Re: Case Studies in Retrospect


Robert Wheeler
 

When the Carnival image was posted, I had just purchased Dan’s Modern Photoshop Color Workflow book and discovered the Color Theory discussion group via the link in the book’s online resources. Because my learning from the image challenges has been inseparable from my concurrent reading, I have difficulty identifying three images as most helpful in themselves.

 

I experimented with the Carnival image but did not submit my result. My main learning was confirmation that I would need to learn much more to be effective at the extremes of color correction. I also discovered that members of the group are fluent in a language that I would need to learn. I knew about channels but did not know how to “blend” them. I knew about CYMK and LAB color spaces but did not understand how to use them well. I was unfamiliar with many commands in the Photoshop “Image” menu, which had been cast as a forbidden “destructive editing” zone by many of my earlier learning resources. It was not easy to find clear and comprehensive explanations of how to use “apply image.” My response was to accelerate my reading of Dan’s book and to get used copies of two older books about channels. Photoshop Channel Chops helped a lot, and The Photoshop Channels Book had a few good nuggets despite the author’s annoying attempt to sound folksy.

 

The Veiled Bride image was my first attempt to deliberately follow the steps of a PPW workflow: initial evaluation and color correction followed by contrast adjustment and then revisit color adjustments. I had not yet become familiar with the PPW panel.

 

The Niagara Spray image was my first practical experience using apply image for channel blending. Practice with this and with images downloaded from Dan’s book resource site provided useful anchors for what can seem abstract and mysterious if just reading about it. I made an action to make and save all the channels (R, G, B, L, a, b, C, Y, M, K) into the initial image channels panel for quick comparison and planning.

 

For the Cinque Terre image, I began to experiment with the actions triggered by the PPW Panel. Finishing up Dan’s book and reading the panel PDFs would take some weeks. I found the sub-panel display of examples common LAB values helpful as I began to consciously measure a* and b* values as part of image evaluation. This was also my first venture into making versions by different methods then blending versions together. I began the multiple-week project of reading the recently released On the Law of Simultaneous Color Contrast.

 

With the Colosseum image, Dan’s detailed analysis of L values across three points in all the images opened my eyes to the value of a more systematic approach to detailed image analysis than I would have attempted on my own. Very instructive and useful.

 

The Panama 1978 image tossed in the issue of scanner artifacts to address. Looking for resources led me to trying Pattern Suppressor 2.6 with useful results (but not in time for my challenge image).

 

For the Monument Valley image, I revisited key parts of Photoshop LAB Color edition 1 which I had read years earlier with less than perfect comprehension. (Version 2 is essentially unavailable: out of print and used copies asking $200 to $600! Will save up for Version 3 if it ever emerges.) I used some of the PPW Panel actions, some manual curves in LAB, and blended versions at the end. Pleased to see my progress validated a little with my entry selected as a component of the PAR version.

 

In the Toast to Greece image, the mixed lighting presented a useful challenge. This one was not easy. I see in my original notes that I did include the H-K action as part of the process, although omitted that from my posted summary. Learned a lot from working on this one, and again pleased to see my entry picked as part of the PAR version.

 

The Seated in Grass image led me to create the “most colorful” entry via using more parts of the PPW Panel actions than earlier, with my notes admitting to a gradual reduction in timidity about color resulting from participation in these challenges. I am beginning to understand more about the actions, and was happy to see my entry selected as part of the PAR version.

 

I found the Adirondacks image exceptionally useful for seeing how differently others approached the correction.

 

The Red Rose image provided a good reminder not to confuse color with structure when figuring out what to “correct.”

 

Despite my reservations about mixing up images and books as sources of learning, perhaps it is fair to say the Toast to Greece, Seated in Grass, and Adirondacks images provided strong lessons for me.

 

I have learned more than I can summarize, and gradual integration into evaluation and processing of my own images has already begun. Dan has served as a good model for the potential benefits of re-processing the same image over time. I expect to revisit these challenge images and re-read the PPW panel PDFs over the next several months to get a firmer grasp on the methods and when to use them.

 

Deep thanks and appreciation to Dan and to all participants for accelerating my learning via these image challenges.

 

Robert Wheeler

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