Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Than Software

It's impossible to overstate how Photoshop has changed the world. And that's especially true for the world of photography. Case in point, this image I nabbed from a wedding photographer's site today. (The guy's name is Becker, and he is one of the movers and shakers in the wedding photography world.)

The shot is fine. Shot on a farm or something, in a field. Maybe some crop that was recently harvested. But it looks like dead grass to me.

So, of course, I had to take a stab at goosing it up a bit.

Sorry, but I just think lush, green grass makes this photo really zing.

Photoshop isn't just software. It's kind of miracley.


Jonderson said...

No, no, no...changing the color of the grass is not an adequate demonstration of the real benefit of Photoshop. Here is my version of the same photo, which I believe expresses the true value of PS.

(Hoping that Blogger lets me do that code...)

Chris Robinson said...

You could'a done a Flip Horizontal on the heads so they were facing each other. Granted, your version is much more entertaining.

Jonderson said...

I didn't do that because it would make the lighting on the heads backwards as well. It would have looked...fake. :D

Chris Robinson said...

Here is my version. I used dodge and burn to recreate the highlights and shadows along with the brush set to white, a layer masking and opacity. Took 5 min.

In case the link above does not work:


Scott Roeben said...

Dudes. That is too funny. Interesting, too, that I have gotten some feedback that the image I tweaked now looks fake. I think my tastes tend toward the eerily colorful.

Chris Robinson said...

Your tweaked photo looks great. I just think the green is just slighly blue. If it were pushed slightly over to the brown side it would look more like natural grass.

Jonderson said...

Chris, you are a PS monster...that lighting recreation looks great!

BTW, I know it must be an optical illusion, but that guy's head looks really small on her body.

Scott, I really wasn't commenting on your grass job, but now that you brought it up, Chris is right. The difficulty is that while dead grass is a very uniform shade of brown, real green grass is not very uniform in shade at all. I give you a pass on this though, because the green grass that you are most familiar with is that uniform...but only because you spraypaint it that way. :)

Scott Roeben said...

I want to create photos of the world as I imagine it, not the way it is! Color, symmetry, blemish-free. Yay, fantasy land!

Jonderson said...

Ah yes, the Vegas mentality rearing its neon head. ;)

Funny though, I never look at photography like that. I think of it as capturing the world as it is, or as it appears to me. Never as what I wish it to be. I know that your view is shared by many, many photographers though. Playboy is probably the most dramatic example, though I don't mean to identify you with them. And a lot of ad photography is just as "bad", though I don't mean to use that word perjoratively.

I guess it is that I see fantastic beauty in the world as it is, and that there is so much to look at, so many different eyes seeing the things that are in so many different and interesting ways, that I don't see the need to wish for it any other way than it is. It is the asymmetry, the blemishes, the flaws, which make the world as it is more interesting to look at than a uniform symmetric world could ever be.

The Jen said...

I get the feeling that jonderson is not a big fan of fake boobs.

Chris Robinson said...

My goals in photography are very similar to Scott's. You can use photography to sculpt the real world into your own sureal universe. Photography lets the shooter show the normal world in a way that the view has never seen. A new angle. A different emphasis. It could be as simple as taking all the wonderful blemishes and deciding which one to bring out and which to play down. Exaggerate the rust spots on an old tractor, but soften the blemishes on the barn so that all focus is on the rust. Perhaps you sharpen the wrinkles on an old man's face but air brush the fuzz on his sweater so that the eye doesn't wander away from his face.

Playboy might not be the best example of what Scott is talking about. The intention of a Playboy photographer is to conform every subject to the same exact standard of "beauty" according to that corporation. I'm sure that involves marketing reseach. That is not art. That is product. That is commerce. The photograph, even the girl in the photo, are not important so long as the magazine sells. The goal of the photographer is to sell that magazine. Nothing more.

Art, in my opinion, is about making specific choices on purpose to communicate an abstract idea or feeling to others. All art! Playboy and Ad photography have nothing to do with art. Their goal is to propagandize the viewer into a desired behavior. Buying their product.

And Jen, I think fake boobs are great to look at so long as they don't look like they are about to burst. You know the ones. Those ANGRY boobs!?!? But real ones look good and the feel way better. So, I'm gonna have to go with real boobs. If I change my boob opinion, I will be sure to keep you abreast.

(tit pun)

Scott Roeben said...

Two words you never expected to see in blog comments: Angry boobs. Anyhoo, I find the discussion about photo retouching an interesting one. I have to say that a greater facility with Photoshop has re-ignited my enthusiasm for photography, just as my new camera did. I love being able to tweak an image to enhance it, although I certainly understand that one person's enhancement is another's "screwing with." Ultimately, I think it all goes back to the eye of the beholder. I love rich, deep, vibrant colors ten times more than black and white. (Which is probably why I can't bear to watch black and white movies, other than "Schindler's List.) To each their own! (Oh, and Jon, life does provide great beauty. Photoshop doesn't take that beauty away...it often makes life even beautifuler.)

Chris Robinson said...

Here is an example of taking a photograph that is already really good and changing the feeling of the shot using photoshop. It's gone from a scene to a portrait.

As a portrait, I think all the red takes focus from the bride and groom. So I (literally) took focus away using simulated depth of field blur. I boosed the red in the bouquet and gave the couple a dreamy glow.

I stole the original (bottom) from flickr. The final took less than 10 min.

If anyone wants to send me a photo for a challenge, please post it and I'll see what I can do. My favorite are photos that the shooter finds unsatisfying, either from poor lighting, bad angle, something distracting in the shot...whatever.

Chris Robinson said...

Here is the original on Flickr:


Scott Roeben said...

Excellent example, Chris. Both are reality...just different ways of perceiving it. Either that, or we just like to play god. Ark.