In my last post, I began a technical series of how I processed some photos that I took of stained glass. Click here for Part 1, which explains how I selected the photo and began processing in Adobe Lightroom. Click here to see the original post with all the photos.
At the end of the last post, I finished my initial edits in Lightroom and loaded the picture into Adobe Photoshop for further editing. This begins with what I did next in Photoshop to improve the picture.
The first thing I do is create a duplicate layer. This way, if something goes wrong, the layer can be deleted, a new one created, and I can start all over again. In other words, I haven’t altered the original photo. If I make a mistake and forget to add the layer, I save it right away with a new name so that I don’t accidentally overlay my original photo. If something goes wrong, I have to delete the entire photo, but it’s better than having ruined the original photo.
To duplicate the layer, right click on the layer, which is shown in the down arrow and mostly hidden under the pop-up box. On the pop-up box, click duplicate layer. When the next box comes up, you can name the new layer or not. You can always change the name later by double clicking on the name of the layer and then editing it.
This picture is a little big and I can’t see the edges as well as I’d like. So before I begin working on it, I use the zoom command to make it smaller. Go to “view” on the toolbar, then click zoom out, i.e. move the view outwards to show more of it.
The picture is slightly skewed to the right, which is called a keystone effect. This simply means that the perspective is off due to the curvature of the camera lens. It’s normal and I often don’t correct for it, but in these photographs, I didn’t like the way it looked.
On the toolbar, open the edit commands, then choose transform and then choose distort. Make sure the duplicate layer is lit up (far right) or you’ll accidentally affect the background layer and therefore, the original picture.
A box appears around the outer edge of the picture. Grab the upper left corner, then pull it away from the picture until the triangle of the stained glass appears to be even on both sides. This is not an exact science, so you might have to fiddle with it a few times to get it to look right (fiddling with a photo is a technical term – very technical). Remember to click done when you’re finished so Photoshop knows to complete the transform task (the checkmark towards the top). Note that the transform layer is still lit up.
I like to check that the distortion is as even as I like. To do that, I activate the crop tool (left facing arrow). I have extra grid lines in mine, which is a preference that I set in the “view” on the toolbar.
The grid overlays automatically onto the picture. I check that the bottom line of the picture is straight and that the sides of the triangle are even. I then click the checkmark (upward facing arrow) to complete the crop.
Since I’m done cropping, I click the hand tool to prevent any accidental cropping. The hand tool moves things around but is not destructive to the picture (i.e., it doesn’t change anything).
It’s time to add another layer. This time, go to the far right, to the bottom, and click on the circle that is half filled (I’ve circled it in red, but it’s partially covered by the pop-up box). Select the hue and saturation layer. A new layer is now added to the panel.
I now have a hue / saturation layer in which I will create a mask and darken up that background, which I will discuss in my next post.
Thanks for the wonderful comments and feedback. When I get done explaining this, I will also do a post of resources for learning more about Lightroom and Photoshop. I know this looks overwhelming, but there’s no way to learn Lightroom and Photoshop except to start playing with it – preferably on a photo that you don’t intend to keep. Or that you’ve made a copy of and can throw away if it gets too awful.
So get your photos out and start experimenting!