Suffusion XXII – The Making Of The Print


I’m having a great time printing this series of images!
At first glance, they look like classic black and white images. In reality, they’re full color captures of a near neutral subject, processed and printed as color images. The trace amounts of color from the original subject make a very subtle but meaningful addition to the final image and print.
The trace amounts of color in the image are so subtle, I wasn’t sure which color management options would yield the best printed results; shadow detail, gradation, neutrality and graybalance all play major roles.
To get the final prints today, I tested multiple printer color management routes (Photoshop, Printer, Printer Adv B&W)(my ImagePrint tests are pending). Using Printer color management  for color offered the results I was looking for – not Photoshop, which clipped deep shadow detail and not Printer Adv B&W which rendered warm grays by default and cool toning solutions added more cool toning to the highlights than the shadows making the prints look like they carried a faint color cross).
They’re really touchy images. I found out how touchy when I went from 4×6 proofs to 11×14 prints, which when enlarged looked slightly lighter and lower contrast. A contrast curve for enlargement solved this.
At larger scale the noise became an issue, which I’m sleeping on. On the one hand, the subject is made of particles of water, which you can see when you are there. On the other hand it looks distracting to people who don’t know this. Water blurs with motion but the motion is frozen in these very fast exposures. I polled other people around me (including my father). Then I settled on an unexpected solution. I let some of the noise come through only in the areas of greatest focus, drawing slightly more attention to them. (Some noise can makes images appear sharper.)
There was a another surprise. I tested the images on glossy paper (Epson Exhibition Fine Art Paper). The extra depth in the blacks made another improvement in the image, so much so that it was worth the trade off for the soft surface of the matte paper. I made a similar test with a related series, Fumo, and didn’t make this choice. But here it was clear. This is the first time I’ve made my final prints on glossy paper.
I made these images while scouting my 2011 Focus On Nature workshop with Ragnar Th Sigurdsson and Arthur Meyerson. Arthur and I, two colorists who love the colors black gray and white and talk about them as colors.
I’m looking forward to returning to Iceland (and this waterfall) this August to lead a workshops again for Focus On Nature with +Einar Erlendsson , +Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson and +seth resnick .  +Arthur Meyerson Arthur Meyerson will join us at the end of our Iceland workshop for our Arctic Voyage workshop/cruise from Longyearben to Greenland and finally back to Iceland.
We have a few more spaces left our Iceland workshop.
There’s one space left in our Greenland workshop.
There are a two more spaces in my Fine Digital Print Advanced workshop.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

5 Ways To Listen Better – Julian Treasure


5 Ways To Listen Better – Julian Treasure

4 Ways Sound Affects Us – Julian Treasure

Sound Health In 8 Steps – Julian Treasure
In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, “We are losing our listening.” In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you.
View more creativity videos here.
Read more in my creativity ebooks.
Learn more in my creativity workshops.

Save 20% On Imagenomic's Noiseware Pro


Get 20% off Imagenomic products with this discount code JPC2007.
Noiseware is the most robust noise-reduction software available. Ironically, while it offers the most sophisticated feature set, very often the default settings when you first open an image are all you’re likely to need. In many cases, very little, if any, additional tweaking is necessary.
In part, this is because Noiseware analyzes the images you process and creates “profiles” or saved settings that it uses every time you open a new image. It intelligently learns your needs by tracking your past images and analyzing your new images. You can also use Noiseware’s tools to create your own profiles, which can be saved and reused. You can save your own Preferences for how you’d like Noiseware to behave and learn. Noiseware also offers 13 default settings (like Landscape, Night Scene, Portrait, Stronger Noise, etc.) and allows you to save your own custom settings, which can be created from scratch or by modifying the provided presets.
Noiseware’s ability to target noise reduction to specific aspects of an image is what makes it unparalleled. You can adjust Noise Reduction based on Luminance or Chrominance; higher settings produce stronger noise reduction. You can target Noise Level based on Luminance or Chrominance; higher settings tell the software there’s more noise. You can target Color Range; Noise Reduction and Noise Level can be customized by hue—reds, yellows, greens, cyans, blues, magentas, neutrals. You can target Tonal Range; Noise Reduction and Noise Level can be customized for shadows, midtones and highlights. You can target image areas based on Frequency (or amount of detail); Noise Reduction and Noise Level can be customized to High, Mid, Low and Very Low frequencies. Finally, you can enhance detail, first, by using Detail Protection to reduce the effect based on Luminance or Color, and second, by using Detail Enhancement, which provides Sharpening, Contrast and Edge Smoothening.
Noiseware’s ability to provide this level of selectivity is extraordinary. It allows you to easily customize noise reduction for separate areas of an image without making complex masks. You’ll want to do this. Here’s just one example, among many, of why you want to do this. Smooth image areas reveal noise much more readily and they support more noise reduction, while highly textured image areas hide noise, but don’t support as much noise reduction without compromising apparent image sharpness.
Read my full review on Digital Photo Pro.
Find Imagenomic’s Noiseware here.
Read more in my digital photography resources.
Learn more in my digital printing workshops.

