Getting more nuanced with compositing

In this week's edits I look at some trickier blends while compositing with the watermark module. I use a 15 second and a 1/4 second exposure of the supermoon rising and create an HDR image with parametric blending. I discuss some considerations involved in this composite in an attempt to show more nuance associated with the process.

The Edit My RAW this week is a shot from Thailand that was previously processed with beautiful results. I attempt to compliment the photographer's work with a few of my own touches.

The RAW files used in this video are available here
Supermoon (15 second)
Supermoon (1/4 second)
Thank you for the contribution Norman 🙂

Here is my latest version of my compositing script:


ls -t .config/darktable/watermarks/tmp* |grep -v svg |head -n1 |read file
inkscape -f "$file" -l '.config/darktable/watermarks/tmp.svg'
ls -l '.config/darktable/watermarks/tmp.svg' |cut -d' ' -f5 |read size_n
ls -lh '.config/darktable/watermarks/tmp.svg' |cut -d' ' -f5 |read size_h
[ $size_n -gt 8000000 ] && echo "File too large. Size $size_h, but needs to be smaller than 8M." || echo "File size okay $size_h"

I set it up with a hotkey sequence and use it often now.

Complete Show Text

Download complete text here

Aloha everybody, and welcome to Weekly Edit.

This was the week of the Super Moon.

We were concerned we weren't going to be able to see it both nights because we had lots of clouds and rain, but right at the last minute, it cleared up.

This time-lapse is from the first night.

It was beautiful seeing the moon come up behind the clouds.

We didn't think we'd get as lucky the second night, but we got the same show with the moon rising from behind the clouds just over the horizon, over the ocean.

Here are our Super Moon shots.

We've got two of them.

The first one is 15 seconds to catch as much detail as I can in these dark areas.

I don't know how much we'll be able to pull out of the ocean.

The second one is a quarter of a second to try and keep the moon from blowing out.

Let's zoom in a little bit.

See this fringing we've got? This will be a challenge.

This is the light bending around the edge of the clouds.

I want to pull out more detail in here.

Let's see what we can do.

Maybe if I bring this down a little.

Does that help? Yes, a little.


Boy, there isn't much there.

Can I get something with the Highpass? Maybe.

If I use a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel and Soft Blend Mode, sometimes I can pick up some highlight details that I can't get otherwise.

Oh, yeah; that helped a little.

Okay, that's our moon part.

I'll crop this.

Because we just want the moon; we don't need all that other stuff.


I'll save this.

Now, I want to combine this with this one, so I'll save it as an image file, then convert it to a vector-based format, SVG, in the Darktable Watermarks directory.

Then I'll import it into this one under the Watermark Module so I can paste it over the existing moon.

When I'm saving an image that I'll be importing into another image like this one, I save this image as large as I can, so that when it's converted to a vector-based format, SVG, it stays under 8mb.

I set up a pre-set for Watermark.

This makes it easy for me.

I just call it tmp because it's my temporary watermark file.

I store it here: .config/darktable/watermarks Now, I can use a variety of extensions.

I can use JPG; I can use PNG...

This one has been cropped so heavily, I'll save it as a PNG at 16-bit.

I like to over-write my old files so that I don't have the time of these temp files in there, and I'll hit Export.

I've been working on my script.

Here it is.

I added a couple of things.

One: I put in an 'ls' with a time order to it so that when it looks for tmp files, it just picks the most recent one.

So, if I store it as a JPG or a PNG, it doesn't matter; it will just find the most recent one and use that name.

This script just calls Inkscape.

The '-f' is the name of the file.

That name comes from up here.

I'll post this script on my show notes.

The '-l' says: what should we save it as? So, all I'm doing is using Inkscape to convert either a PNG or a JPG to an SVG.

Here I have it save it to that folder I was telling you about: .config/darktable/watermarks/ and I call it tmp.svg so it just over-writes it each time.

If I want to save a file so I can do non-destructive editing and use it again, I'll have to save this file with the original RAW image files or TIF that I'm working on, and the additional sidecar XMP files.

Then, when I'm working on it, put it back in the watermark directory or put a copy there.

Anyway, you'd have to save more than one file if you're doing compositing.

Next, I check the size of that SVG file.

If it's over 8 mb, I just tell myself 'file too large' and needs to be smaller.

Then I can make an adjustment.

And, if it's okay, it says 'file size okay' So, I already saved it.

It tells me that even as a PNG, the SVG it formed was only 426K, so that is fine; that's well under 8mb.

I can just open it here now.

First, let's do some corrections.

We'll do Demosaic-ing and Chromatic Aberrations and Denoising, and all that stuff.

So, this is what PPG looks like, and here's Amaze, and VNG.

Speaking of Demosaic-ing, Alex wrote in and suggested doing Demosaic-ing before Denoising.

He is right.

I'll try to remember to Demosaic before I Denoise in future.

So, the VNG seems to help with the fringing a little.

Not too much, but it's better than the Amaze.

How about a little Color Smoothing? Does that help? That doesn't hurt either.

Okay, I'll go with the VNG.

It's a little soft, but I want to get rid of this fringing, so: wonderful.

I'll correct for Chromatic Aberrations, but I'll do that after Denoising because, if I zoom in and I have Chromatic Aberrations on, I'll get the wrong information about what fringing is actually there.

First: Denoising.

I'll just use the Equalizer on this.

It's all nice, fine grain.

800 ISO is not that high of gain, so it came out nice.

I'll work on the Chroma color first.

This bottom row denoises; this top row enhances contrast locally.

I'll bring up these two.

Okay, that color noise is gone.

Then I'll try to bring these sliders over to the right as far as I can before I introduce noise.

Oh, I can see a little color noise there.

And this one -- right about there.

Because I want to be as efficient as possible, I'll do the same thing with the L Channel.

I'll bring this one up.

That got rid of a lot of it.

There's still this larger-scale noise, though, so I'll bring this one up.

That will probably get rid of it.

It does, but it gets rid of it more than we need.

So, I'll bring this over.

And this one.

I'll try to get as efficient an area under this curve as I can to get rid of that noise.

I'll do a crop so I can see what I'm looking at, but I'm going to rotate this.

I don't want to do that until I rotate it after it's been composited, so I'll just give it a quickie crop here and leave some extra so I can rotate it later.

It makes it easier to work if I crop it, especially when I'm working with compositing.

If I import my image, I can scale that image, and I have more control over scaling it if I crop my original first.

I'll show you because this can be confusing.

So, there's that tmp.svg file that was created by the script I wrote.

And there's the moon.

We'll make the Opacity small so we can see both things at the same time.

This moon turned out really large because we used a cropped image.

I can control its size with Scale here, but we want a size around 20%, according to this.

So, if I didn't crop this and it was full size, then when I import this SVG, I have to bring it down to 12% in order to overlay it.

Now, that's fine; I don't have lower quality, but I don't think I can put in 11.5 here, see? So, I can only do 12 or 11.

See how much it changes? That's quite a bit.

So, if I want to have more fine-tuned control over the size, I'll crop my back image prior to compositing.

But, like I say, it's tilted, so I can't do a full crop.

I've got to leave enough extra so that when I de-rotate later, I have enough edges to lose some.

My goal is for this crop to be something like this, approximately, maybe a little taller.

About like that.

So, I'll give it just a little space on all sides and crop it there.

Let's see if we can gain a little with our Shadows and Highlights Module.

Turn that on.

Okay, that gave us halos around the sides, which we can get rid of with the Bilateral Filter.

Oh, that made a difference.

See that? Look at this edge, when I change it from Bilateral to Gaussian.

That's Gaussian, and there's a halo around the edge.

Now I'll change it to Bilateral.

Bingo! It's gone.

So, these default settings have gotten us this far.

Oh, good; we can see a lot more detail in these clouds and the tree looks good.

I won't get any detail out of this tree, and I don't even want to try.

For one, it was incredibly dark, and secondly, it was moving, so everything is blurred.

Now we'll composite that first image with this one using the Watermark Module.

This is the file I want: tmp.svg This is the one I created with that script, and you can see that makes it large.

We're going to want to make it smaller.

In order to place it properly, I'll just change the Opacity so we can see what's behind it.

There we go.

Move it over and down.

Make it smaller.

I'll use the Parametric Mask to get it placed right.

I want to get rid of the dark parts in the sky.

Let's see what that looks like.

There's the moon over this part that is blown out.

Now I want the moon to go out a little farther, so maybe I can feather this a little.

Now I'm getting these darker parts here, so maybe I can use this Output Control to eliminate output that's dark, like that.

Okay, and I can feather both this Output Control and this Input Control to get the moon so it fills just where I want it.

I'll move it to the right a little.

Oh, it doesn't go all the way.

I'll make it a little larger.

And, down here, it looks like the moon is coming over the top of the clouds.

I'll change the Input to eliminate that to some extent.

Oh, that will be tough to do, won't it? Oh, that's not SO bad.

There we go.

A little Mask Blur.

Let's see: a little over a pixel; I've got 1.4 pixels here.

I'll lower the Opacity just a tiny bit.

I just took it down to 96.

Now, the background is a little bright.

I'll use the Tone Curve to adjust the background.

Let's see what we've got.

We're like, right around there.

Let's bring that down to see if we can get a better match.

I don't want to bring down the darkness from this Tone Curve everywhere; I want to do it close to the moon, so I'll use a Drawn Mask.

That brightened everything right back up again.

How do the edges look? I don't like this dark part here.

Let's see if I can tweak these values a little more.

There we go.

That helped a little.

And so does that.

There we go.

We've got most of it gone.

Oh, I love that; that really turned out sweet.

I'll save this, but before I do, I'll do Chromatic Aberration Control and Hot Pixels.

Since it was a 15 second exposure, it will have hot pixels.

It says 65; I bet there's a few more than that.

I'll turn my Threshold down.

No, it's not going up very much; just some.

Okay, we already denoised with the Equalizer, so: Chromatic Aberrations, and let's save it.

Here we are.

First: de-rotate it.

I like the water down here, and I like to see the bottom part of the palm tree, so I'll leave as much of the bottom as possible.

I'd like for the moon to look large, so I'll do an aggressive crop.

And I want to still be able to tell that it's a palm tree, so let's try this.


I want to bring out some brightness in the water so I can discern it from the palm tree.

Let's just look at what tone this is and bring that up.


That seems to work pretty well.

I don't want it up here.

Maybe I can use a drawn mask? Reverse the direction.

Give it a little bit of a feather.

Make this just a little larger.

There we go.


Now I can tell the difference between the tree and the water.

