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09/24/2009 06:44:55 PM · #1
So, I noticed this photo on Flickr and had a question:

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From the photo page, click on "All sizes" and then click "Large".

Notice the nice bokeh behind the subject. Do you think it was manufactured in post-processing? I notice what appears to be a faint halo effect around her whole body, especially around her left leg.

The focal length was at 400mm and the aperture was f/5.6. The original image was captured in RAW format and processed using Photoshop CS3 (on a Mac).

What do you think?

p.s. I have no idea who the photog is. It was a random sighting on Flickr.

Message edited by author 2009-09-24 18:51:17.
09/24/2009 06:48:01 PM · #2
I say fake.

The DOF/focal length looks weird, judging by the size of the people behind her. Also, that halo effect could be caused by the Gaussian blur picking up some pixels from her clothes and blurring them.
09/24/2009 06:50:30 PM · #3
Originally posted by JH:

I say fake.

The DOF/focal length looks weird, judging by the size of the people behind her. Also, that halo effect could be caused by the Gaussian blur picking up some pixels from her clothes and blurring them.


Agreed. The photo is real, but the DOF has been faked.
09/24/2009 06:50:59 PM · #4
That's definitely artificial blurring, but the real question is, "does it matter?"

My answer? No, it does not.
09/24/2009 06:53:31 PM · #5
I also think it was induced. I noticed the halo as well. Very visible around her foot and some around her leg. The background just seems too blurry for the probable distance and the subject too perfectly sharp against it.
09/24/2009 06:54:26 PM · #6
i am intrigued here as well. what drew my attention is the cleanliness of the hair around the left shoulder. it doesn't have a single strand out of place, then again I might just be seeing things
09/24/2009 06:57:32 PM · #7
Originally posted by K10DGuy:

But the real question is, "does it matter?"

My answer? No, it does not.

I must disagree. It does indeed matter, because such analysis and apparent nitpicking may help us to do such editing more convincingly ourselves. Here is a recent challenge entry of mine where I added a little more background blur than it originally had. I'm not sure anybody picked up on it.
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I think a very sharp edge of the subject against an OOF background is part of what gives things away in some cases. It stood out to me in the cheerleader shot.

Message edited by author 2009-09-24 18:59:31.
09/24/2009 07:05:26 PM · #8
Originally posted by JH:

Also, that halo effect could be caused by the Gaussian blur picking up some pixels from her clothes and blurring them.


That's probably what it is. The best way to blur a background is to make your selection and then do (i.e. Ctrl+J) so as to move those pixels to a new layer. That way when you apply the blur you don't get the halo effect.

Message edited by author 2009-09-24 19:31:20.
09/24/2009 07:25:51 PM · #9
The lighting on her looks a bit irregular. The background most definitely had some additional blurring. It doesn't look natural and especially not for f5.6.
09/24/2009 07:41:14 PM · #10
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

I think a very sharp edge of the subject against an OOF background is part of what gives things away in some cases.

Sometimes the shot just looks that way -- I thought the sharpness of this apple looked fake, even though the photo is barely edited at all.

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If you copy the BG to a new layer and then apply the blur there, you an also lower the layer opacity to reduce the effect.
09/24/2009 08:33:50 PM · #11
Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by JH:

Also, that halo effect could be caused by the Gaussian blur picking up some pixels from her clothes and blurring them.


That's probably what it is. The best way to blur a background is to make your selection and then do (i.e. Ctrl+J) so as to move those pixels to a new layer. That way when you apply the blur you don't get the halo effect.

when I tried that (long time ago), I would still get halo, just a different kind of it, because on that new layer near the edges of your selection the pixels of the background would be interpolated with the empty pixels (essentially, becoming partially transparent). The way to fix it is to extend the background by cloning and cover the place where the (excluded) subject was - not the whole area, but a strip near the edge of about the radius or two of your blurring. Then you blur. It is more labor-intensive, but then interpolation indeed has a minimal detrimental effect near the edges of selection.
09/24/2009 08:45:44 PM · #12
I looked back through a bunch of my old cheerleading pics and couldn't find anything anywhere near that blurred for the background. DEFINITELY worked the background.
09/24/2009 09:06:35 PM · #13
I vote fake as well. Her extended hand and face would not be that focused if the dof was real.
09/24/2009 09:08:51 PM · #14
Originally posted by LevT:

Originally posted by yanko:

Originally posted by JH:

Also, that halo effect could be caused by the Gaussian blur picking up some pixels from her clothes and blurring them.


That's probably what it is. The best way to blur a background is to make your selection and then do (i.e. Ctrl+J) so as to move those pixels to a new layer. That way when you apply the blur you don't get the halo effect.

when I tried that (long time ago), I would still get halo, just a different kind of it, because on that new layer near the edges of your selection the pixels of the background would be interpolated with the empty pixels (essentially, becoming partially transparent). The way to fix it is to extend the background by cloning and cover the place where the (excluded) subject was - not the whole area, but a strip near the edge of about the radius or two of your blurring. Then you blur. It is more labor-intensive, but then interpolation indeed has a minimal detrimental effect near the edges of selection.


