The group's techniques, 1

Dan Margulis

Having read over the notes of those who participated in this case study, first I want to thank everybody for being so complete in their descriptions of what they did. This has not always been the case in past studies.

This group was very sophisticated and it showed in the choice of techniques. In evaluating them we’re helped out by the several posts yesterday by people identifying their favorites. The consensus is that there isn’t one winner, unless it is the par version. We do, however, seem to agree on which are the six or seven best. I regret to say that mine is not one of them, because I offered up a solution in search of a problem. I’ll talk about this in my next post, which is about the big-ticket item: how, generally, to assure both good detail and extremely saturated color in this unusual image.

In this post, I’ll talk about some of the techniques of lesser importance. First, the actions found in the PPW panel weren’t a big factor here. One person trotted out the Bigger Hammer. Another tried the H-K action. Their results don’t show a clear gain and possibly a loss. Two people did use the LAB Skin Desaturation action, however, and it looks like it was helpful.

With the original being as colorful as it was, only three people got into the MMM and/or CB actions, and those that commented said there wasn’t much gain.

Some of the poorer results came because the red areas are so critical as to tempt the inexperienced to ignore everything else. This shows up in weak yellows and/or colorless hands. There was a fair amount of compensation for this:

*5 people gave special attention (a mask or Blend If to isolate) to the hands.

*3 gave special attention to the shoes.

*3 gave special attention to the purse.

*2 gave special attention to all yellows and not just the purse.

*2 used masks to isolate the highlights.

Some of the variants to fine-tune the result (remember, I’m not talking about the basic question of conversion until the next post)

*Sharpening. One person used a Clarity action before moving into CMYK. One used conventional USM once in CMYK. Two others used hiraloam in CMYK and it was helpful.

*One person found the reds too splotchy and blurred the A channel while in LAB.

*Three people used some variant of Overlay blending in CMYK to try to get more shape. A particularly original technique came from Paco Márquez, who used a layer of warm yellow set to Color Burn mode to make the purse more interesting, all other areas being masked out.

In the next post, I’ll talk about our basic strategies and not just these embellishments.