I'd like a little deeper color here.

I can do that with a Multiply method.

First, I'll apply it with an L Channel.

I'll bring my Opacity all the way down to start because it comes on a little strong.

I'll give it a little bit of an S curve and bring up the Opacity slowly.

This is giving me a lot richer colors.

So I'm around 15%.

That's before, and that's after; that looks great.

It's a little coppery or green here.

Oh, look: I've got a line from that file.

One of the nice things when you're working between versions is that you don't have to lose your XMP file.

You can just make a change to one.

I'll come in here, and see: I've got this little line on my watermark.

I'll add a Drawn Mask to it so it's both a Drawn and a Parametric Mask.

There we go.


I'll save that and make sure that I over-write.

Remove this one, because it will use the cached version for the thumbnail.

When I re-open the directory, it will keep the old XMP file that we were working on, see? But now our square is gone from around the edges.

So, that makes it possible to bounce back and forth between versions.

I wonder what that dot is from.

Oh, those are stars! Right: because it was night.

What else? It looks a little green here, and I want it to look more copper.

Let's see: Color Zones.

We'll take some samples.


We're over here: right there with that black line.

And if I go up here, ah: we're over here.

I'll take this slider and move it right where the offending colors are, then bracket it with two other control points.

Using the mouse wheel, make the circle smaller so I have finer control.

Then, I want to go from this line over to here, so I'll go down a little.

There we go.


It was a little green or blue, and now it's the same color as the rest of it.

Okay, what else do we need? Let's get these clouds to pop a little bit from the sky.

I can do that with an Overlay method on a Lowpass Filter.

I'll turn my Saturation down to zero, then set my Radius so that the clouds and not the details show up.

Okay, I can see my individual clouds here.

That was at 16 pixels.

I'll change my Blend Mode to Overlay.

I'll probably have to take my Contrast down a little bit, but first I'll just take my Opacity down and see what I want to do.

That's not so bad.

So, around 24%.

It gives me a little separation on these clouds.

Let's see if I can do it a little more.

Okay, I'm up to 31%.

I want to bring out some of these highlight details.

My favorite method for doing that is with the Highpass Filter.

Try and find a ratio of my Sharpness and Contrast to bring out the details I want.

I'm looking for some of these details in these clouds.

Look at all of these stars: that's crazy 🙂 Alright; just like that.

I'll apply this with the L Channel, Parametric Mask and Softlight Blend Mode.

That's without it and that's with it.

It's giving me a little detail in here, but I'm getting this dark ring around the moon, so I'll exclude the moon from this.

Combine it with a Drawn Mask and draw a circle around the moon, and reverse the Polarity so it happens everywhere but there.

Alright, what have we got? Like that, and like that.

I think that's it.

It looks good to me.

While we're dealing with Super Moons...

I had this shot I did.

It's a panorama.

I shot the bottom third first when the wave was coming in, then panned up to catch these clouds, and panned up one more time to catch the moon.

But, it's such a wide angle that the moon looks tiny.

I'll crop this and get myself a version of this moon, then put it back in the same picture, but place it in a different location and make it a different size.

I'll save this to the directory that we've been saving them to.

Since it's being cropped, I'll change it to a PNG.

And I've got my Watermark Script.

It says my file is only 300K, so I don't have any problem with that.

Un-crop it.

Go to my Watermark Module.

Look for tmp.svg And there's our moon.


Let's put the moon behind this cloud and make it nice and big.

Why not? This is fun stuff, right? We'll move it up.

And over.

And use a Parametric Mask.

Not have it post in the darker clouds, but have it post in the lighter sky.

Let's see.

The lighter sky is around 190, so I'll put one mark there.

And I'll bring this one up.

There we go.

Now we can move the moon wherever we want.

There's a lot of extraneous stuff that came with it.

So, I can take a Drawn Mask and add it to the equation.

I've got a little color mis-match here.

I could do a tighter circle.

I need to work on my Parametric Mask numbers here a little bit too, so the clouds cover the moon better.

There we go.

There we are.

And we'll get rid of the old moon.

That looks good.


I've got a couple of things I want to show you on the Interwebs.

One of them is Alex here had asked on about saving for Facebook.

He did some research and tried a bunch of different methods.

He says the hot ticket is to go 2048 px for your longest length, regardless of if it's portrait or landscape.

You just make 2048 px your longest length and save it as a PNG.

Yay! Now we all know.

Thank you.

Also, I want to show you Daniel Kordon's site.

This guy is amazing.

He's got this style that's kind of like a soft focus or low contrast in areas.

It gives a dreamlike appearance.

If everything is sharp, then nothing appears sharp.

It's these contrasts.

He gets contrasts between areas that have some aspects, like a lot of contrast and a lot of sharpness, and other areas that have lower amounts.

It makes it really pop.

I love his choice of colors too.


Yes: Daniel Kordon.

Come here and look around.

The guy is great.

This week's Edit my RAW is from Norman.

He sent us a beautiful picture from Thailand that he took -- and processed.

Look at this! You did a great job, Norman; this is beautiful.

I showed my wife and she was impressed with how gorgeous it is.

So, I don't want to re-do it; I mean, look at these colors! This is fantastic.

I love what you did with the shading here on the sand and the relief that you get from the rock.

There are a couple things that might make it even better.

The blown-out sun here: it's hard to get a visual sense of where the sun is because it's all blown out.

We can use the Color Reconstruction Module to fill in the color.

See, like that? We can use the Threshold Adjustment and the Spatial Extent to try and get the best effect we can.

I'll apply this with a circular Drawn Mask to try and draw your eye to where the sun should be.

If I follow this line, I'm assuming the sun should be right here.

So, if I make a circle there and have this feathered edge like this...

Here, I'll turn on my Mask Indicator.

See where that circle is? I'll reverse it so now all of the picture gets the effect, but just not this one area.

I'll make it a little smaller and feather this a little more.

There we go.


So, now the Color Reconstruction happens over here and over here, but not right in the middle.

That helps draw your eye up here, to see where this is.

I love your saturated colors; those are gorgeous.

We can get a little bit more saturation by doing a Subtract.

One of the nice things about a Subtract is that it gives you some really nice solids too.

There are a couple ways we can do a Subtract.

One of them is to just take a straight Tone Curve and do a Subtract.

I like to use a Parametric Mask because I want to protect my shadows some, and the Subtract won't.

Multiply will protect your shadows, but the Multiply doesn't give quite the depth of colors that a Subtract does.

I'll take my Opacity and turn it all the way down, because when I turn this on, it's way overboard.

You can only apply like 4-5% of it.

Okay, so I'm changing my Blend Mode to Subtract, and I'll slowly bring up my Opacity.

Now, don't forget: I've used an L-mask here.

That's important.

Without that, our shadows get black real fast.

And I'll slowly bring up the Opacity.

You can see that the saturation really kicks in to gear.

Like that, and like that.

See what a nice effect that has on these rocks too? And these deep, deep colors.

So, this is what the Subtract looks like with the Tone Curve.

But, I wanted to also try it with something that protects our dynamic range a little more.

So I'll take a Snapshot and then look at the same idea, but with the Global Tone Map Module.

If I turn on the Global Tone Mapping, you can see that it pushes my information toward the middle.

So, now we've got all these beautiful mid-tones.

Once again, a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel.

Then I'll change my Blend Mode to Subtract, take my Opacity all the way down, and slowly bring it up.

Get my nice deep colors.

See those nice deep colors you're getting? And these nice darks, too? Let's compare it with what we got off the Tone Curve.

It looks pretty similar in a lot of it.

But, off the Tone Curve, we've got these really solid blacks, and the sand is a little bright relative to that.

With the Tone Mapping, our solids didn't get any more solid.

We've got the same amount of solids.

But our mid-tones are a little richer.

You get a little more discrimination up here too, in these clouds.

And I don't see any difference here in these clouds.

It looks like the tones are a little richer in the water too, with the Global Tone Mapping.

Yeah, this looks a little washed-out.

And this is nice and rich, too.

So, I think I get a little better effect using the Global Tone Map with the Subtract, and it gives me beautiful colors too.

There's only one other thing I was looking at.

I want to see more detail in these clouds.

When I like to get more highlight detail, I usually use a Highpass Filter.

I'll take my Sharpness and my Contrast and play with them to try and get those nice details in the clouds.

Let's see.

Like that; that looks good.

Oh, yeah; look at all of those details: nice.

I'll take a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel and apply this with the Softlight Blend Mode.

It had an effect on the water too.

I'll take a Snapshot here.

So, the idea of this module would be to give me more detail in my highlights.

On the water, we had low contrast.

Now we're getting some nice pop.

Getting some nice pop here along the shore with these rocks too.

And we're really getting more detail in these clouds.

But since we based that on the L Channel, we didn't lose any shadows; they didn't get too dark.

Those are pretty subtle changes.

I just brought out the clouds a little more, deepened the colors a little, and drew your eye to the middle of the sun.

Other than that, I don't have anything to say.

Thailand, eh? Okay; I want to go to Thailand now.

(laughter) Thank you so much, Norman, for your contribution.

I hope you enjoyed this week's edit.

I'd like to take this opportunity to show you around my website.

It's called Weekly Edit.

If you go here, you can find my most recent videos.

The videos are broken up by what occurs at what time.

You can jump ahead, which is really nice.

I've got it broken up by which topics I went over and by which modules I used.

There's also lots of show notes every week, and you can download the RAW files that I used to do the edit.

You can edit along at the same time if you'd like.

There's space here to upload your own RAW file.

See where it says 'Edit my RAW'? You can click on that and upload your files.

If I select yours to edit on the show, I'll send you a souvenir print, signed and matted, as a thank-you for your contribution.

I really appreciate that.

We have three Patrons now on It's exciting; every week we're getting positive support.

My wife and I really enjoy that.

Thank you so much, for everybody that participates, and thank you for watching along on the videos, and thank you for contributing your comments and suggestions.

And a big thank-you to our Patrons.

Alright everybody, have a good weekend, and I'll see you next week.


Lab Color Chart

This Week Is All About Color

I've been working on a Lab Color Reference Chart, which you can download here. I looked through many thousands of images to find examples of common colors. After sampling and sanity checks on the data, I came up with these numbers as starting points for white balance and color correction in general.
These references are already quite valuable in my work; I hope they help you also. I put a copy of the png file in the directory I'm working in, to give me quick reference to the chart while working in Darktable.

