Chui's manual IR tutorial & useful photoshop tips

Started Apr 15, 2004 | Discussions thread
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Daniel Chui Senior Member • Posts: 2,727
Chui's manual IR tutorial & useful photoshop tips

I'm going to quite shamelessly copy and paste this from a post within a thread, as I feel it may be of benefit to those of you that are interested in the wiles of manual infrared photography.

I don't take credit for any of the photoshop tips I outline below; though over time I have forgotten where I learned them.



Daniel Chui wrote:
First of all, a million things were done to this shot. I'm sure if
I were more skilled at photoshop I could have done it in less

steps, but I'll try and summarize what I did. I will provide the base image, feel free to practice on them if you want:

On the shoot: R72 filter, f707 camera. F8.0 for deep DOF, exposure
for 10 with sun about 45 degrees from horizon.

Post processing:
1) First of all, follow Luben's guide for the first few steps. I
couldn't have done it better:


This is how I do my color shifts. When you adjust hue/saturation,
it is often clunky and can introduce noise. A much better way to
adjust hue/saturation is a more indirect method, but it preserves
image quality much better.

For a 2560 X 1920 image, take the topmost background layer or
create a new one and do...

A) Gaussian blur, 4 pixels.
B) Noise > Median, 6 pixels
C) Set blend mode of the layer to color.
D) Add a new adjustment layer to the blend-mode color background
layer and adjust hues/saturation until you get a pleasant (or
unpleasant) natural shade of blood.


A) New adjustment layer > Hue/saturation. Reduce saturation 100%
B) On the layer mask, paint with black color the places you don't
want desaturated. In this case, the river of blood.


A) Right before doing my IR, I was doing color photography with
motion blur by using two neutral density filters to allow long
shutter speeds. The image I used for the "ghosts" was shot at F4.0,
exposure 3 seconds.
B) Copy the "ghost" image (just a regular color image with motion
blur) onto your blood-red waterfall uppermost layer.
C) Add layer mask > HIDE. Now paint back in the ghosts with an
opacity that makes them creepy. I used 100% white, and it worked
D) Reduced the saturation of the ghosts to about 50%, so that they
are less prominent but still easily visible.


Remember this, folks; it's a LIVESAFER. If you've taken pictures of
shiny teenagers with direct flash, you know the agony of the shine.
The remedy is easier than you may have anticipated, and very
natural looking IMO.

A) Use a clone brush. Set blending mode to "DARKEN" and opacity to
50%. Now sample from areas that you want to match the tonality of
the shiny spot. Practice on the glare marks in the water at the
base of the fall, you'll see what I mean. Better yet, practice it
on your pictures where people are shiny, you'll be impressed.


A) Since there wasn't much complicated data around the area, I

simply used a clone brush. All my brushes are SOFT EDGED by the way, to avoid a cut-out look.
B) Sometimes I use healing brush to cover my tracks if I leave
clone marks.


A) I do shading with a non-destructive process of using CURVE
adjustment layers. Make a curve layer set to multiply, and one set
to blend. Adjust tonality through the layer masks/opacity of these


I use helicon noise reduction. The new version is fantastic, and
FREE (big concern for starving college student with big budget). I
don't have a basis of comparison but I am very happy with the
prints I've made using this program.

Remember, with noise reduction you should do noise reduction at the size you are going to keep it. For internet images, for example, wait till downsizing to reduce noise because you won't have to be as aggressive to get the effect you are looking for, since the file is smaller.


A) I use EXTREME EDGE SHARPENING for all of my pictures. It is an
action availiable here (along with some of the most useful,
up-to-date actions out there):

Any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

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