Reduce Color Noise With Photoshop



It’s challenging to reduce the luminance (light and dark) component of noise without compromising image sharpness; often it requires a careful application of specialized software.
However, you can easily reduce the color component of noise using Photoshop.
Here’s how.
1    Duplicate the Background layer and turn the duplicate layer’s blend mode to Color.
2    Blur the layer (Filter: Blur: Gaussian Blur).



Be careful not to use the blur filter too aggressively. If contours exhibit reduced saturation, use a lower filtration
Using this technique, only the color of an image will be blurred, not its luminance; image sharpness will not be compromised. Luminance noise will persist; other methods are required to remove it.
This industrial strength technique is most useful when dealing with serious color noise when a Raw converter’s features can’t go far enough, such as the larger areas of color noise found in some images from Bayer pattern demosaicing.
Find more online here.
Learn more in my digital printing workshops.

Reduce Noise With Dark Slides


Some noise is random; some noise is fixed. Hot-pixel noise is fixed. What are “hot pixels”? Photosites on digital sensors that generate brighter information faster than their neighbors. Hot pixels get brighter at higher ISOs, with longer exposures, and in warmer temperatures. You can map where hot pixels are and exactly how bright they get under specific conditions with a dark slide. Then you can use a dark slide to drop out fixed “hot-pixel” noise with a simple postprocessing technique in Photoshop.
To make a dark slide, simply make a separate exposure made at the same ISO, exposure time and temperature as the image you intend to use it with. Exposure of what? Darkness. Leave your lens cap on.
To use a dark slide in Photoshop, open the dark slide and the image you’d like to use it with and drag and drop the dark slide into that image file, holding the Shift key to make sure it’s precisely registered (wait to crop or rotate an image until after this is accomplished). Change the blend mode of the dark-slide layer to Difference and watch the hot-pixel noise vanish.
Learn more about making and using dark slides on Digital Photo Pro.
Learn more about noise here.
Learn more in my digital printing workshops.

Reduce Noise With Multiple Shots


Got noise in one exposure? Make a bunch of exposures and watch the noise disappear.
You can reduce noise in an image by combining multiple exposures of the same composition in Photoshop. Photoshop can search for the differences between the separate exposures and then blend them, keeping what stays the same and eliminating what changes. Random noise between separate exposures of the same composition will be substantially, even dramatically, reduced or disappear altogether. (This technique won’t eliminate fixed noise, hot pixels, or column and row noise. There are other techniques for that, like using dark slides.)
You’ll find having this option will greatly reduce any reluctance you have toward using high ISOs. This means two things. You’ll be able to make images in lighting situations you thought you couldn’t, and you’ll be able to make handheld exposures in conditions you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to without severely compromising quality.
So how do you do this? Use the following steps.
1. Shoot multiple exposures.
Try to minimize camera motion as much as possible. It’s not necessary to use a tripod, but it’s helpful2
2. In Photoshop, go to File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack.
3. Click Browse and select the exposures to be used in the Stack and check Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images and Create Smart Object after Loading Layers.
This will create a single Smart Object from the multiple exposures. Double-clicking on this Smart Object will allow you to see the layers separately.
4. Go to Layer > Smart Objects > Image Stack Mode > Median to blend the separate exposures.
You’ll see that the noise is re-duced substantially.
5. Optionally, compare Image Stack Mode > Mean.
This works best for exposures containing no movement.
Read more about this technique at Digital Photo Pro.
Learn more about noise here.
Learn more in my digital printing workshops.

Noise – Reduce It At Capture

noise-capture
Noise comes in three types or patterns:
1) Random noise 2) Fixed-pattern noise 3) Banding noise

Noise often has two components—brightness and color:
4) Image noise 5) Luminance noise 6) Chrominance noise

Knowing the type and kind of noise produced will help guide you to solutions to reduce it. There are three types of noise: random noise, fixed-pattern noise and banding noise.


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Dave McDonell on Noise

noise1
Dave McDonell, cofounder of Imagenomic, the company that makes Noiseware, my favorite noise reduction software weighs in on noise.
JPC    Where does noise come from?
DM    There are several factors in a digital camera capture process that contribute to noise. The most prevelant are temperature, the actual capture circuitry, sensor size, and the process of sub-sampling which induces errors between adjacent pixels.
JPC    Why is chrominance noise so much easier to reduce than luminance noise?
DM    It’s really not in application. It’s just that you perceive changes in luminosity or brightness much easier than you do in color.
JPC    Fine color noise is easier to reduce than coarse color noise, like the color patterns created by demosaicing bayer patterns. When are you most likely to encounter this type of noise? How should you treat it differently? How far can you go?
DM    There are no hard and fast rules for any of the above questions as all are dependent on the capture situation and subsequent output medium.


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Layering Noise


Here’s an excerpt from my column in the current issue of Digital Photo Pro.
“When adding noise to digital files, keep noise separate from the image so you can control both independently of one another. This way you’ve got extraordinary control and flexibility. When noise is placed on its own layer you can eliminate or change it at any time in the future, reduce its opacity, localize it, desaturate it, target it into specific channels, move it, scale it, blur it and much more …”
Read more in the current issue of Digital Photo Pro.
Learn out more in my digital printing workshops.