The RAW file used in this video is available here. Thank you Andreas for the contribution 🙂

I also calibrated my monitor for both web and print profiles. After a bunch of bumping around in the dark, I came up with a simple solution here:

dispwin -c
dispcal -v -m -H -y l -q l -t 6500 -b 80 -g 2.2 web
targen -v -d 3 -G -f 128 web
dispread -v -N -H -y l -k web
colprof -v -D "web" -C "Harry Durgin Photography" -q m -a G -n c web

dispwin -c
dispcal -v -m -H -y l -q l -t 5500 -b 80 -g 2.2 print
targen -v -d 3 -G -f 128 print
dispread -v -N -H -y l -k print
colprof -v -D "print" -C "Harry Durgin Photography" -q m -a G -n c print

I switch between them with a hot key sequence. For web I use

dispwin -I web.icc

and for print

dispwin -I print.icc

I hope it works for you too.

Complete Show Text

Download complete text here

Aloha everybody, and welcome to Weekly Edit.

Boy, did we have big waves this week: 20-foot right here at our house.

The water depth drops off quickly at our house.

We don't have a reef offshore, and the waves break right next to the cliffs.

My dog was afraid.

The waves were so big that she would just shudder at night from the sound, but she's just a puppy and she'll get used to it because this is where we live.

Wow, look at that: just amazing, just amazing.

It was hard to get anything done this week with all the action, but I made time.

I could look at these all day long.

This was from a giant storm south of Alaska, in the gulf of Alaska.

It pushed waves straight towards us; it was great.

Usually, they come off at a little bit of an angle, so Maui and Oahu get them, but not the Big Island.

This was special for us.

It's one of the reasons we moved close to the shore: so we could hear the ocean at night.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

The challenge is to keep the salt spray off your lens.

If you go out early in the morning, there's an offshore breeze.

That really helps in pushing the salt spray off the shore.

So, you've got to get out early.

This week I've been working on color.

That was the theme.

I looked at thousands of images and came up with a complete version of my LAB Lookup Table.

Here it is.

I've got five different categories: People, Roadways, Foliage, Sky, and Sun.

Then, each of them are broken into their own categories: different Foliage colors; different colors of sky: deep blue, dark sky, sunny sky.

Then I came up with LAB proportions that give you a starting point with each of these.

See, these give you a starting point for Skin Tones.

Under Roadways, we've got Asphalt and Bricks and the paint on the roads.

I hope these help you as much as they help me.

I was having a real hard time looking at colors when there's an adjacent color that changes the way I perceive it, or when a color is lighter or darker in a darker part of the image or a lighter part of the image.

These tables have really helped me a lot.

I refer to them often, back and forth when I'm editing.

We'll use them a little in today's guest edit.

Also in the spirit of working on color, I re-calibrated my monitor.

That required installing new drivers and going through a web of trying to get everything to work together.

It didn't work as simply as it was supposed to.

I had to use different versions of different libraries in some specific pattern to make it go.

It wasn't just the newest version of everything; it took a full day of tinkering.

Anyway, all the errors are now gone, and now it calibrates properly.

I set up two calibrations here in a little script.

One of them, this one, is for doing web work, and this one is for doing print work.

I hot-key between them and use the soft-proofing in Darktable.

I'll show you what that looks like.

When I set it up for Web, when I run darktable-cmstest, it shows me that I've got the Web Profile.

If I change my profile to Print-based with my hot-key and run the same darktable-cmstest, I see that I've got my Print Profile.

So, if I've got my Print Profile and I open Darktable, I can go down to Soft-proofing down here and select my paper and my printer.

Then, when I click on Soft Proofing, I get a more accurate idea of how my colors will stay in gamut and whatnot.

It was a big project.

I will go much more in depth at some point on Soft Proofing and Color Profiling your camera, your printer, and your monitor.

That's a subject for another day.

I'd like to show you a website today: This website is such a gem.

There's enough to keep you busy for days and days of reading here.

There is so much useful information.

I suggest you come here and just go for it.

This night photography series really caught my eye.

He started working on this a couple years ago.

It just gets better and better all the time.

Looking at his pictures, I see that a lot of them are right next to our place in Colorado.

I love Colorado; it's so beautiful.

In this week's Edit my RAW we have a beautiful picture from the Lofoten Islands in Norway.

From Andreas.

Thank you so much, Andreas: this is beautiful.

It just takes my breath away.

We were in Scotland last year, and boy did I want to go to Norway.

Okay, I'm looking at this image and trying to figure out what's going on here.

It looks like there's a rocky outcropping.

You can see there's a little bit of soft focus on the near objects.

It looks like our focus starts getting sharp right about here.

I see from the EXIF data that we're shooting with a 12mm on a D7200, which is a crop-frame sensor, so this is an equivalent 20mm on a full-frame.

I imagine that at F8 with a 20mm, probably everything from here to infinity is perfectly in focus, so we may have to exclude some of this foreground.

But I find the foreground a little confusing because it doesn't really add to the sense of depth.

From this rock outward, I like it.

My eye tends to go in a circle like this.

That makes me want to use the Golden Means Spiral to get some idea of flow.

Here's the overlay.

I use Golden Mean, and then under Extra, I selected Spiral.

If I bring in this crop some so that the circle comes around like this and ends me up over here, how does that work with my foreground? Okay, I think I like that.

Now, what are we losing over here? Well, this is in the shade and there's not much happening here.

We lose this part here, but it's a little soft on focus, and the real spectacular stuff is over here.

And we lose a little bit of this, but there are a lot of clouds here and we have some soft focus out here.

I think this is the way to go.

Okay, so we'll do a little bit tighter crop here.

That looks good to me.

As a matter of fact, we'll just cut off that edge.

So, we've got this rock and we've got some shrubs and then we come around.

We've got this beautiful expanse.

This area here looks low-contrast.

I want to bring out texture and height differences here.

There are some strong shadows on the side of the mountain here.

I want to bring that out so it doesn't look so harsh.

Our contrast decreases as we go out toward the horizon.

I'd like to have these mountains back here pop more because they're so spectacular.

I want to be sure our colors are good.

I want to lighten this whole mountain because it's really the center of my attention.

I keep getting drawn to this face but it's in the shade.

So, the idea is: while doing the edit, keep in mind this flow; have this area here form a circle.

I want to kind of hug this area, maybe delineate this from this side, and that will give me more of this spiral.

Let's look at our White Balance first.

This is a perfect opportunity to use the LAB Color Chart.

Now, we have some greens and we have some sky blue.

Let's look at our sky blue first.

Over here we'll use our Color Picker.

It says that we've got a -5 and a -23.

On the LAB Color Reference, let's see: Sky and I'd call that a pale sky.

It looks like if we're at an L of around 80, which we are actually, then we should be at -5 and -23 --about there-- and we've got right around -5 and...

...oh, it looks like we're right on the money.

So our blue looks GREAT.

Now, let's look at our Foliage.

Let's zoom in down here.

This is more yellowish foliage.

Let's check our yellowish foliage first.

So, we've got 50 and -8 and 33.

Let's see: yellowish foliage.

Here we are.

If our L is around 50 -- well, this one shows it somewhere between 50 and 60, so we're in that ballpark; then our B Channel should be about the same as our L.

Our B Channel is a little low, but it's similar.

Our A Channel should be around half as much, and we're at 8.

A little more green wouldn't hurt us at all.

But that's just one spot.

Let's look at a darker green area too.

And see what that gets us also.

Because right now it looks like we've got too much yellow.

How about this? That's a more blue-ish green.

Okay, we've got 36, -4, and 7.

Here we are.

It says that our B Channel should be lower.

Oh, it is; it's down to 7.

Okay, that's about right.

And our A Channel should be about the same as the yellowish green: -4.

Yeah, it looks like we're a little light on the green and a little heavy on the yellow.

Let's make a minor change to our temperature.

So, we'll go a little higher on our tint and a little lower on the temperature.

Now let's see where we stand.

Our blues: did we lose them? -5 and -17.


-5 and -17; that looks close.

Okay, and our greens now? We'll take a large swath and look for a middle color: -7.5 and 22 and 43.


43 would be Medium.

B Channel should be around 30 and A Channel should be around -20.

We could use a little more color, and still a little more green.

Okay a little more green.

And a little less yellow: 5300.

That's looking a lot better.

And our blues? Are we still good on our blues? That looks good.

And our clouds? Clouds should be almost exactly white, just a tiny bit blue.


we've got some green in our clouds.

Do we have green up here too? We do.

Let's decrease the green as we go up.

I'll combine that with a Parametric Mask.

So if we get brighter too.

And we'll bring our green down just a tiny bit.

There we go.

Our colors are good.

What next? Apply a Base Curve.

There are a couple of Nikons here: Nikon D7200.

Let's see what that looks like.

We'll have to adjust our Exposure.

I'll do a Screenshot there.

That's with the D7200.

There's Nikon Like.

What does that look like? It's a little flatter.

I can bring the Exposure up a little because I've got a little room here, so we can compare apples and apples.

Well, the first one's got more pop, but I think the second one controls our highlights better.

And there was one other one: Nikon Like Alternate.

Let's look at that.

It's coming in a little hot here; I'll take down our Exposure so we're comparing fairly again.

Well, it does a better job on our highlights, and our shadows aren't any worse.

I like that one the best.

There we go: we've got a Base Curve, we've got our Exposure set, we've got our White Balance.

I'll deal with Demosaic-ing, Chromatic Aberrations and Lens Correction and Denoising at the end because that slows down the re-draw time in processing.

It's a little bright on top.

It could stand a Graduated Density application.

Bring our Midpoint up a little bit.

Oh, that looks a little strong.

Okay, a third of a stop looks right.

It looks like I've got a little vignetting around the edges.

Let's see if applying the Lens Correction gets rid of the vignetting; if not, we'll apply a Watermark.

Lens Correction.

Okay, there's the D7200, and it says it doesn't have this lens.

We'll have to find one that's close to it.

Okay, it helped with the de-warping, but it didn't do anything for the vignetting.

Do we like what it did for the de-warping? Oh, it stretches these edges and doesn't give us any advantage.

No, I'll leave that off.

Okay, we'll deal with the vignet manually.

Where does it start? I think this is pretty close.

It starts about here and goes out.

I'll take my Falloff Strength, there we go, and have it end right there.

Then, instead of darkening it, I want to brighten it.

So, instead of a minus brightness, I'll go to a plus brightness.

Okay, that looks better.

I got 1.4 over here, and we're losing color out our edges because this has a minus saturation by default, so I'll make that at least zero, if not give it a little plus: not much, just a tiny bit to keep up with the brightness.

Otherwise, when you brighten it, you'll lose saturation.

