A Dragan Action

Started Nov 17, 2004 | Discussions thread
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photofixer Regular Member • Posts: 297
A Dragan Action

I've been fascinated with the Dragan images ever since the first posting about it here on DPReview, and have followed along with the many studies and attempts at recreating this effect.

The interesting thing I find in studying Dragan's work is the variety. And the sameness in final mood and tone. I've learned that there is not any "one" way to do a Dragan image. If you go to Mr. Dragan's site and look closely at his portfilio of images, you will see in them a mood and intensity that gives focus and feeling to his subjects. Dragan explains that he creates each of his images individually. And, none of us has a specific list of steps from Mr. Dragan himself.....we're all trying to achieve something like his results by trial and error.

I have attempted, though, to put together an action that creates an image that simulates one way to do the Dragan technique as I understand it. Credit for the different steps involved in this action goes to the many of you who have freely shared your ideas on this in the forum. I'm hoping the action will be useful in the ongoing study of this great technique.

The procedure seems to be sharpening, creating an overall color tone, "light painting" for shading, and adding "grunge" or dark details (depending on the subject of course). The action walks you through all these steps, and provides many opportunities for making your own chosen adjustments along the way.

The Dragan technique (and the action) seem to work best on images that are sharp and detailed. And although Dragan works primarily in moody portraits, I've had some fun experimenting with other types of images too. I think the key here is to keep exploring

Jim Lewis has posted the Draganizer action for me on his Action Central website.It's now available for download at:

The action also has two versions. One for smaller images, that keeps all layers open at the end for your final tweaking. This one might be more helpful for learning and experimenting. The other version is for larger images. It does the same procedure, but flattens as it goes to keep the file at a workable size as you go.

I'm hoping some of you will give it a try. And then, please share your results (and let me know of any problems).

More sample images are posted here:


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