Windward Sunset

Contour Shading

In this video I make use of the lowpass module to add shading to the clouds, and also to the beach rocks. A simple technique with a strong effect. I also use the tone mapping module combined with a parametric mask to bring up some of the highlights. I thought this edit was a lot of fun.

Sorry, I don't have the original RAW for this 🙁

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Hi everybody.

It's Harry with another Darktable edit.

This is a picture I took last night around sunset.

You can see we've got pastel-ish colors because the sun is behind us.

I took this picture hand-held, so it's a little off.

We've got a few things to do with this picture, and I'm going to try and keep it interesting and use some techniques that I haven't used in previous videos.

Having Aspect on Freehand allows you to move these lines up and down, which really helps determining when you're straight or not.

I see that there's a little bit of a camber to the horizon.

I kindof like that, so I'm not going to apply Lens Correction to this because it makes it look like the middle of the picture's further away, and I like that effect.

I'm just going to leave it.

I always remove Chromatic Aberrations from my RAW images,and so I'm going to go ahead do that.

We have this on Freehand.

I don't see how this dark part beneath this naupaka bush really helps the picture, so I'm going to bring that up just a little bit.

That puts us closer to this 2/3:1/3 rule.

Maybe bring that down just a little bit.

I'm going to work on large-scale lightness issues, and then we'll work on the photo.

The bottom part's dark; there's not much detail in the foam; this left side's a little bit darker.

I want to get more contrast between the clouds and the sky.

I'm going to use an interesting technique on the sky.

We'll work on that later.

First, let's deal with this darker part and this darker part, and in here.

I'm using the mouse wheel to enlarge the size of this Gradient Fill.

See what it looks like? Oh, I've got it facing the wrong way.

There we go; that looks better.

Bring down our White Point a little bit, quite a bit, actually.

I don't want to bring it all the way to where I want it.

I just want to match the rest of the image.

Now this side.

Wrong side again.

There we go.

Bring down our White Point a little bit.

Let's see what the difference is there.

This is what we started with; that's where we are now.

That looks better to me.

Now, something a little tricky: we're going to use two Gradient Masks to isolate this area right here, and enhance the contrast in the foam.

First Gradient Mask.

Second Gradient Mask.

Now, they need to be facing opposite directions.

If I go like this, they're both facing the same way, so I'm going to turn this one around, reverse them, see? Nice, eh? Bring that down, make it a little smaller, bring this up, make it a little smaller.

Now we're going to use the Eyedropper Tool.

Click Area, select this area in here.

This is where we are on our L channel.

Bring this up just a little bit, not much.

Bring this side down.

This will give us more contrast.

Without, and with.

That's just what I'm looking for.

Now, let's look at our color.

This beach naupaka here should be somewhere around a little bit more yellow than regular foliage.

Normal foliage would be 1:2 green to yellow.

And this is a little more yellow than I would expect So I'm going to expect this to be more yellow than 2:1.

Let's take a sample and see what it looks like.

And we'll save that.

And we'll take another sample and see what that looks like too I'll take a few samples here so we get a good indication.

What do we have? 11 and 16; 10 and 14; 12 and 17.

That's not even close to 2:1 We want, actually, more yellow and less green.

This side here is Green vs.


Cooler colors are negative.

Green is cooler than Magenta.

This side here is the B Channel, and that's Blue vs.


Cooler colors are negative.

Yellow is warmer than Blue, so we've got Yellow on this side, Green on this side.

Color Balance.

We have enough Green; I'm not going to worry about that.

I'm going to bring up my Yellow.

Now we're just a little more than 2:1 on each of these.

Hey, that was easy.

Let's see what that looks like.


Up here I'm going to use a technique involving constructing an L Channel and applying it to the image with a Soft Light Blend Mode.

Let's get started.

Under Channel Mixer, there are various options.

I'm going to use the Lightness option in this case.

This Lightness option lets me reconstruct the L Channel out of a combination of Red, Green, and Blue.