Well, that's a starting point.

We have strong shadows, obviously, from the clouds and from the sides of the mountain.

And we've got areas in bright sunshine.

This looks like a perfect application for the Shadows and Highlights Module.

When we first turn it on, you can see that we get halos around all these edges.

But if we change the Soften Width to Bilateral Filter, they pretty much go away.

I can adjust how much of the shadows get brightened -- for instance, this area would probably be considered shadows, and if I increase the brightness there it brings them up, which is good.

And the highlights, these clouds over here, we probably want to knock them down some.

So, we'll bring our slider down a little more.

These are the numbers I came up with.

Radius will determine the distance between where it thinks a shadow and where it thinks a highlight is, and the rest of the picture.

We can adjust this to give us a more natural look and eliminate halos.

If I make it too small, you can start to see halos around things.

So, I'll bring up the size until I just get rid of the halos.

Then the Compression: the higher the Compression, the more it will only consider the darkest things shadows.

If I bring my Compression down, it will consider areas that aren't quite as dark to be shadow also.

So, if I bring my Compression all the way down, it lightens up a lot of it, thinking that it's all shadow or highlight.

And if I take my Compression up all the way, it will only lighten up the very, very darkest things like these.

I want it to lighten up this area here and maybe this area in here a little, so I'll take the Compression from 100% and slowly bring it down until it just affects these areas.


I think that's about the best I can do with this module.

I usually don't like to use this module at 100% because, later on when I start making changes, it tends to show any of the halos that came up with this module; they'll be exaggerated.

The most I use is around 50%, so I'll knock this down to 50%.

It helped us.

It doesn't get rid of everything, but we've got multiple ways to deal with our shadows and highlights.

That's a good start.

Another way to deal with shadows and highlights is a Lowpass Filter with Overlay Blend Mode.

I take my Saturation down to zero.

Then, using my Radius, which is a lot like the Radius on the Shadow and Highlights Module, I will adjust my Radius so I get large areas without features.

I don't want to see individual trees and things, but I can see this area is dark and this area is light, and this area is very light here.

So, that was up around 100px; I'm at 92.

Then I take my Blend Mode and change it to Overlay.

Here's the trick: you take your Contrast and start turning it negative.

I start with zero.

When it's exactly zero, you shouldn't be able to tell the difference between the original and this one.

Yeah, there is no difference: good.

Then, as I take my Contrast negative, these areas that are darker will get a little lighter.

These areas that are lighter will get a little darker.

I want to be careful with this because I don't want it to create halos either.

So, I'm slowly bringing it negative.

Let's see, 0.3.

So, that's before, and that's after.

We've knocked down our highlights a little and brought out our shadows a little more.

That's good.

How is our Exposure? I think we're pretty good here.

We're in the middle.

We're not point to point, but we'll worry about our Black and our White Points at the very end of the edit, and I want most of my data to be in the mid-tones so that I can bring out relief.

And I've got that: most of my data's in the mid-tones.

This is the end of our first stage.

Then we can apply Denoising and Chromatic Aberration Control and Demosaic-ing too.

Now, I see this was shot at 100 ISO, so it will be really hard to see where there is and isn't noise.

If we exaggerate the contrast in an area like here, we can look at which Denoising strategies yield the best results.

Now this is artificially contrasty, just so I can look at my Denoising options.

Okay, what have we got? We can always start with the RAW Denoise, which usually gives fantastic effects, but blurs your edges.

Yeah, that makes the water look great, and we lose all our detail in here.

If I bring that down to the point where it just works in the water, it's a little better here.

Okay, that's at 0.005.

We'll take Snapshots along the way and come up with our best Denoising strategy.

Let's look at the standard Profile Denoise, which usually does an excellent job -- and it does, look at that.

Oh, look; we still have our detail in the smaller features, but we've got much smoother transitions here.

The only thing I don't like about this Nonlocal Means on the Profile Denoise is you get these little patterns that look like an artistic brush or something, and it's a little bit splotchy.

There's a splotch there and a splotch there.

If we go to Wavelets, that gets rid of the splotches, but it looks like we've got a different problem pattern here.

We could probably deal with that with the Equalizer.

Let's see if we bring our Strength down and bring our Equalizer Noise Reduction to try and get rid of the small patterns from the Profile Denoise...

Okay, so it's a two-step method here, doing the Profile Denoise and then the Equalizer to get rid of the remnant pattern.

How does that compare to the RAW Denoise? Well, it's not quite as smooth in the water, but it's pretty darn good.

It's a lot better down here in the trees and houses, though.

Okay, so that's our new best one.

I'll take a Snapshot of that.

We'll get rid of these settings and try the Bilateral Filter Denoising.

Oh, that does a nice job in the water.

Look at all the detail it keeps down here! ...and in these trees.

This seems to be a nice balance between detail and denoising.

That's my new favorite one.

I'll look at the Non-local Means.

Ick! What if we increase the Patch Size? Nope.


Alright; I like that Bilateral Filter.

That turned out sweet.

Bilateral Filter it is.

Now I can get rid of the extra contrast that I added just to be able to see the Denoising.

Okay: Demosaic.

We're starting with PPG.

Take a Snapshot and look.


I see a little purple fringing here from the PPG, and in these windows.

And with the Amaze it's gone entirely, but we don't seem to have compromised any detail.

There's purple fringing here that goes away too.

Okay, and with the VNG? The VNG is usually a little soft, and in this case it's soft.

And I don't think we need the extra softening that VNG does because this was shot at 100 ISO and is such a high-quality image.

So, Amaze it is.

I'm pretty happy with the effect I'm getting with that; I don't think that we need to add any Color Smoothing to the equation.

Lastly, Chromatic Aberrations.

A listener wrote in and pointed out an error I've been making in Chromatic Aberration adjustments.

In reference to the Darktable Manual, it says here that the model only works with an uncropped photographic image, and that when I zoom in to the image, I'll get incorrect data.

I shouldn't work that way.

It sounds like I should just turn it on by default, and that it works with any camera that uses a Bayer sensor, which this particular Nikon does.

So, let's turn it on.

At some point, I want to do an exhaustive study of the Chromatic Aberration controls and see how that works.

So, by default, I'll turn it on now.

Okay, this is where I'm at.

I'll save this image with all these changes, then start working on tones and guiding the eye through changing the brightness and darkness of different parts of the image.

Okay, let's save it.

I'll save it as a TIFF.

Change these values to zero and zero.

I'm working in Adobe.

Here we go.

Alright, here we are.

Let's start working with tonal control.

I'll be using the Tone Curve a lot.

I notice that the top part of this image gets a little dark, especially towards the very top, so I'll take care of that first.

Let's see.


That helps.

It's getting a little bright here, so maybe I'll be a little more strategic about my brightening.

There we go.

Now, from this point to here, it also needs to brighten.

Okay, that helps.

I'd like to get some large-scale detail differentiation down here because it looks flat, and it's not interesting yet.

Let's look at the Equalizer Tool for that.

One of the ways to use the Equalizer tool so we can visualize what's happening is to do a Gamma adjustment and then look at the different blend mode operators, so let's do that.

Okay, new Tone Curve.

Do a big jump there so we can see what we're doing.

Okay, now under Equalizer, I'll change my Blend Mode to Difference.

Then I can bring up these sliders and see where I'm seeing adjustments.

Okay, these are large scale.

This is nice; this is the kind of scale I was thinking of in this area.

Let's see the next size down.

Oh, it's getting smaller, but I still think it helps.

And the next size after that? That's getting too small; that just gets confusing.

Okay, I want to work on this area in here, right there, with these larger sizes.

So, maybe a combination of these two, like that? Okay, that gives us a little bit of this hill, and we can see some changes in these fields.

So, turn off the Gamma adjustment and change our Blend Mode from Difference to Normal.


Without it, and with it.

Yeah; we're getting these changes down here from differences in tone.

That helps; that gives us more differentiation.

It's easier to see what's going on.

And I only want to apply that down here; I don't want it to go everywhere.

I'll use a Drawn Mask.

Let's see: we'll go up here.

Stay away from the water so we don't get any halos.

Now, make it a little smaller and make our Blend Area a little bigger.

Bring that down.

That's what it looked like before, and that's what it looks like now.

It looks like it's a little heavy, so I'll just bring down our Opacity a little.

That helps.

This looks a little light here.

I'd like this hillside to pop from the bottom, so I'll darken the hillside and leave the bottom part lighter so it will match this area better.

We'll have it go like this.

And bring down our darker areas so we have more relief.

Ah, that looks better.

Before, and after.

Now the planes down here are starting to separate a little and I'm starting to get the circle the circle that I wanted, coming in like this.

This top part up here and over to here is too light.

That looks better.

Before and after.

Mountain looks a little dark.

We'll get all of these done and then we can work on the relief aspect.

Let's see: mountain.

We don't want our mountain to be dark.

I'll make it a little smaller, make our Blend Area a little bigger.


And let's concentrate on the darker parts.

Here's our spiral.

What have we got? Come up like this and over like this.

This looks good.

I want this to be a little lighter though, because it gets right in the middle of our spiral and breaks it.

So, this front rock.

Let's see: Tone Curve.

Another Drawn Area.

I want to add some color to the parts that don't have as much color so that we get some of these de-saturated areas.

I'll use a Parametric Mask on the C Channel, which is Chromaticity.

I'll turn on the Mask Indicator and bring my two sliders down until I start finding my most-saturated areas.

Right there.

Now, this has created a graduated mask, where the parts with the least saturation are getting the most effect.

They are the brightest yellow.

And the parts with the most saturation are getting the least effect.

Then I'll steepen my A and B Channels.

That's without it, and that's with it.

I think we can use it full strength.

That looks fine.

Our blue's getting a little out of gamut here, but that's just where it's going to white, so I'm not actually going to worry about that.

And I'm staying on my Histogram on both sides.

Now let's look at adding some tones with our Lowpass Filter.

If I turn off my Saturation, bring the Contrast down a little and the Brightness up a little, then adjust my Radius and try to get the kind of shadows I'm looking for here.

Let's see: this shows me the sides of the mountain and gives me some basic shapes here that are kind of nice.

That's at 27 px, so I'll apply that with a Softlight Blend Mode and use the Opacity to attenuate it.

I don't want it to get too dark.

I don't see it helping me up here at all, so I'll use a Drawn Mask and just have it work on the bottom part of the image.

That's before, and that's after.

I want to do that again.

Saturation down to zero.

Contrast down a little.

Brightness up a little.

The reason I bring my Contrast down and my Brightness up is so that my end result is approximately the same brightness as my starting result.