You're probably right. It's been a while since I had to do that so there was probably some additional touch ups required. These are a couple of examples where I applied the technique:

Baylor 1
Baylor 2


09/25/2009 10:06:54 AM · #15
Originally posted by AperturePriority:


' . substr('//farm4.static.flickr.com/3322/3256651191_17c92897bd_t.jpg', strrpos('//farm4.static.flickr.com/3322/3256651191_17c92897bd_t.jpg', '/') + 1) . '... ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5000-9999/5792/120/823636.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5000-9999/5792/120/823636.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Notice the nice bokeh behind the subject. Do you think it was manufactured in post-processing?

The picture shows very obvious, amateurish tampering with the DOF. That is too bad. It ruins an otherwise excellent, excellent picture. I'm certain, however, the photographer would vociferously argue that it makes the image better. It doesn't. The haloing around the legs is atrocious.

There are several other things also wrong with it that matter...

1-The background bleachers, which define the image "horizon" is not level.
It is off by 3/4ths of a degree and quite easily distracting to a viewer's eye. Making an image level is fundamental photography. There is no excuse for getting it wrong.

2-The framing is bland and totally overlooked by the photographer. It shouldn't be.
The re-framed presentation above might not seem like much of a change but if you compare closely to the original you will see several improvements. First, distracting BG on either side of the frame has been cropped away to give the image considerably better balance and a tighter, cleaner BG look. There are now only 3 judges balanced nicely across the lower ROT 1/3rd quadrant of the frame. The "bored" judge is completely removed. Also a bit of the bottom was cropped off to make the viewer wonder if the gymnast is being held by just two hands and one leg.

A high interest area of the image, the gymnast's fist and face are placed at the upper left ROT intersection point. Again, it is fundamental photography to attend to details of composition such as this in order to make a good image presented just a little bit better.

3-The image is muddy and dark.
It needs better image tone and color post processing to give the image more presence and attractiveness. You can see that a simple Autocontrast and Autocolor application give the image some more "pop". A real fine art treatment would work wonders with this image.

Much more could be done with this image and it could be done a lot better than just a quickie PP to improve it. And you would start all over with the original and apply the DOF change less sloppy and look more natural... like Yo_Spiff did with his image.

Attention to detail is the mantra of every quality photographer. If you are going to work on an image, then do the job right.
09/25/2009 08:58:31 PM · #16
After downloading the large jpg off flicker to play with I'm convinced that the photo is legit. I don't believe any blur was added. Take a close look at the shoestrings on her sneaks. If someone selected that in CS they can select much better than I can. But maybe I just think it's possible because I used to have a 180mm F2.8 Nikon. Much more blur than that was possible.
09/25/2009 09:10:27 PM · #17
...

Message edited by author 2009-09-25 21:13:41.
09/25/2009 09:14:21 PM · #18
teh background guy looks the same size as the girl!
09/25/2009 09:19:34 PM · #19
Originally posted by pawdrix:

...


One of those sneaky guys who'll post then take it back a few minutes later... LOL
09/25/2009 10:41:33 PM · #20
I vote real - poor guy is just trying to post some personal pictures. Nothing else looks at all photoshopped.
09/25/2009 11:13:01 PM · #21
Originally posted by FireBird:

After downloading the large jpg off flicker to play with I'm convinced that the photo is legit. I don't believe any blur was added. Take a close look at the shoestrings on her sneaks. If someone selected that in CS they can select much better than I can. But maybe I just think it's possible because I used to have a 180mm F2.8 Nikon. Much more blur than that was possible.


It's not so much the amount of blur, but the halos that are present. That's not natural. Selecting the shoestrings wouldn't be difficult at all since there's good contrast between it and the background. However, one could achieve the same results with just a rough selection or no selection at all.
09/25/2009 11:26:52 PM · #22
That particular photo, when I first posted this thread, only had about two or three views. It has over 400 now (in just over 24 hours). The photog should be loving the exposure, eh?

09/26/2009 12:47:48 AM · #23
Originally posted by yanko:


It's not so much the amount of blur, but the halos that are present. That's not natural. Selecting the shoestrings wouldn't be difficult at all since there's good contrast between it and the background. However, one could achieve the same results with just a rough selection or no selection at all.


You do realize this was shot at ISO 1000? I've seen many cameras exhibit halo like appearances at that ISO.
I don't think the image is the entire frame of that shot either. I think it was cropped to as little as 1/3 of the original frame. The Dof of that camera lens combo easily encompasses the fist and face of the cheer leader if she's at least 80 feet from the camera.
Not trying to argue with you, I just love trying to solve mysteries like this. :)

Maybe we should try to contact the person and see whether it was altered.
09/26/2009 05:12:36 PM · #24
Originally posted by FireBird:

Maybe we should try to contact the person and see whether it was altered.

I left a comment on his photo, pointing him to this thread. He also has added me as a Flickr contact, since this debate started.

Message edited by author 2009-09-26 18:18:11.
09/26/2009 05:17:25 PM · #25
Originally posted by JulietNN:

teh background guy looks the same size as the girl!


that's what I was thinking! Don't the sizes look strange to you? The background people look so much larger than she does for how far away they are. (I realize that gymnasts are small, but something looks out of proportion!
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