Charlotte Lowrie
By Charlotte Lowrie (Oct 21, 2011)

Very informative, objective, and balanced article. Thank you, Ellen.

As for the naysayers... I could understand the criticism if the article purported to be a review of each program mentioned. But, in fact, it is not a review. It is, rather, an educational article to help you get the best from your images using ANY of these programs. All the complaining time would surely be better spent by taking some images that need editing, and applying the techniques that Ellen shares.

As for the mistaken notion that Ellen is employed by Nik, do you really think that Nik would keep her on the payroll when she talks about their competitors in an article on dpreview? I think not.

4 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Oct 21, 2011)

There are many tools for this type of editing, including some free ones using state-of-the-art methods. Many operations are recent university research results implemented as GIMP plug-ins. For example, here's an edge-avoiding-wavelet sharpen plug-in:

http://registry.gimp.org/node/24494

Using various wavelet operations, retinex, etc. with GIMP, you can do amazing things with free software. The downside is that some of the operations have many parameters and may be significantly less intuitive to use than the things discussed in this article.

2 upvotes
George Lepp
By George Lepp (Oct 21, 2011)

The people responding to Ellen's article seem to have a problem with the fact that she is affiliated (not employed) by Nik. This means she is an expert in this software (even the software company is impressed with what she knows). Would you rather DP used anyone for their articles? There's plenty of that on the Internet. I'm an Explorer of Light with Canon, does that mean I can't write articles about Canon cameras for Outdoor Photographer magazine? If you can't tell that Ellen is knowledgeable about this subject, you have no right to criticize it or call it Spam! We write about and teach what we know, and you are the benefactors!

5 upvotes
svejk
By svejk (Oct 21, 2011)

1) Rather than listening to a bunch of rather meaningless gripes about the author's affiliations how about people share their experiences with these and other software packages? Holllingworth has shown the way with a very informative post.
2) People might also consider the Digital Outback Photoshop Filters available from outbackphoto.com. They are less expensive than other products. I have not used them but would love to hear from folks that have. I have no connection whatsoever with Outback Photo, other than recommending their site.

0 upvotes
Kevin Hollingworth
By Kevin Hollingworth (Oct 21, 2011)

I have another approach. I use Nik software's Silver Efex (Used for B&W conversion).
1) Select your colour image and run silver efex
2) In silver efex select the high structure predefined settings
3) Drag structure slider to 100%
4) Drag tonality protection sliders for shadow and highlight to the far right.
5) Apply.
6) Back in photoshop change the layers blending mode to luminosity.
7) Play with the layer opacity and layer masks to define how strong and where the effect is applied.

Forget where I first saw this approach but now use it a lot.

4 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

Thanks for mentioning this Kevin! This is a good approach. Or you could use Viveza 2 to add structure and apply the changes in color. I think the technique you mention was developed to take advantage of the Structure adjustment in SEP before Viveza 2 came out.

2 upvotes
occasional Mike
By occasional Mike (Oct 21, 2011)

I did like the article, it is one of the more informative ones of this series. What I did not like is the placement of the disclosure. Why not put it at the beginning of the text? It seems quite a number of folks felt cheated, that it is marketing in the form of an editorial article, that it is spam, etc. Personally, I don´t think it´s a big deal at all, but dpreview could have easily avoided this situation in the first place by putting the disclosure at the beginning.
Cheers,
Mike

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Oct 21, 2011)

Interesting article, but I take issue with the author's description of the Clarity control in LR. Its effects are not restricted to enhancing mid-tone contrast. It's easy see this if you apply the Clarity slider to a 16-step grayscale wedge - all contrast edges are enhanced throughout the tonal range, in much the same manner as an exaggerated sharpening tool. That's why Clarity can be so useful for 'flat' images - and also why it should be used with care.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Oct 21, 2011)

Along a found edge, the Clarity slider behaves in a similar manner to Unsharp Mask with a low amount and high radius setting. This "sharpening" effect is weighted towards tonal areas of the image in between the highlight and shadow regions, similar to using the blend if function on a Photoshop layer. At its extreme values of +/-100 the Clarity slider will extend pretty far into the highlight and shadow ends, but for the ranges of its intended use (at least for photo-realistic results), it can certainly be most usefully thought of as a midtone contrast adjustment tool.

4 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

Thanks for clarifying this Amadou, and for the comment Model Mike. Indeed the Clarity control is not restricted to the midtones, but the greatest change occurs throughout the midtone range and the white point and black point remain (nearly) unchanged.

1 upvote
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Oct 21, 2011)

u-point is good.. but its not as exact as doing the masking by hand.
so i rarely use it with nik plugins. i prefer to do the masking myself.

0 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

Fair enough. I've found that in many cases it works well, but particularly when I'm intending to make a large print of something I check the results at 100% magnification. Sometimes you do need to do things by hand, at other times not. It's a bit similar to making a cake. You can use a mix and it may be good, but you may have your own from scratch recipe that takes a bit longer, but gives results you like better.

