HDR – Photo Art Hinges on Filters – HTDS

I started a new Category on How To Do Stuff (HTDS) a couple of weeks ago and hope to continue posting a new How To every Wednesday. I’ve also added a few older “How To Do” posts to the new category.

Today’s HDR Photo Art will focus on a couple of different techniques I use for Techno Art results. I’m starting with a finished image in beautiful Black and White that looks just a little surreal. And, as you’ll see, it should, based on my process.
To get this result, I started with the scene on the right using seven exposures from -3 to +3 ev. I loaded the brackets into Nik HDR Efex Pro where I did tone mapping and adjustments for texture, lighting and structure. Then, in Adobe Photoshop, I did major correction to perspective to get all of the verticals lined up. This shot really needed quite a bit of de-distorting, so to speak. I finally got the result below which is what I usually aim for as a realistic HDR image.Now back to the beginning, monochrome artsy work above.

  • Black and White – It Hinges on Filters

I took the finished HDR, color version and applied the Photoshop filter called Defused Glow with the parameters set to Graininess = 6, Glow Amount = 8 and Clear = 10. The resulting color image was OK but not what I really wanted.

After applying the Defused Glow, I converted the image to Black and White using the High Contrast Red filter where I pulled the red and yellow sliders down a bit for more shadow. The result is the shot on the left below. I added another layer and applied a dark vignette using Filter > Render > Lighting Effects as you see in the center image. I then backed the fill down to 35% for the exact intensity needed to draw attention to the hinge without destroying the corner details.This image does well in black and white even without the additional tone mapping and use of the defusion filter. But, when converting photo art to techno art, a lack of realism is preferred. And, the nice thing about these software tools is that the final result can be as unique as you want it to be. Starting with an idea and technique should only be the beginning of further exploration.

  • Color – It Also Hinges on The Filters

And speaking of exploration, This exercise wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down the color path with a slightly different direction. For this, I decided to start with the same photograph and go for a more exaggerated HDR image with a slight twist at the end.

Starting with the realistic HDR image above, I loaded it back into Nik HDR Efex Pro for some extreme texturing by adding a high Structure to the complete image. Then back in Photoshop, I applied more intense color and flattened the depth with Curves as seen on the left below. My final, kinda realistic HDR image is on the right with just a bit of depth and saturation added.So, what about that twist I mentioned? I’ve been revisiting some of the filters in Photoshop that I haven’t used in quite a while and remembered the good old “Smudge Stick” which I applied here with Stroke Length = 5, Highlight Area = 15 and Intensity set to 5. I then set Exposure, Gamma to 1.50 and finally de-saturated the image by -20.  As you can see in the image below, it doesn’t really look like a photograph but still retains a vague resemblance.I hope you can see that your photo software tools of choice contain many ways to create Photo Art and transform it into any type of artsy art that you prefer. I hope to be presenting another exercise in my further explorations next week.

Equipment used: Nikon D700 with 50mm f/1.8 lens set to f/19, ISO 800.Manfrotto 190XPROB with 486RC2 ball head.

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4 thoughts on “HDR – Photo Art Hinges on Filters – HTDS

    1. Mark Neal Post author

      Thanks, Len. I hope what I’m sharing is helpful. I started using PS before Adobe developed the Creative Suite concept. But I’m finding quicker ways with some of the newer software. My Nik Silver Efex Pro is arriving today and my CS6 is on pre-order. Can’t wait to dig in. :)

  1. Jimi Jones

    Very nice tutorial, Mark. I love PS and the multitude of tools it offers. You’ve made great uses of some here, really nice result.

    These post are nice to do, showing others how you arrive at a particular result. I’ve been planning to do some of these as well, will have to make the time for it because it never arrives otherwise. ;-)

    Good stuff!

    1. Mark Neal Post author

      Thanks very much, Jimi. Appreciate your thoughts and comments. As I mentioned in my post, I’m trying to stay on schedule to do one of these each Wednesday. We’ll see! I’ll be getting my new CS6 Design and Web Premium suite soon (I’ve pre-ordered it) and plan to start doing some video “how to do stuff” posts in the future. I’ve already got Captivate so it should be a breeze. :)

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