Lush Glen in Scotland

Simple command line HDR

This shot was 2 shots combined with a single command line. I wanted to show the power of enfuse and briefly discuss Darktable's HDR option.

The shots are of a glen in Scotland. Very lush and beautiful, but with too many stops of dynamic range to catch all of it at once. I hope you enjoy this journey.

If you'd like to follow along, the 2 RAW files are here and here.

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Hi everybody.

It's Harry, and today I'm going to be working on an HDR image.

This is going to enable me to go over a whole bunch of things I haven't been able to go over in other videos.

Now, this is kind of an unusual HDR image, because I'm making an HDR image out of four HDR images: two sets of two -- well, I don't know if you'd call them sets.

See, the images I took, I took with an option on Magic Lantern's firmware for Canon cameras called Dual ISO.

It enables you to set the amplification for the pixel information coming off the sensor chip at different levels for every two alternating scan lines.

For instance, the first and second ones were scanned at 50 ISO and then the third and fourth scan lines were amplified to 1600 ISO; it goes back to 50 ISO for the 5th and sixth scan lines, and then the seventh and eighth back to 1600.

The reason it goes two scan lines is because the bayer pattern for the color information is a Red-Green-Green-Blue pattern; it's a two by two matrix, and if you alternate each scan line, you don't get the right color.

So it goes every two scan lines.

There is some pretty fancy software that makes a lot of intelligent decisions and gives you very good results.

It's called "CR 2 HDR" I'll show you: cr2hdr.

And all you have to do is give it a file name.

For instance, that.

That will produce, when you run it, a DNG file, which is still in a RAW format, so you can do any RAW transformations that you would do, like Chromatic Aberration Control, or Raw Denoise.

But the image will be combined, so that you lose a little bit of vertical resolution in exchange for merging together the two ISOs into a single image.

Now that's a wonderful thing to do when you've got an image where there are little tiny branches.

For instance, on these two images I'm going to work with today, these little branchesand leaves.

Now, they're obviously going to move in the wind.

So, if I was going to make an HDR image, it would be impossible for them to exactly line up.

I attempted to take both of these pictures in a single shot using the Dual-ISO option.

But, even shooting at 50 ISO and 1600 ISO, that was not enough stops, in addition to the camera's capability, to enable me to capture both the sky and the shadows.

So, I'm going to take two images I have from the same place that I shot at different shutter speeds.

This first one I shot at a half of a second and I've got detail in the stream, but the sky's blown out.

You can see the highlights are clipped over here in the Histogram.

The second image, I shot at a sixth of a second, and I have the sky, but I definitely do not have any detail in the stream.

So, I'm going to combine these two images with two different methods.

They're both quite simple, and I want to be able to compare them and show you why I choose the one I do.

Before I get started, there are some things I want to correct for before I create my HDR.

Let's start with this brighter image, which was the half second exposure.

If I zoom way in, you can see that, where the extreme brightness of the sky and the leaves come together, I've got a bunch of artifacts and color noise.

I can think of a bunch of reasons for this: the math involved with the cr2hdr application could be creating some of the artifacts; some of this could be from fresnel distortion around the edges of the leaves; it might be issues with the sensor.

The first thing I'm going to do is try a different De-Mosaic-ing algorithm.

So, let's do that.

We'll go to DeMosaic.

It has defaulted to Fast PPG, which, in almost every instance, gives fantastic results.

Lets try Amaze and see how that works.

Ah, boy, that looks a little better, but we've got some pixels that aren't very pleasant to look at now on the edges.

Let's try VNG Four.

Ah, there we go; we've reduced the noise considerably, and we don't have those obnoxious pixel squares on the edges.

If I change my Edge Threshold, I don't see any positive effect, and if I use different Color Smoothing amounts, I don't see much positive effect either.

So, that's it: VNG Four.

Now, let's try correcting for Chromatic Aberrations and see what it does for us.

Ah, that got rid of even more.

Here, I'll turn it off.

Since it's a little bit subtle, I'll take a Snapshot.