2 upvotes
Footski
By Footski (Oct 21, 2011)

To write any article based on software techniques, the author has to talk about the software they use. Whether there is a commercial link or not is irrelevant.

A good article and I have learned something I didn't know before..

5 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

Thank you!!! My goal is to have people learn something that might not have been aware of that can be helpful. And I try to present approaches from various software companies when possible.

2 upvotes
Debankur Mukherjee
By Debankur Mukherjee (Oct 21, 2011)

Nice Article.........truly we all have to spend more time with our computers then with the camera....8-))

0 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

Thanks Debankur. But honestly, I prefer to make the best possible image I can in camera. Then knowing how the various software techniques work, I can efficiently process the image to be the best it can be without spending huge amounts of time on the processing. We're all short of time!

2 upvotes
HarrieD7000
By HarrieD7000 (Oct 21, 2011)

Great. I see I do need to learn more about editing software. Perhaps have to buy some plugins, but than at least I can make some of my pictures look like I wanted while shooting.
Great pictures here.

2 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

I agree completely that you should do the best job possible while shooting. But knowing what the software can do will let you do your processing more quickly with good results.

1 upvote
Photorer
By Photorer (Oct 21, 2011)

Wow! The images speak for themselves..... Very interesting.

Do you have a favourite piece of software you would recommend that does it all? I guess that would be CS5, but are there other options that are not quite so dear?

1 upvote
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

Thanks - appreciate the nice comment about the images. Honestly I'm not sure that there is any one piece of software that does everything. My personal workflow is mostly Aperture and Nik - particularly CEP 4, but I use everything I mention in the articles. What I would suggest is choosing a basic image editor, imo Aperture ($79.99) if you're on a Mac and Lightroom ($210.00) and/or Photoshop or Elements if you're on a PC. Then consider a plug-in whether Topaz or Nik. Download the free trials before you buy to see what works best for you.

2 upvotes
Gil Knutson
By Gil Knutson (Nov 29, 2011)

I always really appreciate companies who have try-before-you-buy software. Unfortunately, many of them that have 30 day free trials don't get a great workout from me, because one month I may have days or weeks to try it because I am not busy... while other months are frantic and once I download a program, I may find I don't have time to use it. I like the ones where you can use it, say, 10 or 20 times and then have to buy it. Regardless, one should always be able to try software before they purchase. I have often borrowed software from friends and tried it.. and then bought it, or left it.

I wish more interfaced with PS Elements... most will interface with PhotoShop itself, but most of us find the full version a little too pricy for our pocketbook/usage-justification.

0 upvotes
gordonpritchard
By gordonpritchard (Oct 21, 2011)

:-P

Adware beware.

0 upvotes
rfsIII
By rfsIII (Oct 21, 2011)

The author is just trying to be helpful and I thought the article was a useful overview, so don't hate on her.

Why would you expect unbiased information from a huge international corporation like Amazon.com, the owner of DPreview? The managers of the site have no ethical, legal, cultural, or moral obligation to you. The site and its management's only obligation is to the stockholders and board of directors of Amazon, they have to make their numbers or die trying.
If you want useful, less-biased information you'll have to go to a site like popphoto.com, or one of the independent bloggers. They're far from perfect, but at least their shortcomings are understandably human.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 21, 2011)

Well, our first obligation is to our readers, without whom we wouldn't have a site to work on. Everything we publish is intended to be useful, informative and hopefully entertaining. The author of this piece has a relationship with Nik software, which is disclosed. That doesn't make any of what she's written less useful or relevant.

8 upvotes
rfsIII
By rfsIII (Oct 21, 2011)

I loved the article, but like it or not her loyalty is to her primary employer and that shapes what she writes. Twenty years ago, no reputable American media organization would have published a story like this because it's a clear conflict of interest.
But as the rise of Fox News and the decline of "mainstream media" has shown, concern about ethics are just laughable relics of a soon-to-be-forgotten age.

5 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Oct 21, 2011)

Nik is not her "primary employer". See the bio on Ellen Anon's Web site
http://www.ellenanon.com/Ellen_Anon/About_Me.html

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

For the record, I am NOT employed by Nik. I am part of Team Nik. This means that they sometimes use some of my images for their software demos, they mention me on their website and sometimes sponsor TALKS that I give. I receive no regular paycheck from them nor do they pay me for mention in any article I write. I use their software because it works for me. However I also use and talk about other software including Photoshop, Topax, Photomatix, etc. in my articles. The idea is for YOU to choose which you think might work best for you. And I encourage you to download FREE trials BEFORE you buy so you can see what works for you.

2 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Oct 21, 2011)

Right after reading the fourth paragraph I smelled an ad camouflaging as an article, but where is the disclosure? Ah, at the very end, -- that should be in large letters at the very top.

