TrashTheLens: Hong Kong Noir (RawTherapee, Silver Efex Pro, GIMP)

Hello and welcome to the very first TrashTheLens video! We'll start of with something fairly easy Today we'll be processing an image I too during my last trip to Hong Kong

On my last day there I went up to the Big Buddha statue on Lantau Island and I got to see hardly anything The fog, or was it smog, was so dense you could barely see things a few meters away

I mean, literally, standing at the base of the statue I couldn't see the top of it But there's an upside to such weather as well, It gives everything this mysterious or eerie look So, let's begin processing, shall we? So, here's the image loaded into RawTherapee Let's start by resetting all the default settings RawTherapee set for us Exposure compensation, highlight compression, black level, contrast, and while we're at it, let's also disable the sharpening

See this light over here? It has this weird edge to it Let's try to do something about it Since we'll be converting this image to black and white anyway, let's try and fix it by just changing the white balance So, we go to color tab, and here under temperature, we drop the temperature way, way down See how it fixes this edge? A bit more

Yeah That's perfect The image may look a bit weird, but like I said, we'll be converting it to black and white anyway For converting it to black and white I will be using Silver Efex Pro 2 from Google You can download it for free

I want this image to have an eerie, film noir-like look And Silver Efex Pro 2 has some nice presets we can use Let's look at the preset library and find something that fits High contrast, smooth? It looks nice But I think there's something even better

So let's dive deeper into the preset library No, no No, not really Here we go: Film Noir No 3

That's interesting I like this look very much, but what bugs me is this white border around the picture The good news is, we can get rid of it very easily Here, on the right, we go to Finishing Adjustments An here, Image Borders

Instead of the currently selected Type 9, we select Off That's much better But I wouldn't mind a bit more contrast in the image So, let's change the Film Type We do so by going here, into Film Types and instead of selecting Neutral, we select something with a bit more punch

Like Kodak ISO-32 Panatomic X See? A bit more contrast, a bit more punch, looks better Let's take a closer look We do so by pressing the space bar, like this, we can also pan with the space bar around the picture Let's just soften the grain a bit

Here, grain per pixel, we go all the way up It softens it And I think that's about it Let's look at the image in whole Let it render

OK Looks good So, here's the image complete We can save it Let's just add a little bit more punch to the image

We do so by loading it into GIMP, duplicating the layer, and changing the Layer Mode to Screen Here we go As you can see, the whole image got brighter I think that's a bit too much So let's create a layer mask

Grayscale copy of the layer And now, the Screen effect works only on the bright areas What I don't like is what happened to those areas over here They too got brightened a bit too much But that's easy to fix

We choose a Paintbrush tool, black color paint, a slightly larger brush, and we just paint over the layer mask Like so Since those areas are still a bit too hot, let's create a Dodge and Burn layer To do so, we select a neutral gray color, which will be #7F7F7F OK

And we create a new layer filled with this color New Layer let's call it "db" for Dodge and Burn, Foreground color

And let's change the mode to Overlay Now we can use the Dodge and Burn tool, here, to darken those areas Like this See? Again the difference is subtle, but it's there And it helps

So, I think that's about it The image is ready Thank you for watching If you want to find out more about my photography and travels, you can visit my blog at TrashTheLenscom

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