A great way to lift shadows

Started Feb 19, 2012 | Discussions
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Re: A great way to lift shadows
In reply to guzzibreva1, Oct 16, 2012

guzzibreva1 wrote:

I have tried several different techniques to lighten shadows but have found most methods create halos around light and dark areas.

The method that I have found to work best is a free program called Enfuse. It is normally used as a substitute for HDR methods but it works well on single files.

This example shows an under exposed image that captures the sky but leaves the buildings under exposed.

I exported a brightened image from Lightroom with increased contrast and brightness to help show the buildings. Then this image and the original is blended with Enfuse.

There are none of the nasty halos that you normally get when trying to lift shadows to this extent.

One other nice feature of doing it this way is the brighted image can have more noise suppression used since the shadows with have more noise. You can treat each image the way it looks best before fusing them.

This image is from my K5 with a kit lens so they are a bit soft looking.

First the original.

Photoshop and Aperture can reproduce the same without halos. Here is an Aperture version using the previous shadow/highlight tool. I'm pretty sure this version is also much more like the way scene really looked. There is too much contrast in your sample and a lot of lost highlight and shadow detail.

With Aperture

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Mike Gerstner
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Re: A great way to lift shadows
In reply to Basalite, Oct 16, 2012

Basalite wrote:

Photoshop and Aperture can reproduce the same without halos. Here is an Aperture version using the previous shadow/highlight tool. I'm pretty sure this version is also much more like the way scene really looked. There is too much contrast in your sample and a lot of lost highlight and shadow detail.

It would be nice if the shadows and highlight adjustments in SPP worked the same as in PS, hopefully they can fix it.  I know this has be discussed before, and some said it was better, but I'm not seeing it. I often take images into PS after SPP just to adjust shadow/highlights 'cause the SPP sliders seem to affect too broad a range.

Mike

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detectorman
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Re: A great way to lift shadows
In reply to guzzibreva1, Oct 16, 2012

I have been using PS (11--CS4) image/adjustments/shadow/highlights command. On a Mac this is command-option-control-s. I get about the same result that enfuse shows by the original poster.

The shadows can be boosted and the highlights dimmed with this tool.

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Chuck Lantz
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Re: A great way to lift shadows
In reply to detectorman, Oct 16, 2012

I'm going to offer what is probably a truly oddball comment on the two photos shown as samples of the shadow lifting.

While I understand that they were chosen to show the results using the program, in my opinion the second image, with the shadows lightened, makes the resulting photo look unreal and artificial.  When I view it, I can't help wonder where the light on the houses is coming from.  Logically, it can't be from the sky, since there wouldn't be enough reflected light from the sky to produce the amount of light on the houses.

The same goes for the color of the light on the houses, which should more closely resemble the gray-blue of the clouds and sky.

I obviously am being way too wonkish.  Sorry.

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