Thursday, June 12, 2014

Zu Teilen...

A week marked with laziness and blown mind because of the heat. I'm seriously having issues regarding my workplace; I started to reduce my "respect" to it, as if there is any already anyway. I'm skipping some days to do what I consider a more important job for me, regarding this blog, photography, and do some studies regarding my conlangs and phonology. Not sure how long this status would last, but in such summer and heat, and such disrespect for the admins who barely know what is science, which for, I spent 6 years of my life in this college - it is hard to tell if I can regain any respect back.
In the meantime, I'm on the path of doing some new set of experiments with my camera but yet I'm not ready to put on the pictures here; till the moment of typing this there are no shots yet! But hopefully something would be ready for the next week. However, I did a little tutorial for tone splitting which you can read below under Split It!, if you like this technique!

Crescent Beach

It was back in April when I worked with this panorama on the beach at night, in a place that I commonly call The Secret Spot. This panorama, which was majorly done by continuous long exposures ranging from 2 to 4 minutes, and took around 2 hours to be done - it was done in several formats and projections. Except of one which I suddenly remembered!

Mare Lunare

The forgotten projection was the Globe or Circular projection of the same panorama. I seldom use this projection to show panoramas because of the limited view, and hence, the limited creativity aspect that can be controlled with such projection. The projection is circular mainly and the background is transparent (if saved in a file format that supports it). Because of this circular shape, some features might look cut instead of being highly distorted. However, I decided to take a chance at it, specially that this is one of the last panoramas done before the advent of summer. Sorry, I mean hell.

Crescent Beach

Once achieved, it was really hard to pick up a suitable angle. Moreover, it was apparent that a crescent shape would form but there was a dilemma should it be made out by the sand or the sky. After changing the aspect (in terms of rotations) I've finally decided that I should make it with the sand portion of the panorama. In editing the panorama later, I've worked with many layers to remove color casts, increase contrast, and most importantly, brighten the sand portion of the image and suppress the luster of the sky just a bit to pronounce the crescent more. The formation of the crescent though wasn't quite good enough because of the connection between its ends on the far right. I think I've made a mistake in making the sand crescent here look directly to the right (i.e. in a right angle). Probably something twisted and tilted a bit would give more dynamic view and interaction with the eyes. Anyway, it is an experience, and hopefully the impression and knowledge shall be memorized for future work!

Split It!

As you may now know (if you are a follower), I've been working on converting some images to B&W and also using Tone Splitting specifically. Tone splitting provides a new taste and flavor to the B&W; Maybe I can call it the next level of tinting a B&W image.
For those who know nothing about it already, Split Tones, or Tone Splitting, is a technique to divide the highlights and the shadows to two different colors. Even though the technique, theoretically, can be applied to any images, but it is more apparent and more resilient in the arena of B&W images rather than colored ones.
Usually this is done in RAW editing phase, but sometimes we do need to edit a JPG file, thus I had to work out some way to split the tones "manually" if so to say. This method might not be as accurate as editing directly in RAW, but it accomplishes the look somewhat. I'll describe it below.

I. Open the image file (in Photoshop of course). Here, I will presume it is a colored image already. I'll be dealing with one of my old images: Harmonie.

II. You can duplicate the background layer to feel safe (Ctrl+J) or you can work directly on this layer. The choice is yours. However, we add then a Black and White adjustment layer by clicking button (1) and picking (2) from the menu. The tones are then adjusted to taste (3), but pay attention to the details and how the highlights and shadows are connected!
Click to Enlarge

III. Then we add a Threshold layer to split the highlights and shadows of the image. Click the button again (4), and pick (5) for the list, and adjust the tones to taste (6). Again, pay attention to the highlights and shadows here. I suppose there should be a balance between the two at this stage but it is after all a matter of taste.
Click to Enlarge
 IV. As the layer Threshold 1 is highlighted, press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E (altogether!). This will merge all the layers in a new layer on the top (7), then turn off Threshold 1 (8) by clicking the eye icon beside it.
Click to Enlarge

V. While the new layer is still highlighted (i.e. selected), Press Ctrl+A (Select All), then Ctrl+C (Copy), and then Ctrl+D (Remove Selection). Now, the new merged layer should be stored in the memory (to paste it in the next step).