Bring our Radius to the point where we're showing different details, like the edges of these hills.

Now, I see when I'm doing that, I'm not getting any detail in these clouds, so I don't want to apply it up there.

Once again, I'll use a Drawn Mask and just apply it on the bottom, and use Opacity to attenuate it.

Softlight again.


And bring it up.

I'm looking at the sides of the hill and these crevices and these shadowy details.

The edges of the waterfront.

I'm trying to come up with a good level of application so I don't get halos or too dark of areas but still get nice relief.

That looks good.

And that was smaller: that was at 17 pixels.

Let's try that again.

This time I'd like to get small enough to get these clouds.

I'll bring my Radius down until I start getting details in the clouds.

Getting some.

Ah, that looks better.

Now they're looking rounded.

I can see details in these mountains too.

So, that's at around 6 pixels.

Once again, Softlight.

As I bring it up, it looks a little heavy here compared to up here, so I'll do a mask going the other way.

A Drawn Mask.

I want to apply it here also.

I just want more of it up here, so I'll make the mask larger.

If I go like that, 100% of the effect will occur from here up.

At this point, it will be about 50% of the effect, and then a little lower down here.

Can we turn our Opacity up? Oh, yeah, we can.

That looks good.

The bottom is a little dark still.

I'll make another tonal adjustment.

Okay, reverse the direction.

We'll turn on our Mask Indicator to see where we are.

Then I'll bring this up a little.

Okay, that looks better.

Maybe a little more.

No, that's too much.

The mountain is still a little dark.

That one right there.

So maybe this edge needs to come out further.

Let's take our Blend Radius and make it a little smaller, bring our effect out a little more.

We're losing contrast in there but we're gaining brightness.

I'll give it a little S curve here.

Give it a little more punch like that, but then bring down our shadows a little.

That's what I'm looking for.

Now I want to bring out more detail.

I'll use the Highpass Filter with the Softlight Blend Mode.

I'll bring my Sharpness way up to try and get some detail like this, and around these edges, but I don't want anything to become too black.

I'm okay so far.

Let's bring the Contrast up a little.

Oh, that's a little too much there, around these edges.

We'll bring it down.

Okay, now I'll apply that with a Softlight, but I'm not going to apply it evenly because in these darker areas, it's just going to turn black.

I'll use a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel so that the brighter parts of the image get most of the effect and the darker parts get none of the effect.

I'll change my Blend Mode to Softlight and use my Opacity to attenuate it.

That's with it off, and then I'll bring it up slowly until it starts to look like it's too much, then bring it back down.

It's starting to get a little crunchy in here and up here too.

That was at 80%.

And that's at 60%.

So, before and after.

It looks nice up in these clouds and it looks nice on this side, and I think we're still good over here.

I'll save it at this point.

Then I'll work on final color and final sharpening and Black Point and White Point.

Save it.

Export as a TIFF.

There we are.

I'll use the Multiply Method with my Tone Curve to add more color.

If I take a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel and change my Blend Mode to Multiply, as I bring up my Opacity, you'll see that as I start increasing our Saturation our greens are starting to pop and our blues are getting more saturated too.

If I bring it too far, it gets kind of dark.

But I can balance this by using this curve also.

Let's bring up our Midpoint.

I don't want to lose contrast, so bring this down.

Here's before, and here's after.

I like that.

I want to work on some specific colors, but first I also want to add some color in large areas.

I can do that with an Equalizer, and also with a Gaussian Blur.

I think the Equalizer is the right tool here.

I'll go to the Chroma Channel and look at these larger areas that we know were at this end of the spectrum.

Let's bring up our color.

This gives us color separation based on distance.

This is just a straight saturation adjustment, even though it gives me separation by one area to another, like I say based on distance, but it applies to all the pixels in an equal way.

We should apply this with a Parametric mask based on the L Channel so that the brighter pixels get more of the effect.

Then we can bring our amounts up a little more too.

There we go.

Now our colors are really starting to pop.

This might be too much down here and in here, but I like it up here, so I'll use a Drawn Mask combined with the Parametric Mask.

I'll try to have less of the effect down here on the bottom so we don't get too crazy with our colors.

Okay, bring down the Opacity just a little.

We're starting to get somewhere.

I want the green to have more impact in here and out here, but I don't want it to get too crazy over here.

I think I'll have to use a couple of Graduated Density Curves combined.

I'll take one and go from here to here.

I'll turn on our Mask Indicator and take another one and go from here to here.

See how it includes all of this area? What I need to do is turn these around so they're the opposite of what I want, and then change my Drawn Mask Polarity.

Now I get what I want.

Right there.

So, the trick is to turn it opposite and then reverse the Polarity.

Now I can look at this color here.

Let's look at an Area.

We'll include the light green and the dark green and everything, but not the little lakes.

Then when we look at our color channels we have some distance here, and we can create more distance.

We'll bring up our yellow a little at one end but not at the other.

Same thing with our green: at one end and not the other.

Let's be sure our colors are still good.

We'll look at our light greens and our darker greens.

Now, lighter greens should be: L and B should be about the same, and A should be about half of that, a little bit less than half of that.

So, lighter greens.

L and B are close to the same: we've got 56 and 46, and the A is about half of that, maybe a little less than half of that.

We could bring up our green a little more, but let's look at our dark greens.

Dark greens should be right around in here.

Let's see: we've got a variation.

L is about twice B and B and A are about the same.

Okay, so L is about twice B, and B and A are about the same.

It looks like we've got too much yellow.

Okay, too much yellow.

So, we can bring up our green a little and bring down our yellow a little.

It's a little closer to half.

Those are a little closer to each other.


it's still too much yellow and not enough green.

Okay, we're looking a lot better here.

Those colors look a little strong, so, our Multiply that we did earlier here, which is 36% -- I'll take that down.

Ah, that looks right, about at 20%.

I want to do more separation of things.

I want the mountains to pop away from the clouds more, and for the water and the green and this hill and this side all to pop a little more.

I'll use a Lowpass Filter with an Overlay Blend Mode.

I'll take my Saturation down to zero and turn my Radius up so that I lose details but keep general shapes, like the shape of the mountain and the shape of the inlet, but not the crevasses and the trees.

I'll bring my Radius up.

There we go.

If I bring it up more, I can't see the difference between the water and the mountain, so I'll bring it down until I can see the difference.

There we go.


I've got my major differences here.

Then I'll apply that with an Overlay Blend method and bring my Opacity way down because it comes on too strong.

Well, I like it more up here than over here, so I'll use a Drawn Mask.

I want it everywhere; I just want more of it on the left.

With that I can bring my Blend up a little bit stronger.

Before, and after.

Highpass for giving me more details.

Bring my Sharpness all the way down and my Contrast until I get just the edges I want and no other ones.

Those look good.

Then I'll use an Overlay method with that and bring my Opacity down.

That gives me this sharpness in these rocks.

It looks like around 64% was good.

Now things are really starting to pop.

I want this to be a little bit brighter still.

I'll use a Lowpass Filter just in this area, because this is darker than I want and this is lighter than I want.

I'll use a Drawn Mask Blend Mode and go around this mountain.

There we go.

We'll give our Blend Distance a little more; make it a little smaller.

Now I'll take my Saturation down to zero and bring my Radius up so I'm just looking at these large areas: this dark and this light.

There we go.

Change my Blend Mode to Overlay; change my Contrast so it goes negative.

There is starting at zero; it should be indistinguishable from our original.

It is.

Then, as I bring my Contrast negative, that makes the lighter areas a little darker and the darker areas a little lighter.

Here's our before and here's our after.


I'll set our Black Point and do a final sharpening with Unsharp Mask.

...Gamma adjustment...

I want my Black Point up here to be a little lower; this is looking a little hazy.

Oh, final adjustments...

Okay: Black Point.

There we go.

See, I've got the spiral that I wanted.

This area breaks away from this area.

We come up in here.

Maybe a little more color in here? A little more pop right in here, because that's where my eye is drawn.

So, a little lower blacks, a little higher whites to give me more contrast.

Maybe a little brighter as we go toward the top.

My whites are a little too bright; I'll lower my Exposure for the whole image.

I want more detail in the clouds.

So, Highpass Filter...

No, I'll use the Equalizer with a Darken Blend Mode.

So, I'll set up a new one and use a Drawn Mask.

I want to do it more in the clouds, so I'll combine that Drawn Mask with a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel.

Right now here's a Mask Indicator.

It shows the clouds are getting a lot, and it goes up as we go up.

I want to see where I'm working so I'll do an artificial Gamma trick again: bring that up so we can see, and switch the Equalizer to Difference.

Then, let's look at what differences we make.

There's one.

Oh, that's too small.

Okay, like that.

There we go.

Now let's change it to Darken and get rid of our Gamma adjustment and see what our Equalizer did then.

It went from that to that.

Oh, yeah; that's what I'm looking for.

Maybe even a little more.

Now we've got our clouds popping from the background.

Okay, final sharpening: Unsharp Mask, probably around 0.1 Yeah, that looks good: 0.1 Looking at this image, I want to double check the colors of my clouds.

It looks like we might have some color in the clouds up here.

I'm pretty happy with the rest of the image, but let's look at that.

Go to Area.

Oh, yeah; look.

It's a little warm in both channels.

I don't want to change much of anything else, so I'll use an L Mask and Drawn Mask combined, and select the clouds.

I'll try to bring them closer to neutral.

Tone Curve.

That should be our last adjustment.

So, we've got a Parametric and Drawn Mask.

First, like that.

Then we'll use our L Channel here to isolate our clouds.

There we go.

Just the brightest areas.

Where does that show up? Oh, look; we're getting some of this blue in here too.

I don't want to include that.

Maybe we can do that based on the B Channel? Is there a difference between here -- that's 6.4 -- and here -- that's -30 We can absolutely use the B Channel.

Bring these sliders over and eliminate the blue sky.

There we go.

Now we're just looking at the clouds.


Give a little Mask Blur.

One pixel ought to be good.

Okay, our A and our B; take our Midpoint out, and bring this right where we want it.

We want to bring our B Channel down a little.

Okay, close to zero there.

And our A Channel also.

Take out our Midpoint.

Now we're at zero and zero.

We've got white clouds.

How does that look? Oh, it did look pink before.

That worked out great.

Andreas, thank you so much.

What a beautiful image! Do you actually live here? Or were you just visiting? Let us know.

It's spectacular.

Oh, that was fun.

Well, we're doing great.

We've gotten a lot of new subscribers on YouTube.

We're almost up to 600 subscribers.

