My first sky replacement - Critique please

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Can you work with the original sky?
In reply to Scotsman, 1 month ago

Scotsman wrote:

Florida, I think you did a GREAT. Job for your first try. I

I was encouraged but not satisfied. I've received great feedback in this thread that will help me do better in the future.

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Bassam Guy
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

On the first: well done. I don't pixel peep and I'm sure I could find some faults if I did.

On the second: blue sky doesn't match the color balance or ambiance of the water. It looks photo-shopped :).

You have far more skill and patience than I.

However, you can get skies that pop with a simple polarizing filter.

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duartix
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

Too much uninteresting space below the car. Crop it out. It makes the composition better and the car stand out.
I'd also go with a bit of a crop on the right but a bit smaller.
The grass and trees should have been feathered when selected. You can see a few harsh artifacts (but only at 100%). Look out for the mirror on the passenger side. It's got artefacts too. But as I said before, it's hard to notice at 100%.

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rickreyn
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

You are quite ambitious. I admire your desire to tackle all aspects of photography, and your willingness to ask for CC. I think that technically you nailed the replacement, and there would be times that it's very necessary. A friend taking million-dollar home shots for a realtor has to do it frequently when the sky on the day of the shoot does not comply.

As for the composition of the car, nearly all the time a tighter shot would be better. My normal procedure is just get a part of the car. The eye imagines the rest. Of course, if you are taking shots for a dealership it's another story.

Anyway, it's a shame you have to go on vacation to really shoot something these days.

http://www.gloriography.com/Photography/AmeliaSavannah-2013/i-ffGLSX9/A

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19andrew47
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

I'm going to guess that the intent is, cut out the car and paste it into a dramatic image that will work with it, but just a guess.  I tried once.  Got the car but couldn't get a suitable background so still waiting  to find one six months later!

Andrew

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Lee Beasley
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

People love bling, especially if it involves a prized possession. The subtleties of photography are lost on them as long as you've captured a unique expression or showcased their toys in a good light. The rest of the picture could be complete garbage, but they don't care, honestly.

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Scotsman
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Re: Can you work with the original sky?
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

Scotsman wrote:

Florida, I think you did a GREAT. Job for your first try. I

I was encouraged but not satisfied. I've received great feedback in this thread that will help me do better in the future.

You are much more ambitious than I am!  I'm getting there though.

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A DSLR is a black hole that you throw money in to, and enjoy every minute of it!!!!

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to rickreyn, 1 month ago

rickreyn wrote:

You are quite ambitious. I admire your desire to tackle all aspects of photography, and your willingness to ask for CC. I think that technically you nailed the replacement, and there would be times that it's very necessary. A friend taking million-dollar home shots for a realtor has to do it frequently when the sky on the day of the shoot does not comply.

As for the composition of the car, nearly all the time a tighter shot would be better. My normal procedure is just get a part of the car. The eye imagines the rest. Of course, if you are taking shots for a dealership it's another story.

Good thought about a tighter shot. I have to remember to take multiple shots. Some isolating the subject and some putting the subject in context, for evaluation in post later.

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19andrew47
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Tighter Crop
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

I believe a tighter crop of the image you already have was mentioned by one of the posters above.  Perhaps something like below.  Note that you can take the opportunity to 'touch up the paint' for the owner as well as it is much cheaper to do in the image than on the car.  In the tighter crop the bland sky is less of an issue as it makes up a smaller amount of the image.  I would have cropped tighter yet on the left but cutting off the farm machinery is not a great idea, although total removal might make it work.  Replacing skies is not easy and lighting issues aside you did well!

Andrew

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nevada5
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Here's the result using my procedure.
In reply to nevada5, 1 month ago

nevada5 wrote:

I've tried to replace skies in the past and never liked the results. I have good success changing dull grey skies to blue. I use PS CS5. I can't say if the procedure can be used in Elements, but I'll post it just the same.

Click on Magic Wand Tool. Set tolerance to 30. Uncheck Contiguous, uncheck Anti-alias, uncheck Sample All Layers.

Select the sky. Using shift, select all sky areas. Then Select>Modify>Feather, select 10 pixels +/- (I think I usually use 3-5 pixels).

Click on Gradient Tool. Select “Foreground to Transparent” from drop-down menu. Select “Reverse”, select “Dither” and select “Transparency” (check all). Set Opacity to 30%.

Click on the Foreground Color box and select a natural blue sky-like color. Color picker #1A56B1 is a good color.

