Monday, September 3, 2007

Letting Your Image Take Off

The opening image for this column was inspired by something that I try to do all the time in real life, with my photography and in the digital darkroom: have fun! The image looks as though my son and I are soaring at top speed high above beautiful blue water in a colorful biplane. It's one of my favorites, which I created after a family trip to the Florida Keys, and it captures the speed, fun, excitement and togetherness of our experience.

By Rick Sammon Published in Quick Fix
Quick Fix: Letting Your Image Take Off The opening image for this column was inspired by something that I try to do all the time in real life, with my photography and in the digital darkroom: have fun! The image looks as though my son and I are soaring at top speed high above beautiful blue water in a colorful biplane. It's one of my favorites, which I created after a family trip to the Florida Keys, and it captures the speed, fun, excitement and togetherness of our experience.

STEP ONE The image was created in Adobe Photoshop Elements (but you can use the same techniques in Adobe Photoshop). I combined two shots, one of the ocean, which I took during our flight, and one of my son and I in the passenger seat before takeoff, taken with a point-and-shoot camera by the plane's pilot. Not only did the picture of my son and I not capture the fun of the flight, but we were too dark, a result of the lighter tarmac "fooling" the camera's meter into underexposing us. That was easy to fix.

Quick Fix: Letting Your Image Take Off
Quick Fix: Letting Your Image Take Off
Quick Fix: Letting Your Image Take Off


Quick Fix: Letting Your Image Take OffSTEP TWO I went to Enhance Lighting > Shadows/Highlights and opened up the shadow areas of the scene, namely, our faces. Shadows/Highlights is a cool control, letting you control the shadows and highlights of an image independently.



Quick Fix: Letting Your Image Take OffSTEP THREE Here you see the result of that first quick fix.






Quick Fix: Letting Your Image Take OffSTEP FOUR Next, I needed to replace the tarmac with the water. That, too, was easy. I opened both images on my monitor and placed the picture of us over the image of the water, creating a two-layer file. Using the Magic Eraser tool on the toolbar, which erases by color, I started clicking on the tarmac.

When using the Magic Eraser tool, you need to access the Elements Options menu to control the Tolerance. I had it set to 32, which let me erase just the right amount of the tarmac without erasing any part of the plane or boats in the background (which have different colors).

Quick Fix: Letting Your Image Take Off Set the Tolerance too low, and not enough of the color area will be erased, causing you to click more times than necessary in an area. Set it too high, and too much of the color will be erased.





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