A pattern to resizing or editing your digital pics?

  • Cold Canuck
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I wasn't sure if I should have attached this topic to the one about camera prefs, but here goes.

I'm curious about what pattern or sequence of resizing, auto levels or unsharp mask is considered best or optimal for images that will see web use and/or print from an HP 1215...

Clearly I'm not likely to be mistaken for a photographer :D
But if there is a way I can improve on the lighting, image enhancement or even an established sequence to improve the quality of digital images, then I'd be very interested in reading your views or opinions.

Please copy and paste since the image is on a free web host.
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http://www.freewebs.com/coldcanuck/chimes.jpg


Cheers....


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Post 3+ Months Ago

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Post 3+ Months Ago

That's a nice photo, don't cut yourself short :)

It depends on the photos I'm taking, and the format they're in. If I'm just shooting Jpegs, and I've got to resize down anyway to fit on the screen, usually I'll do all my levels, colour, brightness, contrast adjustments, etc. in Photoshop on the full size image. Then I'll run an unsharp mask (Amount 500%, Radius 0.2 Pixels, Threshold 0 Levels), then resize and start fine tuning the sharpness a bit more at the final size.

If I'm taking photos in RAW, I'll use the Nikon Capture & Nikon View editors to tweak it. There's a lot you can do with RAW files that you can't do with JPGs because of the way they're structured (like vast improvements on white balance adjustments for example)...

Again, I may use Nikon View Editor's auto-contrast on JPG or TIF files before saving out to further edit in Photoshop, but if the original is a JPG, I'll save it out as a format that doesn't use any compression, to prevent further loss of detail.

Where quality is key, and the image is ultimately intended for print, or it MAY ultimately be printed, I'll shoot uncompressed TIF or RAW format. Then you don't get the artifacts showing up that you do with JPGs. Of course, a 3008x2000 JPG can be as little as about 6-7Meg, a 3008x2000 TIF is gonna be nearer to 25-35Meg, which implies there's a big difference in the amount of detail captured.

It basically boils down to the ultimate intention for the image really. For the screen, I'll often do a fair bit of post-processing to fix the colours better for the screen, sharpness at a smaller size, etc. For print, I may fix the white balance, and sharpness a lil, but other than that, I don't do much editing to them.

I just had a lil read up on your camera (Olympus C4040z right?), you can take TIF images up to 2272x1704, which should be good enough for a medium quality 8x10 print. You'll only get one TIF image of that size on a 16Meg Smart Media, so I hope you've got one with a lil higher capacity laying around, hehe - if you're going to be post-processing your images, TIF is definitely the way to go.

Now, a couple of things with your camera...

White Balance - it says here that it has built-in presets, and that compensation is available, but it doesn't say if you can program your own preset (which is the best thing to do much of the time). The general setting for outdoor sunny pictures that the D100 folks recommend is Cloudy with -3 compensation - rather than using the "Sunny" setting. It seems to give a more pleasing appearance, so give that a try and see what happens. If you can manually preset a white balance to use for a shoot, let me know and we'll go into that a lil more. :)

Flash - You've only got a built-in flash, with no shoe on top to mount an external flash. Lighting can be a tricky subject then. If you can pre-program your white-balance, then head down to Home Depot, and get a couple of those $10 halogen work lamps. They're like 500Watts each, so they get REAL hot, but if you're just using them for small amounts of time for a little supplemental lighting taking photos in the back yard or whatever, then they can work out real good to make sure your subjects are well lit, that there's no harsh shadows, etc. Depending on your camera, the halogens might make your images appear a slightly funny colour (especially if you can't manually preset your white balance), so some post-processing may be in order - You'll only really know how your camera's built-in white balancing compensates for this after you've taken a couple of photos. But take them in TIF format, so that you can post-process them later with minimal loss in quality.

Other than that, there are slightly more expensive basic studio lighting setups you can get. You can get a basic 2 light setup with the umbrella reflectors that are always-on for about 100-150 bucks if you hunt around on eBay. You can also get a similar setup, that is triggered from the built-in flash on your camera for about 200-300 on eBay.

The latter has the advantage that it isn't on ALL the time, and so doesn't build up heat. Because of the amount of light they have to give off, lights that are always on can produce a lot of heat very quickly, and in a studio setting, it can become unbearable after a rather short amount of time unless you have lots of windows or doors open and it's cooler outside (and not windy, heh).
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thank you, for the detailed information :)

Quote:
That's a nice photo, don't cut yourself short :)

Like many people, when it comes to my own abilities...I am often my own worst critic, but thanks for the kind words.
Quote:
If I'm just shooting Jpegs, and I've got to resize down anyway to fit on the screen, usually I'll do all my levels, colour, brightness, contrast adjustments, etc. in Photoshop on the full size image. Then I'll run an unsharp mask (Amount 500%, Radius 0.2 Pixels, Threshold 0 Levels), then resize and start fine tuning the sharpness a bit more at the final size.

Do you resize in multiple steps as I do, using unasharp mask between steps?
Quote:
There's a lot you can do with RAW files that you can't do with JPGs because of the way they're structured (like vast improvements on white balance adjustments for example)...

Unfortunately, the Olympus cameras are restricted to:
TIFF
SHQ (.jpeg)
HQ (.jpeg)
SQ1 (.jpeg)
SQ2 (.jpeg)
Is RAW format a Nikon-only format?
Quote:
Where quality is key, and the image is ultimately intended for print, or it MAY ultimately be printed, I'll shoot uncompressed TIF or RAW format. Then you don't get the artifacts showing up that you do with JPGs. Of course, a 3008x2000 JPG can be as little as about 6-7Meg, a 3008x2000 TIF is gonna be nearer to 25-35Meg, which implies there's a big difference in the amount of detail captured.

