The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP...

Started Mar 29, 2011 | Discussions
Ray Soares
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The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP...
Mar 29, 2011

As per request, I'll describe my main workflow with some samples.
For the ones that dont follow my threads, plz first read this one:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=37815130

And lets begin with some portraits I made this weekend with the D7000, 70-200mm f2.8 VRII, SB-600, auto-iso got pretty high in some of them:
ISO 500

ISO 2000

ISO 2000

With the 24mm f1.4 G at ISO 640

First of all I shoot RAW and open the file in NX2, SO I KEPT ALL MY IN-CAMERA SETTINGS , SPEEDING UP THE WORKFLOW!
Basic Corrections :
1- Go to Camera settings tab, correct White Balance if necessary;

2- In Quick Fix tab, pull slides so they touch the histogram (on shadows you may go further inside, but on the highlights side look at the pic and dont go to close to the tip of histogram (I dont trust in auto corrections btw)

3- Use Highlight and Shadow protection at taste but dont exagerate -> up to max 30-50% of the slide range ( later you are going to correct worst areas in pic using the Nik control points)

3- In camera and lens corrections tab, pull Axial color Aberration slide to max right
4- Apply auto distortion control
5- Rotate image if in portrait position; fine tune rotation

6- Apply selective control points to correct dark and bright areas of pic -> I use a lot of them; apply brightness slide, and later correct saturation as it increases when you dark the area; increase contrast if you increase brightness a lot; etc

7- Apply as many auto-retouch brushes as needed (very easy in some cases but in extensive areas or complicated ones, I use clone tool in CS4)

8- Apply a touch of highpass sharpening : 2.5 radius, opacity at 70% at luminance channel only, overlay blending mode;

9- I use Nik Color effects filters a lot so if in a portrait, apply now the filter darken/Lighten Center at taste (dont exagerate again)

10- Sometimes I put a white and/or black control point (see Jason Odell's lesson on how to do it )
11- Change color profile to srgb
13- Crop at taste
14- Save your NEF
15- Save as JPG 100% or TIFF 16 bits/LZW if other PP is needed in other software

To be continue...

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Ray Soares
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #2...
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 29, 2011

Special corrections in NX2 -> skies and skin color:

Skies:

1- Best correction for skies is -> DO NOT blown it and use ADL to High or extra-high, and a CPL filter, and negative EC, even when the rest of the pic is dark, situation that you can easily correct in PP, thanks to the great sensor of D7000 at base ISO;

2- Anyway, aditional blue sky can be reached by dropping a control point (s) in the sky, and pulling the warm slide of it to the left ( instead of warming the area); then apply just a touch of the blue slide, and DECREASE contrast a bit looking at pic untiil the color is most natural as possible;

3- Apply MANY controls points needed to deselect areas that the blue mask overflow, like in clouds
4- Apply Nik Color Effects filter -> Graduated Neutral density at taste

5- Do a final Color / Warmth correction (adjust-> color -> saturation/warmth slides)
6- Remember: DON'T EXAGERATE!

Skins -> VERY difficult to correct but you may try like this

1- Apply selective control points to bring the desired brightness to the areas that were blown out or are too dark

2- Apply retouch brush to correct blemishes, little scars, smalls areas usually (like the blown out tip of the nose)
3- To correct a large blown area you should go to CS4 and use the clone tool

If skin treatment is needed, I recomend to buy the Portrait Professional Studio 10 ( you may try it during a month for free): it would be impossible to do this without it:

Noise:

I use in-camera NR to normal in D7000 (in D300 was at low), and lets say, from ISO 2000 up to ISO 3200, I apply Topaz denoise (is a CS4 plugin) at moderate settings.

For lower than ISO 2000 the in-camera NR does a pretty good job IMO, so nothing else is needed.

Finally, plz remember that these are only general tips and lots of testting is needed as one wants to obtain the best results.

Cheers!

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Ray Soares
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #3...
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 29, 2011

For the more advanced people, I would advice to get Marcus Bell's filters for portraits and wedding pics like this:

In B&W:

In Sepia Halftone:

In Sepia:

And for landscapers, I advice to get The PTGui for stitching and Autopano for HDR:

Pano

HDR

Best
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tsitalon1
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #3...
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 29, 2011

Thank you so much ray!

