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KimInNB

Need help in Colour Correction

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I have a consumer digicam (Canon A80) and don't really have the desire to move to anything more complex. I am generall happy with the results I get, but wish that I knew more about colour correction/post editing to improve my photos.

 

The 2 examples I am showing were taken on a Blackbeard's Cruise in February. I simply took the photos out of the camera and chose the "AutoLevel" feature that my photo editing program has - I use ULead PhotoImpact. They are also my 2 favorite photos from the trip.

 

Can anyone give me any ideas on how to improve the photos - make them look more realistic after the fact?

 

First, a barracuda (the original jpeg out of the camera)

original.jpg

Then my AutoLevel version

original.jpg

Next an angelfish (the original jpeg out of the camera)

original.jpg

And the AutoLevel version

original.jpg

 

Thanks,

 

Kim

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Hi Kim,

 

I'm not an expert but you could improve the French Angelfish picture a bit by enhancing the contrast channel by channel. You do so by adjusting the red, green and blue levels separately so that 1% of the pixels are not considered (0.5% on the left and 0.5% on the right side of the histograms). The over and under exposed pixels that result form moving the sliders won't affect the aspect of the image too much but having the others exploiting the full range of levels really helps.

 

The A80 is a 4 megapixels camera so you have to drop out 20 000 pixels on each side of the three histograms. I describe this technique in my home page in the Underwater photography/Ambient Light Photography with Custom White Balance section.

 

This technique gives about the same results you achieved with the barracuda.

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Here's my take on the barracuda:

 

mod.jpg

 

1. Color corrected to reduce blue cast. Did it by using "auto color",

and then adding a red photo filter (photoshop cs).

 

2. Blurred and slightly darkened the background to separate the subject from the background more (thats why its usually better to shoot a pic like this from below so that the fish portrait is surrounded by water). The blurring of the background can also be achieved by using a narrower f-stop if that option is available to you.

 

 

 

3. increased contrast slightly by using "unsharp mask" with a radius of 40.

 

4. sharpened barracuda using focalblade.

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If you have access to photoshop, you might want to also check out James' beginner article on color correction as using adjustment layers and a bit of manual tweaking will allow you to be a bit more precise than using "auto" features. Here's my 2 minute take on the angelfish shot....using a hue/saturation adjustment layer...blues are oversaturated in mine but I'm a sucker for blue water :lol:

 

Here's the link to James' article:

 

http://www.wetpixel.com/module-pagesetter-...-1-pid-14.phtml

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Some excellent tips here with some great results.

 

[WONDERS]: Wouldn't it be great if somebody were to collate all the various colour correction tips (submitted by and credited to their authors, naturally) and produce a single coherent pamphlet (in PDF format so that it can be printed out) and called something like "101 tips for improving your UW photo's".

 

I would do it but don't have a clue about this stuff.

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Thanks so much everyone - now I just have to learn to do it myself!!!

 

Kim

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Here's my attempt. I set the color cast whit poin in the sand the set th black and adjusted levels.

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