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MichaelJ
02-24-2007, 06:08 AM
When I first started Railway Photography in 2003, I used a Nikon E5700 and the Nikon Editor/PictureProject Software that came with it to process my photos. The (Auto) Contrast/Colour and Sharpening worked exceptionally well so I saw no need to switch when I purchased my Canon 350D in 2005.

Today, I photograph using Canon (*.CR2) RAW and must first use Adobe Photoshop CS2 to process the RAW Image. I make some small adjustments, such as White Balance and Exposure then export as a JEPG to continue the process (colour, contrast, sharpening) in Nikon Editor/PictureProject.

A friend of mine suggested continuing the process in Adobe Photoshop so that you can actually edit the RAW Image and save many times without reducing the quality of the image as is the case with JPEG. He pointed me in the direction of the Auto Level, Colour, and Contrast, but I'm not exactly happy with the results. The resultant image looks nowhere near as clear.

Could someone help me, please? Have I done something wrong? What can I do to improve the quality of my images in Adobe Photoshop?

Here are the two examples:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=175661

Adobe Photoshop
http://gallery.qrig.org/v/users/MichaelJ/IMG_8891.jpg.html

You can see that the first one is a little grainy from having been saved multiple times, but the second one just looks strange. Not sure what it is!

Ween
02-24-2007, 06:13 AM
Try saving as a TIFF after RAW conversion and you won't lose quality from multiple saves if you continue to use the Nikon software.

As for the Auto options of PS2, they work sometimes, but not all times, so it's a matter of trying different combinations and if none of them look good, it's time to roll up your sleeves and make your tweaks manually.

MichaelJ
02-24-2007, 06:23 AM
I will certainly give that a go!

Could you recommend a good Adobe Photoshop book for learners?

alan-crotty
02-24-2007, 10:16 AM
Try this one Michael.

http://www.photoshopforphotographers.com/pscs2/index2.htm

It's a big book, loads of info and as your learn you will delve further into it.

Alan

MichaelJ
02-24-2007, 04:07 PM
Sweet! I have located it on Amazon.com for $29.67 which I assume to be US Dollars.

John West
02-24-2007, 04:07 PM
Alan's suggested book looks interesting. What I dislike about most CS2 books is they focus on the program itself and all its whizbang "tools", and not the typical photog's work flow (what tools step by step, etc.). Most of what you typically need is a small fraction of the program's capability, and is usually pretty simple. Alan's suggested book looks like an exception, and I'll be looking for it myself....and hopefully it will not be as useless as all the other books I've invested in.

Photoshop is an incredible program, the only real disadvantage is it is not particularly untuitive.....learning how to use it can be slow and frustrating. Even after four years I'm amazed at what I discover (and others teach me). But then....I'm an old dog trying to learn new tricks.

You might also check out

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/instant_photoshop.shtml

for some free help.

Finally, I would strongly agree with the suggestion that files be converted to TIFF when working on them in Photoshop. While saving your RAW files as the ultimate backup is probably a good idea (if you have the space), for working purposes I save a 8x10 (or some such) 300 dpi TIFF "print" file from which I can make prints or convert to jpeg files for posting, etc.

I find the "auto" tools very helpful as a starting point. But only as a starting point for further tinkering.

Good luck.

John West

MichaelJ
02-24-2007, 04:55 PM
I'll keep up my research. I have a book entitled 'Digital Photographer's Handbook' by Tom Ang, but it ssems to have an Apple Mac-type focus. I might have a look at the local book store, Dymocks, tomorrow.

Can people see what I mean with regard to the second photo though? It is nowhere near as clear! I have a Sony LCD, so I don't think it is the monitor!

goremirebob
02-25-2007, 10:49 AM
I try the Auto Levels and Auto Contrast first and if I don't like the result (about 65% of cases) I 'undo' them in the edit menu. I then tweak manually using levels or curves.

I find the Shadow/Highlight tool in CS2 ( it's also in PS Elements 3 I believe) enormously helpful, particularly to darken bright skies.

I adjust using this tool (you'll soon fathom how to use it) until the image looks Ok but perhaps slightly bright and flat. I then manually adjust contrast to inject more punch.

Discovered this myself but many of my RP Pictures have had this treatment.

Best wishes

Bob Avery

John West
02-25-2007, 04:37 PM
The shadow/highlight tool can "save" many a picture taken from the Dark Side....and I don't mean digital.

[photoid=145040]

JimThias
02-25-2007, 05:17 PM
Could someone help me, please? Have I done something wrong? What can I do to improve the quality of my images in Adobe Photoshop?