VI. We, again, add and adjustment layer (9), and this time we pick the Photo Filter adjustment layer (10). After the layer is placed on top as usual, turn off the previous layer (11). While holding Alt, click on the layer mask of the Photo Filter layer (12) and the page turns white. Press Ctrl+V to paste the image we copied earlier in step 5. After pasting make sure you press Ctrl+D to remove the selection. Now pick a color in any way you wish and tone it as you like (13) - this should be controlling the highlights. It might be a good idea to keep Preserve Luminosity option checked.
Click to Enlarge

VII. After finishing setting the color and its level in the previous step, directly duplicate this layer by pressing Ctrl+J (14), and then directly press Ctrl+I (15) to reverse the colors of the layer mask. This is, now, the shadows controller. Now set a new color and its tone (16). If the dialog didn't appear, just double click the icon of the layer (i.e. the one beside the eye icon).
Click to Enlarge

At this point, the main process is over. The rest is experimenting with the colors chosen for highlights and shadows, and their strengths. Some extra stuff can be done are:
1. Adding Vibrance adjustment layer to increase the vibrancy of the colors.
2. Adding Contrast adjustment layer to increase (or decrease contrast).
3. Do a slight Gaussian Blur to the layer masks of the Photo Filter adjustment layers; and the amount is dependent on the image size of course. This is to soften the edges where the two tones of highlights and shadows make a contact. The blur is better be of the same magnitude for both layer masks.

Just another halfie.
Tones split between blue
(highlights) and
yellow (shadows).
The balance here is shifted
to the shadows more, making
the blue tint of the image in the
highlights not directly visible.
These are just some suggestions. Generally, I've been using the concept of "complimentary colors" in doing split toning jobs to my images; that is use one color for highlight and use its complimentary color for the shadows (e.g. yellow-blue). However, this is, of course, not a rule. But a good and logical way to start. It would be useful to know (and memorize) the circle of colors!
All in all, even with split tones, it might look like a work of tinting a B&W image sometimes, specially when the weight of tinting shifts to one side (i.e. to highlights more than shadows or vice versa) in an obvious way. For example, Just another halfie on the left was split-toned (in RAW format) between Blue/Yellow*. Yet, to achieve the look that I really liked, the balance was shifted towards shadows more than highlights making the image look generally yellow, but with a slight tint of blue on the skin which can be hard to notice for some eyes; this is noticeable only when the blue is removed and the skin becomes "white" - only then, the difference to the eyes would be clear. When I did this experiment, it was obvious how important is to add a highlight tint (specially a tint from the complimentary color) even if it was hard to notice easily by the eyes. Even a slight amount of complimentary color into the image, whether in shadows or highlights, can produce a pleasant contrast that gives some more strength to the image. I had the advantage here to suppress the green background by toning the Green tones down; I think I was lucky for not wearing green that day!
Beside using complimentary colors in split toning, sometimes I do get the idea of the major colors in the image itself; this is if it was majorly ruled by two major colors.

Orbis Fidei
Original Panorama.
Majorly dominatedby yellow and blue.

Orbis Fidei
After splitting tones using Yellows for highlights,
and blues (cyan) for shadows.

Here comes another reason why manual tone splitting can be useful. Panoramas are not RAW files to be edited in RAW and their tones can't be split there. Thus, manual work is due (whether with high resolution TIFFs or regular JPGs). I'm still digging in the past panoramas to find those which are suitable for such technique.

*It is a convention, to myself, when mentioning colors of tone splitting, to mention the color of the highlights first, then of the shadows.


Time is ticking, and I've finally finished the bulk of the work with the Irish Visa. What is left now is the other half of the bulk! That is a proper photo for the application, and a 6-month record from my bank (to prove I can support myself there). I'm planning on leaving around the end of September. Though 3 months are ahead, but I have to hurry up with these tasks and send my documents (I think to the embassy in Abu Dhabi now) because such procedures might take 8 weeks as they stated; i.e. 2 months!

I have recently received a surprising phone call from an interior designer which quite swept me through in surprise - could this really be a start of a business trend? I'm not quite sure what is the next step, as the other side asked to arrange a meeting, which would probably fall within Ramadhan. The mention of panoramas, as he stated, gave him more ideas than he was thinking of. Anyway, I've left organizing a meeting for him to schedule and I just have to sit and wait I guess. If this could happen for real, I might have some sort of condolences regarding the despicable workplace I'm dipped in.
As for now, I'll just sit and watch my life, and work with my camera as much as possible. My dreams, myself, and I... with my camera... is all what is left for me here...

No comments:

Post a Comment