a18 June 2014

Post-processing Wednesday: Crazy Mayan Dance

before after

Time for another post in my Post-processing Wednesday series. For more posts from this series go here.

Note: if there is particular photo (from my blog) you would like me to present in this series, please leave comment under this post.

About photo

Today photo will be different than in the recent parts of the series. Normally I share post-processing for my HDR photos but... I don't take only HDR photos. So today photo is non-HDR one. What's more this photo was Editor's Choice in Camerapixo We Inspire Vol. 3. - you can read more about it here.

There is one more reason I decided to share this image today. A lot of my photos take me even a few hours to process. Sometimes, however, post-processing is much simpler with just a few steps but the photo still looks very good afterwards. Crazy Mayan Dance belongs to the second group.

For more details about this photo, including exact location and EXIF metadata, please read this post.

Generally speaking processing of this photo was quite easy. It was mostly about correcting colours and improving contrast a little bit. I also increased saturation to make the scene more vibrant, more lively and more dynamic.

At high level, post-processing of this photo involved following steps:
  1. Apply some basic adjustments in Lightroom.
  2. Load image into Photoshop CC and increase contrast and saturation.
In this case Before image shows unedited image and After shows finished image after applying adjustments mentioned above.

Editing in Lightroom

Adjustments in Lightroom were rather subtle and here is the list of them:
  • I brightened the image a little bit by increasing Exposure to +0,20.
  • At the same time I wanted to preserve highlights so I dragged Highlights slider to -33.
  • However, decreasing Highlights has the effect of lowering the contrast in the image so in order to maintain it, I increased the Whites to +25.
  • I also increased Vibrance to +31.
  • I also enabled lens corrections to reduce any lens vignetting and get rid of distortion.

Post-processing in Photoshop

After finishing developing my image in Lightroom, I opened it in Photoshop CC and applied a few more adjustments.

In the image below you can see what layers exactly I used to create final image. Starting from bottom up they are:
  1. Source - this group contains some operations done on the source image.
    1. Topaz Denoise - even though this shot was taken at ISO 100 it contained a little bit of noise in the darkest parts (by brightening the image, this noise became more apparent). Using Topaz Denoise plugin I got rid of it.
    2. Topaz Clarity - I used Topaz Clarity to increase clarity in the image.
    3. Camera Raw Filter - in Camera Raw Filter I increased saturation and vibrance slightly. I could do that in Lightroom of course.
  2. Midtones contrast - I slightly increased midtones contrast by using Curves adjustment layer.
  3. Topaz Detail - Topaz Detail is one of the most effective ways of enhancing details and sharpening. As I found one of the performers (the one standing in the middle) to be a little blurry I decided to sharpen him a little bit. I applied sharpening selectively only to him using layer mask.
  4. Darken stone - stones in the scene were quite bright and I found this very distractive so I decided to darken them. I used a simple trick here - I created new layer, filled it with 50% gray and painted with black brush the areas I wanted to darken. Then I just changed the blending mode to Soft Light, slightly reduced opacity of the layer and voila! I achieved darkening effect I wanted.
  5. Dodge & Burn - I used dodge & burn mainly to model muscles of two still performers.
  6. Global contrast - I decided to use Levels adjustment layer in order to apply some additional global contrast. I dragged White Point slightly to the left (249 instead of 255) and Midtone to 0,96.
  7. Correct colour cast - I reduced green/aqua colour cast using Color Balance adjustment layer.
  8. Reduce vibrance - finally I decided to make the image slightly less saturated so I used Vibrance adjustment layer and dragged both Saturation and Vibrance to -10.
  9. Sharpening - I then applied sharpening using Smart Sharpen filter.
Post-processing in Photoshop

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