Then we'll look at the Snapshot with the correction for Chromatic Aberrations.

On the right hand side is the corrected, and on the left hand side is prior to the correction.

This is a good place to look right here.

See all this red? And now there's less of it.

It doesn't get rid of it, but there's less.

Something I like to do with all my images is reduce color noise by applying a 2- or 3-pixel Gaussian Blur to the entire image before I even get started.

It doesn't seem to lose much detail and it really helps with color noise as I expand Color Contrast later on, during post processing.

Let's do that and see if it cleans up some of this.

We'll set our Radius to 3 pixels, apply it only to the Color Channel.

Before, and after.

Well, that gets rid of even more of it, doesn't it? Now, we still have some obnoxious pixels that are kind of orphaned along the edges of some of these, and there's still a little bit of color noise, although we've seen a fantastic amount of improvement.

Here's where we started, and here's where we're at now.

Okay, I'm going to use a brute force method now.

I am going to apply a Gaussian Blur to both the Color- and the L-Channel of the entire image.

I think that's going to be fine, because we don't have much detail in here anyway.

See how fuzzy it is? I'm going to enstantiate another Lowpass Filter and I'm going to bring the Radius all the way down to zero, and then I'm going to slowly bring it up with my Mouse Wheel until I get rid of all that obnoxious stuff.

There we go.

That's right around 0.8 pixels.

Before, and after.

I'm finally happy with that.

Now, there's no reason to apply it to the entire image, so I'm going to use a Drawn Mask with a Fountain Fill and select just the sky for this Gaussian Blur.

I'd also like to use the Raw Denoise option.

It's my favorite Denoising tool, and I can only use that tool while I'm working with RAW format images.

Once I create an HDR, I will not be able to use that; this is the time.

Keeping in mind that this image is a Dual-ISO image, the darker parts of the image will have been grabbed by the software from the 1600 ISO parts of the original RAW.

So, I'm going to go to the darkest places and look for my noise.

That would be in the stream here.

What I'm going to do is bring Raw Denoise all the way down so it has no effect, and then I'm going to slowly bring it up until I get rid of the noise and maintain as much sharpness as I can.

That looks good.

And that loses a little sharpness.

You can see it here on the grass.

If I go up, it gets fuzzy.

That looks like a good compromise there at .002 An awful lot of my images end up with this noise threshold: .002 It seems to be a magic setting.

I'm going to apply these same settings to that image that was shot with a faster shutter speed.

We don't need this anymore.

This was just so I could show you the Dual ISO.

This is the one we worked on.

I'm going to take my History Stack.

Copy All; that will copy all the transformations I did.

I'm going to apply them to the second image.

Paste All.

And now, I'm going to export these two as TIF images so that they save all these settings.

Then I'm going to create an HDR image from those.

Darktable is done exporting.

I have my two TIF images.

Here's one from this DNG and here's another one from this DNG.

Before I get started with my second method of creating an HDR, I am going to use Magic Lantern's Create HDR image right here.

Now, I made some changes to these two images, but when I select Create HDR, it will not include any of these changes; it's going to work just from the RAW image.

So, what I'll need to do is create the HDR and then copy all the changes I made from the first DNG to create the TIF, and apply it to the HDR that's created in Darktable.

So I'll select this one and this one.

Now, this only works with RAW images.

Once you create a TIF, you cannot use this Create HDR Image.

It says "Merge 2 images" Now, I'm going to take this first DNG, go to History Stack, Copy All, and then Paste it on this one.

Now we have all our corrections for our Chromatic Aberrations and whatnot.

I'm going to take these two TIF images and create an HDR with a different technique, and then I'll compare them.

I'm going to do this at the command line.

Now, I mentioned that it doesn't matter that I'm on a tripod; getting the two images to line up exactly is still a challenge.

Here's all our images.

These XMP files are just sidecar files that have the module settings from Darktable.

Darktable being a non-destructive photo editing program, instead of adjusting the original image it creates a sidecar file.

I want to work with these two TIF images: this one and this one.