I will do my best to get this workflow down. Thanks again!

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AV Janus
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #3...
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 29, 2011

This is great!
Similar to what i am accustomed to.

My prediction is you will get scorched for such vivid colors on the pano pic and "sephia" like tones on your portraits. But I know this is what you were going for.

I gotta learn how to use Highpass sharpening...
You don't use Unsharp mask?

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Rick Halle wrote:

" Keep in mind that tall buildings sway back and forth so they require faster shutter speeds."

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Jack Hogan
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #2...
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 29, 2011

Ray Soares wrote:

If skin treatment is needed, ....: it would be impossible to do this without it:

I like and use the plug-in you referenced for other reasons, although I find that it has a tendency to give a bit of a plasticky, overly made up look to skin in default - can you see what I mean in the image you attached just below the quote?

However, for skin I find that the following technique works very well most of the time and gets you there easier and faster without leaving CNX2 (save it as a setting) http://bof.uk.com/blog/portrait-post-processing/

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Jack Hogan
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #2...
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 29, 2011

Ray Soares wrote:

Skies:

2- Anyway, aditional blue sky can be reached by dropping a control point (s) in the sky...

A good and simple technique that gives realistic rich darker blue daylight skies is to select the sky (as you suggest, or with a gradient, or with the lasso and feather, or the brush or a combination of the above, or ...), apply an LCH adjustment and grab the dark triangle at the bottom of the histogram in Master Lightness and drag it to the right until you get the right amount of 'blueness'.

Not blue enough? Change the blend mode of the adjustment to 'multiply'. But be careful. It's easy to get addicted to super deep rich blue skies.

Cheers
Jack

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Ray Soares
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Good tip Jack! nt
In reply to Jack Hogan, Mar 29, 2011
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Ray Soares
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Av Janus...
In reply to AV Janus, Mar 29, 2011

I dont like NX2 unsharp mask (although CS4's one is much better), so I only use the in-camera sharpening plus a touch of highpass.

Best
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Dragon Reborn
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP...
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 29, 2011

Ray, thank you for your work, effort, and tips. Much appreciated.

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juan_cruz
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Unsharp Mask VS High Pass Filter in Capture NX2 with with the Nikon D7000
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 29, 2011

Dear Ray

Regarding the use of High Pass filter (HPF) vs. Unsharp Mask (USM), I did follow your advice with CNX2 on a sunny picture full of foliage, grass, rocks and a blue sky (D7000, 100 ISO). The effect of the HPF was very noticeable at 100% magnification (RAW/NEF with the type and amount you suggest) but it seems to me a bit “artificial”, may I confess. This was the first time I use HPF with CNX2 as many times I read that the way to go for sharpening is all about USM mainly although never applied it outside Photoshop. Went to the original status and applied USM and the result was more pleasant, may I say. One of the papers I read, searching for a theoretical explanation of USM vs HPF, suggest the former is better suited for daylight scenes and the later for low light ones, particularly when using moderate to high ISO. Should I add that my platform is based on Mac OS version of Capture. I like Aperture very much but CNX2 undoubtedly, produce a better picture from the scratch.

Thanks for sharing your workflow and, as a fan of your posts, will appreciate your comments (and from any forum member, of course) about my findings.

Sincerely

Juan Jose Gonzalez Cruz

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Ray Soares
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Thnak you for the follow up Juan! nt
In reply to juan_cruz, Mar 29, 2011
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AV Janus
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Re: Thnak you for the follow up Juan! nt
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 30, 2011

Very good advice Juan. I will have to check that out, myself.
--
Rick Halle wrote:

" Keep in mind that tall buildings sway back and forth so they require faster shutter speeds."

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perry rhodan
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Dear Ray, growing towards an inspiring book?
In reply to Dragon Reborn, Mar 30, 2011

Thank you for the excellent work. Your examples, settings and various insights are very inspiring. They stimulate me to get more out of my equipment.

Having followed your excellent posts for some time, it appears the booklet has grown ... and is growing towards a real book

Seriously interesting.

