New Video Workshop/Tour with Shane Hurlbut

The Shane Hurlbut Illumination Experience Video Tour

I’ve spent the last few days supporting the opening sessions of Shane Hurlbut’s Illumination Experience Video Tour. Datacolor is a sponsor of these events, which will take place in 26 cities.

The sessions are “intended for any filmmaker seeking industry insight on cinematic lighting and cinematography” – but they are much more than that. These workshops cover a lot of ground – from lighting basics through full cinematic setups, to camera operation and exposure management, to on-set color controls, plus post-production tips and more – and, Shane is one of the top instructors in the field.

Shane incorporates Datacolor technology into his color workflow, starting with lighting/camera setup through post-production.

shane photo


Quoting from the press release:

“The Illumination Experience is a two-part series; the Illumination Workshop, which will be taught in all 25 cities, and the Experience Masterclass which will be available to students in nine of these cities. (see link at the end of the post)

For the Illumination Workshop, Shane will demonstrate his avant-garde approach to three-point lighting during an interactive live shoot. Divided into three phases: discovery, creation, and execution, Shane’s students will…. design, develop, enhance, and supplement the storytelling process with lighting, script analysis, storyboard preparation, lighting schematics, and shot lists.

The Experience Masterclass is a day-long hands-on intensive consisting of two live shoots. The class will be divided into four teams. The teams will follow Shane’s lighting schematics to re-create film scenes from Crazy/Beautiful (2001) and Swing Vote (2008). With Shane’s guidance, students will learn to integrate methodical lighting with precise camera motion to achieve impactful results. Students will experiment with gear such as the Fisher 10 Dolly, the Movi, and the Kessler Crane in conjunction with various lights, filters, flags and bounces. Shane will critique each scene and provide customized feedback to each team.”

Shane Hurlbut, A.S.C., is a world-renowned cinematographer who has shot multimillion dollar blockbuster films such as Act of Valor, Drumline, Terminator: Salvation, The Rat Pack, We Are Marshall. Shane is a member of the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is among a select group of cinematographers recognized by Canon as an “Explorer of Light” and by the Tiffen Company as an “ImageMaker”. “

For more information and registration:

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Selective Color Adjustment in Adobe Photoshop

This is the full text of an article that was recently published in Photo Technique magazine, (there may be some minor differences in the text)

Selective Color Adjustment in Adobe Photoshop, by David Saffir

There are quite a few ways you can edit color in Photoshop, even down to the colors of leaves on a tree. The advantages? You can target specific parts of an image for a simple color boost, change the color completely, add a color tint or color cast, improve dimensionality and more. I define selective color adjustment to also include selective color replacement.

I encourage the use of Photoshop, because many of these techniques can be applied to a new layer, or an adjustment layer, or a series of layers. This gives you maximum flexibility in editing although it can sometimes increase file size. I’ll review several methods I use, but keep in mind that there are also many more color adjustment options in Photoshop.

Figure 1 (iStockphoto)

Figure 1 (iStockphoto)

Some of the tools in Photoshop require working knowledge of the color wheel. Figure 1 is a modestly stylized version of a color wheel.

Note that that color blue is opposite yellow, red opposite cyan, and green opposite magenta. If an image has a blue color cast, adding an appropriate amount of yellow can balance the image and give a more neutral appearance. Adding even more yellow would result in a yellow color cast, or “warmer” appearance.

Color Balance Adjustment Layer

The Color Balance adjustment layer is a powerful tool: you can activate this from the Layers Panel, or go Layers>Adjustment Layer>Color Balance. Note the “warm tone” in this image. (I think of the Color Balance panel as a selective color adjustment, because you can balance the image using the color wheel as a guide, and also work selectively among highlights, shadows, and midtones).

Figure 2

Figure 2

I suggest that you work in small steps. For example, add a small amount of blue in the highlights, then switch to midtones, and repeat the cycle until the image is pleasing. Figure 2 is the ‘before’ photograph. In Figure 3 I’ve “added” blue to the image in the highlights and midtones, pushing it toward a more neutral appearance. In this case, I’ve added a bit more blue than necessary just so you can see the effect on this printed page.

Figure 3

Figure 3

Selective Color Adjustment Layer

This option offers a wide range of combinations. First, the panel offers a drop-down menu that contains six main colors that can be adjusted: red, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta. (Familiar, aren’t they? These are primary points on the color wheel). It also offers adjustments for white, neutral and black. Figure 4 is the ‘before’ photograph.

Figure 4

Figure 4

In a way, this panel is a “cousin” to the Color Balance tool set. It offers much more flexibility, however—examine the example in Figure 3—we have the option of increasing or decreasing the amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, or black in any of the choices offered in the drop down menu. In this case, (Figure 5) if we select red and increase cyan, its opposite on the color wheel, the reds become subdued. Small steps are best.

Figure 5

Figure 5

You may find it necessary to combine adjustments and/or corrections to get the look and feel you want. If you change the layer blending mode to “color” you can create multiple adjustment layers, and stack them for cumulative effect.

Replace Color

This is one of my favorite tools in Photoshop, particularly when editing landscape or still life images. It is frequently used by photo retouchers to change hue and saturation in commercial photography—and it can be adapted to use in landscape and scenic photography to add depth, dimensionality and tone separation to an image.

Here’s an image (Figure 6) that I took near the California Poppy Reserve some time ago. Basic adjustments, such as levels and curves have been completed. Partially overcast conditions make colors on the ground looks a bit subdued, and a little flat.

Figure 6

Figure 6

Next, we’re going to open the Replace Color panel (Image>Adjustments>Replace Color). At the top of the panel, enable “Local Color Clusters”. This will improve your control of any changes, in many cases limiting those changes to a patch of color, or a patch and its neighbors.

