Hi folks. I thought it might be a good idea to post a Photoshop tutorial regarding how you can edit an image to give the appearance of being sharper (without actually sharpening anything in the image). I tend to carry out as few adjustments as I can; it’s always better to try to get it right to begin with ‘in camera’ but sometimes you get a nice shot and due to dull conditions or mistakes with settings you can have a very noisy or grainy shot which instead of being an ‘almost’ shot can actually be ‘sorted’ to give a nice finished photo. I know there are different camps out there; some of them would happily shoot you down for even suggesting the editing a photo. I’m personally of the opinion that if I’m not passing off my photos as something they’re not (removing tags from captive birds etc) then I’m quite happy to carry out a few adjustment here and there. Everyone’s photos are their own personal property and if you’re happy with the final image then who’s to say it’s right or wrong? This tutorial uses the same tools which can be found in most of the later versions of Photoshop Elements so even though I’m using a full version of Photoshop it just means that the layout will be slightly different in Elements, but the workflow will be just the same. The first thing you’re going to notice is my accent.!! I’ve tried to slow down a bit and speak ‘properly’ but I’ve been Scottish for a very long time and even if I wanted to, it’s too late to do anything about it now.!! You may hear the odd ‘noo’ instead of ‘now’ or ‘oot’ instead of ‘out’ so please go easy on me about it (lots of ‘Burds’ and no ‘Birds’.!! :-)
The tutorial is actually describing how you could reduce ‘noise’ from the background of a grainy/noisy image without changing anything on the bird or main subject of the photo. This is the first time I’ve attempted to create a tutorial so I welcome any comments, critical or not. I apologise in advance for the length of the tutorial, it goes on for over half an hour, but in reality the technique only takes around three minutes to complete once you know what you’re doing. The beginning describes basic cropping of the image and ways to navigate around the image as you work on it, so please feel free to skip past some of the bits if you’re already familiar with these operations in Photoshop or Elements. I do hope that you may take something of use from some of this; there are lots of great tutorials out there but there don’t seem to be too many of them which specifically deal with images of birds. I freely admit to being a wee bit nervous about posting this, and listening back to it I do hope that I’m not speaking too fast for some folks to follow. I certainly welcome any suggestions of how any possible further tutorials could be improved upon. The differences from start to finish can be very subtle, but effective nonetheless. This particular technique can be very effective with ‘in flight’ shots against dull skies or over water. Best viewed in HD, so if you have a spare half hour or so, grab a cuppa and welcome to a Scottish ‘Burd’ photo editing tutorial. :-)
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That was great Paul, really clear and informative. I've used the same technique in the past with Gaussian blur (instead of noise reduction)to fade out a distracting background (sometimes you simply can't avoid a lamppost growing from a person's head!).
My Suffolk ears understood your Scottish voice, so hopefully everyone else should too :-)
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In reply to Whistling Joe:
Good stuff, Paul. Thanks for taking the trouble to produce the tutorial video. You were perfectly understandable.
Reducing the background noise to make the subject stand out more is not an approach I would have thought of doing but it seems to work.
I use Lightroom for my photo tweaks and I think a similar effect might be achieved by using an adjustment brush to paint over the background although I've not tried it.
As a matter of interest what did you use to do the screen capture in the production of the video?
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In reply to TeeJay:
Excellent tutorial Paul and thank you for the tremendous effort you have put in to this production which is very very useful. I will go through it in in more detail at some stage as its good to know the tips and tricks of editing and the keyboard shortcuts too. Love the gentle sound of those Scottish tones too and as Tony says, perfectly easy to follow and understand so thank goodness you are not from Glasgow (no offence to Glaswegians !) lol Once again, this tutorial is very much appreciated and will be extremely useful, thank you so much.
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
Thanks folks, I'm glad you found this of interest. As WJ says though, there can often be a few different ways to do the same thing, so a bit of experimenting is always fun. It would have been much quicker to just reduce the noise over the whole image and then to remove it from the subject with an eraser, but this wouldn't be as accurate as making a good selection of the bird first.
TeeJay said:As a matter of interest what did you use to do the screen capture in the production of the video?
I used a free downloadable program called iSpring Free Cam. Very easy to download and to use. If you don’t want to supply your email address I often use a free disposable address (here), this prevents you from getting bombarded with junk mail if you’re downloading free stuff from the net. :-) I also used an external microphone to record the audio. The software doesn’t let you add captions so this was done in windows moviemaker.
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