Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Paint Shop Pro - Photo How-To - Greyscaling


James was asking me how I did the photo effects on the above photo. So, I thought I would post a How-To on the techniques I used.

I'm borrowing a technique I see Gaz using all the time... I like it.. take the background into B&W to set off the subject. This is particularly good in this shot, since the background had a lot of distracting color in it (purples and reds).

  1. I took the photo with a macro lens to get the focal depth I wanted on the flower versus the background.
  2. In Paint Shop Pro, I performed an edge selection on the flowers. This is a somewhat manual process, but works well if you have patience. I prefer to use the selection tool in point-to-point mode with a 10 pixel edge seeking radius.
  3. I inverted the selection to choose the background.
  4. Using a levels adjustment layer, I decreased the contrast and increased the brightness to "wash out" the background a bit.
  5. Using a saturation adjustment layer, I set the saturation level to zero to take the background image to greyscale.
  6. I then inverted the selection again to reselect only the flowers.
  7. I then used another levels adjustment layer to bring down the highlights and midtones to provide a little more "pop" to the picture, providing a little more contrast.
  8. Finally, I cropped for compositional effect.

Incidentally, that picture is of a pot of orchids I bought Becky yesterday for our anniversary.

Here's the original photo, untouched:

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