5 upvotes
lamah
By lamah (Oct 21, 2011)

The two Fly Geyser images were taken at different times (and the after has some quite curious cloning), which makes a before-and-after comparison a bit trickier.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 21, 2011)

Lamah, you are free to express your opinions, but please do not accuse me of cheating/lying by stating as fact that I misrepresented someting. That is slander. The Fly Geyser images are a before and after of a SINGLE image file that was run through Photomatix. Feel free to copy the before image and run it through Photomatix, adjusting micro contrast and luminosity settings among others and see for yourself. Please note that I also slightly striaghted the after file.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Maverick07
By Maverick07 (Oct 22, 2011)

The article provided a good overview of the plug ins available. Comments on conflict of interest are a little amusing though. Prolific authors of Photoshop Books like Kelby, receive kickbacks from Adobe when he markets their products. An example is each version of CS is a must have. Really Scott, then why are your releases of your receipe book's regurgitate the same techniques and tools for each release? These individuals usually receive compensation through free software or endorsements. Not to take anything away from Ellen she has provided an excellent view on what the tools can achieve, albeit to short to gain true knowledge. As one OP put it waiting for her or someone to release a Photoshop book on plug-ins.

1 upvote
lamah
By lamah (Oct 22, 2011)

Ellen,

Have you actually looked at the image files that you have attached to the review? Do that now and flip between them. The wind-blown clouds move along slightly between the images, the signature has shifted, there is a dust spot cloned out in the cloud at the right and several in the cloud at the top, there are circular cloned areas at the bottom of the image, and the water has clearly moved. These are two different photos.

I don't doubt that you intended to upload a comparison of a single image (because there would be little point in faking this result), but that is not what you have uploaded to your actual article.

0 upvotes
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 22, 2011)

I am 100% sure these are from the same original due to the automatic file names and the way Aperture organizes images when you open them with a plug-in. The differences you note in the clouds are due to the HDR processing emphasizing slightly different aspects of the clouds and straightening the image. I apply the copyright to each version (before and after) separately when I get ready to post it, thus they are almost always in different positions. It's quite possible I cloned a few things in the final image so I apologize if that confused you. But again, for you to adamantly state that the after image was from a different file is wrong. You are stating it as fact when you're wrong. And doing so implies that you think I'm misleading people, which is why I am taking the time to respond to you in depth and in detail. I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond, and hope that beyond trying to find fault with this image, that you were able to learn something from the article.

0 upvotes
lamah
By lamah (Oct 22, 2011)

Ellen,

I'm sorry that you're unwilling to even glance at the images you posted. The first image was shot 2010-05-08 16:52:51, the second image was shot 2010-05-08 16:52:56, this confirmed from the EXIF data. They don't even have the same exposure, the first one being shot at 1/45th of a second at f/20 and the "after" version being shot at 1/40th at f/19. The clouds have moved in the sky from wind. The geyser is at a radically different height. These are two different photographs.

1 upvote
Ellen Anon
By Ellen Anon (Oct 23, 2011)

For the record it is possible that I inadvertently posted the "before" version of the image taken right before the one used for the after. They are for all practical purposes identical. I don't think Lamah meant to slander me by inferring I was misrepresenting the before and after, but I do question the need to check the EXIF data of the pics rather than just try out the technique on the before image and see the results that you can get. That way you, the readers, can see for yourselves and see that the information in the article is accurate!

1 upvote
dralph
By dralph (Oct 25, 2011)

Ellen,
I liked the article, as I learned something about the Nik filter set. I have been using Nik's uPoint selections in CNX since they came out. And, since then I became convinced to get the complete Nik set, with no regrets. Complex masks are a snap, and nearly instant. They can be refined to a faretheewell with additional points, something lost on many users who do not learn the process thoroughly. The more I use their plugins, the happier I get.

The idea that such an article would be written by someone who does not have intimate knowledge of the product is downright silly. Worse, the slights that have been put out here by a few are shameful and small. It's an amazing product which can stand on its own. The results speak for themselves.

Ms. Anon put out her connection to the company, right out in the open. Full disclosure. BTW, I do not know Ms. Anon from Adam, and I have zero connection to Nik other than being one very happy photographer, thanks in part to them.

1 upvote
nikondp
By nikondp (Oct 29, 2011)

Image processing and effects generated by plugins, and specially those of Nik's software (to name Viveza) used together with Photoshop are indeed powerful tools.
The plus side of these tools are the enhancement of the overall image quality (details, colors, etc) but IMHO there is also a minus side in using tehse tools : you are far from the original image in both image structure (details) and sometimes colos (color, contrast, etc).
But I can not more work without these plugins in traditional, including macrophotography or in infrared.
Thierry

0 upvotes
TITCHY
By TITCHY (Nov 29, 2011)

I beg to differ ,these are from the same original ,it wont be the first time exif data has been altered or corrupted using 3rd party softwares , I took both images ,and manipulated the untouched one until it looks exactly as the other pic ,I find no difference in clouds once processed and the water spouts are identical ,I have overlayed them to prove this point .
its clear the unprocessed image appears to be missing some bits here and there ,but this changes radically with processing .
I have had exif data alter many times ,luckily I allways copy originals twice and never touch the back up eccept if I need to copy it .

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