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Images look flat...dull and not alive!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cgaengineer, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer Guest

    How do you get them to come so alive? My images always look so flat. Everyone elses images look like they are so real...bright and vivid colors
    If you do some in camera tricks or custom curves, can you fill me in? If its PS can you also fill me in?

    I have the following equipment:

    2 D70's
    50mm 1.8
    18-70 Kit
    60mm Macro
    70-200 Sigma f/2.8

    OK, I will post in a little while...family is here and its time to eat!!

    Try this link until I post some pictures.

  2. How about posting a sample, and let's see if we can bring it to life.
  3. Like our bad santa said... Post some samples and we can show you how we would post process it and give you some directions. Else we can't give no help without samples. And if our Uncle Santa can't help you without no sample then nobody can. Because Santa have the best tricks in his hat!

  4. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  5. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    As others said before, the best would be to see an example. Just a wild guess, but something that seems to happen, is that you were shooting in Adobe RGB and posted the pics without converting them to sRGB. Pictures in Adobe RGB that are displayed on a non-color space aware program like Internet Explorer will look rather dull. For web, pictures need to be converted to sRGB.

    If I have explained the obvious here, just forget about it.

    I personally fancy the following to give pictures some color / contrast:

    In PS, add a layer. On the new layer, change the mode from Normal to Soft Light and reduce Opacity to what you like (usually some 10-15%, but sometimes I use up to 60% to give it a special effect). This may be a primitive method, but it works for me.

  6. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer Guest

    Clor Mode

    I have been using Color Modes 2 and 3 on my D70.
  7. without seeing an example it is a little tough to help, however I will try.

    First adjust the saturation. I find a little boost here will help a photo pop. Also use levels to increase the contrast, just experiment with the sliders until you understand how they function.

    Another trick is to increase contrast with unsharp mask. Set the percentage of sharpening pretty low 20-40%. The radius pretty high 30-40 and the threshold around 5 or so. This will increase contrast. If the effect is too much, lower values to suit you. You will still need to do a more conventional sharpening on the photo to bring out detail. I hope this helps.

    Another thing you might look into is "exposing to the right" I won't try to explain but a search of the forum should turn up some good answers.

    Edit: I just read Roman's responce. He is absolutley right. It begins with nailing the exposure.
  8. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer Guest

  9. I almost forgot. I too enjoy saturated photos. I have my d70 set for "vivid" and find that it helps get the results I like.
  10. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer Guest

    I have enhanced saturation on my D70 and that helps alot.

    You guys are great!!
  11. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Thanks for that Roman...Great job and great tut, suggestions.

    Happy New Year.
  12. First of all, do you mean pictures on the monitor, the internet or when printed. Each has a particluar set of circumstances.

  13. heiko


    May 15, 2005
    Color Mode II is Adobe RGB. It needs to be converted into sRGB after your post processing but BEFORE you post it to the web.

    By the way, do you shoot RAW or jpeg?

    I shoot RAW exclusively (which I believe many/most here on the forum do as well). I then use Adobe RGB during post processing. Files are converted with NC or ACR into 16 bit tiffs. When starting with RAW you have all the options to tweak your image even before importing it into PS or another PP software.
  14. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer Guest


    Mine look dull on monitor. It just seems as though the color just isnt there. When printed they look just like they do on monitor...dull.
  15. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer Guest

    I am a PSCS2 Newbie as well, and as far as under exposure...you are right, this was shot with 70-300G lens and it was as exposed as it would get. Can you give me some pointers as to how and why I need to change the color space to sRGB. Maybe I need to read up on color modes?

    Also the photo you edited was a small thumbnail created with Jalbum so that may explain something. Click the thumbnail a third time and you can download the original.
  16. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer Guest

    OK, I am reading about the D70 histogram. I found an article on Nikonians that explains is simply...the article is here:http://www.nikonians.org/html/resources/guides/digital/histogram_101/

    I am practicing some shots using the histogram.

    When looking at histogram, what are all the peaks and valley spikes I am seeing. To explain they look like a person attached to a lie detector machine and he is lieing like crazy, then some are nicely bell shaped.
  17. That is really interesting because I too picked up a butterfly from your website and did some post processing in PS CS. My apporach was a little different than Roman's but the end result was about the same. Here is my example:


    And here is the original:

    View attachment 23251
  18. Scotty_R


    Jan 1, 2006
    I am new to this forum and hope you take my remarks as simple suggestions rather than criticism. There are a few things that stand out between the two sites...

    • shyone's images make better use of light (its strength, direction and its color), form, shape and the color of the subject itself and by hitting the exposure for the image right on the dot--the more correct the exposure out of the camera, the better the saturation and contrast in the image
    • shyone fills his frame with his subject; the images at www.hotpctech.com have a good bit of unnecessary background in them--move closer or use a longer lens perhaps--crop images to remove unnecessary/unflattering elements in the image, preferrably in the viewfinder and not in post processing
    • the images at www.hotpctech.com don't appear to be prepared for web output--there are noticable compression artifacts in nearly every image--there are many resources on the net and in print that can help you understand the differences between web, print & prepress output techniques as they relate to digital imaging...Scott Kelby, to name one author, has written several very fine books on digital photography that discuss these techniques in depth
  19. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    There have been a mountain of posts about the D70 "factory settings". Many users have had the same questions you have. The D70 is set to give a photo that does not blow any highlights..... There are 2½ solutions.

    One is to post-process, and that is probably the best method.
    The second is to change your settings to something like this:

    In the Optimize Image, Custom Menu:

    Sharpness: +1
    Tone Comp: +1 Medium High
    Color Mode: IIIa (sRGB)
    Saturation: Normal
    Hue: -3

    The 2½ solution is to load a custom curve like the sReala_Ver_2a, or a Fotogenic curve.

    Shooting RAW is also the best way to go if you will be doing post processing because it gives you more options and a better base to start with, not to mention saving you from errors like wrong white balance.
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