And people have been asking questions and giving me suggestions, and correcting things I've done that weren't correct; this is great.

I want to remind everybody to send me your RAW edits.

I need contributions in order to do them.

Otherwise, I'm going to start doing my own shots again.

(laughing) So, you can click on 'Edit My RAW' here and you can upload your files.

It's at

Here at the site you can create playlists, which is really useful.

You can do them based on topics or on modules.

If you watch a video here, on the site, don't forget there's a tab down here to make it full screen.

You don't have to watch it in the little tiny window.

All the recent posts are here.

There are these resources: there's the LAB Color Reference Chart that I've been working on.

My Workflow: I show most of the steps of my workflow.

I should probably keep it up to date with little changes I make here and there.

The Sun and Moon Calendar is useful; it's the Photographer's Ephemeris.

It helps me figure out when I want to catch the Supermoon.

What else? Shoot With Harry.


Come to Hawaii and shoot with me.

We would have so much fun.

We'd go out and take pictures of all sorts of stuff, and talk about cameras and talk about editing.

You can sign up here at It's an opportunity for me to make a little money and you to have fun.

I'm sure you'd learn something; I'm sure I'd learn something.

Lastly, we've got Patreon Support.

You can click here to go to the Patreon page.

We have two people now that are contributing.

This is actually going to work out! This is great! Look, we're up to $3 a month (laughing) All right, everybody.

I hope you have a great weekend; I'll see you next week with more stuff.

Thanks for your contributions; thanks for your RAW edits; thanks for your questions and your suggestions.

I feel like we're building a community here.

See you then! Bye.

Parametric Masks

Parametric Masks

In this video I demonstrate the functioning of the parametric mask sliders in Darktable, use my new compositing functionality on a contributed RAW file, and introduce my Lab color reference chart.
Along the way, there are quick tips on Inkscape and on adjusting panel width and font size in Darktable. I use compositing in Darktable like an old hand now, but here's a quick reminder from last week: Keep your SVG file under 8mb; use Inkscape to convert it from a bitmap like this:

inkscape -f filename.jpg -l filename.svg

and put your SVG file here


The RAW file used in this video is available here. Thank you Jack for the contribution 🙂

Complete Show Text

Download complete text here

Aloha everybody, and welcome to Weekly Edit.

Today I will use an Edit My RAW that Jack sent me.

I'm excited to be using my compositing method on it.

It's become a normal part of my workflow now.

I wanted to show you a website every week that I'm really interested in.

This one you have to go to! It's There are fantastic articles in here: everything from technical to artistic.

The blog posts are great.

A lot of it is specific to Darktable, but it's not all about Darktable.

You could easily spend the whole evening here.

This is an awesome website.

I want to talk about parametric masks today, and what those crazy little triangles under the Settings do.

Before I do that, I want to use Inkscape to make an image we can work with.

This will make it easier to visualize how the Parametric Masks work.

If I hold down the CTRL key as I pull a rectangle, it makes it a square.

I want to give this square a gradient fill from one side to the other.

I'll use this button here.

See: Linear Gradient.

See, I have an alpha on this side.

Here's how you change these gradient fills in Inkscape.

You click on this little pencil down here and it says "edit gradient fill" Then up here are the gradient fills and the stops.

So, I go to the stop with the alpha.

There it is.

See, my Alpha is at zero.

I'll turn that all the way up and set it to White.

Now it goes from red to white.

I want a second one too.

I want to go from top to bottom with dark on the bottom and light on top.

So, I'll duplicate this square and rotate it around itself.

Then I'll adjust the Gradient Fill here.

Oh, you've got to go to 1 and then back; there you go.

Okay, like that.

I'll set its alpha so I can see through it.

Got to set it for both stops.

57 and 57, so I've got the same alpha on both.

So, I go from red to light red to white to dark, and that's two Gradient fills on top of each other with alpha blending.

I'll export these two as a PNG.

I can open this in Darktable.

There we go.

Here's our darker and our lighter sides and our red and our not-red side, so we've got two parameters.

This is what we're going to work with here: the Parametric Mask.

This is all so small, it's the perfect opportunity for me to show you how to change the panel width and the size of the font in Darktable.

Let's leave Darktable and do that.

I'll open either a text editor or just a terminal window, and this is just a text file, so you can edit it with anything that doesn't do formatting.

First, we'll make a backup copy of the RC file.

We'll go to the directory that contains the RC file.

That's in .config/darktable If I look at this, you'll see that there's darktablerc, and it's small; it's just a text file.

Let's look at it, but before we do anything with it, let's make a backup.

I'll cp that to itself with just a backup extension: cp darktablerc darktablerc.bak Now here's my original and here's my backup.

I'll edit darktablerc You'll see that it's set up where there's a key value pair, so there are these keys, and then there's an equal sign, then there are values after them.

We're looking for "panel".

If I look for panel, I finally find it at the third one down: panel_width=300 Let's change that to 370.

So, now when I open Darktable, I see my original image, and now my panel is wider.

But it didn't change the size of the little triangles or the fonts.

So, I'm going to change that.

But before I change that, I want to show you something about editing this rc file.

If I go in here and I edit this rc file, and change my screen dpi to, let's say, 140.

Then, when I look at Darktable there's no change.

If I exit Darktable and open it again, you'll see there's still no change.

The reason for that is that Darktable over-writes this file every time it closes, so that any changes you make to the GUI or core options get saved.

So, make sure Darktable is closed before you go edit.

We'll go to "screen"; see it set that back to 100.

We'll change it to 130.

There we go.

So here we are, and we've got the right size panel and the right size fonts.


We'll open our image here.

I want to do something so that you can see the difference between the part we're working on and the part we aren't working on, so I'll just make everything blue.

I'll do that by just bringing this down.

There we go.

So, this part was red...

I'll take a Screenshot.

There we go.

So, this added blue to the whole image.

This line here, between the Screenshot and the working area can be rotated by clicking on this.

It can only go in 90 degree increments, though; you can't do diagonal.

So, this on the right is the part we're working on, and on the left is the original.

It made everything blue, so it made the parts that had red in it a little purple, and the parts without color became blue.

This part had a little red in it, so it's a little purple.

This part had no red, so it's just blue.

It goes from with the black or grey added to just the white added down here.

So, we've got four different colors.

If we look at our Parametric Mask, there are two different sliders.

One says Output and one says Input.

For right now, I'll just worry about the Input because it's the real workhorse here.

You'll see some indicators up here.

These are different tabs.

They are different channels.

Some of the modules have even more channels.This one just has five.

There's an A Channel, which goes from green to magenta.

B Channel is blue to yellow.

Chromacity is basically the amount of saturation.

And Hue.

I'll just deal with the L Channel to demonstrate this to start.

What these sliders do: if I move both of them, it makes it easier to visualize what's happening.

They say everything on the outside of these triangles -- everything on this side -- 'don't apply any of this effect.' Whatever I did up here, and it doesn't matter what I did -- don't apply any of it.

And the stuff on the right-hand side: apply the effect.

In this case, making everything blue.

So, if I move these to the right, we'll start to exclude certain parts of the image from being adjusted.

These parts here are in this darker area.

That's why they don't get any of the blue.

Likewise, if I pull these in, the lighter parts of the image won't get any blue either.

Now, why are there two triangles? Well, the top triangle is where all of the blue is being affected, and the bottom triangle is kind of a ramp.

It says, all of the effect, wherever the top triangle is, and go down so that none of the effect happens where the bottom triangle is.

Then, everything to the right of the bottom triangle gets none of the effect.

So, here we go.

We'll move this one over and you'll see we get a fuzzy line here now.

This is the point, right here, where THIS triangle is.

When I move this triangle to the right -- over here.

That's where this triangle is.

So, if I take this top triangle and move it on top of this triangle, it will make that dividing line right there.


Like that.

So, if I want the transition to be from here to here, I could look at this and say, "oh look; that one's at 91" and move both of them over to where I want it to stop and say, "oh, that one's at 81" and take one of them and move it to 91 and the other and move it to 81.

Then I have that exact transition.

I can do the same thing up here by taking this triangle and moving it out to the side.

So, if I put them close together, the transition area is short because they're right next to each other.

The difference is only between 40 and 43, in terms of how bright it is.

So, if I take this bottom triangle and move it over, eventually this is going to fade out to nothing.

Then the blue will go all the way to the end and stop being affected right there.

So, if I turn this like this, I can kind of see what's going on, but not really.

Well, there's this Mask Indicator, and this makes a huge difference.

What this does is paint yellow -- bright yellow-- everywhere where there's a mask.

So, let's move this one back and turn on our Mask Indicator.

Now, this says "where is this effect being applied?" On this side, you see a sharp edge.

That's because these two triangles are lined up right over each other.

On this side, it's really diffuse.

It goes from here to here because our triangles are separated.

So, if I want to know what point to put my triangles at so I get a smooth gradation from none to here, I can remember where I am here.

I'm at 43.

Then I'll take both sliders and move them both until I get just to the end there.

There we go: at 20.

Okay, so if I take the top one and move it back to 43, I will get my nice smooth transition that I was talking about.

So, the blue is being applied fully in this area and fades out so there is no blue at all being applied here.


So, this was our original.

It was all red, and we're adding blue.

You can see that there's no blue being applied here because this red and this red are exactly the same Likewise, when we get down here to this end, you can see there's no blue being applied here because this white and this white are exactly the same.

Okay, let's apply a second mask and we can combine these.

I'm going to put these over each other because I think it will make it easier to visualize.

And that gives us these sharp lines.

Now, let's look at our Chromacity channel.

Once again, I'll turn on my Mask Indicator.

I'll bring down these two.

This has to do with how saturated it is.

I want to be able to visualize the whole thing, so I'll turn off my L Channel.


Go to my Chromacity, and bring this down.

I see that, at 30, it's the most saturated pixels right here.

The least saturated pixels are down here at zero.

So, if I want to apply more of the blue to the most-saturated pixels, I'll have it be that this number 30 is where this triangle needs to be.

Let me explain why.

Where this gets applied is between the two triangles.

So, I want to apply a maximum amount at 30 and a minimum amount at zero.

So, I can take these two and move them all the way over here.

And take this one and move it over to 30.

Now, what this says is between these two triangles gets the full effect, and on the outside of those two triangles, not between them, gets no effect.

So, this gives us a nice ramp here.

We can see our Mask Indicator, this yellow, showing us not being applied at all in the unsaturated pixels and being applied fully in the most-saturated pixels.

If I combine that with where we had our L Mask...