First thing I'm going to do is align the images.

The application I'm using is called "Align Image Stack" and it's available on Mac and Windows and Linux.

I use Linux.

The first program I used for Magic Lantern called "cr2hdr"; that's available on all three platforms also.

This software is all freeware, and openly available to download from the internet.

Align Image Stack: it takes a parameter -- well, here: there's a parameter right here "minus Capital C" "Auto-crop image to the area covered by all images" Now, what that will do, is it will align the images, and then it will find the area that is common to both, or however many images you use, and then crop them all so you don't end up with black bars at the top or the bottom.

So, I'm going to use "-C" for that, and then the way that Align Image Stack works is, it looks at all your images and then decides how to align them so that they all match up, and then it creates a second version of those images without compression so that you don't lose detail, but it appends something to those images so you know they're the corrected ones.

I'm going to use "aligned." and that way it will put "aligned" and a (dot)"." in front of all the files that are the created ones from Align Image Stack.

And I'm going to tell it to work on all the TIF images.

Now, I don't want it to work on the XMP images too, so, before I do that, I'm going to remove the XMP files.

Now I just have these two TIF images.


So, this says: "Use this program Align Image Stack.

Crop all the images.

Append the word 'aligned' and then a dot when you create the new images (so I can differentiate them from the originals) and do this on everything that ends in TIF" Alright, the processing is done.

Now we have these two images here: aligned and aligned, and they both end with TIF.

Now that they're aligned, I'm going to create my HDR using an application called Enfuse, another freeware opensource project.

It's available for all three platforms, and is quite a mature project.


Now, I'm telling it to output to a file name.

I'll just call it "enfuse_hdr.TIF" and I want it to do it to all the images that start with the word "aligned".

There we are.

That took a while.

It's done now.

It's created this TIF file, and let's look at everything in Darktable.

So, here's the HDR image that was created with Enfuse, and here's the HDR file that was created with Darktable.

Let's take a closer look at them.

This is the one that was created with Darktable.

This is the one that was created with Enfuse.

This is Darktable.

And this is Enfuse.

I prefer the Enfuse version.

I feel like I get more mid-tones.

I get smoother transitions, and I get a little bit less of edge issues, where the dark and the light come together.

This is the Enfuse version.

This is the Darktable version.

We've got a little bit of a halo here.

They're both excellent.

I'm going to use the Enfuse version.

I just wanted to show you that there are a couple of easy ways to get there.

So, let's carry on.

Here we are with the Enfuse version.

I want to bring out the shadows and I want to control for these highlights, but not too much; I'm not doing too bad on the highlights.

And I'm going to worry about the color of the sky at the very end.

I think I'm mostly interested in what I can do about the shadows right now.

Let's look at the Shadows and Highlights.

If I bring my Shadows up, okay, that looks good.

And if I bring my Highlights from zero, bring them down, you can see that I start getting this halo effect in here.

It's darker in the middle and lighter on the edges.

I've got to bring this down until that goes away.

That's right around there.

And I can adjust my Radius, which will adjust how far out it's looking at a transition area between where it enhances the shadows and where it stops enhancing the shadows.

Right now it's set to 100 pixels.

If I bring it way down, it looks kindof HDR-y; we don't want that.

We want something that looks natural.

If I bring it too far up, that doesn't look natural either.

That looks good to me.

And then the Compression.

If I Compress it all the way, then it only works on the very darkest regions.

If I turn the Compression all the way off, then it applies it to a much larger area.

See, it's bringing out these areas, calling them shadows, and I really want it to work on just the darker places.

I'm going to bring up my Compression until that looks natural to me too.

There we go.

I've pushed a lot of my data to the mid-tones; that's what I wanted to do.

I'm going to be using these mid-tones later on to generate the kind of shading I want.

My goals with this image are to bring out the tree and the fence and these individual trees in back here.

As a matter of fact, let's look at the very first image and I'll show you where I'm headed.

I want to see these trees as individual; I don't want this to look like a clump of dark.