Kind regards Perry

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RandyS
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #3...
In reply to Ray Soares, Mar 30, 2011

Ray,

Thanks for posting your tips and insight on NX2. This software is an integral part of my workflow (although I also use Photoshop CS3), and I've lamented the fact that there seems to be relatively little discussion of NX2 on this website. I would like to see more, and your post is an excellent start. I do have a couple questions.

First, I'm curious about your relative dislike of USM for sharpening, in favor of the high pass filter. I've never used HPF much, although this may be in part because I'm not particularly familiar with how best to apply this technique. Moreover, I think I've been able to get excellent results using USM, although I don't simply apply USM on the RGB channel. Instead, I make a minor correction on RGB, and then will sharpen individual color channels (in luminosity mode) depending upon the content of the photos. For portraits, I have found an adjustment on the red and/or magenta channels (with low radius and low threshold but strong sharpening) yields good results with no halos or artifacts. Depending upon the desired effect, I might then mask sharpening effect, or alternatively paint it in, using the masking brush, to smooth the skin retain sharpness in the eyes, nose and mouth areas.

Second, I noted that you only convert over to the sRGB color space after making your edits. This might be a stupid question, but if you're ultimately going to convert over to sRGB anyway, why perform your edits in the RGB color space initially. Wouldn't you want to perform your edits in the color space in which the final product will be viewed? I realize that if you're going to print the photo, rather than display it on the web, you may want to utilize the broader RGB color space. However, if everything ultimately ends up in sRGB, why not start there?

Third, you discuss, albeit not in any detail, your noise reduction using NX2. I have never had much success in reducing noise using this program without losing detail in my images. So I now do all of my noise correction in Photoshop using a third-party plug-in. Could you share your noise reduction techniques using NX2? I would like to see if I can obtain better results reducing noise on the RAW file, rather than having to move over to Photoshop to complete this step.

Finally, (and this is more of a comment rather than a question) you recommend PTGui for stitching and Autopano for HDR. I have become somewhat obsessed with panoramas recently, and as a result have downloaded trial (or free) versions of many of the different stitching programs, including PT Gui, Autopano, and Huggin (I have been using Photomerge in CS3). In my albeit relatively recent and limited experience, I can achieve virtually identical results for uncomplicated run-of-the-mill type panoramas with any of these software packages, with minor variations in the amount of manual tweaking required. However, for more difficult and complicated shots -- particularly those involving architectural structures which often present issues in correcting perspective, straightening vertical lines, and where any stitching her regularities will be immediately noticeable, Autopano seemed to work best -- particularly because of its vertical line tool. The only thing that has stopped me from picking up the Autopano software is cost. It is not cheap, I'm not sure whether my current panorama will last, or if it is just a passing fad. Furthermore, because I have been able to achieve equal results for 95% of my panoramas using Photomerge, I am not sure Autopano is worth the money, at least for me.

Thanks again for posting your tips and suggestions on NX2 -- please keep them coming.

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Jack Hogan
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #3...
In reply to RandyS, Mar 30, 2011

RandyS wrote:

I've lamented the fact that there seems to be relatively little discussion of NX2 on this website.

Best CNX2 discussions here, http://www.flickr.com/groups/capturenx/ , IMHO.

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RandyS
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #3...
In reply to Jack Hogan, Mar 30, 2011

Jack,

Thanks alot for the link -it looks great (but is likely to be yet another black hole for my time).

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rpps
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Re: The D7000 and NX2 guide to PP #3...
In reply to RandyS, Mar 30, 2011

I use NX2 all the time to convert my RAW photos, the only trouble I have is when viewing a photo in NX2 (either raw or jpeg) the image looks so dull and looks nothing like the finnished product when viewed in another photo browser like Nero Snap viewer (which is my favourite), Adobe, Corel Acdsee pro 3.

I have heard theres no colour space control on the NX2, I have a Dell SP 2309W monitor and when I view a photo in any other photo browser the colour and quality looks so much better than NX2. I was wondering is that the case with other users of NX2.

