As part of the feedback I received from Assignment Four: Real or Fake? My tutor made the following comment:
Images produced have been captured effectively to ensure the desired aim is achievable. The end result demonstrates your abilities well but there appears to be some loss of quality over the various photographic elements. This may just be due to the ‘crayon effect’ filter that appears to cover the image? It may be worth having a look at this to see whether sharper images would be possible.
Now that I have looked in detail at sharpening, I wanted to set about making improvements to my image.
You may remember, that this was the original image I submitted against the assignment,
which at the time I was really pleased with, especially after all of the hard work I had gone through to achieve my objective.
Looking at the image from a distance, to my untrained eye all looks fine, but when you enlarge the book cover, the cap and glasses do look a little blurred around the edges, which probably isn’t helped by the crayon effect filter I added to the shot. With this in mind, my original intention was to open the image in Photoshop, which I did, and precede to sharpen the layer containing the cap and glasses. A simple and obvious idea to take on board, but of course it came with complications and no amount of sharpening combinations would give the desired effect I was now looking for. Not really understanding what was going on, I then opened the image containing just the cap and glasses, and this is where I found the issue – the edges were not very sharp, in fact when zooming into the shot, things looked
really quiet fuzzy, and this was the cause of my pain.
By now, I had spent quiet some time playing around with the original files, finding myself no further forward then before. This is when I decided to create the cover again, I had done it once before, and now that I had new Photoshop knowledge surrounding Layers and Sharpening I decided that this would be a good opportunity to practice a little more before moving on with my work.
I proceeded in much the same way as before to produce my cap and glasses combination, but I made a few changes to my output workflow. Once I had isolated my items, I ran an
unsharp mask filter with the amount set high and the pixels low in order to sharpen the edges. I then refined my edges; by setting the Edge Detection Radius and Contrast quiet high, I decreased the Shift Edge to -10. Making these changes to my New Layer with Layer Mask, I was able to achieve a very crisp, sharp outline. Whilst playing around with my new cap, I had decided to change it appearance by adding some additional texture, this I did using the Clone Stamp application.
Once I had the cap and glasses looking how I wanted them too, I merged the information with the original background of my book cover, and to make it seem as though the ‘man’ was invisible, I decreased the opacity to 70%. On opinion, I have made the cap and glasses bigger in the new image, as before my invisible man was a little lost in amongst smoke and text. I have also left of the crayon effect filter, only applying this to the background.
So finally, I have a new book cover, which is very similar to the previous cover, but now I think it looks better and a little more professional.
Initially, I was pleased with the work I submitted for assignment and in my defence, at the point of submission I did not know how to use the unsharp mask and was unsure of its effects to my work. In this mini-project I also took the time to play a little more with the edge definition tool and instead of using the settings as recommended by others (as I had in my original image), I created my own settings, ones that worked better towards the effect I was trying to achieve. I am glad I took the time to revisit this work and to produce, in my mind, a better submission.
It is always difficult to understand tutor expectations for assignment, and in this case, I was so pleased to achieve what I had set out to, that I did not think about the finesse of my finished work. My post-processing workflow continues to grow with each exercise I conduct, and I do not think that my computer screen can handle many more sticky notes of post-processing reminders! Although, at the moment I am feel quiet positive about my work and about my current knowledge base, and feel a little sad to soon be leaving the digital world of photography and move onto my next challenge.