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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Softening Images..what`s the verdict?
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08/11/2005 11:21:07 AM · #1
I posted some images yesterday from a recent walk and was surprised to find that one image on which I had performed a full strength softening proved quite popular.
I`ve used this effect for some time but quite selectively and found that people either love or loathe it.

I`ve applied the technique to some of yesterday`s pics and would be very interested to find out people`s opinions on whether they think the softening has improved any of the images.
Original ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216390.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216390.jpg', '/') + 1) . 'Softened' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216631.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216631.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
Original' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216391.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216391.jpg', '/') + 1) . 'Softened' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216632.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216632.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
Original' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216392.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216392.jpg', '/') + 1) . 'Softened' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216634.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216634.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
Original' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216393.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216393.jpg', '/') + 1) . 'Softened' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216633.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/14603/thumb/216633.jpg', '/') + 1) . '
The first two images are the type that I personally feel benefit from this treatment and I wouldn`t normally consider softening the last two.

I would be grateful for opinions on this.
Thanks,
Gordon
08/11/2005 11:28:39 AM · #2
The effect works better on the first two than the last two. I'd be interested in seeing how this came out if you seriously punched the colors on the first two as well (use the channel mixer, set each channel to -10 on the two other primary colors and 120 on the relevant color itself).

The only problem is that there's a lot of detail that the eye *wants* to see sharply. Another thing to try is blurring on a gradient, starting with almost no blur at the bottom to full blur at the top. That might work for the fourth image as well, as most of the detail the eye wants to see is down at the bottom.
08/11/2005 11:29:34 AM · #3
I agree with your statement - the first two vs the last two - on where you would soften.

The first two are nice either way...by softening it appears that you've increased your exposure time.
08/11/2005 11:36:33 AM · #4
I agree that the first two are better softer (I think water - especially fast moving water - as a rule tends to look better softer). And I like the 3rd softer too, but not the 4th.
08/11/2005 03:59:17 PM · #5
I agree...the first two being softer is nice, especially, the water/river (including the rocks).

The 3rd one, is ok, and the 4th, not as much, IMO. I thought of the gradient idea as well. Except, I was thinking of masking off the area you don't want softened with a soft brush, or gradient mask.
08/11/2005 05:15:40 PM · #6
Thanks to all for the comments and suggestions.

I was interested to read about the various ways of applying the softening to selected areas.
Being a very lazy and haphazard type of postprocessor who hasn`t bothered to master the use of layers,I doubt whether I will ever get around to using those techniques but maybe (if time permits) I`ll sit down one day and make the effort to learn the game.

Slightly surprised that there was no opposition to the softening of the first two images..as previous experience has shown me that there are just as many opposed to the effect as there are those who like it.
08/11/2005 05:20:29 PM · #7
I took a look and decided the first 2 would be right for softening. Then I looked at the 3rd, and the softening worked on this one also. So, the only one I thought didn't need it was the 4th, but then again it worked!

It is a matter of personal taste, and if you feel they all need softening, then so be it, but, did you apply sharpening or neat image to them before??

Steve
08/11/2005 05:25:14 PM · #8
What method did you use to soften these? They all look beautiful to me. The technique might not be universally loved, but I bet it's marketable.
08/11/2005 06:45:24 PM · #9
Steve & Rachel..Thanks for the input..The originals have had a basic processing (contrast,saturation and sharpening.)I then softened the same images using "Neat Image" and put them up for viewing to gauge the reaction on whether the softening was an improvement or not.

As I stated earlier, I like to use the technique on images which contain a lot of foliage as I think it works exceptionally well but don`t consider that it has improved the other two shots..but I was interested to find out if that was a general opinion.

I have used it in challenges in the past with some success..but in each case received comments on how the softening spoiled the image for some people.
The comments so far in this thread seem to indicate that the opposition to "Neat Imaging" pics is fading a little...or maybe the people who didn`t like the images haven`t bothered to comment?

08/11/2005 08:16:59 PM · #10
Visually the softening provides a finish to all of these landscapes. In this comparative context where an original and the softened version can be viewed side by side I prefer the varnish of the applied softness. The effect creates what has become a trademark look of yours (you have mastered this effect) which takes the viewer to a different world which you can show to be inviting and welcoming, as in these views, or the oppposite - as you have shown in other pictures, where the viewer can feel danger. The style is versatile in that regard. I like the sense of a dreamy, mysterious place that you evoke - and the story in my mind that jumps out from a fairytale vision you have created. Beautiful landscape work, impressionistic illustrations, dreamy and youthful, skillfully done.
08/11/2005 09:38:03 PM · #11
The first two and the last one seem to benefit from this processing. The other it doesn't seem to make any difference.

Message edited by author 2005-08-11 21:38:48.
08/11/2005 09:59:35 PM · #12
i like the softening effect on the water, not the remainder of the picture which leads me to say, I think the photos would be best just using a slow shutter speed, then no softening effect. (u might need an ND filter in that kinda light).
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