Next, use the left hand eyedropper to select a color area. In this case, (Figure 7) I’ve selected the yellow patch in the distance, on the left hand side near the horizon. I’ve also pushed the Fuzziness slider to the right, to include some of the colors in the grass. (Note that I’ve enabled Selection view in the panel, which provide a black/white view similar to the Threshold tool—the white areas show the selection quite clearly. You can use the +dropper tool to select additional areas—but take care to limit your selections to colors that are close to your original choice).

Figure 7

Figure 7

I then increase the saturation in the selected area. Note the change in the yellow areas of the photograph, Figure 8.

Figure 8

Figure 8

If you want to use a different color, you can move the Hue slider to the right or left. Keep in mind that this adjustment is very intense and challenging to control. I prefer to use the Color Picker, which can be accessed by double clicking on the color square just to the right of the Hue slider. You can select almost any color via mouse click, or by typing in the RGB or HSB numbers for a color (Figure 9). The Lightness slider can also be useful—particularly if you’ve increased saturation in an area, and it’s looking a bit too prominent. You can pull the Lightness slider to the left just a touch to subdue it.

Figure 9

Figure 9

You can continue this process of selected color modification in targeted areas. Note the changes in the grass and flowers on the left side of the image—and now, off in the distance, you can see a stronger hint of the orange color of the poppies in bloom. (In Figure 9, I’ve exaggerated the effect a bit to improve visibility on the printed page).

Final image - all images © David Saffir 2010

Final image – all images © David Saffir 2010

It takes a light touch to get well-controlled and realistic results. Color intensity, dimensionality and tonal separation can be improved. Practice is the key to success—and of course, take full advantage of multiple layers to mix and match and create your final image.

Five Reasons to Calibrate and Profile Your Display for Photography

Five Reasons to Calibrate and Profile Your Display for Photography

1. Ease of Use – A calibrated/profiled display is easier on the eyes, renders more accurate color, and causes less eye fatigue that a device used “right out of the box”

2. Money – most people using an uncalibrated display for image editing and printing photographs find that they get into a “print-tweak, print-tweak” cycle, which involves making a test print, adjusting at the computer, another test print etc. Pretty soon, a $1 8×10 becomes a $5 or $6 version of the same thing….. accurate screen to print match saves time and money.

Double Alaska Rainbow by Eric Rolf (Wikipedia)

3. Control – a calibrated display can be set up to give you an accurate preview of the appearance of your print – even as you are mid-stream in editing. You know where you are, and you know where you’re going!

4. Accuracy – this is particularly important when working with customers. Many will want to see consistent colors for their products – even small variations are important – as they are part of the “brand” and the market identity of the company. Similarly, it’s human nature to want to see real green, real yellow, blue, etc – and images that drift from that kind of realism are often not taken seriously by the viewer.

5. Improving your craft – display devices change over time, even in as little time as a few weeks. A stable, consistent display gives you the opportunity to ensure that you are working to the same standards all the time, which trains your eye and mind – you’ll see more in your images, and you’ll develop improved skills in managing changes during editing (or even shooting!)

And a small bonus – display calibration/profiling isn’t just for color – it involves managing brightness, among other things. You’ll find it’s much easier to discern fine details in highlights and shadows with an accurately calibrated and profiled display.

see the Workshops tab above for info on my latest workshops – including the Palouse!

“Critters & Creatures” Master Class from Nik Software and Laurie Shupp

Announcement from Nik Software Talking with award-winning photographer Laurie Rubin Shupp about her upcoming “Critters & Creatures” Master Class coming up next week on 2/22. If you shoot wildlife, be sure to join her to learn tips for bringing out the very best in your images.

Quick Selective Sharpening Technique In Photoshop

Sharpening images can be a challenging task. One of the issues involved is the choice between sharpening the entire image, or sharpening only the areas that will really add to image quality.

This is a cropped portion of a portrait taken a few weeks ago. It is shown at roughly 100%, or actual pixels. Some very basic adjustments have been made, such as color and contrast. These layers were consolidated into Group 1.

In the next step, I duplicated Group 1. This command is found under Layer > Group Layers. Next, we will duplicate the Group, by selecting the duplicate Group (blue highlight) and
using the command Layer > Merge Group. This merges the underlying layers in the group into one new layer. See the illustration below this one, and note that the group has changed to a normal layer.



I’ll sharpen the layer using a technique which may be new to some. Go Filter>Other>High Pass. Set the intensity to 2.o, and click OK.



Change the blending mode of this layer to Hard Light (see Layer panel).




Now for the best part: First, we are going to create a layer mask which hides this sharpening effect. Select the Layer (blue highlight) and Go Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All.


Next, left click on the layer mask (black box next to the layer thumbnail. You’ll see a highlight, or “picture frame” appear around the layer mask. Select the Brush tool, and set opacity to 100%.

Now, set the brush color to white. The easiest way to do this is to press the “d” key, which will select the default brush colors. You’ll see a black and a white square appear at the bottom of the tool bar. Left click once on the white square to select that color.


Use this brush, set to soft edges and sized appropriately, to paint on the black layer, using the white colored brush. (I have used a red circle to show this brush clearly). This will “reveal” the sharpening you have created on the layer. You should brush over the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, edges of the nose, ears, and if desired, the hair/hairline. Do not brush over the wider skin areas, as these will usually appear to be too sharp, making the portrait unattractive.

You can set the brush opacity to 100% for full effect, or a lesser intensity for less sharpening. You can also change the sharpening layer opacity to a lower amount if you find the sharpening effect is too aggressive. Make a test print, and enjoy! (btw, with a bit of practice this takes < 1 minute).




New Workshops here