What I'm going to do is I'm going to look at each of those channels and see which ones give me the most separation between the cloud and the sky.

Taking a snapshot of where things are now, so I have a reference point.

This enables me to look at my changes.

Now I'm going to take my Red Channel only and bring it up so it's about the same lightness as my original.

Maybe a little more.

Well, that certainly helps things, doesn't it? It makes the clouds pop a little more, gives them a little more definition.

It looks like we lose some color in the sky, but not too much.

Let's try the Green Channel.

That gives us more color in that red.

It doesn't really help us out on the clouds too much.

Let's try the Blue Channel.

Oh, my, that's terrible.

Our contrast is all gone.

Whatever we do, we do not want that Blue Channel.

As a matter of fact, I am going to give us a negative value for the Blue Channel.

I'm going to bring up my Green a little bit, but mostly, I'm going to use that Red.

A little Green, mostly the Red, bring the Blue down a little bit, and I'm going to apply this with the Soft Light Blend Mode.

Before, and after.

Oh, that brings out the clouds: nice.

It gives us a little more saturation, too, especially down here.

Let's look at that again.

Before, and after.

I have no interest in using this effect in the lower part of the image at all.

Drawn Mask, Gradient Filter.

We love our Gradient Filters.

Here's where we started; here's where we're at right now.

I would like to equalize the brightness of the foam and the brightness of the rocks a little bit more.

Also, up here, this is still a little bright, and so is this.

I don't want to get halos, and when I bring up shadows or bring up highlights, and then make modifications to the image in the future, it's really tough to not get halos.

I like to get nice, smooth gradients.

A Low-Pass Filter is excellent for that.

Under Saturation, turn that off so I'm just working with the L Channel.

Bring my Radius way up, way, way, way up, like that.

So now the light parts are very light and the dark parts are dark.

We're going to reverse our Contrast so we have exactly the opposite.

We're going to apply this with Blend Mode, (sorry audible mistake) and then we're going to Attenuate it by adjusting the Contrast.

If I bring this down to zero, it should be pretty much what we started with.

Yes, there's no difference between what we started with and that.

As I bring my Contrast down, we're going to see some equalizing effect there.

When I get to where I want, I can stop.

I'm bringing it back up a little bit.

I want it right about there.

Before, and after.

Darkened up here, here; lightened up here.

Before, and after.

I'm trying to bring my information into the middle of my Histogram.

I don't want to blow out my Highlights, so I'm not going to worry about my White Point yet.

RAW Denoise, an excellent option.

Let's come in and see where we're at with our noise.

There's quite a bit of noise in this image, isn't there? I shot this with a Dual ISO option, which makes it pretty much like an HDR image.

The lower ISO was 50 and the higher ISO was 800, so we've got the noise of an 800 ISO image but the parts of the image that were bright would have been calculated with the 50 ISO amount, and so they shouldn't see very much noise at all.

We don't see much noise at all.

So, I'm going to differentially apply the Noise Reduction to the darker parts of the image.

With the RAW Denoise, I'm going to bring it down all the way, and then slowly bring it up until the noise goes away.

I don't want to trade off visual acuity - sharpness - for noise reduction.

Oh, with the RAW Denoise, I cannot use a Parametric Mask.

That's fine; this will be fine.

If I wanted to use a Parametric Mask, I could use this Denoising option.

But I don't think we're really hurting anything by not.

If I had to bring my RAW Denoise threshold way up here in order to get the effect I want, I would probably switch over to the Denoise Profile so that I could apply it with a Parametric Mask.

Anything else we want to do before we save this and move on to our next stage? We've got our colors right; everything's straight; we've got our major tonal issues worked out.

Here we go.

We'll save it as a TIF, 16-bit Adobe RGB.

Here we go.

Okay, so now we're starting over again.

We've collapsed the image.

I'd like to bring out the structure of the clouds a little more.

I'd like to have them pop off the background a little more.I'm going to use two different tools for that.

Let's just worry about that part of the image first.

In order to isolate that part of the image, I will use, once again, a Gradient Fill.

That looks like a good one.

Get rid of my Color Channel.

Just working in my L Channel.

Let's bring our Radius up.

We'll get nice large tonal variations so we don't get lost in the details.

That looks good.

I'm going to apply this with a Soft Light Blend Mode, and then attenuate it with the Opacity.

There's none of the effect; there's all of the effect, maybe like that.

I'm going to do that again.

This time the contrast is a little lower.

I'm going to bring my Brightness down to zero so I don't add any brightness, because I'm concerned about losing some of these highlights.

Soft Light.

Here's what we started with, and here's where I'm at now.

That's just where I want it to be.

I'd like for the clouds to pop from the background a little bit, especially down here.

I''m going to use the two Gradient Fill method, one coming from up above and one coming from down below, to give me more of the effect at this edge but not have it extend down here.

Let's do that.

One, and another.

This one I'm going to make larger, and I'm going to spin it around so they're facing opposite directions.

Turn on my Mask Indicator.

Reverse them.

Oh, it looks like I need to spin them both around.

So, this one's a nice, even Gradient Fill from here to here, and this one starts rather abruptly because it's got a shorter transition distance.

I'm going to make it even shorter still and bring it up here.

That's what I was hoping for.

Get rid of my Color Channel.

I'm going to bring my Contrast Channel down some because 1 is just too high.

0.7 is good for this effect.

Bring my Radius to the point where I can see these clouds separating from the background.

That was pretty far.

Maybe 3 pixels.

I'm going to apply this with the Overlay Option and then attenuate the effect with the Opacity.

Before, and after.

it still looks a little dark in here, doesn't it? Let's bring up our Brightness just a little bit.

Before, and after.

I still don't want it to get into these really dark areas, so I'm going to combine the Drawn Mask with a Parametric Mask, use the Eyedropper Tool to determine the value of this darker area, and use my L Channel here and these sliders to reduce the effect in the darker part We'll turn on our Mask Indicator so we can see what we're doing.

Bring my sliders up.

There, now there's very little effect in the darker part.

I'd like nice smooth transitions, so I'm going to use a Mask Blur here.

Turn that off, get rid of that Eyedropper.

Ah, yes; now it's not so dark in here.

But I still have these parts popping off the background.

Without it, and with it.

Now let's work on the bottom part here.

I'd like for these rocks to look all nice, big, and rounded too.

I need more mid-tone in order to work with this image.

I'm dealing with the top and the bottom part of this image separately.

There, that will give me more mid-tones to work with down here.

Knock down some of these highlights, kindof flatten the tone.

I can use this mid-tone information and push it toward the edges in a selective manner to emphasize this shading.

Using Low-Pass Filters and Soft Light Blending Mode.

Bring my Contrast down and my Lightness up a little bit.

Oh, let's just leave it like that for starting, and get rid of our Saturation so we can see what we're doing.

Then increase my Radius and bring it down to the point where I'm getting the shading I want.

We're starting to see some nice shading on these rocks without getting lost in the details like the individual cracks and pukas (Hawai'ian for hole) in the rocks.

It's up around 30 pixels for a Radius, applying it with Soft Light.

Opacity to attenuate the effect.

This is no effect: it looks a little flat.

As I increase the effect, these start to look more 3-dimensional.

Without it, and with it.

I'm not interested in having the effect up here.

We're working on the bottom part of the image, so once again I'm going to use the Drawn Mask.

When you use Drawn Mask, you can go into the memory of Masks here, and pull out one that you used recently, so you don't have to re-draw them each time.

I had that Tone Curve.

I will have to reverse it, though.

There we are.

Well, I want to do that same thing again.

I'm just going to duplicate this instance.

In order to see what I'm doing, I'm turning the Opacity all the way up, changing my Blend Mode to Normal, and then reducing the Radius.

There, that's the shading I want.

I'm not getting individual leaves yet, but I'm starting to get some of these smaller rocks.

If I go just a little bit smaller, I think I can pick up the variation between the different leaves.

There we go.

I like that.

Back to Soft Light.

Use the Opacity to attenuate the effect.

Oh, I like that.

I'm going to work on edges now.

High-Pass Filter.

Bring it down until I just get my edges.

Mostly I'm interested in making sure I maintain the detail in here.

This is a little bit, ah, this is a long exposure, so the waves are a little smeared out.

I want to make sure that when I apply edging, I don't end up with some unusual effect because of this smearing, so I'm not going to apply much contrast to the edges.

I'm adjusting my Contrast and my Sharpness to just get the parts I want, and I'm going to apply this with Overlay and bring it up just a little bit.

I think that works well.

It works on the rocks, it works here, and it works up here in the clouds too.

I'll just apply that to the entire image -- except, I'm not happy with what it does to the waves here They look a little contrasty to me.

If I use a Drawn Mask, and use a nice large tool, I can paint this.

If I give it enough Mask Blur and reverse it, it will give me a nice smooth lack of effect in this area.

We'll turn on our Mask Indicator and see what's going on.

This is the area I painted.

I'm going to reverse it.

Now it doesn't have an effect.

Now take our Mask Blur and turn it up pretty good.

There we go, like that.

There, now we don't end up with this chunky look up here.

Well, that's mostly what I wanted to do to this.

Time to work on the color.

Bring up that just a little bit.

This is only applying to the bottom part, see? Colors are going to be a little tricky on this.

I don't want the ocean to become too Cyan, and it can get out of Cyan really quickly, so I'm going to watch that as I work.

I'm applying a Parametric Mask, and the first thing I'm going to do is try and equalize my colors a little bit, and then I'll increase them.

I want to increase it so that the parts of the image that don't have much color get a little more, and the parts of the image that have more color don't get as much to start, just to give me a little equalization.

Here I am on the Chromacity Channel.

I'll turn on my Mask Indicator so I can see what I'm doing, bring down my sliders so I can see where the color starts.

About there.

So the beach naupaka's not going to get much, these areas here will get more effect.

The more yellow, the more effect.

We're going to separate our colors.

That's going to increase visual isolation of individual components and increase the saturation a little bit too.

Bring those up.

Let's see what that looks like.

Nothing, and with it.


Look what it does to the sky; it brings out some nice colors in here.

The ocean's fine.

The beach naupaka doesn't get out of hand, and the rocks get a little more colorful.

Without it, and with it.

We've got a lot of color noise in here.

See that? I'm going to apply a Gaussian Blur to just the Color Channel to merge my colors that are adjacent cells, and that will get rid of this red-green noise.

Since most of the detail is in the L Channel, the Luminosity Channel, it really shouldn't degrade the image much by doing that.

So, first thing, we'll get rid of the Contrast.

Bring that down to zero.

Now we only have the Color Channel.

Bring our Radius down.

Maybe 3 or 4 pixels.

We'll start at 3 and bring it up if we need to.

Apply this to just the Color Channel.

Well, we still have little bits of green and red here.

Before, and after.

We got rid of a lot of it.

We'll bring it up to 4 pixels.

Before, and after.

Oh, I think that got rid of all of it.


Did we lose much detail? Before, and after.

A little bit, but it looks fine to me, especially from out here.

When we Sharpen in our final pass, I think we'll pick all that up again, so I'm not worried about it.

This looks good to me.

Let's collapse this and do final changes.

Getting close.

Here we are.

Starting anew.

Everything's been collapsed, all our changes have been applied, we're working with a 16-bit TIF again, we're still in RGB color space.

Let's make our final adjustments.

First thing I want to do is add some color to this.

I don't want this beach naupaka to get fluorescent on me, so I'll probably be applying the color in a Gradient Fill from the bottom, with more color on top, because, heck, everyone loves a sunset.

I'm going to apply the color, increase the Saturation, using a Low-Pass Filter so that I don't increase noise.

I'll bring this down to maybe 3 pixels, apply it only to the Color Channel.

I don't need to turn off Contrast if I tell this to only apply to the Color Channel.

It automatically excludes Luminosity Gap.

Then I bring up my Saturation.

I'm making the Blend larger than the image so that even at the bottom here, there's some effect.

Here, I'll turn on the Mask Indicator.

We get a lot of effect up here, and I still want to get some effect on the bottom.

I want to make it a little bit smaller so that I get my maximum effect that starts at the horizon.

Now, make my Saturation the way I want.

Oh, that looks like fun, doesn't it? It looks like a little bit of Gamma, because it's a little dark still.

The whole image is just a little bit dark.

I don't want to make this area get any brighter.

I'm going to lock that right here.

We'll put a point right here.

That will hold that.

And then, what areas do I want to be brighter? Well, like right here.

That's a good start.

Let's bring that up just a little bit.

I feel like my Black Point has some issues.

Yeah; look at this gap.

Bring this down a little bit.

I don't like what it's doing here, so once again, I'm going to use a Drawn Mask.

Swing it all the way around, make it smaller, there we go.

I still feel like the whole image could use a little more lightening.

I don't want to lose my detail in the foam.

I already did that.

I'm going to grab a point in the foam and hold it and then lighten the rest of the image.

Well, I'm not feeling good about that at all.

Let's try a different technique.

Unlike last time, I'm going to apply this with the Soft Light Filter, because I'm interested in tones, not edges.

Bring this down because it's too strong.

Here's no effect, bring it up a little bit.

Well, that's a little better.

Final Sharpening.

This part of the image here just looks a little blue to me, and it's sunset, so I feel like this color here should be reflecting this way.

I can see a little bit of highlights here and here, but then it gets lost.

Maybe it's the cloud shading on it, I don't know, but I don't get the impression that they're in the same scene.

So, I'm going to figure out what color this is, and then I'm going to apply a little bit of that color to the highlights on this side.

Use our Eyedropper tool to figure out what color this is.

So, it's right here on our B Channel, and right here on our A Channel.

It's this bottom part I want to apply it to.

Oh, good; I got it facing the right way.

A little bit more Red.

A little bit more Yellow.

A little more pop.

Before, and after.

Ah, yes, that's just what I'm looking for.

This wave here looks like it could be a little more identifiable.

I'm going to use a Low-Pass Filter with a really wide setting to try and give me some more macroscopic tone here, so I've got some structure.

I'm going to paint that on, because I only want it in a certain area.

So, we have Low-Pass Filter, Drawn Mask.

I'm going to paint this on.

Use our Mask Blur.

Yeah; that looks good.

We don't need any Saturation.

Let's bring our Radius up so we start getting the macroscopic feel.

There we go.

Oh, I'd like it to go up a little bit higher here, maybe over to the right a little bit.

Let's add a little bit.

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

Before, and after.

It looks like it's a little strong.

Bring it down just a little bit, and it looks like it's a little dark.

Bring the Brightness up just a little bit.

Before, and after.

Now I can see that feature better.

Last but not least, I'd like for these rocks here that are sticking out of the water to kind of separate from the water.

I did that with the clouds with the Overlay Blend mode with a Low-Pass Filter, so I'm going to use the same thing here.

New Instance.

Drawn Mask.

Nice and big.

Give me some separation here.

Mask Blur.

See if that's too large or not.

No, that looks good.

We don't need the Color Layer at all.

Get rid of that.

Let's adjust our Radius up so that we can get it to the point where these rocks kind of pop away a little bit.

There we go.

We've got our edge, but we're not getting lost in the detail.

Apply this with the Overlay.

Blend Mode.

Oh, look; they just pop off the back.

Bring down our Opacity quite a bit because it's too strong.

Bring it up slowly.

Better be careful with that.

It's a strong effect.

Before, and after.

That's it.

It looks good to me.

Nice to see you all again.

Have a wonderful day.

Thank you.

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