P23: Selective processing and prominence

Project brief

Take one image that you have already taken for an earlier project, an image in which the issue is the visual prominence of a figure in a setting. This might well come from projects 19 or 21. The aim of this project is to use the digital processing methods that you have available on your computer to make two new versions of this image.

In one, make the figure less prominent, so that it recedes into the setting. In the second, do the opposite, by making it stand out more. Possible selective adjustments are to brightness, contrast, even colour intensity if you are presenting a colour image.

The actual technique will depend on the processing software that you use, for example Photoshop or Lightroom or Aperture, or any other. The tools available to you will also depend on whether or not you shot the image in raw format. You will need to find out which of several methods you can use.

P23-A Original image

P23-A: ISO 400, 24mm, 1/80@f8

The original image of Shat Thames shows a small female figure, close to an intersection of thirds, but wearing dark clothing and in a shadowy area of the street.

P23-B: Making the figure less prominent

P23-B: ISO 400, 24mm, 1/80@ f8

The figure in this image has been made less significant using adjustment masks in Lightrooom.  The main mask, (for the body) has the following settings:

P23 Screenshot 1

the brightness has been reduced, and given the predominately dark tones of the figure, increasing the contrast has further darkened it.  I have also made a further mask to darken the background immediately behind the figure, (as below).

P23 Screenshot 2

Lightroom allows you to layer multiple masks and so quite a fine degree of control can be exercised.  Therefore further masks were added to make the face less bright, and to desaturate and darken the blue denim jeans.

The overall effect of these adjustments is to make the figure much less prominent than in the original image P23-A.

P23-C Making the figure more prominent

P23-C: ISO 400, 24mm, 1/80@f8

In this particular image, making the figure more prominent is largely the opposite of the steps in P23-B however, I have used slightly different masks.  The values used for this image are:

P23 Screenshot 3

The overall exposure and brightness have been increased to brighten the figure against the background, (which again has been slightly darkened).  Reducing the contrast has brightened the figure, (this sounds counter intuitive but it is because the figure is predominantly quite dare).  An increase in saturation makes the jeans stand out more against the grey paving and a small increase in clarity improves the micro contrast.

Overall, the figure, particular the skin tones and blue jeans are subtly more apparent within the image.


By way of further information, below are screen grabs from Lightroom showing the pins for the relevant masks (screenshot 4) and the masked area of the main mask (screenshot 5).

P23 Screenshot 4

P23 Screenshot 5

sdfsafas sdf j flj fljsd fljkalsf klads fklasj fklaj jsfklasjfdklajsfklajf lajsfdlkajs fdlkaj sdflkj aklf jaklf jasklf jkalfj dklas jfklas jflkas jfakls jfklas fjakls fjkla fjlkas fjkla fjalk fjaksl fjlak fjkla sfjklaf jakl fjlak fjalk fjalk fjalk fjalkf jalk fjalk fjalk fjlka fjalk fjalk fjalk fjkla fjal fjalf jalkf jalk fjalf jlak fjlkaf jlakf jalks fjalkf jlak fjlakf jlkasf jalksf j


Like the example in the course notes, the figure in this image is a relatively small area within the image.  Despite this, the examples produced, and particularly P23-C, the lightening example, are able to illustrate the effect of selective processing upon prominence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s