Workflow (5) – Quick Post Processing

OK now we are ready to take the next step in our workflow (and remove these very average photos from the top of my blog page😐 ). Basically, when choosing the keepers, some of them need (quite a bit of) touch up, just to get a feel for their potential. This should be a 5 mins per picture job with simple tasks like:

  • straighten up the horizon
  • touching up the color curves
  • cropping
  • rough conversion to Black and White

I found The Gimp to be ideal for this type of quick work – although the output is not perfect (due to the 8bits/channel limitation) it is good enough to get a feel for the image potential. And The Gimp is good a offering previews of filters (like unsharp mask) and operations (like a rotation) to evaluate the result before making the calculations on the file itself – so perfect for a quick processing. In the same vein, your image viewer should have a way to “open with The Gimp” (that’s what gThumb offers, anyway), so you don’t have to muddle through your folders to find the image you want to work on.

By the way, I generally save theses quickly processed files in my _keepers folder, naming them “z_NameOfThePicture.tif”, so they are all in the same place (at the end of the folder).

We will go in details about the different operations of post-processing (and their order) another time. For now, let’s just go back to a couple of the pictures from our keepers and see what comes out of them after a quick and dirty post-processing:

Before:

_igp6511_r.jpg

After:

_igp6511_pp.jpg

These are my favorite ducks passing by in the tree reflection on water. I had to somehow crop out the ugly top part of the picture and I decided to go “all the way” and turn the image into a square format. I gave a good (read: far too much) saturation punch (via curves color, more on that later) as well as local contrast enhancement (via unsharp mask – we will talk about that tool at length later as well). So that gives an idea that there is potential that can be revealed in that picture, but I would not have that image hanging on my wall everyday… in other words, not a portfolio.

Before:

_igp6477_r.jpg

After:

_igp6477_pp.jpg

These are my backlight trees. The operations were almost the same as for the ducks: enhance saturation via curves, add local contrast (unsharp mask) but no cropping. I also removed a tad of blue in the darker parts of the picture (using the curves menu). All in all, this image is not a portfolio grade one but it has something which I like (the yellow and dark tints, the shape of the trees…). So it will be our model for the next step of “careful postprocessing”.

In order to do that, we will be using Ufraw (not from the command line, this time) and Cinepaint. With the goal of producing an image file of the highest quality, ready for printing. Starting from a RAW image file, using color management and a 16bits/channel processing. And all of that on Linux🙂

6 Responses to Workflow (5) – Quick Post Processing

  1. GW says:

    I just want to let you know that I’m finding this information very useful and I looking forward to future posts. Thanks for the effort.

  2. jcornuz says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for leaving a comment. Always encouraging. I think there are a couple of interesting posts in the oven🙂

  3. Calin says:

    Thumbs up for the blog and info in general mate. I really needed some proper honest opinions and views before switching to Linux.

    Spent a couple of hours reading pretty much all materials on your site and it’s deff going into favourites for future articles.

    As for me, I’m still scared shitless to ditch photoshop yet and I need to wait for spyder2 support before I make the move.

    Ubuntu seems to have everything else (that I need) covered. Oh well, maybe except for the occasional games I play also but (could live without).

    Finaly let me thank you again and show my appreciation for the effort you are putting into the site which is more than usefull for a scared Linux newbie like myself.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. jcornuz says:

    Hi Calin,

    Thanks for your comment. I wouldn’t let the lack of Spyder2 support discourage me from Linux, since you can use profiles made under windows (and you would probably keep a windows partition for gaming – although we have a Sudoku and Tetris in Linux🙂 )

    You know you can stick an Ubuntu CD-ROM in your drive, boot from CD-ROM and find yourself with a (slow but functional) Linux system without the need to install anything? Try that, maybe.

    The only thing that would keep me from Linux if I were you would be to have spent a gazillion of quids for Photoshop and not be able to use it in Linux:-/

    Take care

  5. Idetrorce says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  6. Brian I says:

    Just a quick note to say I’m finding these blogs very very usefull as I’m slowly getting together a colour calibrated 16 bit linux photo editing workflow. (Just mananged to get cinepaint 0.25 working today!)

    Looking forward to reading more on this site.

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