Here are the two examples:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=175661

Adobe Photoshop
http://gallery.qrig.org/v/users/MichaelJ/IMG_8891.jpg.html

You can see that the first one is a little grainy from having been saved multiple times, but the second one just looks strange. Not sure what it is!

Didn't notice the grain so much (didn't look that closely), but the second one looks a little less saturated and maybe a touch washed out (as if you might have manually bumped up the levels a little).




I try the Auto Levels and Auto Contrast first and if I don't like the result (about 65% of cases) I 'undo' them in the edit menu. I then tweak manually using levels or curves.

Well, don't forget the "fade" feature after you've selected auto contrast or auto levels (or auto colors, for that matter). I often use auto contrast, but RARELY at 100%. I'll auto contrast the picture, and then select "fade auto contrast" and then adjust it accordingly to my liking.

Ween
02-25-2007, 05:32 PM
Well, don't forget the "fade" feature after you've selected auto contrast or auto levels (or auto colors, for that matter). I often use auto contrast, but RARELY at 100%. I'll auto contrast the picture, and then select "fade auto contrast" and then adjust it accordingly to my liking.<!-- / message -->

Neat, I didn't know this function existed...I'll be looking for it next time I'm processing...

JimThias
02-25-2007, 06:19 PM
Neat, I didn't know this function existed...I'll be looking for it next time I'm processing...

After auto contrast or levels, Edit --> Fade

You'll then get a window with a slider from 0-100 %.

Ween
02-25-2007, 10:58 PM
Thanks, Jim...I'll be giving that a whirl...

Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
02-25-2007, 11:44 PM
Sweetness!!! Thanks for the info, guys. None of those silly sliders for me anymore! ;)

John Fladung
02-27-2007, 05:22 AM
Great! Even those of us with CS(1) can take advantage of this feature!

MichaelJ
03-06-2007, 11:50 PM
Didn't notice the grain so much (didn't look that closely), but the second one looks a little less saturated and maybe a touch washed out (as if you might have manually bumped up the levels a little).

Jim, sorry for the delay in responding. I used Auto Contrast then Auto Level in PS CS2 to create the second image. The black on the front/rear of the DMU looks to have a grey tinge to me. When you use Auto Contrast in the Nikon Software the image is instantly brighter and more vibrant. How would I do that in PS CS2?

I will try the fade tool and see how it goes ...

Someone also noted on another board that it was difficult to get a sense of direction with this photo.

JimThias
03-07-2007, 02:01 AM
Jim, sorry for the delay in responding. I used Auto Contrast then Auto Level in PS CS2 to create the second image. The black on the front/rear of the DMU looks to have a grey tinge to me. When you use Auto Contrast in the Nikon Software the image is instantly brighter and more vibrant. How would I do that in PS CS2?

I will try the fade tool and see how it goes ...

The auto features are nice and convenient, but most of the time I find they do TOO much. That's why the fade feature is a useful little tool. If you're in a hurry and don't feel like spending more time with detailed contrast and level tweaks, this auto + fade feature is a good combination.


Someone also noted on another board that it was difficult to get a sense of direction with this photo.

Wow, I'm scratching my head on that one. Did they happen to elaborate?

edit: Oh wait...did the person mean they couldn't tell if the train was coming or going?

MichaelJ
03-07-2007, 02:17 AM
Wow, I'm scratching my head on that one. Did they happen to elaborate? What sense of direction does one typically look for in a photo? :lol:

They didn't elaborate which may suggest that there was no backbone to their comment.

I thought it was clear this is a trailing shot and that the train is powering down the hill. You can really hear the Turbo going hard with those DMUs, it is just a pity they don't have a blow-off valve and that photos don't capture sound. :P

I tried the fade and it made no difference, so, I think I'm doing something wrong. Try again!

JimThias
03-07-2007, 02:31 AM
I tried the fade and it made no difference, so, I think I'm doing something wrong. Try again!

If you selected either auto levels or auto contrast, and then tried to fade from 100% to 0% and didn't see a change, then there must not have been much effect applied to begin with. Fade simply gives you a tool to adjust the contrast or levels that was applied by selecting auto from full on to nothing (or ANY effects you apply, for that matter).

Are you auto contrasting/levelling a file that was processed as a jpg in your camera, or from a RAW file? That might make a difference.

MichaelJ
03-07-2007, 11:11 AM
I am working with a RAW File which will later be converted to TIFF or JPEG.

WetRailsWA
04-13-2007, 09:53 PM
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=175661


I just want to say that - from the front - that train looks like a giant cellular flip phone :wink: