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Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques


The Practicing Photographer

with Ben Long

Video: Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques

In the previous movie of this installment of the practicing photographer, you saw me shoot a picture of Greg standing on a bunch of tires in the middle of nowhere in an empty dry lake bed. And I showed you that I was going to warp that into this little planet with Greg poking up off of it. What we're going to do now is take those images that I shot and do the actual warping so you can see what the post production process is. I'm here in Bridge and I've gone through the images that I shot. I've already picked out the three that I want and they were actually the very first three that I shot.
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  1. 13m 55s
    1. Composing an image using what you have NEW
      4m 44s
  2. 1m 35s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
  3. 12h 16m
    1. Choosing a camera
      5m 27s
    2. Looking at light as a subject
      2m 22s
    3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
      5m 45s
    4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
      6m 30s
    5. Let your lens reshape you
      7m 26s
    6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
      7m 44s
    7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
      3m 56s
    8. Shooting without a memory card
      3m 6s
    9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
      5m 28s
    10. Working with reflections
      1m 26s
    11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
      7m 25s
    12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
      7m 30s
    13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
      2m 13s
    14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
      4m 15s
    15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
      11m 41s
    16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
      3m 18s
    17. Using a tripod
      3m 33s
    18. Wildlife and staying present
      5m 58s
    19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
      6m 52s
    20. Why Shoot Polaroid
      11m 12s
    21. Seizing an opportunity
      4m 4s
    22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
      12m 24s
    23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
      4m 54s
    24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
      13m 36s
    25. Shooting wildlife
      7m 24s
    26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
      12m 27s
    27. Using a lens hood
      4m 48s
    28. Working with themes
      2m 48s
    29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    30. Processing an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    31. Two perspectives on travel photography
      12m 28s
    32. Scanning Photos
      5m 37s
    33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
      3m 13s
    34. Reviewing the egg shot images
      6m 47s
    35. Shooting in your own backyard
      4m 38s
    36. Jpeg iPad import process
      3m 17s
    37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
      9m 34s
    38. Reviewing the product shot images
      4m 5s
    39. Warming up
      3m 26s
    40. Taking a panning action shot
      10m 17s
    41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
      8m 17s
    42. Shooting a silhouette
      3m 9s
    43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
      5m 29s
    44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
      12m 38s
    45. Working with flash for macro photography
      4m 56s
    46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
      5m 10s
    47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
      4m 14s
    48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
      3m 4s
    49. Using Lightroom on the road
      6m 28s
    50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
      2m 20s
    51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
    52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
      9m 48s
    53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
      6m 41s
    54. Shooting level
      2m 42s
    55. Photoshop and Automator
      8m 54s
    56. Shooting when the light is flat
      3m 23s
    57. Discussing the business of stock photography
      9m 48s
    58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
      3m 21s
    59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
      4m 45s
    60. Understanding the three flash setup
      3m 34s
    61. Shooting a three flash portrait
      4m 6s
    62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
      4m 43s
    63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
      5m 25s
    64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
      4m 43s
    65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
      7m 29s
    66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
      5m 46s
    67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
      3m 28s
    68. Photography practice through mimicry
      8m 8s
    69. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
      5m 59s
    70. Posing and shooting pairs of people
      5m 35s
    71. Shooting with a shape in mind
      3m 15s
    72. Shooting tethered to a laptop
      4m 40s
    73. Softboxes vs. umbrellas
      2m 55s
    74. Getting your project out into the world
      6m 25s
    75. Exploring how to think about shooting a new environment
      3m 56s
    76. Discussing the book "The Passionate Photographer" with Steve Simon
      6m 4s
    77. Highlighting iOS 8 updates on the iPhone5S
      10m 46s
    78. Exploring manual controls with iOS 8 and ProCamera
      5m 30s
    79. Understanding how to compose with an empty sky
      4m 54s
    80. Using an iPhone to make a print in the darkroom
      7m 16s
    81. How to use glycerin as a photography tool
      2m 16s
    82. Understanding micro focus adjustment and Lens Align
      11m 19s
    83. Working with hair in post
      3m 28s
    84. Taking a quick portrait and directing a subject
      5m 50s
    85. Getting inspired through the work of others
      11m 22s
    86. Taking a flattering portrait with flash
      4m 21s
    87. Creating an unaligned HDR image
      3m 3s
    88. Exploring how to use Bokeh
      5m 38s
    89. Shooting stills from a drone
      6m 57s
    90. Using a monitor to get a first person view of the aerial camera
      8m 0s
    91. Understanding lens profile correction
      5m 33s
    92. Working with models
      2m 40s
    93. Understanding the labels on SD cards
      10m 32s
    94. Setting up a macro time lapse of a flower
      6m 18s
    95. Taking a portrait that's tightly cropped or slightly obscured
      3m 24s
    96. Tips for shooting panoramas
      7m 16s
    97. Carrying a point-and-shoot camera
      4m 44s
    98. Adjusting the color of shadows in an image
      5m 35s
    99. Evaluating camera-strap options
      4m 42s
    100. The 100th Practicing Photographer
      3m 31s
    101. Using light-pollution maps for planning night shoots
      3m 26s
    102. Shooting a series of star shots for a stack
      8m 32s
    103. Stitching together stacks of stars
      8m 59s
    104. Understanding how to clean sensor dust
      10m 27s
    105. Dry sensor cleaning
      6m 23s
    106. Cleaning the sensor with moisture
      7m 32s
    107. Composing in the center
      2m 48s
    108. Working with an electronic shutter control
      2m 50s
    109. Understanding how to use the Wi-Fi feature in some cameras
      2m 56s
    110. Exploring the software equivalent to graduated ND (neutral density) filters
      7m 8s
    111. Don't be predictable in your framing
      10m 21s
    112. Shooting with ND filter and flash to balance subject and background exposure
      2m 42s
    113. Understanding when to go low contrast
      3m 15s
    114. Reasons for shooting images alone
      4m 5s
    115. Working with colored lens filters and converting to black and white
      14m 4s
    116. Waiting for a subject when the light is good
      5m 2s
    117. Understanding options for tripod heads
      7m 23s
    118. Shooting a slow-shutter zoom-and-spin shot for light effect
      4m 47s
    119. Shooting and processing a long exposure at night
      10m 0s
    120. Getting creative with image curation
      4m 12s
    121. Why equivalent lenses don't always meter the same
      5m 42s
    122. Pulling stills from a timelapse NEW
      6m 8s

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Watch the Online Video Course The Practicing Photographer
12h 32m Appropriate for all May 16, 2013 Updated Sep 03, 2015

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In The Practicing Photographer, photographer and teacher Ben Long shares a weekly serving of photographic instruction and inspiration. Each installment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or a software technique. Each installment concludes with a call to action designed to inspire you to pick up your camera (or your mouse or smartphone) to try the technique for yourself.

Ben Long

Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques

In the previous movie of this installment of the practicing photographer, you saw me shoot a picture of Greg standing on a bunch of tires in the middle of nowhere in an empty dry lake bed. And I showed you that I was going to warp that into this little planet with Greg poking up off of it. What we're going to do now is take those images that I shot and do the actual warping so you can see what the post production process is. I'm here in Bridge and I've gone through the images that I shot. I've already picked out the three that I want and they were actually the very first three that I shot.

So I've got this image, this image and this image. So, straight across panorama. I can tell already, as I thumb through these, that. My horizon line here is not staying consistent, so, that's going to mean some extra cropping and things like that. But, still, I think I'm pretty good. I'm just going to select those images, and go up to the Tools menu, choose Photoshop and Photo Merge. And that's going to open the images in Photoshop and start the merging process. If you're not clear on panoramic shooting, take a look at my Photoshop CS 5 Landscape Photography course.

There's a whole chapter on everything from shooting panoramas to stitching panoramas. This is CS6 that I'm working in, works exactly the same way there, so now, I just need to wait until it's finished. Okay, when it's done, I end up with three layers in a single document. And you can see the stitching that its done. Its very smooth because of the type of projection that it had to do to get my images warped into a single panorama. I had this weird crop. So this image needs to be cropped like any panorama does and I think it also probably needs to be straightened. I'm going to pull a guide down here to the horizon.

