What the heck is this???

Started Jul 9, 2013 | Questions
dramaticfool
dramaticfool New Member • Posts: 24
What the heck is this???

Can anyone tell me what is going on with the "concentric ring" effect going on in this photo in the sky)? I only noticed it after processing in LR4, but in fact it was present before, only not as pronounced.  Any insight as to the cause would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!  Here is the image SOOC:

Nikki

www.about.me/nglasgow

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ANSWER:
dramaticfool
OP dramaticfool New Member • Posts: 24
Re: What the heck is this???

Here is the picture after post-processing:

Yuck!

Nikki

www.about.me/nglasgow

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 13,435
Re: What the heck is this???
2

That is called posterization.

Whenever you manipulate an image to put strong contrast on a large area of uniform color and tonality you risk this kind of banding.

Was the original image a JPEG? Since these are only 8 bits per color channel, and if you only have a handful of values you are trying to adjust, you can easily get banding.  For example, in your image, the sky has blue values that only go from 244 to 251, so if you put heavy curves on it, you will only have 8 distinct values in the blue channel.

For this reason, many people shoot in RAW, and then do their processing on 16 bit images. Alternatively, you can add noise to the image to blur out the bands.

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dramaticfool
OP dramaticfool New Member • Posts: 24
Re: What the heck is this???

AHA! Thank you so much, Mark!

The image was indeed a jpeg...I am on the verge of making the leap to RAW but I just haven't done it yet... not sure what I'm afraid of...

Also - I very appreciate the suggestion of how to make the photo useable.

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 13,435
Re: What the heck is this???

dramaticfool wrote:

AHA! Thank you so much, Mark!

The image was indeed a jpeg...I am on the verge of making the leap to RAW but I just haven't done it yet... not sure what I'm afraid of...

I’d be afraid of all the extra work on the computer, as well as the huge amount of disk space that the raw files use.  However, I only shoot raw these days because of its great advantages.

Also - I very appreciate the suggestion of how to make the photo useable.

This photo had a great amount of banding in the blue sky (I used a polarizer too, which often makes the banding worse) but my publisher insisted that I use it for a book project.  Using a mask in Photoshop, selecting only the blue sky, I added a bit of noise to the color channel which appeared to have the banding — which if I recall, was the red channel. I processed the image in 16 bit mode, and then did a bit of noise reduction. While you can still see some banding here, when I converted the image to CMYK for printing on commercial press, there was no visible banding.

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dramaticfool
OP dramaticfool New Member • Posts: 24
Re: What the heck is this???

The final product looks great!  Thanks for walking me through your work flow.  I found that muting the colors also helped with banding, as well as converting the photo to B&W.  Here is the current image that I will continue to tinker with.

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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 13,435
Re: What the heck is this???

dramaticfool wrote:

The final product looks great! Thanks for walking me through your work flow. I found that muting the colors also helped with banding, as well as converting the photo to B&W. Here is the current image that I will continue to tinker with.

Yay! Yes it does look great.

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dramaticfool
OP dramaticfool New Member • Posts: 24
Re: What the heck is this???

Mark Scott Abeln wrote:

dramaticfool wrote:

The final product looks great! Thanks for walking me through your work flow. I found that muting the colors also helped with banding, as well as converting the photo to B&W. Here is the current image that I will continue to tinker with.

Yay! Yes it does look great.

I meant that *your* final product looks great!

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 23,227
Re: What the heck is this???

dramaticfool wrote:

AHA! Thank you so much, Mark!

The image was indeed a jpeg...I am on the verge of making the leap to RAW but I just haven't done it yet... not sure what I'm afraid of...

Also - I very appreciate the suggestion of how to make the photo useable.

Converting it to 16 bits per channel before processing should avoid that effect.

You can do this in Photoshop, but I don't know about LR as I don't use it.

Thanks for posting such a good example.

robertorinehart Contributing Member • Posts: 551
Re: What the heck is this???

great answer! I had no idea . . .

lickity split
lickity split Veteran Member • Posts: 5,375
just a thought.....

Im just a newbie but I asked the same question a few months back an received a different answer. If the bands are not present in the Lightroom image,and only visible after export. The trouble might be in the (quality setting) Go to export ,scroll down to file settings ,slider should be on the highest quality setting. Mine was set at 60% and I had bands,at 100% they where gone.I hope I explained it correctly...  :))))

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