I want to see this tree; I want to see this tree, and I want this fence to pop.

I don't want this stream to be a mystery; I want to be able to see what's going on in it.

And, I don't want so much contrast up here that it's hard to look at.

I want my colors to be deep and vibrant because this is a verdant scene, and so I'd like my colors to really be vibrant, but I don't want to go out of gamut anywhere.

Back to where we were.

So, I've gotten as close as I can to what I'm looking for with the Shadows and Highlights Module, so I'm going to take a Snapshot of this, and then I'm going to turn it off, and I'll show you another technique I like to use for working with shadows and highlights.

I'm going to bring my Exposure down a little bit.

I'd like my Blackpoint to be down lower.

Alright, I'm looking at my Histogram here.

That looks good to me.

Use my Tone Curve, get into the stream here, because this is what I want to bring up.

Let's see: right there.

I'm going to grab this point and bring it up a little bit.

I don't want to go too far because I'll skew the whole curve.

Bring down the Whites, recover some of this data.

I'm going to do the same thing again.

Once again, I'm going to go into the stream, use the Eyedropper, bring that up a little bit.

So, I've pushed a lot of my data towards the middle here.

I'm good on both ends.

Now, I'm going to use a Lowpass Filter in an attempt to bring out the shadows and knock down the highlights in a more natural way.

First thing I'm going to do is bring my Saturation down to zero so I can see what's going on better.

Then I'm going to bring my Radius up.

That's about what I'm looking for.

I don't want to get in to the details; I want to keep it to the larger images, the larger aspects of the image like this big dark area here, and this big white area here, and this big white area here.

I'm going to change my Blend Mode to Overlay.

This is the secret mode.

Right now, it's making the dark parts darker and the light parts lighter.

See that? And that is the opposite of what I want.

I'm going to take my Contrast and I'm going to turn it negative, and I'm going to turn it negative until I get my image pushed towards those mid-tones, like this.

So, there we go.

Now, let's look at the result we got with the Shadows and Highlights Slider and compare them.

They both move the image towards the mid-tones, but I feel like I get a more natural feel using the Tone Curves and the Lowpass Filter.

On the left is the Highlights and Shadows Module, and on the right is using the Tone Curves and the Lowpass with a Reverse Contrast applied with Overlay Blend Mode.

I prefer the second method, so that's the one I'm going to use.

There we are.

What do I want to do to this image now? Well, I'm preparing the image for working on it.

Believe it or not, I'm still doing preparations for that, and this image has SO much green in it.

I want to separate this fence from the grass; I want the trees to pop.

One of the advantages I have is the tree trunks are a slightly different color than the green.

Here it especially is, but here --mmmm--- still some, like here? So, if I look at the Channel Mixer, there's an option here.

This is wonderful.

It's called Lightness.

This lets you create your own formula for how the L Channel is formed based on the information from the Red, Green, and Blue bayer cells.

I'm going to start with a Snapshot, and then I can compare my changes to the original.

The way I like to do this, is I like to bring up each of the channels until they're approximately the same lightness as the original, and then use the Slider to see if I'm getting more separation or less separation.

That makes the fence pop like crazy, doesn't it? I don't like what it does to the greens; I've got way too much contrast there.

So, this has some pluses and minuses.

Look at how it lightens up the stream, too.

That was the Blue.

Let's bring up the Green.

Well, that does a nice job on the greens.

They look nice and smooth, but I feel like I've got LESS separation between my items instead of more.

That kind of flattens the image.

Now let's look at the Red Channel.

Once again, this is reconstructing the L Channel information from only the Red Channel at this point.

If you have a dark image with a lot of noise, you're going to really see a lot of noise when you do this because, on the bayer pattern you've got one Red, two Greens, and one Blue.

So, if you only used, for instance, the Red Channel for your L Channel, you'll only be using one quarter the information, and that's going to really make your noise go crazy if you've got a lot of noise in your image.

Enough of that; let's look and compare the two.

Well, that also separates the items I want to separate from the background better than the Green.

