27th
March

Just a quick repost of one of my favorite photos today, as I’m again busy today.
The perfect sunset

26th
March

And it’s time again for some new, huge wallpapers. These are again for the 21:9 and are 3440×1440 big. Of course you can use them also on any smaller screen, you just wont see them whole :) As always, head over to the wallpapers page to get them.

City panorama
Midnight experiment

25th
March

For today I have for you few simple tricks, on how to get more from Nik Color Efex pro plug-in for Photoshop. If you never used it before, you should give it a try, and you can find more about it in my Color Efex pro review.

1. Use multiple effects

You will quickly notice, that if you change the filter selected, you will loose the one that was selected before, and all its settings. So in case you want to use more than one filter on a particular photo, you either have to do one effect at a time, or use the Add Filter button. with it, you can add as many filters as you want at once. I actually prefer to add one filter at a time, as I like to apply a layer mas after each filter, and just use the effect where I need it.

Few tips for Color Efex ProMultiple effects
Few tips for Color Efex ProRecipes

2. Use recipes

Color Efex does not allow to change default settings for the filters. But what you can do, is create the settings you want, and then save them as a recipe. You can even apply multiple filters, and save them all as one recipe. This is particularly great, if you are editing multiple shots from a series, and you want the same effect to be on all of them.

3. Favorite what you use

With so many available filters, there is a very small chance that you will be using them all regularly. So what you can do, is add the ones you like the most to you favorites, and so reduce the list substantially. Just click on the star icon next to the filter, and then choose the favorites group to just see them.

Few tips for Color Efex ProFavorites
Few tips for Color Efex ProShadows & Highlight

4. Protect highlights/shadows

A lot of the filters effect the shadows and the highlights of your photo. A lot of times this is desired, but sometimes it’s not. To avoid this, you can simply adjust the Shadows and Highlights sliders. This should be done gently, as it’s very easy to make them look gray. If this is the result you are getting, it’s better just to use layer masks, and remove the effect from those areas.

5. Use the selective tool

When you install Nik plugins, you will also get the Selective tool. It’s used to run the specific plugins, but it has one specific function you can’t get from the filters menu. If you open the settings here, you have an option to choose, on what is the plugin applied. It’s either the selected layer, or a merged copy of all the layers. If you open the plugin from the filters menu, you can only use it on the selected layer.

Few tips for Color Efex ProSelective tool
Few tips for Color Efex ProControl points

6. Use the control points

As I mentioned before, I prefer to choose where the filter is applied later with a layer mask. But if you want, you can partially effect it directly in Color Efex by using the control points. You have a + and a – control point. Easily just place the point if you want to add the effect only on a specific are or remove it. You can then change the opacity and size for that control point.

One more tip, a little more specific :) If you are running a Windows 10 installation (like I am right now), and Color efex causes Photoshop to crash, there is a simple fix for that. Open Color efex on any photo and under setting/GPU dissable GPU processing. The drivers for Windows 10 are just still in beta and not stable enough.

24th
March

Quite a lot, when I deliver my photos to customers, I get asked on what DPI are they. And after explaining again and again that parameter has nothing to do with the quality of a photo, I will do it once more here, for everyone who does not understand that.

What is DPI?

DPI stands for “dots per inch” and is a term used in printing. It determines how many dots (pixels) are used per every inch of the print. 300 DPI is quite a standard, but one can get printers that can get higher DPI. It’s the same when you scan something, with the DPI showing how many dots you get per every inch of the scanned document.

DPI in photos?

You may have noticed that when you resize a document in Photoshop, you get the resolution setting there. This is the DPI setting. What does this mean? It’s simple. Every photo has a certain resolution in pixels. For instance, a 10Mpix photo will be 3648×2736. If a photo like that is set up for a DPI of 300, it’s print size will be 12.16×9.12 inches. And that’s all DPI does. It creates a conversion from the pixel size to a print size. You can see the different between the pixel size and print size, by zooming to 100% (pixel size) and to print size in the View menu in Photoshop.

DPI in photographyIf you choose not to resample a photo in the resize dialog, and you change the DPI setting, you photo will stay the same in pixel dimensions, just the print size will change. So if you know the dimension in pixels, and you know the DPI you want, you can really easily calculate the print resolution. If you choose to resample and change the DPI, the pixel size will change, while the print size will stay the same.

What to take from this?

First of all, DPI has absolutely no effect on the web or in image files. All web pages and computer graphics are shown based on their width & height in pixels. Even if you sometime see a PPI (pixels per inch) attribute for a monitor, it is never used to calculate the display size of a photo. The photo if shown at 100% will always occupy one pixel of the screen per pixel of the photo.

Secondly, if sometimes ask you for a DPI of a photo, you can answer whatever you want. On it’s own this attribute means nothing and it’s just a parameter that you can set. A proper question would be, what is the pixel resolution, or what is a print size with a certain DPI setting. These are relevant, as they influence the print quality, and how big can you print the photo without using a lower DPI.

Thirdly, if you get the question about DPI from someone who should print your photos, you just got a confirmation that the person does not know what he/she is doing. A photo with low DPI does not have to be a low quality photo (but it can be). It’s just set for a big print size.

23rd
March

There was no process post last week, but there will be one today. And I will show you how I edited this long exposure shot of the SNP bridge in Bratislava. I took this photo using a 10 stop ND lens, so that changed the look quite a bit. But I still have to tweak a lot of things, so let’s look at exactly what I did.

Long exposure lightFinished photo
Long exposure lightOriginal photo

I started in Lightroom with 5 exposures. I could have done the same with less, as most of the image is quite uniform, but I tend to take more just to be sure I have enough. In Lightroom I corrected the lens distortion, chromatic abberations, and tweaked the white balance, to get a much warmer feel to the photo. From there I exported everything into Photoengine.

Long exposure lightUsed exposures
Long exposure lightLightroom tweaks

I didn’t did much in Photoengine. All I needed is to adjust the strength and the contrast to get to where I wanted to be with this photo. Then I just loaded it into Photoshop and continued from there (layers numbered from bottom up):
1. Olonoe Photoengine result
2. I removed dust spots and the visible part of a ship from the photo
3. Removed the cables visible in the bottom part of the image (normally I would move the camera to avoid them, but it was not possible here)
4. Removed few visible people on the bridge.
5. Brightened the inside part of the bridge a little from the +2EV exposure
6+7. Corrected a waving flag from the -2EV exposure, which I brightened using curves
8. Color Efex Briliance/Warmith to add more color to the sunset
9. Color Efex Pro contrast to add more local contrast to most of the photo
10. Removed a little noise from the sky
11. Brightened the windows on the building, to have it look more shiny
12. Added more overall contrast
13. Added more saturation on the blues, for the sky and the water reflection

If you seen my other process posts, you will notice that I almost always end with adding more contrast. The reason is, that sharpening a photo will remove a little contrast, and I prepare the photo for that.

Long exposure lightMerged in Photoengine
Long exposure lightPhotoshop edit

And that’s all I did with this image. To find out more on how I edit, check out the guides and before after categories on this blog, or check out my video tutorial series here:
Master exposure blending