It’s not easy being green

Good Morning!  Thought I would share some links and a how-I-did-that today before all the holiday festivities set in…  This month’s photo group assignment was for everyone to try out a Topaz Remask tutorial.  Although I shared it with the group the previous month, I didn’t do a very good job explaining it…  Remask is one of those techniques where following along and actually doing it is much more useful in achieving a good result.   So I’m not going to try to explain it  here either, but if you need a little bit of help with removing your subject from the background give it a try {click}.   So what’s the purpose of this post then?  Well, it’s about the other things I learned while while working on this image.

So this is my original.  Remask_original I definitely did not pick it for it composition qualities.  I picked it solely for my model’s hair and to try out the Remask tutorial.  First, a good crop and a quick touch-up using the Portrait Professional plug-in.  Then I moved on Remask.

Following the tutorial Screenshot (2), I still wasn’t getting the result I was looking for.  I was left with a green halo –  backlash from using the green screen/background.     But not only did it leave a green halo in and around her hair, her complexion, the dress, and flowers all had a slightly green hue (i.e. color cast). Remask_Remask  I know my mistake now… not only was the backdrop behind her, but she was standing on it.  Did I mention I rarely do studio portraits?  Lets just say working with lights (other than natural) and backdrops is an education in progress for me.  To deal with the green color cast I tried a variety of methods from using levels, to color balance, to color selection and masking – all just falling short of the mark; whites may have gotten whiter, but skin tones and hair suffered or vise-versa.    After a few trial and errors, and a number of complete do-overs, I finally came across this You Tube color cast tutorial Screenshot (3)  using the hue blending mode.  Turns out not only is it a quick and simple technique, but very effective. Remask_colorcast Once satisfied that my model no longer looked like she was suffering from a bad case of seasickness, I could get to work on some finishing touches, although not 100% where I would like it to be, I’m a lot closer … and a lot less green.  Remask_final Screenshot (4)

So that’s my share.  I hope you like it… It’s a keeper for me.  I can already see it coming in handy when the trees and grass turn lush and green again…

Until next time,
Maria

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Welcome to My Universe

Remember in my last post, I said I was working on something new.  Well, this isn’t it.   It’s still new…for me and I’m just taking a break from my other project.  It’s what I continue to love about this hobby of mine, there’s always another avenue to explore . . .

April’s photo club quest is abstract.  Hmm, architecture can make for some good abstract.  Here’s one from the archives.  abstract_arch   A trip to NY and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand exhibit a couple years back.  But here in the eastern PA, it’s still kind of cold and still very much brown (now that the snow has finally melted) and I’m just not feeling very inspired.  So I decided to keep it indoors and get creative with what I can find in my own home, more specifically the kitchen.  Fruit. . .  might work… pasta, not quite.  Water!  Drops. . .  maybe.  Or how about . . . oil & water.

Round 1:  As you probably already know, 75 no 90 percent of any project is set up.  Figuring out the lighting, setting the stage, etc., etc.,  I needed a little help. You Tube to the rescue for a little how-to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ5SH_vK7U8.  Simple enough . . .  Supplies:  soda cans (the legs), piece of glass, glass dish/bowl, desk lamp, colorful paper,  tripod & camera.  Easy, right . . . wrong.  Of course I was short one soda can, had no desk lap but did have my handy-dandy shop light, and the only glass container big enough was a pie plate had lots of scratches.   Here’s one my first shots with this rudimentary setup.  abstract_1

What did I learn:  That every imperfection in the glass shows up and [a must] vacuum before you start, especially if you are setting up on the floor. . . dog hair has a way of getting everywhere.

Have a look for yourself . . . abstract_1babstract_1a

But! I did find my inspiration or maybe it just because I’ve been watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey lately . . .

Round two:  Off to the craft store to find a clear glass bowl (no scratches) and to the grocery store for more soda cans.  The original and them my crop with a touch of polarization using Nik Color Efex Pro 4.  I’m having fun now!  My universe is expanding with every turn around the bowl, mixing up the oil, or just a slight change in the angle of the light.

Abstract_2abstract_3

But my universe is far from perfect . . . or maybe it’s just the perfectionist in me. I still have a few more ideas for round 3, as I continue to explore this little universe of mine . . .

abstract_4

Til next time,
Maria