Saturday, April 25, 2009

hdr kitchen plus contrast

I didn't expect to do another post this soon but as i mentioned last night, i am in the mood to shoot.
I did a nine frame bracket of the kitchen this morning. It was sunny outside and dark in the kitchen so the difference in brightness range was pretty good. I chose the 5 images in lightroom and exported them to photomatix. I saved it in photomatix and then opened in photoshop. I wanted to first of all do a curve to bring up the brightness a bit. This made the chairs in the foreground a bit too bright but that was ok. Remember that everytime you do a layer adjustment (puts it on its own layer) it comes with its own mask, built right in. I used a nice big brush and painted in black, 30% opacity, over the foreground until it darkened down a bit.
Now that i had that looking alright i flattened my file and duplicated my background layer, drag the layer down onto the new layer button at bottom of layers palate. I went under adjustments - desaturate, to convert to black and white. I then did a curve, not on its own layer, and increased the contrast by moving the white and black points in quite a bit. Looked very high contrast. I then changed the blend mode for this layer to luminosity and lowered the layers opacity to 50% (just go to where it looks right). I flattened once more and then once again duplicated the background layer (some people like to keep all their layers but i tend to try and keep it simple). Then went under filter - distort - lens correction and added a vignette to darken up the edges a bit.
I sharpened the file and thats about it.
What i noticed after adding the black and white high contrast layer is that the image without it looked soft and cloudy. I would not have noticed before i did it as i had nothing to compare to. This is a good reason to make adjustments on a new layer so you can turn it on and off to see before and after. Of course the ability to turn down the opacity to blend the layers together is invaluable.
see the original below (before photomatix)

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