I'll make this not a smooth ramp but a sharp line, like we did last time, by putting these two triangles right over each other.

There we go.

If I bring these in and these in, you'll see that we can combine masks.

So, this is saying that everything that is brighter than this number and everything that is darker than this number doesn't get it.

And, on the C Channel, everything that is less saturated than this amount doesn't get it.

So, only this amount here will get blue.

So, let's turn off our Mask Indicator and see where our blue is applied.

There it is.

Now, if I wanted to make just these pixels get the most, I could take this and ramp it up to 30, and that down.

And I can take my L.

And these pixels here -- this is the Eyedropper tool -- will indicate where a particular area is on this chart.

So, I want the maximum effect right here at 20.7.

That's where this little Eyedropper bullseye is.

So, I'll move these over and I'll say "maximum effect right there." Oh, it gets brighter as I go away.

Well, I can go like this and create a double-pyramid that maxes out right there at that level.

That gets the maximum amount of blue right there in that corner.

I can reverse polarities of individual masks with these little pluses.

And, I can reverse the polarity of all the masks with this.

This re-sets all the masks back to their original values.

Okay: Mask Blur.

Let's talk about that.

Let's say we've got a mask that goes from the darkest to the lightest, so that the lightest parts of the image are getting the full effect and the darkest parts are getting less of the effect.

But, let's say I wanted that to have a sharp dividing line.

So, I line up my triangles.

Now I've got this edge.

I don't want that edge; I want it to be smoother.

So, I can use a Gaussian Blur.

I assume it's a Gaussian Blur -- on this Mask Blur.

That makes my mask have a blurred edge.

In this particular instance, it's about the same as doing this, but that's not always the case.

for instance, this has some cross-hatching, so the Mask Blur is much more applicable.

If you've got trees and stuff, it can get really complex and you'll use a combination of different things to see what's going on.

So, what do the top triangles do? Well, this is Output.

It's a lot like the Input.

The triangles on the left and the triangles on the right work the same.

But, it has to do with what comes out of the module, not what comes into it.

Once again I can limit the output by -- if I turn on my Mask Indicator here I can see what I'm doing -- by moving these sliders.

Then I can see that it won't apply any of the effect to these brighter ones.

I can use that to protect highlights; I can use it if I'm darkening up the scene to reduce the effect in the shadows; I could feather the shadows like this so that a little bit of the effect goes to the darkest, but it won't let me get all the way to the black, because as it gets darker and darker, there's less and less of the effect -- so I can protect my highlights and my shadows, like this.

So, if I'm extending contrast, I might want to do this on my output, just by default, to make sure that, as I extend my contrast -- let's say I do a Contrast Curve, but I don't want my whites to get all the way white, and I don't want my blacks to get all the way black -- so, this protects me.

Okay, that's mostly Parametric Masks.

They can be combined with Drawn Masks in complex ways.

We'll discuss that in another video.

Alright, here we are.

Now, on this one, I really want to get rid of the haze.

I've got some interesting ideas for how to do that.

I want to split the picture into two parts and deal with the sky separately from the bottom.

So, on the sky, let's see what colors we've got first.

Well, that looks pretty neutral: a little blue.

Then down here? Oh, that's very blue.

Okay, well let's store that there, and this, so that we stay pretty neutral there.

And it looks like we need more contrast and more blue-reduction as we go down on the screen.

Well, we can use that to our advantage and use a Drawn Mask.

So, Drawn Mask, Fountain Fill.


Let's make that larger.

So, I want it to have a little bit of effect up here and a lot of effect down here.

I'll turn on my Mask Indicator.

I can see that it's reversed, so I'll hit this minus here.

That toggles the polarity.

Alright, I can turn off my Mask Indicator and turn off the indicator for my line.

Now, I said I wanted to increase the contrast and get rid of the blue, and -- oh, we've got minus colors here: minus four, so we've got green in there too.

I want to get rid of that.

The sky should be a little bit magenta, and blue, but certainly not green.

Okay, I'll get rid of these midpoints.

Since I'm reducing color, I'll take my curves and move them toward the middle.

So, we've got a little green here.

I want to get rid of that.

Very carefully bring this down.

I'm watching this number as I go.

That's -1.4 now.

If I just put my mouse over an area where there's a pull point -- these little white circles -- I can use the mouse wheel to move it up and down.

That's really cool.

Okay, so now we're at +0.5; that looks good.

That's an awful lot of blue though: -10.

So, I'll go over here to the B and do the same thing.

Use my mouse wheel to give me fine control.

And we're down to -5, -3.

Right there at -3.

A little bit of magenta.

So, that's going to be a lot less blue.

I want more contrast on the L Channel, so I'll open up a new Tone Curve.

I'll use the same mask.

So, if I go to Drawn Mask, it gives me the option here of selecting that mask that I just used.

Here it is: Tone Curve.

Once again, I need to reverse it.

Now I want to increase the contrast down here.

So, I'll use my Eyedropper Tool and change it to an Area.

Then pick that area -- that's from here to here.

It's the pink, not the green; the green is these points.

Okay, so I'll take my pink and increase one side of it and decrease the other side thereby giving me a little more contrast in there.

I'll give myself a lot of contrast.

There we go.

Let's see: I don't want to come down too far.

Before, and after.

Well, we got rid of a lot of the haze.

We certainly didn't get rid of all of it, but we want it to look believable.

I'd like to concentrate on this separation in here, and be able to see more of that.

I wonder if that's possible.

I'll open a new Tone Curve.

Once again, I'll use the same mask.

Reverse it.

Okay, my Eyedropper Tool.

Change it to Area.

We'll look at the difference between these two tones.

There it is.

I'll bring up one side, bring down the other side to give me a little more tonal relief.

That made a big difference.

See this line of clouds? It separates from the background better like that.

I like it.

Okay, I usually use Lowpass and Highpass Filters to do a lot of work, but I like to use different modules.

I want to show you guys how to use the Equalizer.

-- or ways I use the Equalizer-- One of the things I want is to be able to see the clouds pop from the background more.

So, I want to find the right size on the Equalizer with the Luma Channel to give me that kind of separation.

I like to open a Tone Curve and give yourself an artificially large Gamma.

You won't know how big to make it until you start working with the Equalizer, but then you'll see, and you can go back and forth and adjust.

I use the Blend Operator Difference.

It shows me any changes I make.

So, if I pull up one end, I can see where the differences are.

So this is the size that the Equalizer is dealing with: things this big.

And if I bring up another one, it gets to a little bit smaller size.

Once again, and smaller.

And smaller still.

I want to separate these clouds, so it looks like I need the largest size.

Like that? Okay, let's try that.

So, I've got to go back and turn off my Gamma, then go back to my Equalizer.

Instead of Difference, I'll put it on Normal.

Let's see what that looks like.

From that, to that.

Well, it actually looks a little heavy, so I'll pull it down a little.

Now, see this up here? It's starting to clip these highlights -- because the Equalizer increases contrast.

So, it doesn't really just increase the darks darker to increase contrast; it also makes the lights lighter.

We'll probably need to bring down our Exposure a little to compensate for that.

We're getting a little bit of red fringing in here.

So, my Highlight Reconstruction -- I want to bring my Clipping Threshold down a little.

There we go; it went away.

Now, what that does is say "how bright do I make all the colors equal so that it looks white and we don't get color tingeing?" I brought that down from a full value of 1, down to a little bit lower value: this time 0.92 I want to add a little detail in the clouds and get more separation in these brighter areas.

I'll use the Equalizer again.

Make a new instance.

This time I'll use the Darken Mode.

Zoom in here.

And I'll start pulling up the contrast until I get to the point where I'm starting to see the kind of details I want.

That looks good.

That makes these clouds more 3-dimensional.

Now I can start pulling these down until that goes away.

Oh, a little bit there! Come back up.

And there we go.

So, that's a different way of doing that from using the Difference with the Tone -- where you set a Gamma and then you put your Equalizer on Difference.

What I did was set it to the mode I was going to use: Darken in this case or Normal in most cases -- then I brought my levels up without bringing down the other ones -- kept bringing them up until I got the effect I wanted, and then started bringing them down until I stopped getting the effect.

Then I knew what range I wanted to be in.

So, there are two different techniques.

Alright, there are our clouds.

Oh, they look so much more 3-dimensional now.

And I think they look a little overboard.

I'll bring down the equalizers a little with the Opacity.

Bring that one down a little and bring this one down a little.

Oops, not Mix; Opacity.

There we go.

I'm much happier with the sky now.

Alright, I'll save the sky and work on the bottom.

The way I save the sky is I've got a little pre-set here that I did, where it saves it to .config/darktable/watermarks So here's the directory structure: .config/darktable/watermarks I save it as tmp.jpg and I have a little script that just converts it into tmp.svg And I just keep re-using these two files.

So, the thing I have to remember is to move this from Create Unique Filename to Overwrite.

When you save a pre-set, (Store New Pre-set), it doesn't let you save on Conflict Overwrite.

So, you have to remember to do that each time.

So, my magic formula is a JPG at a quality of 93; that seems to yield me the largest possible file size that still functions with the Watermark Module.

I'll use the Watermark Module for compositing this with the bottom.

I'm doing all my work in SRGB.

I got tired of switching back and forth between web-based content and my screen, so I'm just doing all my work in SRGB now.

There we go; I'm exporting it.

Then, I've written a script.

It's quite simple.

Let's see.

cat bin/watermark.zsh And it just says -- it calls inkscape with a '-f' and says 'take tmp.jpg -l and save it as tmp.svg' So, I can just run that script.

And it runs, and that's it.

Now, I can take this, go to my History, and ditch everything.

There we go.

Now, let's work on the bottom.

Here's our original.

we want to work on the bottom.

We're not going to worry about the sky at all because we've already done that.

So, I'm looking at this grass, and it looks like there's some fringing, but I notice that there's no option for Chromatic Aberration Controls on Fujifilm.

I think it uses a different sensor.

So, let's look at our Demosaic-ing options.

Oh, look at that: these are different.

Okay, well, there are three options here: VNG...

Oh, I like that third one.

It got rid of almost all of that fringing.

What happens if we add a little color smoothing? I think that helps.

If we go all the way to the other side? Oh, it looks fine to me that way too.

Well, let's do that.

This has an awful lot of green.

And the green is -- it looks like it's too much brighter than the yellows.

I'd like for these fall colors to really pop.

I mean, it's a fall day.

These are brightly-colored trees, right? So, the first thing I want to do is look at replacing the L Channel with a different one.

I'll take a Screenshot so I can compare.

