Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Something with Potential Goes Grunge with Topaz Adjust

There are times when you're out shooting that you come across something with what I like to call "potential". I mean this is why we shoot, isn't it? It's that time when you see something and you know exactly what you are going to do with it. For me recently it was this tractor. When I saw it I instantly thought "grunge". I knew what I was going to do with it in post, all I needed to do was get a decent composition that I liked.

I spent probably around 20 minutes trying a few different angles for composition. I started with the Nikon 18-200 lens because that was what I currently had on camera. I moved around a fair bit, but couldn't get what I was looking for. It was then that I realized what I needed to do... get low, shoot wide and push in tight. So I switched to the 10-24mm and set to back to work.

Since I had already decided that I wanted to do something grungy (or close to other worldly) I knew that by shooting really wide that would only enhance the overall look... that is if it everything worked out as I was hoping.

My post processing started in Lightroom with some basic adjustments, and then over to Photoshop for little Lab colour move to boost the reds, yellows and greens. Next was over intoTopaz Adjust to get the grungy look (note: this would have been good HDR candidate, but I didn't have a tripod and didn't feel that I could handhold with any decent luck).  I started with the Spicify filter and then layered the Dramatic filter. 

Now, I know that some of you will think that this is just way over the top, and you would be absolutely right! But, this was the look that I was trying to achieve. The one inherent problem with pushing things this far are the halos around the trees and top front grill of the tractor, so I had to compromise a little. I minimized this (note that I said minimize and not eliminate) by using a layer mask and then the brush tool to blend as best I could between the tree line and the sky. I tripped over to Nik's Viveza 2 to bring some more colour back into the sky that was removed when blending the halos down.

Below is the original file so you can see how bland it really was. However, this thing had potential. It just took some time to bring it out to the way I wanted.



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