Author Topic: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop  (Read 13440 times)

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Offline Simon [aka springtide]

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Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« on: January 31, 2008, 11:42:39 PM »
Well, trying to blend different exposures in PS from a single RAW I have always found very hard (probably because I had no idea on what I'm doing).

My subscription to Practical Photo (March 2008) arrived yesterday and there was a pretty easy tutorial in there for blending exposures, from a single or multiple RAWs.

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Method
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- create the exposures for the foreground/main(1) and sky (2). If you are using colour, also create a warmed up version (3) of the sky image (with headland etc). Also create a version of the sky but a little darker (4) (burned sky)

- start with the foreground/main image.

- Add the second layer as the sky exposure.

- Between the main and sky exposures, create a new blank layer.

- Using the grad tool with black selection, create a black grad from about mid-way down the sky to the horizon (or just past). You should now have black at the top and fading to the main image below at the horizon.

- Hold down Alt, and click between the sky and the grad layer (links the two, making the grad layer act like a mask)

- Repeat the same for the top of the image, using the burnt sky exposure to darken the top of the image.

- If working in colour, use the warmed up version of the sky image for the side lighted headland/rocks etc. They used the eraser on the Sky image, but found this easier/better by using masks (now that I know how they work)

So basically you have (in layers..)

4. Sky Burn Image
Burn Grad
3. Sky Image
2. Warm up image
Main Grad
1. Background (Foreground) Image

- Black and White conversion with the B&W filter is CS3

- Added some vignetting using a mask created using the oval tool, feather and then a blur (invert the result and and use as a mask)
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So, had a go this evening on a single RAW that I had previously used Photomatix to process (using multiple RAWs).  Also had a go for the first time at the B&W filter in CS3 ("Photomatix" image was in colour)

All comments welcome, on what people think has worked and what hasn't, with and any suggestions to fix.

Here you go..



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Stef, I'm waiting for you to tell me a simplier way of doing it :D  Actually, I found this pretty easy and now understand PS masks and blending (a little!!!)
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Offline Stef.

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2008, 09:34:38 AM »
Springtide- yes it works this way and yes there are easier ways: In effect what you are doing is putting two/ three or more layers on top of each other and "cutting" out the parts that you don't need of that layer. In PS you don't need to have an "inbetween" layer at all. You just put the two layer on top of each other, apply a mask and then use either at first a gradient on that mask (black to white or black to transparent) or you can as well just paint with black and a very soft brush on that layer to make the layer beneath visible. For people in Elements you would just erase part of the upper layer. I will put a longer explanation on Monday in the Digital Darkroom thread- if that's O.K. ? (Need to catch a plane...)
For now you can experiment with the above- keep in mind you just want to make part of the lower layer visible. How- that's a different question- there are as usual thousand different ways- more Monday.
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Offline Baldy

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2008, 09:46:12 AM »
Springtide that is an excellent image, i like it a lot.
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Offline steve

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2008, 11:44:08 AM »
Hi Springtide
Looks like you have it nailed.Well impressive.Havent tried my A700 in raw yet because i have been so impressed with the fine jpegs.Reckon i will give it a go this weekend after seeing your great shot.

      Regards Steve

Offline Fud

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2008, 12:27:47 PM »
I must admit I've used the method Stef talks about where I haven't bracked exposures but have bright sky with dark foreground - very useful to just save one copy with the sky right, one copy with the foreground right and then merge them using a mask.  The photos I put up in this thread are an example of this http://www.dynaxdigital.com/index.php?topic=3956.0
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Offline Clive

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2008, 01:03:25 PM »
Springtide, you've summed up the state of my layer knowledge, " ... probably because I had no idea on what I'm doing." It seems I am losing out on images because I can't do this stuff. :( Obviously I need help.

 .. nice picture. Well done.
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Offline Rob aka [minolta mad]

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2008, 04:40:37 PM »
In esscence you are doing what Photomatrix does, just that you have control over the editing rather than the software.

The sky looks awesome, and as said previously with the original image,

Excellent



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Offline gazraa

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2008, 05:20:48 PM »
great work! However you got there, the end result was well worth the effort.
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Offline Maxx-7D

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2008, 07:01:46 PM »
beautiful photo. Look forward to trying this technique.
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Offline Simon [aka springtide]

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2008, 10:02:22 PM »

Thanks for the kind comments.

I actually really like the technique as it related to using Grad ND filters, which although used for the original shot wasn't enough (I need a set rather than a single 2 stop!)

The process was actually very quick and easy to do (about 30 mins).  A lot less complex than I thought, although I've always been scared off merging layers as when I have tried in the past you could see the joins  :)

Anyway, have a good w'end everyone!  And Stef, happy holiday / w'end break  ???

Simon
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Offline Rob aka [minolta mad]

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2008, 11:03:38 PM »
I actually really like the technique as it related to using Grad ND filters, which although used for the original shot wasn't enough (I need a set rather than a single 2 stop!)

Most of my landscape/sunset shots are taken with a 0.9 (3 stop) ND grad, and 1.2 (4 stop).
If i could only have one it would be the 3 stop.

Mind you if youre going to do this technique alot you wouldnt need any more grads !


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Offline Simon [aka springtide]

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2008, 11:43:02 PM »

Most of my landscape/sunset shots are taken with a 0.9 (3 stop) ND grad, and 1.2 (4 stop).
If i could only have one it would be the 3 stop.

Mind you if youre going to do this technique alot you wouldnt need any more grads !

Rob

I know I need more Grads because of your shots.   We both know we want to get this out of the camera :)

PP is one thing, but I do love my filter holder - makes me feel like a proper photographer.  And when I mess it up, I just blame my gear and hope PP will help recover the image ;)
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Offline Rob aka [minolta mad]

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2008, 10:34:15 AM »
PP is one thing, but I do love my filter holder - makes me feel like a proper photographer.  And when I mess it up, I just blame my gear and hope PP will help recover the image ;)

Good answer there Simon
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Offline Akshay Jamwal

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2008, 02:17:54 PM »
Nice work, that looks great.
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Offline Stef.

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Re: Merging exposures from a single RAW in Photoshop
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2008, 03:14:28 PM »
Quote
Mind you if youre going to do this technique alot you wouldnt need any more grads !

Yes and no. The old rule applies to digital as much as it did for the good old film days: get it right in camera and you save yourself a hell of a lot of work afterwards.

The problem with the double raw conversion is that either you have exposed for the highlights and there are a lot of dark areas in your image which will get noisier if you convert them in Raw or you have exposed for the shadows and you end up with a lot of blown out highlights that are difficult to rescue. The grads definitely make your life easier and do not hold you back to still merge two/ three...raw conversions. But frankly I would not want to have to do that with a lot of pics...
Happy shooting
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