Landscape Photography Workshops Lesson 05
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Florence, Italy. Fine Art Landscape Photography Workshops by David Osborn Photography
37. Golden Rule: Craftsmanship Perfection
Do not leave any Photoshop signature in the image. Bad technique like white halos around mountains that give away the retouching. If we create a great foundation, an optical illusion of a three-dimensional space, we can overlay this with a totally unrealistic but artistic treatment and still be psychologically accepted as an image of reality. Leave even a single retouching artifact, the illusion of reality is burst – jolting us back to reality. You must be a perfectionist.
38. A Picture Is A Thousand Problems
“Global Changes First, Major Objects Second, Small Details Last”. In terms of surface area, the largest adjustments are made first, so they set the correct context to judge the smaller objects. You work down by object size, the detail being last. How you make each adjustment is by breaking down the problem into three sub-problems: “Identify the Problem, Create the Solution, Join the Solution”. The last, “Join the Solution” normally triggers the need to use a mask.
39. Retouching: “Science Versus Art”
Creating a successful optical illusion of a three-dimensional space requires portraying light, form, texture, and spatial depth. Creating these qualities are all based on science not art. You have no creative freedom, you implement them ‘by the book’ given you know the techniques to do so. Art dictates style, composition, mood, and atmosphere and are based more on emotion than scientific rules. To retain a feeling of reality, science must always underpin artistic.
The Retouching Principles
40. Every Photograph Is Black And White
A color photograph is a black and white photograph overlaid with color information. The black and white photograph is only tonal information and tone is responsible for the life and structure of all photographs. Using a building analogy: Tone is the structure of the building. Color the cosmetic exterior paint. Color plays no role in the structure of the picture, just the mood. Therefore, being good at creating tonally rich black and white images is an essential skill for all images.
41. The Preliminary Photoshop Sketch
Before creating the final version, it is important to create a quick sketch in Photoshop first, without attention to detail or retouching artifacts. The sketch is an artistic exploration of the light, mood, and drama. Because Photoshop retouching is a slow and meticulous process, the final photograph can lack life and spontaneity. The sketch provides a great ‘life and mood’ reference image to make sure those qualities are reflected in the final photograph to keep it alive.
42. Do You Blend Or Do You Mask?
Blending is joining one layer to another by painting without regard to the subject’s edges. Masking is joining one layer to another with regard to the subject’s edges. Blending is always the primary choice because it will create the highest quality join, the ‘join’ being spread over a large area. When we create a mask involving subject edges, we must worry about the accuracy and quality of the join, artefacts. Masks are essential though and cannot be avoided.
The Main Retouching Steps
43. Step 1: Composite The Landscape
Aim: Composite all the assets together to create a single file representing the perfect raw file captured by the camera. Compositing is the hardest and most time-consuming part of the retouching. This stage also involves editing, cleaning, sharpening, and aligning images followed by mask making. The base image is positioned as the background layer, the technical and artistic assets placed above it. The result must be perfect before moving onto Step 2.
44. Step 2: Three-Dimensional Landscape
Aim: Create a technically perfect photograph with three-dimensional quality. Photoshop concentrates on two subjects. One: Build up the contrast on three levels; global, local and details to create an image with super rich readability. Two: Create the three-dimensional illusion of light, form, texture, and spatial distance; reality. The result should be technically perfect but clinical, having little artistic personality. The result must again be perfect before moving onto Step 3.
45. Step 3: The Artistic Landscape
Aim: Create the final artistic statement. Retouching up to this point is very systematic and methodical. The final artistic step has less rules and is much freer, working like a painter. This step concentrates on two subjects. One: Enhance the light, mood, drama, and atmosphere. Two: Make the image read cohesively, bringing up the hero and balancing the prominence of other content. The artistic phase is about your feelings and the aesthetic quality of the image.
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