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What's your workflow?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Jonathan F/2, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. I'm just wondering what everyone's workflow techniques are and if possible learn from other members techniques. As for me, this is my workflow:

    My camera settings with the D2H:

    Quality: Jpeg Fine (Rarely shoot raw)
    Hue: +3 (correction I use -3, forgot)
    Contrast: Normal
    Sharpening: High
    Color Mode: Adobe RGB

    1.First I open the images in Photo Mechanic. I name, caption and/or tag my images. I then copy my selected images in another folder and then leave the original folder as a backup.

    2. I then open my selected files in Photoshop CS.

    3. I first resize my images to match a 6mp output file and use bicubic smoother. (I skip this step with the D70 or higher mp images).

    4. I add +6 saturation to my photos.

    5. I adjust both the levels and curves manually, usually cranking the contrast.

    6. At this point it's open to what I do with the image, if it needs some tweaking, cropping, etc.

    7.I finish with an unsharpen mask of 135% and radius of 1.

    8 (Optional) . If I feel the image needs some noise reduction I use my PS plug-in of Noise Ninja to run some reduction.

    I'm done! For mission critical things like formal events, I shoot raw, but even then I prefer Adobe Raw over capture. I just like to work fast when it comes to post processing. I can usually crank out hundreds of photos in an hour when working fast.

    Anyways, what's your setup? I'd be interested in comparing techniques!
  2. Hi Jonathan,

    Since Yves has put out the word that he uses +3 Hue, I have been using that in the D2X

    Contrast - highest
    Sharpening - highest
    Color Mode - RGB

    In PS if the picture looks good, enough to me, I only do the usual crop if wanting to print the picture now. If I want more contrast or sat, I use level or the contrast and hue adjust. If I want more sharpening than the camera gave me, I use the program Nik Multimedia Pro Sharpen. I may use the shadow/highlights control if they do not look good. I always shoot in 12 meg and I do not lower the mps in PS. I like the best quality I can get.

    One more note on the contrast, There are many times I use the plugin Colorwasher. Other plugins I may use depending on what looks good to me are Nik Color Effects Pro.

    Everything depends on the picture and what it looks like or what looks good to me. I pretty much go with the flow. I have so much to choose from. The one thing I do not care for is Adobe's USM.

    The most important thing to do before working on any picture is to calibrate your monitor.
  3. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Camera settings on my D100:

    sharpening: none
    contrast: lower
    colormode II

    I copy the NEF files from the card to my Mac using a Firewire card reader by dragging the folder containing the files to my desktop, then renaming the folder "pix032205" or whatever the date currently is. If I have more than one card per day, I append a, b, c etc. to the name.

    Immediately I make a copy of the new folder to a second hard disk. If the shots are for a job, I also make a backup onto DVD right away. If it was just for fun shooting, I usually skip the DVD backup until I have more than 4 gigs of images then pack a disk full.

    Upon opening the folder with PSCS' file browser, I examine the thumbs of all the files. Any obvious throw-aways get weeded out (black shots, white shots, way too blurry - although I have a high tolerance for blur) at this stage. I also rotate the portrait format images so I can see then without twisting my head.

    To edit an image, I double click it and open the image with ACR (Photoshops's built-in NEF converter.) First thing I do is use the dropper to set the white balance. If there isn't some neutral color in the picture, I guess using the menu as to the color as best as my dichromatic eyes can.

    Next I set the highlights. Using the 'exposure' control, I reduce the exposure (because I always try to expose about 1/2 stop over normal.) I slide it until there isn't any spike on the right of the histogram, or if I want white in the picture, I guesstimate the correct spot based on the shape of the histogram. Then I get the brightness range where I want using the 'brightness' and 'contrast' sliders.

    If I am going to add saturation, I do it here. I also usually adjust 'shadows to zero unless I need a higher amount for some effect.

    Then I go to the 'details' pane where I set the 'reduce color noise' according to the ISO I shot at and the amount of shadow in the picture. About 33% for ISO 400, 50-75% for 800 90-100 for 1600 and above. Also for 1600 and above I often set 'remove luminance noise' to 2-5% for ISO 1600 and above unless I want to emphasize grain.

    Then I click Ok and the file is opened in Photoshop. I adjust the shadows using the black-point methods Ron Reznick describes in his ebook, but translated into Photoshop instead of NC. To do this, open the Histogram windoid, and set it to show the three color channels as well as the RGB channel, and then open the curves dialog. If there is a large gap in the shadows I adjust the RGB curve first, but always follow with gamma curving the R, G and B channels individually., so that each channel comes to perfect black but doesn't climb the left wall of the histogram.

    If the image still needs any more contrast, I will add some 'S' curve to the overall curve in a second curves pass. At this point I am done with my basic post-processing, and I save the file with it's original name, but as a .psd file.

    Then any individual 'special' processing is done (cropping, weird colors, B&W*, montage, etc.) and then sizing and sharpening. Sorry this was so long, but this is the first time I've written this down, so it's kind of 'stream of conscious' writing.

    * I have been using mostly channel mixer for B&W, but lately I've been experimenting with turning the saturation all the way down in ACR and using the white balance controls to 'filter' the tones.
  4. Those seem to be fairly extreme settings! Have you tried lower contrast and sharpening?
  5. Hi Rory,

    I'm the kind of person that likes a lot of contrast and sharp, sharp pictures. I have tried a lower setting on the sharpening mode but the pictures to me didn't come out as sharp as I like them.

    The Contrast I could lower to see what the difference would be but I was going by the manual when I was reading about these settings and I just went by what was described in there.

    As for the Hue, I saw pictures of Yves with and without the +3 and the +3 setting gave a lot more saturation to the picture. I guess what I am trying to do is to keep away from having to post process in PS for these same settings. I'm sure once I shoot more than I have had the chance too, these settings may change, like for portraits where they are generally softer than landcapes. Does this make any sense?
  6. I like extreme settings! High sharpening rocks! :) :) :) 
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