A Deteriorating House Workflow using Highlight and Shadow Complex Tone Range Masks

Not all images need complete '3Tone Range Adjustment Procedures'.   Following is a 'capture' workflow using a 'complex highlight tone range' mask and then a 'complex shadow tone range' mask.   Workflow1 describes the steps taken for both the 'capture' and 'creative' tone adjustments for this image.

Click on either image for larger image versions and background. . . . .Images are used with permission

The left image is a Canon EOS-20D minimally processed RAW conversion file to 850x1200 pixels, jpg, 24-bit color.   Additional background and hoped for post processing outcome can be read by clicking on the above smaller images.

For your own trials and comparisons, 850x1200 pixel, medium resolution images for house_ori.jpg and mask_sun2.jpg can be downloaded.

Workflow1:   'Capture' tonal adjustments using two 'complex tone range' masks, followed by 'creative' enhancements.

Comment:  Steps 1 and 2 are initial image 'capture' tone range adjustments.   Step 1 expands the white point to 100%, and increases contrast and saturation, and darkens the 40-->100% tones in the HSL color space.   Step 2 expands the black point to 0%, and increases contrast and saturation, and brightens the 0-->40% tones in the HSV color space.   Img1 = house_ori.jpg.
Step 1:   Open or click on 'Img1' and create an 'active' complex highlight 40-->100% tone range mask [ADD=[0,0], [40,0], [50,100], [100,100]; Blur=25; SUBTRACT=[0,100], [20,100], [40,0], [100,0]; - 2 Feather; + 2 Feather]; click on Img1 and open the Color Curves transform and in HSL color space: form HSL,L SMOOTH CURVE=[0,0], [40,45], [85,100] and HSL,S SMOOTH CURVE=[0,0], [40,40], [85,100], [100,100]; click OK creating 'Img2'. Close the Mask Tool.   [An example workflow of a typical 'complex tone range' mask shown for shadows is here.]

Screen Shot 1: Complex highlight tone range mask 'active' with HSL,L & HSL,S curves applied.

Step 2: Click on 'Img2' and create an 'active' complex shadow 0-->40% tone range mask [ADD=[0,100], [30,100], [40,0], [100,0]; Blur=10; SUBTRACT=[0,0], [40,0], [60,100], [100,100]; - 2 Feather; + 2 Feather]; click on Img2 and open the Color Curves transform and in HSV color space: for HSV,V SMOOTH CURVE=[0,0], [10,0], [45,45], [80,100], [100,100] and HSV,S SMOOTH CURVE=[0,0], [40,45], [80,100], [100,100]; click OK creating 'Img3'.   Close the Mask Tool.   [An example workflow of a typical 'complex tone range' mask shown for shadows is here.]

Screen Shot 2: Complex shadow tone range mask 'active' with HSV,V & HSV,S curves applied.

Comment:  'Img3' mid-tones seemed a little dark so:
Step 3:  Click on 'Img3' and open the Levels&Color transform: expand to full range if needed; increase mid-tones by +10%; and increase HSV,S +15%; and click OK creating 'Img4'.

Screen Shot 3: Adjust to full dynamic range, mid-tones, and HSV,S saturation.

Comment:   Perform 'capture sharpening' [Step 4] - this is an initial sharpening [using my preferred method] of the image's mid-tones that will partially recover some of the image detail and partially compensates for the sharpening that was not done during the RAW conversion.
Step 4.1:   Click on 'Img4' and open the Sharpen transform and apply USM amount=100, radius=1, and thrsld=0; click OK creating 'Img4-USM'.
Step 4.2:   Click on 'Img4' and open the Mask Tool - Brightness Curve, Load and Apply 'MTEdgeMask.crv' file, and leave the Mask Tool 'active'.
Step 4.3:   Click on 'Img4' and open the Composite - Darken transform; mask settings: white=100 and black=0; and Overlay = 'Img4-USM'; and APPLY, creating 'Img4-dark'.
Step 4.4:   Click on the Composite transform and change the Input Image to 'Img4-dark'; the Overlay will have to be re-entered to 'Img4-USM'; and change Method to Lighten, set mask settings to: white=75 and black=0; click OK creating 'Img5'.   Close the Mask Tool and delete intermediate images 'Img4-dark' and 'Img4-USM'.