So, the Red and the Blue seem to do a good job.

I want some of the Green, but I don't want as much as all Green, that's for sure.

The question is, how do I want to apportion the information that goes into the L Channel.

Now, this is a matter of personal taste at this point, but I'm going to start with less Green than anything else.

So, I'm going to start with 0.2 Green, and a little more Blue, so I'm going to do 0.3 Blue, and then I'm going to take my Red, and I'm going to bring it down until it's at about the same brightness.

Right around there.

Oh, I like that effect.

Okay, see, this tree pops a little bit more; the fence separates itself.

I've got all my channels: I've got my Red, my Green, and my Blue being used, so that will NOT enhance my noise too much.

I'm going to stick with that.

So, I've reconstructed the L Channel, but what am I going to do with this? Well, I'm going to apply this to the original image instead of using it fully as my L Channel, and I'm going to apply it with the Soft Light, which I use for Tones.

I like to control Tones with Soft Light Blend Mode.

That's none of it, and this is all of it, and it's way too dark in the darker parts.

Instead of just applying it uniformly, I'm going to apply it with a Parametric Mask, and I want to maintain the ability to have this detail.

I'm going to use the Eyedropper Tool, come into the stream, select an area there, and then I'm going to exclude that area.

Here, I'll turn on the Mask Indicator.

I'm going to exclude that area from the image.

I want to smooth this transition.

There, that gives me a nice, smooth application of that.

Before, and after.

Now, I'm getting that change, but it's up here in these lighter areas, and it's not hurting me in the stream.

Here, let's look at that before and after.

Before, and after.

That's pretty subtle, so I'm going to take a Snapshot.

There we go.

On the right hand side is after, and on the left hand side is before.

There we are.

Our stream looks good and I'm getting the effect I want with the tree and the fence.

At this point, I am going to save this image because I've made so many changes, and when I use Parametric Masks, I want to know where I'm starting.

I don't have control over which order Darktable applies modules, so this is my way of taking control of that pixel pipe.

I use 16-bit TIFs for all my work.

They seem to work just fine.

Alright, we're done processing, and here's the TIF that was created.

As you can see from our History, we're starting from scratch.

I've got all my detail and information into my mid-tones here.

This is great; this is how I like to work.

I'm going to push this information from these mid-tones towards the edges in a way to produce a separation of items based on size and color and position.

So, let's get started.

My tool of choice are Lowpass Filters.

I just love them.

The first thing I'm going to do is take my Saturation and turn it all the way down to zero so I can see what I'm doing.

Now, when I'm applying Tone to large images, I don't want to have the image as a whole get darker or lighter, and I find that the magic formula for that is to take my Contrast and turn it down to 0.9 and take my Brightness and turn it up to 0.03.

That allows me to take my Radius, adjust it to where I want without worrying about having the image get dark,dark, dark or light,light, light; it kindof stays in the middle.

This will be my starting point.

I'm trying to get the larger feature here of the gully itself.

I'm going to apply that with Soft Light, which I use for tones, and then I'm going to take my Opacity and lower it.

This is with none of the effect; this is with all of the effect.

I'm going to find the magic point.

This is all a matter of personal taste.

That looks good to me.

Whenever I apply these Lowpass Filters, I'm pushing information towards the edges.

I'm going to have to correct for that as I go.

I'm going to take a Tone Curve and I'm going to get in the stream here, and bring it up a little bit.

This area's too bright.

I'm going to bring that down a little bit, and I will continue to make these changes as I go.

Another instance of a Lowpass Filter.

Once again, I'm going to take my Saturation and get rid of that.

Bring my Contrast down to 0.9 and my Brightness up to 0.03 and now I'm going to use my Radius to determine how large of an area I want to work with.

That looks good to me.

I'm getting some of the individual parts of the fence here and these tree trunks are showing up a little bit, but I'm not getting lost in the detail of the grass and the leaves.

Okay? So, once again, Soft Light and I'm going to use my Opacity to attenuate the effect.

That looks good to me.

Back to the Tone Curve.