Click on Gradient Tool again. Put mouse cursor on bottom of sky, drag to top of sky. Drag at an angle for a different look. If needed, click on “Edit” and “Fade.”

I used a tolerance level of 15 and still picked up parts of the car, so I deselected those areas.  That's part of using and learning the procedure. When I finished I used "Fade Gradient" and increased it from 30 to 40 to increase color.  Then I dodged the sky to brighten it.  For my tastes, it's more natural than to replace the sky.

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Tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society. Aristotle

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Tighter Crop
In reply to 19andrew47, 1 month ago

19andrew47 wrote:

I believe a tighter crop of the image you already have was mentioned by one of the posters above. Perhaps something like below. Note that you can take the opportunity to 'touch up the paint' for the owner as well as it is much cheaper to do in the image than on the car. In the tighter crop the bland sky is less of an issue as it makes up a smaller amount of the image. I would have cropped tighter yet on the left but cutting off the farm machinery is not a great idea, although total removal might make it work. Replacing skies is not easy and lighting issues aside you did well!

Andrew

That does have a bit more impact than mine. However, I'm a bit unsure about removing the front corner of the shadow. Is that me being too anal?

I tried to clone out the imperfections in the front of the car but it didn't look believable. What technique did you use?

Thanks for your effort.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Here's the result using my procedure.
In reply to nevada5, 1 month ago

nevada5 wrote:

I used a tolerance level of 15 and still picked up parts of the car, so I deselected those areas. That's part of using and learning the procedure. When I finished I used "Fade Gradient" and increased it from 30 to 40 to increase color. Then I dodged the sky to brighten it. For my tastes, it's more natural than to replace the sky.

Thanks for this great alternative. Yours will definitely be more satisfying to the pixel peepers. It hadn't occurred to me to mask it out just to do normal adjustments.  I would normal apply that kind of thing to the whole image.

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19andrew47
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Re: Tighter Crop
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

For me, the important thing in the image is the car.  The corner of the shadow was cut off but I don't really notice it when comparing the before and after crops.  What is apparent to me is that the car takes a more dominant role in the image and that is as it should be.

At the moment I do all my cloning work in PSPX6.  The cloning tool allows for vairations in density and opacity and the donor spot can be set to move with the spot to be cloned as you move your mouse along.  There is a ridge line on the bottom of the bumper.  Set the cursor of the donor spot directly along the ridge and then locate further along the area you wish to clone.  Hold down the left button and move the clone spot along the ridge slowly watching what you are doing.  Check to make sure the ridge line in the cloned area and the original image line up and move the mouse down the line.  If the result is less than pleasing undo and try again, possibly changing opacity or density.  You must make sure the donor area is a good match for the area you are going to clone into or it won't work.  I believe I had the opacity set for less than 100% here because you can still see the paint blemishes below the added colour.  I didn't spend much time on this.  The key is to match the donor area well to the area to be cloned.  It is not always possible to do this well but sometimes it works out OK.  When cloning doesn't work as well as I like I will also use the airbrush to paint in details if I can improve upon the results.

I do not have lr 5 and don't know if the cloning tool has been improved over lr 4.

Practice makes perfect, or at least better and better!

Andrew

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Tighter Crop
In reply to 19andrew47, 1 month ago

19andrew47 wrote:

For me, the important thing in the image is the car. The corner of the shadow was cut off but I don't really notice it when comparing the before and after crops. What is apparent to me is that the car takes a more dominant role in the image and that is as it should be.

At the moment I do all my cloning work in PSPX6.

The cloning tool allows for vairations in density and opacity and the donor spot can be set to move with the spot to be cloned as you move your mouse along. There is a ridge line on the bottom of the bumper. Set the cursor of the donor spot directly along the ridge and then locate further along the area you wish to clone. Hold down the left button and move the clone spot along the ridge slowly watching what you are doing. Check to make sure the ridge line in the cloned area and the original image line up and move the mouse down the line. If the result is less than pleasing undo and try again, possibly changing opacity or density. You must make sure the donor area is a good match for the area you are going to clone into or it won't work. I believe I had the opacity set for less than 100% here because you can still see the paint blemishes below the added colour. I didn't spend much time on this. The key is to match the donor area well to the area to be cloned. It is not always possible to do this well but sometimes it works out OK. When cloning doesn't work as well as I like I will also use the airbrush to paint in details if I can improve upon the results.

I do not have lr 5 and don't know if the cloning tool has been improved over lr 4.

For that type of cloning I'd use Elements not Lightroom. Thanks for the steps. I can apply them to the Elements method.

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