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Ray Soares
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Hi Perry!
In reply to perry rhodan, Mar 31, 2011

Thom Hogan would be jealous!
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Ray Soares
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RandyS...
In reply to RandyS, Mar 31, 2011

Thanks for such a nice reply! I'll try to show my point of view in each topic:

RandyS wrote:

Ray,

Thanks for posting your tips and insight on NX2. This software is an integral part of my workflow (although I also use Photoshop CS3), and I've lamented the fact that there seems to be relatively little discussion of NX2 on this website. I would like to see more, and your post is an excellent start. I do have a couple questions.

First, I'm curious about your relative dislike of USM for sharpening, in favor of the high pass filter. I've never used HPF much, although this may be in part because I'm not particularly familiar with how best to apply this technique. Moreover, I think I've been able to get excellent results using USM, although I don't simply apply USM on the RGB channel. Instead, I make a minor correction on RGB, and then will sharpen individual color channels (in luminosity mode) depending upon the content of the photos. For portraits, I have found an adjustment on the red and/or magenta channels (with low radius and low threshold but strong sharpening) yields good results with no halos or artifacts. Depending upon the desired effect, I might then mask sharpening effect, or alternatively paint it in, using the masking brush, to smooth the skin retain sharpness in the eyes, nose and mouth areas.

1- As I keep in-camera sharpening (I assume Nikon uses a unsharp mask algorithym for that), what I'm suggesting and doing myself, is a mix of unsharp mask and HPS!

If you keep the in-camera sharpening of +4 or +5 and add later more unsharp mask in NX2 that's the situation I dont like: the double unsharp mask.

When I do a pano and use just raw files in PTgui, as I loose in-camera sharpening, I use both unsharpmask and a HPF later (just half of usual on each one of course)

Second, I noted that you only convert over to the sRGB color space after making your edits. This might be a stupid question, but if you're ultimately going to convert over to sRGB anyway, why perform your edits in the RGB color space initially. Wouldn't you want to perform your edits in the color space in which the final product will be viewed? I realize that if you're going to print the photo, rather than display it on the web, you may want to utilize the broader RGB color space. However, if everything ultimately ends up in sRGB, why not start there?

2- Because the larger the color space the less chance you have to get posterized color areas in your pic, specially when you PP alot as I do; its like raw for colors (some pros like Thom Hogan advice to use even larger colors spaces than adobe one !)

Third, you discuss, albeit not in any detail, your noise reduction using NX2. I have never had much success in reducing noise using this program without losing detail in my images. So I now do all of my noise correction in Photoshop using a third-party plug-in. Could you share your noise reduction techniques using NX2? I would like to see if I can obtain better results reducing noise on the RAW file, rather than having to move over to Photoshop to complete this step.

3- I really like the in-camera NR of D7000 (and so like the NX2 NR tool as I assuming the algorithym is the same); but I think that the in-camera settings at NORMAL are pretty well calibrated so I dont use at all the NR tools in NX2.

But when shooting at ISO 3200, bad exposure and/or wrong white balance (really usual when you are shooting at night indoors, with flash plus ambient light), then I think Topaz denoise could help save your day) -> I use moderate pre-settings in Topaz;

Finally, (and this is more of a comment rather than a question) you recommend PTGui for stitching and Autopano for HDR. I have become somewhat obsessed with panoramas recently, and as a result have downloaded trial (or free) versions of many of the different stitching programs, including PT Gui, Autopano, and Huggin (I have been using Photomerge in CS3). In my albeit relatively recent and limited experience, I can achieve virtually identical results for uncomplicated run-of-the-mill type panoramas with any of these software packages, with minor variations in the amount of manual tweaking required. However, for more difficult and complicated shots -- particularly those involving architectural structures which often present issues in correcting perspective, straightening vertical lines, and where any stitching her regularities will be immediately noticeable, Autopano seemed to work best -- particularly because of its vertical line tool. The only thing that has stopped me from picking up the Autopano software is cost. It is not cheap, I'm not sure whether my current panorama will last, or if it is just a passing fad. Furthermore, because I have been able to achieve equal results for 95% of my panoramas using Photomerge, I am not sure Autopano is worth the money, at least for me.

4- I got both Autopano and PTGui; both are pretty good! just a question of taste after all!

Thanks again for posting your tips and suggestions on NX2 -- please keep them coming.

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Randy

You are welcome!
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Ray Soares

See my pictures at http://www.pbase.com/raysoares

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