And I can see that my horizon is not straight. It needs to be straight for this tiny planets thing to work. So I'm going to grab the Crop tool. Now, earlier I told you that your images need to be twice as wide as they are high. Honestly it's not that critical that they're really two to one, so, it's not a bad idea to work that way. But I'm going to just freely crop this however I want here. And I'm going to go for as much image as I can. Now, the more image that I have, possibly, the smaller Greg will end up being. So you may find that you want to try different warps with different widths to get different proportions in the elements in your image.

That looks pretty good to me, I'm going to keep that. I'm still in three layers here because of the merging process, so I'm just going to flatten my image that's going to speed things up. Now the next thing I need to do is straighten the image. I'm still in my, I'm still in my Crop tool, in Photoshop CS6, straightening is very easy, there's a straighten button up here, and then I can just click, to the final line across what I like to be horizontal. If you're working in an earlier version of Photoshop you might need to use the Measure tool and the straighten feature that's built into that. So that's looking pretty good. Next I need to rotate the image 180 degrees.

I'm going to do that with Image > Image Rotation > 180 degrees. That flips it upside down. Now my image needs to be a perfect square and it's plainly very much a rectangle. So I'm going to use the image size dialog box to change it from a rectangle to a square. I need to be sure that constraint proportions is not checked because I'm going to do an asymmetric re-sizing. I just need these two numbers to match. Now I can match the height to the width. That's going to make an enlargement of my image which might mean softening or I can go the other way.

I'm going to just change the width, the larger number to be the same as the height. Mostly because it's going to make the processing much faster while you guys are watching. So I'm entering the same value in there because Constraint Proportions is not checked, I'm going to end up with a square image. So I say OK, and sure enough my image has been squished into a square. Now I'm ready to do the spherical warping that's going to give me the tiny world. If I go up to the Filter menu, I'm looking for Distort. But Distort is grayed out, I can't get to it. That's probably because this was a raw image and I expect that as it came out the raw converter, it came in as a 16-bit image.

And it actually says right up here in the title bar RGB/16. So that means that I'm in RGB color mode at 16 bits per pixel. So I'm not going to have access to any of my distort filters, until I go to image, mode, and change it down to eight bits per channel. That's a very quick little feature there. Then I go Filter. Aha, now I have my Distort menu. I'm going to pick Polar Coordinates. And I want to go from rectangular. I have a rectangular Cartesian grid of coordinates right now. I want to remap those to polar. That's the default.

So it should come up already checked that way. Hit OK. And there we go. I have a tiny world. I have a tiny world with some problems. I have some a tiny world that needs some change here. You can see that it's done a great job of warping everything. Craig's ended up poking off the bottom. I can easily fix that by going Image Rotation 90 degrees clockwise. That's a little better. But I've got a few other problems. My horizon was really good. I really did end up with the edges in the right place, so I do have this nice perfect circle, but boy there's a big seam here.

I wasn't paying attention to the fact that the tires were not actually lined up the same on each side of the frame. So I could try to fix that here in my, in my warped image, but I think instead it's going to be easier to go back to the original. While I'm here I want to look at a couple of other things. I've got this weird artifact out here. I can, just try to fix that through some cloning later. I like these little clouds. I think I might want more of them. It's going to be hard to clone them in the final image because they need to be cloned along this circular arc, so I think I may do, go back and do that in the original image.

So, I'm going to go to my History palette and just back out of this maybe right back to where I did my eight bits per pixel change. actually I have a problem working upside down, and I don't want to work on the squished image. So I'm going to go all the way back to my crop. So what do I do now to get this end of the tires to match this end of the tires? it's going to be a cloning operation. But I think before I do that, I might make things easier on myself by trying to minimize the amount of cloning that I need to do.

I'm going to drag a guide down here. I like that this end of the tires is really thick, and this end is a little bit thinner. I'm going to drag this guide down here to the top of the tires. So you can see that I need this part to match up with, with this part. And then I'm going to need this part to match up down here, so let me drag another guide here. So I, I need to have more tires in this area. I think I'm going to start that by simply cropping the image again. I'm going to drag the right side over, to here.

