Darktable Edit #2 – Washington Bridge, New York City

Hello, everybody This is Harry

Welcome to another Darktable edit Today I am going to be working on a shot that I took from the New Jersey side of the Washington Bridge This is Manhattan on this side, and this is New Jersey on this side Well, let's look at this picture What have we got? We've got some spots

Uh-oh, this looks like spots on my sensor, too There's a spot here, spot here, there's one over here, and that looks like a bird That looks like a bird There's some kind of unsightly dark thing down here I don't know what that is

That looks like trash Hmm The whole thing's rotated to the side Okay, well, let's get started This looks like the toughest one right here, because it's right next to these wires, so let's start on that first

It looks like we've got some chromatic aberrations around the sides of the wires, here too We'll have to work on that We've got a lot of stuff to do Let's get started Okay, spot removal

Let's see what we can do about this big, nasty spot right here Okay Uh-oh, that doesn't work because, look: it's too light Let's try it down here Oh, now it's too dark

Okay, well, let's try this: let's change the Blend Mode to 50% and try one of each Duplicate Instance… and, put this one up here where it was too light Maybe between the two of them, we'll be close Hey, that is pretty close Look at that

It looks a little dark This side's a little light, so let's take that first one and do a little less than 50% Almost Turn this one up a little bit Hey, that looks pretty good

Nice Okay Now, let's do this one Normally, I would do all my spot removals in a single instance, but that one was kind of tricky I had to do two spot removals on the same place

See, now it's too light We've got this shadow here So, now let's move it up to where it's a little darker, up here and see what it looks like Close A little bit darker still would be nice

Hey, now it looks good Oh, there's that bird Let's get rid of that one And a bird down here Oh, that one came out nice

Oh, some kind of… oh, I guess it's just dark leaves, but either way I find it distracting Hey, that worked out great Might as well do this one while we're at it Simplify, simplify, simplify: that's what I like to do with images The less distracting things the better

That helps What else have we got? Oh, there's a little dot right here, isn't there That's another spot on my sensor I guess that happens when you're traveling and you change lenses a lot A little bit darker would be good

Oh, it looks darker over there Okay, that looks good to me Okay, the whole thing looks like it's rotated to the left Move it to the right a little bit Well, that looks pretty good

This edge looks like it's going to the right farther than that edge But this end of the bridge looks right, so I think I want to set my Keystoning vertically and not do much of an adjustment, just a little bit How about that? Hey, that looks better to me Now, let's crop it On a portrait image, I don't like to do a tall crop

I'd rather do something closer to square On a landscape image, I don't care I'll even do a wide one, but, since this is portrait, let's start with a 4:3 I originally shot in 3:2 but I think that's too tall and narrow Alright, we've got our Rule of Thirds lines up here

I'd like to bring this point somewhere around here, so let's bring this up and do a tighter crop That's nice: bring us into the action That might be a little too tight Let's see what it looks like Yeah, that's a little too tight

I want to catch some of the foreground down here We don't need too much Ah, there we go Okay That all looks pretty good

It's awful blue; it was overcast Look, we're in luck: there happens to be a white truck right here Well, let's set our White Point Thank you, white truck Well, that looks good, and look, our blue came in quite a ways

Perfect Now, what else do we need to do? Well, we want to get rid of our Chromatic Aberrations, and a little Raw Denoising Probably around 002 would be good, but we'll zoom in and look, see what we've got Let's see, without it

Yeah, I've got some noise in here and right here Let's see, we'll bring our Noise Threshold up and bring it down Yeah, 002 looks pretty good to me It's always a balance between Noise Reduction and keeping the edge detail

I would like to bring out some of this detail in the shadows and maybe knock down the sky a little bit, or bring a little more tonal variation to the sky Well, let's work on the shadows first I think these shadows would do well using Tone Mapping to bring them out, so let's try that We'll set up a Parametric Mask and we'll do it on the L channel so it only applies to the darkest parts of the image We'll turn on our Mask Indicator and we will just address the darkest parts of the image, like that

Maybe a 1-pixel Mask Blur, and bring our Spatial Extent For shadows, I like to go around 6%, and bring our Opacity down and Compression Okay, let's see what that looks like Without it, and with it Yeah; I want to get this area a little more

There we go; that lightened that up Without it; with it Beautiful, alright Well, that messed up our Black Point, but we'll worry about that later Now, it looks like we've got some halos down here