Comment:  This completes the 'capture' toning enhancements, now for enhancement changes needed for 'creative' concept.
Step 5:   Create an image area highlighting mask, 'mask-sun'.   This was done by clicking on 'Img5' and opening the Mask Tool - Paint option and using a soft sided medium radius brush, painting image specific areas: house, tops of shrubs, and foreground grass tops.  For added interest, a ray beam was created, extending from the left roof edge to the left top of the image.   This beam was later modified with the Gradient transform to have a gradient.   A final overall blur=20 was applied, and clicked OK, creating the image-highlighting mask, 'mask-sun' [mask_sun2.jpg].

Screen Shot 4: Paint brush masking of image areas for special emphasis and effects.

Screen Shot 4.1: Adding a gradient to sun beam of 'mask_sun1'.

Comment:  In Step 6, the 'mask-sun' mask is used in its inverted form by letting white = 0 and black = 'some value'.   Instead of using the mask to brighten the white image areas that would clip highlights and destroy detail, it is used to darken, increase contrast and saturation of the image areas covered by the black portion of the mask.
Step 6:  Click on 'Img5" and open the Filter transform, where the Mask='mask-sun'; white=0 and black=62.5; Filter='Img5'; EC=1.10; click OK creating 'Img6'.

Screen Shot 5: Darken house background image areas.

Comment:   Correct color cast of lower left foreground flowers to neutral gray, Step 7:
Step 7:  Click on 'Img6' and open the Color Balance transform, where Mask='mask-sun'; white=0 and black=100; Probe=mid-tones and click on a white flower to remove its slight green cast; click OK creating 'Img7'.

Screen Shot 6: Whiten foreground flowers and grass tops.

Comment:   Use Color Correction with a mask to reduce the strong 'purple' color cast to the exposed soil and nearly shadowed flat house wall next to hill, Step 8:
Step 8:  Click on 'Img7' and open the Mask Tool - Paint option and with a medium soft brush, paint a mask of the exposed soil and horizontal house walls, apply a Blur and leave the mask 'active'.   Click on Img7 and open the Color Correct transform and using the Probe, click on a soil color and correct to white and then Probe click on the purple of the house wall and correct to white.   With mask sliders set to white=50 and black=0, click OK, creating 'Img8'.   Close the Mask Tool.

Screen Shot 7: Color correction of soil and fallen house wall shadows.

Comment:   Use the Filter transform with 'mask-sun' to add a slight sun-like yellow cast to the house and grass tops, plus a slight brightening, Step 9:
Step 9:  Click on 'Img8' and open the Filter transform where Mask = 'mask-sun'; white = 62.5; black = 0; Method = additive; Filter=RGB=100,98,96; and EC=1.05, click OK, creating 'Img9'.

Screen Shot 8: Add slight yellow cast to house and grass tops.

Comment:   Final image 'output sharpening' and Re-size for web display, Step 10:
Step 10.1: Apply Local Contrast Enhancement by clicking on 'Img9 'and opening the Sharpen transform and in USM mode apply: amount=10; radius=40; and thrsld=0.
Step 10.2: Change the Input image to the resulting Step 10.1 image and apply USM: amount=38, radius=1, and thrsld=3 and click OK.
Step 10.3: Click on the resulting Step 10.2 image and open the Resize transform, set width to 650 pixels leaving other settings at default [bicubic method, sharpen 16.7%], click OK.   To restore sharpness, click on the resized image, open the Sharpen transform, set amount = 40, click OK, creating the post-processed web display image version, 'Img10.3'.
Comment:   Final adjustments to preference:
If the image resulting from Step 10 appears to be over saturated and mid-tones still too dark, changes could be made with the Levels&Color transform.   The HSV,S saturation could be decreased to preference: perhaps -20% and the mid-tones brightened perhaps +10%.

Another possible enhancement choise is to convert the image to a tinted 'Black & White' version.

Click on the image for an Agfa Portroga paper tinted version.

Frequently Asked Questions may be found on the '3Tone Range Highlights Workflow' and 'Shadow and Lower Mid-Tone Recovery' pages.
Back to 3Tone Range Adjustment Procedures.

You are welcome to see other IMAGEs by DEN.
Last Update: 051026 rev 0