Zoom in to my stream.

Right there.

Bring it up a little bit.

You've got to check it each time, because these values will change.

Bring that down a little bit.

These Lowpass Filters with the Soft Light just gobble up mid-tones, but they produce these nice, even shades.


There we go; that looks good to me.

I start with my larger items and then work smaller and smaller with my Lowpass Filters.

I like that effect.

I'm starting to get this branch in here.

I'm starting to get some of these branches, getting nice shading on the tree.

The fence is starting to come out.

Once again, Soft Light, and use Opacity to attenuate it.

Come back here...

You know the drill.

We get some of these smaller branches now.

I'm just going to leave that like that; that looks good.

No reason to turn down the Opacity.


I'm going to add finer-detailed tones with the Highpass Filter instead of the Lowpass Filter.

It's a little easier to control for smaller sized objects.

What I do is I take the Sharpness and I turn it all the way up, and that gives me actual tone instead of just edges.

I'm going to look for a combination of Sharpness and Contrast that will give me shading at the smaller level.

Oh, that looks good.

I'm going to take that and apply that with Soft Light because it's still Tones I'm working on.

Bring down my Opacity.

Now I've got some finer-grained tones going on.

I want to enhance the colors that are dull, but I don't want my more-saturated colors to go out of gamut.

This is something I like to do with my images in general.

I'm going to do it at this point, and then I'm going to save this image and work on it again.

The reason I want to do it at this point is because I don't want this setting to affect my inputs later on, so I just want to correct for that now.

Here's how I do it: go to Parametric Mask, select the C Channel, which is Chromacity -- that's the amount of color, not the Luminosity -- and then I'm going to turn on my Mask Indicator, and I'm going to pull these down until I start to see parts of the image.

There we go.

Now I'm going to take this upper slider and turn it all the way.

And so, this gives me a graduated effect, where the parts of the image that have the least amount of color are going to get the most of the effect, and the parts that are already very colorful are going to get the least of the effect.

Now, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to my A and B Channel and steepen the curves.

That's going to give me a little more Saturation and it's also going to separate my colors, which will make different items more distinguishable from each other.

I'll turn off my Mask Indicator.

So, here we are.

This is before, and this is after.

You can see it here, in here, really well.

This is before, and that's after.

This gives us a little bit of a pop, but it doesn't take us out of gamut on any of the more saturated parts of the image.

I'm going to save this.

Here I am.

It's been saved.

You can see from the History that we're starting new again.

I've applied a lot of tones to try and make these features look a little more 3-dimensional and have them separate from the background.

I tried to maintain lightness inside the creek; don't let it get too dark.

I'm going to work on some issues with this image right now.

I think this fence and this tree on the right hand side are lacking separation and punch.

I'm going to use the Equalizer and see what I can do to create a little more separation in here.

There are three tabs in Equalizer.

Edges doesn't do anything unless you've applied the Luma Effect.

Until you've increased contrast based on size -- it's kindof like local contrast.

If I increase the Coarseness, you can see the larger items have higher contrast.

If I go down the line here, you can see it's the smaller items that get more contrast.

I want to separate the tree and the fence.

These are larger items.

I'll start on this side and work my way down.

Okay, that helps.

And that helps.

As I get smaller, mmmm, that's starting to confuse things.

Okay, so I'm going to bring these two up a little bit.

I'm not looking at any of this other part of the image; I'm just worrying about this item here.

Before, and after.

I'm going to take a Snapshot, and then I'm going to work on another method of doing the same thing.

I'm going to use the Lowpass Filter, like we've used before.

Bring my Radius up.

Then, this time, I'm going to adjust my Contrast and my Brightness with a very specific goal in mind: to bring these out.

So, I'm going to play with these a little bit and get them so that they're doing what I want.

Now, I'm going to apply this with the Soft Light.

Now, let's see how that compares to what I got with the Equalizer.

I took a Snapshot.

On the left side is with the Equalizer; on the right side is with the Lowpass Filter.

Well, they do different things, and I like them both, but for different reasons.