Do we? No, there isn't really any Good There is a Defringing Module here Oh, look, that helped that beautifully Perfect Now, these clouds

I want to see more tonal range in the clouds, so let's do that with a Tone Curve We'll sample an area With the Color Picker, we can switch from Point to Area, and then we can sample this There's our range So, we're going to lock this so it doesn't get any lighter and we're going to bring this down a little bit

There we go Alright Another Tone Curve to extend our range altogether Bring that up, bring this down I'm looking at the histogram up here, okay? That all looks pretty good

I want to increase my Gamma a little bit Okay So, we've Denoised and we've gotten rid of our spots We've done Keystoning and Chromatic Aberrations and spot removal Let's export this, which will flatten the image

We'll export this as a 16-bit TIF 16-bit TIF, excellent I'm staying in Adobe RGB I shoot in Adobe RGB, and I do all my work in Adobe RGB, and then I print in Adobe RGB It gives me a wider gamut

We'll export that We'll see what it looks like when it's done Okay, that looks pretty good to me We've got a lot of mid-tones This is exactly what we want

I'm going to apply Gaussian Blurs to get me some nice tones I want to really bring out this steel structure See this nice shadowing here? This flat light really gives us some beautiful shadows on this steelwork I'm going to bring my Saturation all the way down to zero, bring my Brightness up just a little bit, and bring my Contrast down just a little bit That will enable me to make changes without really darkening or lightening it much

I'm going to use my radius here to decide what size I'm going to apply my shading Like, this is nice See, it gives me this nice, smooth area here Let's see what that looks like Okay

When I apply Tone Shading, I like to use Soft Light When I'm looking for edges, I'll use Overlay So, Soft Light it is Alright, let's bring down our Opacity to attenuate the effect That's without it, and that's with it

We want something in between, like right around there That looks good to me You know, the bottom of this image just looks too, like the Black Point is wrong Before we go much further, let's see what we can do about that I'll turn on the Mask Indicator so you can see what this is

I'm going to reverse the mask There we go; alright Where the yellow is the greatest is where the effect is going to be the greatest, so I'm going to turn off the Indicator and I'm going to set my Black Point Ah, now the whole image looks similar I like that

Okay We are going to be gobbling up midtones, so we are going to end up needing a reverse curve here Now, a normal contrast curve looks something like this, okay? We don't want that; we want the opposite We're going to want something like this, and like this It looks a little dull right now, but as we add more shading, that's going to increase the contrast, but in a more local sense

Same thing: I have a pre-set here that's just what I set before: 9, 03, no saturation… I'm going to use my radius here to adjust where the shading occurs, and I'm going to go for a little smaller detail this time, maybe like that Okay, Soft Light, once again, and attenuate the effect with the Opacity Ah, look, the structure is really starting to pop now

Let's do that again I'm going to go with a little bit wider this time, give me more of the super-structure I find when I do larger Gaussian Blurs, I need to use less of the effect Otherwise, my contrast gets too high That's all looking pretty good

See, our histogram's been expanding as we apply more of these low-pass filters That's why we're driving everything toward the mid-tones I'm going to bring out some more of this detail, so I'm going to do that again where the detail is I bring my radius down, ah, there we go See, we've got this nice shading in here

Once again, Soft Light Alright, now let's see what things look like Oh, look at this superstructure: it is gorgeous! I like it High Pass Filter I use that with Overlay to get my edges, okay? Now, I don't want to add more Tone, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to use my Sharpness and my Contrast Boost together to just get me the edges Let's zoom in and just see what happens

See now I've turned my Sharpness down, nope, lost everything Okay, there's some edges, but, see I've got different colors of gray here? I want the least number of colors of gray here; I just want the edges So, we'll bring our Contrast down further Ah, look at that; just the edges: nice Once, again, Overlay for edges

Now, we're going to attenuate the effect with Opacity Oh, that looks good to me Okay With it; without it; with it; nice Everything is looking a little dark

Let's go back here to this reverse S-curve we were working with Let's pick the area that looks like it's too dark To me, this area right here, I wish that was lighter And here is our middle, so I'm going to move this point up to here so it's running a little more efficiently and bring that up just a little bit And I want this to be a little darker, so I'm going to bring this point over here and bring it down