First I'll look at the least-likely suspect, which would be the blue.

That gives me quite a bit of separation back here.

Okay; it looks horrible up front, though.

Look how contrast-y it is.

Then the green: I expect that'll make the greens too much.

Yeah; wow! Those greens are really a lot.


Okay, how about our red? Oh, that looks more pleasant doesn't it? Let's make it the same as the one on the left.

Oh, I like that better.


It looks like we're losing a little detail.


Do we need to add some of the blue in to get some more of the detail back? Oh, that seems to help.


Look, we're getting this fringing here.

And up here too.


Little spots of it, these little yellow dots.

Now, this happens some times with this Lightness.

I find I can get just about the same effect if, instead of using Lightness, -- What have I got here? I've got 1/4 blue: 3/4 red.

Okay, let's see.

Move all that back to normal.

Re-set back to normal; there we go.

And go to the Grey.

And this will make a grey image.

Let's see: this was 3/4 red and 1/4 blue, my formula.

Then just apply this to the L Channel only.

And we're not getting those yellow dots.


Oh, I do like that better.

But I don't think I want it to be exclusively that.

So, I'll take my Opacity and turn it down a little so it blends in with the original.

Okay, now I've got detail and I like my L Channel a lot better.

My trees are separating from the background better too, and lightening up a little.


What else do we want to do? There's a lot of blue back here; I think I want to pull that blue out.

Okay, what kind of colors do we have here? Well, we should be yellow and green, because it's trees.

I see here that we're a little into the blue territory, and we've got a little bit of green.


So all we've got to do is switch our blue to yellow and we'll be all set.

So I'll take out that midpoint and bring down the blue until this midpoint here is up into the yellow a little.

Much nicer.

I'd also like to increase the contrast a little as I go back.

I don't want it to necessarily get darker, so I'll work on the contrast.

I want this to be the brightest and this to be the darkest, and I'll try to emphasize the contrast between these two.

Once again with the Drawn Mask.

I don't want much of this contrast in front, so I'll make it a little smaller.

I can use my Eyedropper.

In this area I'm up around here.

Bring that up a little.

And over here, I'm down there; I'll bring that down a little.

That gives me a little more contrast.

That makes the background pop better.

What else? Well, we were working on the Equalizer; let's keep working on the Equalizer.

I want to separate some of these items, like these trees and these trees from each other, maybe make this pond here a little more separate.

So, let's use the Gamma trick again.

Come up with the Tone Curve.

Give it a huge amount of Gamma.

Then go to my Equalizer.

Change my Blend Mode to Difference and start messing with these things.

Now, see: I'm trying to see these trees from the background.

Now, that starts getting complex.

It's not SO bad.

Let's see if I take this and slide it over a little, towards the larger side -- that looks a little better.

Okay, so I'll try to stay away from over here, because I don't want to add a lot of detail contrast.

Then I'll bring all of these up.

There we go; they're all up.

Now I can see these trees popping from the background.

And this is going to look a little clumpy up here, so I might have to use a Drawn Mask.

We'll see.

Okay, take my Gamma and turn it off.

Take my Equalizer and change it to Normal.

Then use the Opacity to figure out how much of it I want.

Alright, I'm looking back here to see how much of it I want, then I'll look at the front and see if I want to turn it down or not.

That looks pretty good, and it looks pretty good up here too; I think I can just use it like that.

Alright, I want some color too.

So, same thing with the Chroma.

I'll go with the same sizes.

Bring them up.

Ah, yes; now the trees are starting to separate from each other.

The nice thing about adding color with the Equalizer tool is you get spatial contrast in color, which is nice.

I'd like for the front to be more colorful, but I can deal with that later after I combine these images.

I'm just dealing with the things near this transition zone now.

Maybe a little more detail back here.

Just like last time, I'll do my detail with an L Mask.

I'll bring up my levels until I find the ones I want there and there, and then bring them down a little.

Use a Parametric Mask so that the darker areas get less of it and the lighter areas get more.

Before, and after.

That's exactly what I wanted.

It looks like it's time to add the sky.

We'll go to the Watermark Module and select tmp.svg This is that file we made.

Okay, there's our sky: nice.

How do we want to apply it? Well, I can't use the L Mask because I've got things that are bright and things that are not-bright in the sky.

And I've got things that are bright and not-bright down here.

But there is an awful lot of blue in the sky.

So, let's see if we can use the B Channel on the Parametric Mask.

Let's see: tmp.svg We go to Blend; we select Parametric Mask.

And let's go the the B Channel.

We'll use our Mask Indicator to see if that makes a difference.

I'll bring up these levels until I start...

Ah! There we go.


Oh, I'm getting into the sky here.

I'm looking at these two numbers to see how high I can still be and not get into the sky.


Okay, so we'll start there.

Then I can bring this bottom one down.



Bring this bottom one over to feather this edge.

There we go.

Maybe a little Mask Blur too.

Not much; maybe 2 pixels or so.

Okay, let's see what that looks like.

Well we've got a little bit of an edge here; let's see if we can bring the blue down some more.

Ah, that feathers it.


It comes down here, though; I don't want that.

So, let's combine our Parametric Mask with a Drawn Mask.

Use my mouse wheel to make the transition smaller.

Okay, let's see what that looks like.

Before, and after.

Hey, that's pretty good.

How about where these trees are? Before and after.

That's not bad.


This is a little bright here compared to the background.

So, I think if I make a fountain fill that goes from here up to here, and just tries to match that tone a little, that will help things.

Tone Curve.

Drawn Mask.

And, like that.

Okay, I'll get in there.

Using the Eyedropper Tool with Area.

Now, these dark parts here are the parts that I want to get darker.

But these light parts here I don't want to get darker.

So, first thing, I'll pin this point so it doesn't get darker.

Then I'll take these darker parts, figure out where they are, and bring that down to get a better match.

Ah, yes; there we go.

Then, last but not least, I'll take my Watermark.

Instead of applying it at 100%, I'll bring it down maybe to 75% or so.


I was having some blown out areas up here, but by bringing down my Opacity, I picked those up.

My transition looks really good.

There are no halos or anything.

That looks really good.

Okay, last trick when you're applying Compositing this way: You can take your Y Alignment and just move it a little bit.

See how I did that? It moved down.

That gets rid of any kind of border you might have had.

Hey, that looks great.

Now I'll save this.

Then I'll add some more color and brighten up the front.

Let's do that.

I want that.

There we go.

I'll save this as a TIF, because that way it doesn't lose any information.

Okay, now we're done exporting.

There's our TIF.

Now: increasing the color and brightening up the front a little.

I'll brighten the front first, then adjust it as I increase the color.

I don't know where I'll increase it.

This will be a matter of taste, so I'll slide around.

Oh, my direction was backwards; there we go.

Alright; I think that's what I'm looking for, but I'll have to change it when I start applying color with another Tone Module.

I'll apply color with the Multiply, based on the L Channel -- because I think that will look good for this.

I'll give it a little punch by giving it a little bit of an S curve.

Bring my Opacity down to zero to start, because it comes on so strong.

Change my Blend Mode to Multiply.

As I increase my Opacity, the color will get richer and richer.

I can go back to my Gamma Curve and try to keep pace by not letting things get too dark.

I'm up to 45%; that's too much.

I'll bring it back down.

Hey, that gives it a little punch.

This looks a little blue in front...? I'll take a look.

What have we got? Not too much.

It probably should be a little more yellow.

Well, let's add that and give it some final touches.

You know, instead of adding yellow everywhere, I think I want the lighter parts to be more yellow because that's how it looks when the sun is shining on things.

So, let's use the Color Correction Module.

The way that works is the white dot is for highlights and the blue dot is for shadows.

So, if I get my sunny spot here, and find my highlight color that looks good, I can apply that with a Drawn Mask so that the front, towards me, is getting the most of it.

There we go.

Now it looks more like the sun ish shining here.

That makes me happier.

What do our numbers look like here? We're more yellow.

Maybe a little too much yellow.

So, I'll use my Opacity to bring that down just a little.

I'm looking at these numbers here.

I'd like for this number to be twice this one, but not crazy-twice.

This is 13; twice would be 26.

I'm up to 30, so that's a little yellow -- but I wanted a little of a sunny feel, so I think I'm right there.

Is there anything else I'd like to do? Some final sharpening.

once again, we'll use the Equalizer.

Let's go in and see if we can do a little bit with the clouds.

That's a little contrast there.

And so is that.

Yeah, we want these lower numbers right here.

And then we can apply our edges.

Can't apply edges if you don't apply the Luma Channel, because the Edges just adjusts over how much distance the contrast is enhanced.

So, that shortens it up and gives us some nice edges there.

I don't want that everywhere, because, look; we're getting some halos here.

So, I'll say only do that Darken, and do it mostly on the lighter images.

Okay, so we've got a Parametric Mask and we changed our Blend Mode to Darken.

That gives us more definition here, and doesn't give us the halos here.

I think the whole scene is a little dark.

That's easy enough to fix.

A little final contrast adjustment there.

We still look good on our colors.


That's it.

I hope you like it, Jack.

I wanted to show you a couple new things I've been working on.

One of them is this Lab Color Reference Chart.

It's a work in progress.

I've been going through images on Google Images and my own images, and finding instances where I find that colors are indicative, and then coming up with numerous -- like a dozen-- instances of each and looking for statistical correlations.

I've mapped them.

There's one on Skin here.

I go from pale to dark, and these are all in LAB.

I've got a Foliage one.

The Sky.

I'll do additional ones, probably the Sun and maybe Concrete and Asphalt colors.

These obviously would vary based on lighting, but they're good places to get a starting point.

If you're working on somebody, and you say the color just doesn't seem right, you can look and see where you stand in reference to a lot of samples that I looked at.

I use these foliage ratios a lot for setting my White Balance.

And this really helps with the sky; I've used it a few times myself.

Yay! We got our first Patreon contributor this week!!!!! My wife and I celebrated.

There's a Patreon Support button here.

If you have free time in your life and you want to do something really fun, come out here and shoot with me.

We can go shooting together.

I've got this Shoot With Harry page you can go to: It explains how you can book time to come and shoot with me.

We can go see lava, and we can go up to the mountains and stuff like that.

I can teach you a lot about photography; I can teach you stuff I know; I can teach you stuff about post-processing.

We can work on the computer together here.

You can enjoy Hawaii and I can make a little money, so it's good for everybody.

Everybody, I'm having a great time.

Please send me your RAW contributions so I can do them in Edit My RAW.

I will see you all next week.

Have a great week.


Thanks for the RAW file Jack!