I've always used .tiffs for their higher quality, since for the most part, the camera was purchased to take snaps of the lil one (printing hard copies on the HP), and would only be used for web design if the client had no such resource him/her self.

Quote:
I just had a lil read up on your camera (Olympus C4040z right?), you can take TIF images up to 2272x1704, which should be good enough for a medium quality 8x10 print. You'll only get one TIF image of that size on a 16Meg Smart Media, so I hope you've got one with a lil higher capacity laying around, hehe

Yup, I went out and bought a 128 MB card right after seeing that one high rez .tiff image take up the entire 16MB card :shock:

Quote:
Now, a couple of things with your camera...
White Balance - it says here that it has built-in presets, and that compensation is available, but it doesn't say if you can program your own preset (which is the best thing to do much of the time). The general setting for outdoor sunny pictures that the D100 folks recommend is Cloudy with -3 compensation - rather than using the "Sunny" setting. It seems to give a more pleasing appearance, so give that a try and see what happens. If you can manually preset a white balance to use for a shoot, let me know and we'll go into that a lil more. :)

Under the "Setup/All Reset/Custom" theres an entry for "WB +/-" with Red and Blue at opposite ends of a small unnumbered scale.
There's also a separate entry for WB with the following presets:
1. Auto
2. A sun icon
3. A cloud icon
4. A sun icon with a bump on the top (bright sun, but with large clouds, maybe *l*)
5. A rectangular bar with rays of some sort coming off it (no idea)


Thanks again for the help :D


Cheers...


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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yeah, I hate my own photos too, lol..

From what I gather, there are several different RAW formats (Nikon has one, Canon has one), I honestly have no idea what standards they follow, or what the differences are between them (having only had a raw-capable camera for a couple of weeks, I've not looked into it much yet).

As far as your white balance...

The WB +/- would be for manual compensation working from one of your 5 wb type settings as a base, so that you can have a cooler or warmer lighting appearance to your images.

1. Auto - Full auto TTL (through-the-lens) metering where it tries to figure it out itself
2. Sun - Nice bright sunny day
3. Cloud - Overcast day.
4. Sun with a bump - I think this is the "Tungsten light" setting (used for indoor photos under regular house light bulbs).
5. Rectangular bar with rays - This would be the Flourescent setting. Flourescent lights tend to have a habit to turn things green, so this setting attempts to compensate for that.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Oh, by the way... If you head on over to this page..

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2001_rev ... 0_pg2.html

And scroll down a bit, you can see your camera there hooked up to an external flash with a flash bracket - I've no idea what the cost would be on that though... For a comparison, to add a single TTL flash & bracket to a Nikon camera, you're looking at anywhere between $150 to $800 depending on whether you go new or used, and exactly which model flash you purchase/need.

Ok, hold on, lemme research this, I'm wondering about cost here on this now too, lol.

The actual flash in the URL I just pasted there is the Olympus FL-40. This flash is selling on eBay right now for between $200-250 (and people are actually bidding at those values).

There is one auction that I can see right now for the flash, bracket, sync cable, everything - the bidding is currently at $305 with 3 days left. If you want the URL to that auction, let me know.

If you end up buying separately, Olympus FL-BK01 is the flash bracket model number.

But, at least you know you can add another flash directly onto your camera now. Which is a bit more portable than permanent studio lighting, or Home Depot halogen worklights, heh.

Having multiple flashes/lights will greatly help to reduce harsh shadow outlines that sunlight alone or a single flash alone can produce easily.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Axe wrote:
Oh, by the way... If you head on over to this page..
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2001_rev ... 0_pg2.html
And scroll down a bit, you can see your camera there hooked up to an external flash with a flash bracket - I've no idea what the cost would be on that though... For a comparison, to add a single TTL flash & bracket to a Nikon camera, you're looking at anywhere between $150 to $800 depending on whether you go new or used, and exactly which model flash you purchase/need.
Ok, hold on, lemme research this, I'm wondering about cost here on this now too, lol.

While I very much appreciate the time and enthusiasm you obviously put into this information, I balked at the US$630 I paid for the camera at that time *lol*
And if I find myself in need of supplemental lighting, I have one of those large Halogen work lights...bright like the sun, even in daylight.

Thanks for the effort, eh...


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Post 3+ Months Ago

Great, yeah, those halogen worklights are great, although make sure you play around with your white balance to figure out the optimum setting for your camera...

And hey, no worries on the research, I like learning more about this whole photography thing. ;)
  • Cold Canuck
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm curious...do you resize in multiple steps as I do, using unasharp mask between steps, or make one resize with an unsharp adjustment at the beginning only?


Cheers...


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Post 3+ Months Ago

Usually, I will load up the full size image, and do my colour/brightness/contrast adjustments first.

If I don't need to do any resizing, then I will obviously do all my sharpening at full size.

If I do need to resize, whether I do any sharpening beforehand really depends on exactly how much I need to resize.

If I'm dropping a 1024x768 image down to 800x600, then I will probably save my sharpening til after I'm in 800x600. If I'm dropping an image down from 3008x2000, then I'll crop my 4:3 ratio box, then do some sharpening, then go to 800x600, and do a lil more sharpening at the smaller size.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks :)


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