So, I'm going to use both.

I'll use 50% of each.

Take my Opacity down to 50% with the Lowpass.

Take my Equalizer and set it to 50%.

Let's look at before and after.

Before, we'll take a Snapshot.

And after.

On the right hand side is our 50-50 mix and on the left side is before we did anything.

Before we did anything, and our 50-50 mix.

Oh, that looks nice and natural, and it's giving me more separation.

Now, on the left side here, it's just making everything dark and confused; I don't want that.

So, I'm going to apply this effect with a Drawn Mask.

I'll use a Fountain Fill.

I'm going to take the same Mask and apply it to the other effect by selecting Drawn Mask.

Then, under Drawn Mask, where it says No Mask Used, I see Equalizer.

Well, that's the mask I had before.

Same place.

There we are.

This is before, and after, and it's only being applied to the right side of the image.

So: perfect.

That's what I wanted.


The top of the image is a little bit too bright.

I'm going to use the Graduated Density, bringing my Density down.

This is like a Graduated Density Filter on the front of your lens.

If I bring it down to zero, it has no effect.

That's too bright.

Bring it up a little bit.

That's too dark.

That's about what I'm looking for.

I can move this up and down.

I can make other changes, but you know what? That looks like just what I want.

So, I'm going to leave that like that.

Alright, this lower left hand corner is just too bright.

I find it distracting, so I'm going to use a Graduated Density Filter over here.

Fountain Fill.

Make it a little bit larger so it's nice and smooth.

I don't want the darker parts to get darker; I just want to bring down these brighter parts.

That's what I want right there.


I still want more separation between these trees and the background.

So, I'm going to use a different blend technique with the Gaussian Blur called Overlay, and that kindof makes things look a little 3-dimensional, like they're separated and spaced forward from the background.

I'll show you what I mean.

A new instance of a Lowpass Filter.

I'm going to take my Saturation and turn it down to zero so I can see what I'm doing, which makes it easier for me to see.

Then I'm going to increase my Radius until it looks like what I'm looking for.

Right about there.

Now I'm going to apply this effect with Overlay.

I'm going to have to bring down my Contrast; it's definitely too much.

I think that's just what I'm looking for.

These shadows got way too dark, though.

See? So, I'm going to do something about that.

I'm going to apply this effect with a Parametric Mask so that I don't have that problem.

If I look inside the stream here, it seems like everything's under 30.

This number is what I'm looking at here.

I can turn on my Mask Indicator.

Bring this up, mid-20s, and then a nice feathering effect so it's not everywhere.


Before, and after.

Well, this isn't really helping.

I'm not having enough of an effect on the grass, and so I've actually lost some contrast between these items.

I'm going to turn on my Mask Indicator.

Let's try and isolate the stream a little more.

And increase our Contrast a little bit.

There, that's closer to what I'm looking for.

It helped separate these trees a little bit.

We're really starting to be able to pick them out from the background.

If you recall, when we started, it was just a mess of shapes back there.

Now we're starting to get somewhere.

That was a tricky one.

I'm going to apply some Tones and Edging with a Highpass Filter.

I'm going to bring my Sharpness down -- a lot.

And then bring my Contrast -- there we go.

I've got some edges in here, and just a little bit of tonal change.

I'm going to apply this with an Overlay.

I like to do edges with Overlay.

This always comes on too strong, so I'm going to take the Opacity and turn it down.

Before, and after.

Okay, we're starting to get some of those edges back that we've been losing by using Lowpass Filters over and over again.

That's alright; we'll get it all back.

It'll be fine in the long run.

The sky here: I need to do something about that.

So, I'm going to use the Color Zones and I'm going to take this area here and try and make it so that it looks a little more believable.

I've got some blue out on the edges here, or cyan; I've got magenta creeping in; this area's not very dark.

Okay, I'm going to take a Drawn Mask.

Let's use the Bezier Curves.

I can adjust the area with the Mouse Wheel so I get a nice smooth blur.

This is about where I want to adjust my color and my lightness.

