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Gen NX2: PP help

Discussion in 'Nikon Capture and View NX' started by bradNYC, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place...if it is not, moderators please move.

    In my forever quest to learn PP, please disregard the background as I am trying to recover the person in the picture. I used NX2 (control points, unsharp mask, quick fix with double threshold) and feel like I'm getting better but I'm open to advice on how I can do this better. Please let me know how else you would fix in NX2 only. Thank you for looking.

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    View attachment 243946
  2. I think it looks terrific, Brad. Lots of detail in the white shirt and the dark hair. You might try brightening and adding a touch of contrast to her eyes, but considering that the portrait is not a close-up of her face, doing that might not make a difference.

    I do wonder if the subject couldn't be a tad bit lighter. My guess is that you tried that and backed off. If not, try brightening her a bit more and see wheter you like the increased brightness.

    You asked that we ignore the background, but I think it would be a helpful exercise if you address the exposure of the background. That's because the trick isn't just bringing out the subject. It's also about controlling the background while bringing out the subject.
  3. Tom apparently posted his message as I was typing. His rendition confirms for me that both the subject should be brighter and the background should be darker. Tom's version has less warmth in the skin tones and less saturation in the sky, both of which are desirable to my taste.
  4. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    Tom/Mike, I knew you guys would respond and I truly want to thank you. I purposely picked a bad photo to practice on. You're right, I want to brighten up the subject but I did back off. But boy did I have at least 5 control points spread out. I did think that my PP was a little too saturated though so Tom thanks for fixing that for me.
    1. I really need to learn more about "lch-editor with auto-adjustment and increased the mid tones" as well as shadows. Do you use the "auto-adjustment" frequently.
    2. As for ignoring the background, I feel that my biggest problem is getting the skin tones right so that is my main focus. Later I'll practice the "bluring" the background.
    3. I was on the fence about Odell book, is it really a must have? I've accumulated too many CS3 books and feel that I'm sticking with NX2 for good. When I get home, I'll download the settings and learn from what you did.

    Lastly, again I want to thank you both for convincing me in the past to stick with RAW. This picture was PP'd in Raw then saved as Jpeg in the end.
  5. Brad,

    I wonder if you're making it more difficult on yourself than is necessary because of your workflow. One of the really important aspects of the workflow is to do the global stuff first and the local stuff afterward. The point in this particular case is that you should get the overall exposure adjusted before working on the subject.

    The LCH Editor can be used both globally and locally. I use it globally along with its "auto" function as my third post-processing step (following white balance and determining the proper Picture Control setting.) In fact, all of my presets that load a Picture Control also load a "blank" LCH editor. I use the LCH editor's auto function as a point of departure, fine tuning the left and right slider and the curve as needed.

    As Tom's example shows, the LCH Editor can also be used locally in conjunction with any of the selection tools. In this particular case he combined it with a Selection Control Point.

    I think the LCH Editor is one of the most convenient and powerful tools within NX2. I use it in every single image.
  6. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    I just purchased Odells book and is in my hands. This is my workflow or atleast trying to form my workflow. Please let me know if I should change the process.

    1. Use Quick Fix to fix the exposure using double threshold. This way I'm avoiding using the exposure slider. I figure the histogram is better than my eyes.
    2. Control Points to adjust brightness/contrast/saturation etc.
    3. Unsharp Mask

    My ultimate goal is to be able to batch process this. Is this not possible? Is this what you mean globally? Then go into each photo (locally)?

    Lastly, can you direct me to the sections of Odells book that I should pay particular attention to? Maybe I'm a little ahead of myself.
  7. You're already well on your way with NX, so I recommend reading pages 42-45 to get a firm grasp of the ideal workflow. You'll notice that your current workflow is consistent with an ideal workflow. Those pages clarify the distinction between global and local adjustments that you asked about and will open your mind up to other tools and options within the workflow.

    Once you've done that, I would suggest mastering the global adjustment tools explained in pages 172 - 192. Follow that up with mastering local adjustment tools explained in pages 194 - 239.

    Keep in mind that mastering the global and local adjustment tools means making decisions about which tools you want to use (or not) on a regular basis. Like any software program, NX provides many ways to accomplish the same thing, some of which are quick and provide less control and some of which take a bit longer but provide greater control.

    Once you've got all that down, you'll be able to decide the portions of your workflow that you'll batch process. Certain processes can be batched and certain processes cannot be batched, for reasons you'll inherently understand once you learn how to use the various tools.

    I think Jason's book will probably solidify a LOT of ideas for you and get you on your way to consistently reliable post processing much sooner and with a lot more enjoyment. Have fun!
  8. I can't believe that though you know I'm reading this thread, you left out the wine. :biggrin:

    You pointed me to Nikon's new Landscape preset awhile back but I forgot to bookmark it for future access to other presets. If you can now quickly point me to the new Portrait preset, I would appreciate it. Up until now I've been using the Picture Control Neutral preset for portraits and would like to try the new preset.
  9. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    Again thank you. I'm reading the book as I write this. Soon I'm going to speak the language.

    hors dèuvres talk and now I'm hungry!!! LOL - too funny
  10. Oooooops !


    ...for once that i can be usefull.... although wish i knew Photoshop and NX2 as well as i know french !?!

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