How I did it…

LeggNet posted a call for eager and anxious Photoshoppers to tackle a little bit of post processing. I was excited, and here is the result of what I did with a little commentary.

I was really excited when I saw that this was going to be the photo to work from, especially after I was unable attend the Photowalk at the Great Salt Lake a few weeks ago, and was further depressed when I saw the breathtaking images that came back to Flickr as a result. So, how cool is it then to get the chance to edit this image, and get to put a little bit of Jake Spurlock into it.

To Start:
I do all of my processing by starting with Apple Aperture. Beginning with the RAW 2.0 processing, I delved into the levels adjustments. I pulled black to black, crushing the blacks a little, created some highlights in white, and the made a nice midpoint. I did this on all three of the color channels respectively.

After levels, I moved into contrast, definitions, saturation, and vibrancy. When I take pictures, and then edit, reality isn’t at the top of my list of rules to follow. If I was going to make movies, 300, Batman Begins, and Speed Racer would be the inspiration. That being said, this photo evokes the idea of a warrior princess, standing guard over a kingdom. So, contrast is pushed, super saturation, and the image gains a lot of character.

One cool Aperture feature is the shadow recovery tool. Basically, it selectively adds some gain to the black areas of the photo. For video people, similar to setting the knee level for broadcasting equipment. Boosting this brought a lot of detail in from the rocks, and really shows off their awesome texture.

With these adjustments, I was really satisfied with the clouds, rocks and water. Yet, the warrior princess was a little dim, and lacking the glow that she deserved. So, I created a new version from the master, and went to work again creating the same look for her. When I was content with how she looked, I exported versions of both images, and brought them into photoshop for some blending.

This was a pretty simple, yet laborious process. I am sure that everyone reading this has had to do this before, so I won’t go into to much detail. I had my darker layer as the background, and then pasted the other on top. I went to work with the eraser/lasso/marquee tool getting rid of the excess. If you look at my image and contrast to the original, she is clearly a blond in the original, but I really like the look of her with dark hair and used the darker background source for that.

When all of the erasing was done, I used the dodge tool around her outline on the background layer to give her a little bit of an angelic glow. Followed up with spot healing brush for some legs, arm and face. I don’t bother too much, after all this is a warrior, not a cover model. 😉 After that, save as a .PSD, and reimport back into Aperture.

Once back in Aperture, I added another round of vignette. It created those dark and foreboding clouds, and added to the rock detail at the bottom. Part of the post process is to send revisions back and forth to my wife who has a great eye for detail. Wrote up a summary, and off to Rich for posting!

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