Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why I Love Lightroom and the Digital Darkroom

... or at least just one of many reasons digital processing is so cool.

Last week I mentioned my little "Photoshop project" and I thought some of you might enjoy sharing that little trip so here goes.

As you may or may not know, Facebook changed its page layout (again) at the end of March.  One of my colleagues in the marketing department at my "day job" asked if I had any interesting shots that showed our company logo and could be used for the new Facebook page header image.  While I had a few snapshots, nothing stood out as something I'd have even been comfortable offering up.  Luckily, my colleague had a concept for a shot that he was happy to share and I agreed that it would make a good image if I could pull it off.   The concept was a "point of view shot" as one exits the elevator in our Wausau office. 

Step 1, dust off the wide angle lens, grab the camera and try to get the center of 3 elevators to open up and let me on so I'd be lined up with the shot when I arrived on the 4th floor.  Just when I was beginning to think my 1-in-3 odds were never going to happen, my car FINALLY arrived and up we go.

Step 2, try to keep the door open long enough on the elevator to take the shot.  After several pushes of the "hold the door please" button and some annoying "beep, beep, beep" warnings, I had grabbed a half dozen shots that would set the rest of the experiment in motion.

Here's the original image. I thought the idea had potential, but obviously there's a few elements that needed some help.

  • While we're all happy for the fire extinguisher mounted to the wall (left), it doesn't help this image.  It will have to go.
  • The stainless steel elevator certainly helps provide that "point of view" feel to the image, but the reflections of the logo on its sides are distracting.  They'll have to go too.
  • There are only 4 floors in this building so when you reach the top floor, the elevator makes the reasonable assumption that the car will be traveling back down and indicates that via its directional light (top right).  Helpful information, but something in my mind says there's a negative connotation here.  We want to be moving up, not down.
Step 3, "blemishes" removed.

That's right, no formal Photoshop education here.  Still, I thought my "skills" were good enough to allow it to pass a cursory glance inspection.  Being privy to what was edited in the image, however, helps support my claim of being "Photoshop challenged".

While I was pleased with the end results, I had a concern about the purple wall in relation to the rest of the company Facebook page.  After sharing the image with our marketing group they had the same concern.  "What if we replace just the wall with a shot from one of our other offices - one that isn't purple?".  Well, we could try that, but for some reason I like the lighting in this shot.  The logo is well lite and is casting some great shadows to provide depth.  How about ....



And THAT is why digital processing is so cool!  Not only can you clone out the unwanted, but to be able to take a VERY purple wall and change it's color to something more appropriate just by moving a few hue or saturation sliders.  To me, that is truly magic!

Until next time, keep click'n.


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