Right now I'm on Lightness.

I'm going take this Pull Point and move it over, try and center it between these other ones, and let's darken that up just a little bit.

So, this is only working on this color.

The Saturation, I want to pull that down; it's definitely too much Saturation in this area.

Oh, that makes me happy.

That looks much better for me.

The rocks in the stream are kindof getting lost, so I want to brighten up some of the rocks: not too many of them, so that the stream's a little more obvious.

I'm going to do that just with a simple Tone Curve, and I'll just use a Drawn Mask and create a bunch of little circles.

Make sure that I catch rocks out on the edges so I can see the full extent of the stream.

I don't need to be very accurate with this.

Let's bring up our Gamma a little bit.

Before, and after.

Okay, maybe in here a little bit too.

Oh, not that one; that one was too much.

That helps.

This part of the image looks dark, from here to here, including the fence.

So, I'm going to do another Fountain Fill and try to correct that to some extent.

Hey, there we go.

Time to Save.

Then I'll be working on final color and final Sharpening.

Here we are: Saved and opened again, History Stack is starting from zero.

This is the final run; we're almost done.

I want to have deeper colors and I have a trick for getting nice, rich colors.

I like to multiply the image by itself.

Here, I'll show you.

I go to Tone Curve and set my Blend Mode to Multiply.

I'm going to get really rich colors.

See that? Really richens everything up, but I don't want to apply it to everything because it makes things darker too.

Just adjusting the Opacity makes it so I don't get enough effect out here, and it still makes it dark here.

So, I'm going to use a Parametric Mask, and I'm going to work with the L Channel, my favorite channel.

Set it from zero all the way up, so that it has no effect on the very darkest parts and maximum effect on the very lightest parts.

This doesn't give as much of an effect as I want, so I'm going to bring this down just a little bit.


And, I don't want it to have as much an effect up here, so I'm going to have it go from this region to this region, so that this region gets the maximum effect.

So, I'm going to make it Drawn plus Parametric, and use a Gradient Filter, so there we go.

I want to enlarge it so that it goes all the way from one corner to the other, like that.

There; now this Multiply Effect is not occurring very much up here at all, and I'm getting pretty much the full effect down here.

I think that's about what I'm looking for there.

I'd like to make it look a little bit sunnier.

There we go.

Steepen my Yellow.

I'd like to do some final Sharpening.

I'm going to use the Equalizer Tool for that, and I'm going to use these lower values where things are smaller.

Maybe bring these two up a little bit.

Ah, perfect.

There, now we've got a lot of detail, and more Sharpening.


The sky here still needs a little work.

I'm going to use a Drawn Mask to isolate this part of the image, and then I'm going to use a Parametric Mask in addition to the Drawn Mask to just get the lighter parts of the image, to exclude the darker parts.

So, Drawn plus Parametric: there we go.

Gradient Filter.

Get it turned the way I want it, and make it smaller.

Turn on my Mask Indicator.

Feather it.

Give me a little Mask Blur, so I don't have sharp edges there.

Okay, turn off my Mask Indicator.

Let's see what color this is.

This is: it's green.


Because your A Channel is Green: negative.

And magenta: positive.

So, a -9 is Green.

Oh, I don't want a green sky, but I don't want to change the color of my green here.

So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to look at my A Channel, use my Eyedropper.

There it is.

I don't want to move my Center Point.

Oh, I've got some magenta showing up.

You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to flatten this whole curve right here.

There we go.

Less magenta, less green.

Take my B Channel.

Let's steepen that.

Before, and after.

Ah, yes; that looks so much nicer to me.

I am pretty happy with that, except that this particular tone right here, and here, and here looks a little dark to me, and some of these tones in here look like they should be just a little bit darker.

So, I'm going to steepen that, and that might be a final adjustment.

Alright, I'm going to bring that Median Point up just a tiny bit, and then take this Median Point and bring it down a little bit.

Alright, well; that's what I was shooting for.

It looks pretty good to me.

I hope you all enjoyed it.

Thank you.

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