Now I don't have any tires in the image that go above that line. So that's going to leave me with less cropping to do. Now, I don't know what it's going to do to the distortion of the image because I've now got such a much narrower image, but we'll just try it and see. I'm going to grab my Clone tool and just start cloning in some more tires. If you're not familiar with the Clone tool, and how to use it, there are lots of places in the lynda library to find that out. My big concern right now oops, with my cloning is I don't want to clone in such a way that I get obviously repetitive patterns like these three tires right here.

So I'm going to go grab some tires from a completely different part of the image and clone those in there. Just to break that up. And overall that's still a little too recognizable. Let's throw just some of that in there. Okay that's not bad. I, I don't think that looks, and then I got these three things. I don't know that, that looks recognizably cloned, but also the whole thing's going to be warped into a circle. So this is all going to change. So. Let's leave it at that and see what happens. Like I said before, I like these little whispy cloud things.

I'd like to have more of them, so I'm just going to clone a couple more in, and I'm going to try and build up some bigger clouds out of them, so that they don't look quite so uniform. It, might be that it's actually turning cloudy outside right now, it might be that I just want to go back and shoot this again if that was possible with more in the sky, because I do like the clouds there. So, I can do that all day cloning clouds. Let's go and see what happens. I need to back through my whole process now, I'm going to first rotate 180 degrees.

Then I'm going to go to Image, Image Size then I'm going to take this down to be a square. Constrained Proportions is not checked. I could work in either my pixel dimensions or my document size. I can enter the same values for document size. Instead I'm just going to go up here and say 36 there goes Expose, 36, 33, hit OK. Now I have a square Now, I'm ready to go filter. Oh, look, distort is gone again. That's because I undid my mode change. So I need to go back to eight bits. Filter > Distort > Polar coordinates.

Rectangular to polar, okay. Aha, now we're getting somewhere. I still have a very visible scene here, but now my tires are matching. I've got a nice perfect circle of tires. You're almost always going to have a scene like that in any of these because there's always going to be total difference from one end of the frame to the other unless you are in some geometrically perfect environment. So here I can clean this up by working directly on my image with the Clone tool. Just going to try to break up with those smaller Brush. I'm using the left and right Bracket keys to change Brush size.

And again, I can really cheat this a lot and get away with a lot here because it's an inherently distorted, weird geometrically imprecise image. I just want to make sure that any, any seam removal I'm doing is not introducing anything new. Now there is a change in tonality there. That's not really bothering me. Most people are not going to look at this and go oh, there's a little bit of tonality difference right there. They're going to look at this and go, wow, that's really weird. It's a spherical little planet with a guy sticking up off of it. So, I'm hoping my content is going to kind of upstage any problems that I have here.

One last thing. I, maybe I don't mind that. This now looks like kind of a uniform patch of stuff. So I think I'll just leave that there. Let's see about rotating 90 degrees to see where, Greg ends up. So 90 degrees clockwise. I like that better. I could even do a free rotate if I wanted. And, and position him, however I liked. Arbitrary rotate let's go back 15 degrees. So I could do that, but now I'm going to be forced to crop and fill in the sky, which I could do with content aware fill and all that kind of stuff. But I think that's pretty good.

Let's get those guides out of here. and I could probably crop this down a little bit. Last thing I need to do is just basic total adjustment. Just like I would on any image, I want to be sure my contrast and saturation is good for the image. So, I'm going to go here to levels. I've got a fairly strong black point. It could be a little bit better. My whites are way off. I'm going to push this over here, which might be blowing out some of the clouds. I can fix that later with a layer mask. But that's making sure that all my tonality in here is correct.

So, I like that. I think that'll work. I would want to touch it up a little bit more maybe, sharpen it, do a test print, see how it looks. But again, this is a very simple process that you can use anytime you've got a clean horizon with a straight line, a nice wide panorama and stuff poking up over that horizon. Notice everything that's going off planet as it were are the things that were above the horizon. So try this with city scapes, landscapes, even there, even sometimes interior shots work well when you warp them into a sphere like this.

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A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.
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