Re: Choir: Dan's comments

Harvey Nagai

First, a few words about 703: for those who missed last summer's case studies, it is not unlike
entry 920 submitted by a certain somebody (ahem) for the "A Toast to Greece" case study.

Excerpts of Dan's comments at the time:

"It is reasonable to try to direct attention to the head table, where the wartime survivors are.
It is not reasonable to try to add such an enormous light source that anybody who actually
attended this dinner would know instantly that this version has been Photoshopped to death."

"There are, however, two consolations for the rest of us. First, that this spotlighting is wildly
exaggerated doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. Think back to our Veiled Bride case study, and recall
a "ringer" version, #319, which by itself was quite ugly and exaggerated. But I threw it out as
a teaser, saying that almost every other version would be improved with a blend of 25% #319,
and other list members verified that this was true."

"The same is true with this monstrosity. As I posted to the main thread, blending 15% of #920
into each other version resulted in improvement in all but four."

For this case study I made spotlighting verboten, but it never occurred to me to use the effects
in reverse to de-emphasize the periphery, as Dan suggests.

Food for thought.


704 is my entry, in addition to what Dan mentioned in his first comments, I chose to pay heed
to a couple of other aspects:
    - Christmas colors (the image's EXIF suggests otherwise, but I'd rather believe the clues)
    - the church's illumination (apse/alter area brightest, nave/pews dimmest)

The greens were so weak, it took awhile to recognize the flowers were poinsettas and the snaky
things were green garlands, but having realized that, it became important to portray the occasion.

And although it wasn't the primary intention, having distinguishable greens helps fend off the
overall yellowness a bit, something else for the viewer to grab onto in a sea of red-yellows and
yellow-reds (or at least it does for me). 

The second point was one lesson from "A Toast to Greece": if the apse is too dark or the
foreground is too light, someone who was there would know.

The color of the dresses had their own journey.  Starting from the default image, they ended
up dark (around L=23), but after sneaking a peek at the flat image, I decided that they
should be a lighter red, "crimson" (around L=32).  But I couldn't buy the idea of super-bright
"Santa's helpers" red for a church choir.

Colors were extremely difficult to judge, they seemed to look different with each viewing,
whether minutes apart or hours later or the next day.  Skin colors tended to look too yellow
more often than not, so I finally desaturated and reddened them.  The dresses tended to look
more orange, so some yellow was taken out, today it looks like they want that yellow back.

Getting back to 703, blending it in helps, but I prefer about half of Dan's suggested 20%,
maybe because the foreground is already darker than the choir and the effects above are
well into the periphery when looking at the choir.

Many thanks for Dan's exhaustive analyses!

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