Quite lovely I'm going to increase the Gamma of the entire image though I don't want to lighten this up, so I'm going to hold this steady, right there, and then I want to lighten up like this amount, so I'll bring this up a little bit Alright, now we have a way to sharpen and isolate some of these components with the Equalizer Now, the Equalizer works with different size objects from Fine to Coarse

Let's pull up some of these and see what happens This is Coarse, and less coarse See how the Contrast increases by size? Smaller? Alright So, it seems to me that we probably want to pull this one and this one up a little bit Ah, yeah

Look at that; that's gorgeous And bring our Edges up Now, something to note is that the Edges only works when you have Contrast If you don't increase your Luma Channel, the Edges has no effect We'll bring this up

Alright; I'm pretty happy with that Let's do something about the color Time to add some color Now, before I add much color, I want to add color to the places that have the least color I don't want to just add the same amount of color everywhere; I'll end up out of Gamut in no time

So, we're going to use a Parametric Mask and we're going to use the Chromacity Channel here Mask Indicator And I'm going to bring these down until we start to see parts of our image, there we are, and then I'm going to slide this top one over, and now the places that have the least color have the most yellow and the places that have the most color have the least yellow Now I'm going to steepen my A and B channels I'll steepen them quite a bit

Okay Now I'm going to go in and apply color to the whole image I don't want to increase the Noise, so I'm going to apply the color in an unusual way I'm going to use the Low Pass Filter, I'm going to set the Radius really small, like 3 pixels, and then get rid of the Contrast channel, set that to zero Now, I only have the color channel, so I'm going to apply that to just the Color Channel

And then I can take my Saturation and increase it and I won't get much noise because I'm doing everything in 3-pixel quantities There's those chromatic aberrations in these wires; it must have been the way the light bent around the wires Well, let's see what we can do about that Fire up a Tone Curve and drawn Mask, take that in, make this a little bigger Those

These have that problem also Over here, too It looks like I moved that There we go This one too

Right there, and right there Okay Now, let's turn on our Mask Indicator, increase the Blur so we get a nice, smooth effect There we go Turn off our Mask Indicator

Now, let's figure out what color this is Right around here, what color do we have? We'll look at our A and B channels Oh, look; it's right in the middle Yes! It's even gray Okay, so all I'm going to do is pull down my A and B channel steepness

That's going to reduce Saturation and it's going to reduce the separation between the colors Perfect See how that got rid of that? This is with it; that's without it Here's all our crazy colors There we go

Hey, that looks pretty good Oh, I think this image could use just a little bit more color Let's bring this up I still feel like it's just a little bit dark, especially off toward this side So, once again, a Gradient Mask

Gradient, and we'll spin it around so it's facing that way, and we'll make it a little bigger I'm adjusting the size with my mouse wheel And we're going to increase the Brightness down here Oh, I like that Okay, good

I want the whole thing to have a little more impact, and I've got a little trick up my sleeve I use Multiply with Tone Mapping across the whole image, maybe with a 10% Spatial Extent, set the Compression down to around 2, set the Blend Mode to Multiply This is going to give us richer tones We're going to have to set the Opacity way down to like 10 or 20% So, we'll start with zero and we'll slowly bring it up

Okay, that's at 15% That's without it; that's with it Maybe steepen our Tone Curve a little bit? And, let's go back and forth between that Tone Curve and that Multiply, increase the Opacity a little bit so we're getting a little more of that effect Oh, I like that Just a little more color and I think we're there

This sky in here looks just a little bit yellow to me In fact, the whole image looks just a little bit yellow It's cloudy and it should be blue, but not too blue, so we're going to just do a final adjustment to our White Balance here Tint is Green vs Magenta

Temperature is Blue vs Yellow So, I think that we have a little bit too much yellow, so I'm going to take my temperature and bring it down just a skosh Ah, I like that These areas that we painted here: they're the areas that look too yellow

We painted them to get rid of the chromatic aberrations here, so we'll go to our B channel here and we'll just pull this down a little bit That looks pretty good to me This looks a little soft up here on top; I'd like to sharpen that up a bit, but I think we're good down here So we'll open another Equalizer and give it a Gradient Fill, nice big one, nice and smooth, and I'll turn on my Mask Indicator so you can see what's going on More of the effect is going to be up here; less of the effect down here; none down here

And then we'll zoom in and see what we can do to give us a little bit more edge up here No, that's a little too much Okay, that's it; I'm done