What was learned

Dan Margulis

On Aug 5, 2020, at 10:00 PM, Thomas Hurd,MD via <tomhurd@...> wrote in the Red Roses thread:

What I learned this summer!

  1. Luminosity and contrast rule the image
  2. The wrong color is can destroy a picture no matter how good the luminosity and contrast.
  3. Unchecked, my email app downsizes images
  4. Lens correction in LR, and presumably ACR, alters image dimension 
  5. 8 bit, sRGB jpeg is just fine for almost every image I process.
  6. Channel blending might be the most important step in contrast, in the right images
  7. I can eliminate a moire pattern, but maybe shouldn’t always do so completely. But there are more ways to recover luminosity contrast. (See #6)
  8. Decreasing the saturation is a very important step in the PPW workflow. It was very hard to believe how desaturated I could make an image and then recover and enhance every bit of it. I have become a believer.
  9. Overthinking an image correction can be just as bad as overthinking my golf swing.
  10. Images like our bookend offerings are very challenging, when there are one or two dominant primary colors. Having other colors in the image can cover up my mistakes.
  11. Looking at 20+ representations of the same image can play tricks on the eyes. And the order you view them means a lot.
  12. The members of this group are very generous with help and explanation.
  13. Outside the time spent on the weekly entries, my color correction has become quicker and more efficient.
  14. Photos from an iPhone are not bad and very amenable to Photoshop color correction.
  15. Don’t send an image out of Photoshop by text message before converting it to sRGB. The phone screens do not like the LAB conversion.
  16. I’ve re-read about 25-30% of Dan’s books since Professional Photoshop 4th edition. There are chapters from every book that help my understanding. I can also say that when I re-read MPCW pp.222-225 Under the Tuscan Sun and could understand it!
  17. In the very next section of that book, A Sad Tale of Skintone, Dan recommended not to get discouraged if you overestimate your work before you compare it to other. I’m following that advice, too. I critically injured a lot of images this summer, but I also took away a lot that improved me.
  18. Knowing how to manipulate a technique is not good enough. The final result is what counts. I actually already knew that, but it is a lesson I relearn many times over, in almost every field I venture into.
  19. I can’t thank Dan enough for these 11 weeks of instruction. There is so much content in his critiques of every entry, that I’m sure I will be referring to this material for a long time forward. I’m amazed every week how much there is to each image. This is a fantastic opportunity to systematically investigate a great range of approaches to correction. Most every week I spent a great many hours learning about the techniques I needed to apply. Sometimes, of course, those learning hours were spent after I saw the rest of the entries!
  20. So thanks, Dan, for the great summer school. Now, back to Simultaneous Contrast of Color…
This is an excellent summary that probably speaks for many other people.

I have no significant disagreement with any of it but would like to add to the point about overthinking. In putting the group together I was aware that certain images, Toast to Greece for example, require a certain amount of time to get a decent result. Therefore I also included some that I thought would be instructive, yet not require any complicated procedure. The comments I got offline indicated that many of you realized that these images should be done fairly quickly, although a few reported spending hours on them.

In the six MIT exercises I posted not just my own new version but the ones I had done in 2017 when I was working with a self-imposed limit of three minutes. The new ones were all better IMHO but this was no surprise, because this time I had already seen the previous results (in 2017 I didn’t look at what the MIT retouchers had done until finished with my own version). I would say that the extra time I spent was definitely worth it on Veiled Bride, Cinque Terre, and Red Rose. I’m not sure about Colosseum, it looks like more a question of interpretation than technique. But Monument Valley and Seated in the Grass seem straightforward. I did not overthink them and hope that most of you didn’t either.