After Before Photo June 2015: House

It’s once again the first Friday of the month, which means another round of One Photo Focus on After-Before Friday, sponsored by Stacy Fischer at Visual Venturing.

In honor of the one-year anniversary of ABFriday and the six-month anniversary of One Photo Focus, Stacy used one of her own photos to see how imaginative we could be. Below is the original photograph:

Original Photo
Original Photo

It’s not a bad photo, but there are some definite challenges between the sidewalk, fence post, other house, and the angle this was taken at. I tried to transform it so it didn’t angle quite so badly, but too much of the top got cut off. It was also hard getting that fence post out of there and leaving it look normal. So in the end, I cropped it down to show just the porch. I did some minor straightening so that the front post in the center was a true perpendicular when viewed.

Cropped But Not Adjusted Yet
Cropped But Not Adjusted Yet

There’s still a lot of clutter in the picture, which I found distracting. Topaz Simplify was my way around that, after I corrected for colors and exposure. I did a first round of corrections in Lightroom, but then used other Topaz filters to further improve the picture before using Topaz Simplify.

This was my final choice, mostly because I liked the deep rich colors that came out in it. I used Topaz Effects “Grunge Me” to get the richness of colors, especially the gray and white. I then used Topaz Simplify “Painting” to remove more of the details and give it an artsy look. The windows on the left and the top right came out really dark in this version, so I lightened them up slightly.

Final Choice, Using Topaz Effects
Final Choice, Using Topaz Effects “Grunge Me” and Topaz Simplify “Painting”

This one used no filters to adjust colors. I went straight to Topaz Simplify “Line and Ink 1”. I did this one first and could have stopped here. It turned out good also, but as usual I kept experimenting, which was how I ended up with the one above. I did have one add thing though with the picture below. There were two small spots of a really bright lime green that were rather jarring. I ended up using the paint bucket in Photoshop to blend them in with the colors around them. This was my second pick and it’s very acceptable.

Topaz Simplify Line and Ink 1 with Minor Color Adjustments
Topaz Simplify “Line and Ink 1” with Minor Color Adjustments

I then went to Topaz Restyle to enhance colors. This one below used “Smoky Train Stop”, followed by Topaz Simplify “Line and Ink 1”. As you can see, Restyle caused this to highlight the blue cast in the gray paint color, which was emphasized further with Topaz Simplify. The colors are good and acceptable, I just don’t like them quite as well.

Topaz Restyle Smoky Train Stop with Topaz Simplify Line and Ink 1
Topaz Restyle “Smoky Train Stop” with Topaz Simplify “Line and Ink 1”

I liked this one the least. I used Topaz Restyle “Somber Ecru” which kept the gray color, but rendered the white a little less bright. I then used Topaz Simplify “Pastel” and the end result is just okay.

Topaz Restyle
Topaz Restyle “Somber Ecru” with Topaz Simplify “Pastel”

Was it fun? Yep! I enjoyed trying out my Topaz filters, seeing what the results were, and tweaking up small differences. To see how other photographers did, click here. It’s worth the effort to see how different we all are with the same photo.

To see other post processing techniques that I’ve done, click here.

ABFriday Photography Topaz Labs

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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at

32 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Wow! I am amazed to see what can be done with Photoshop! I use it for cropping and sometimes auto smart fix but the rest of it seems very daunting. I’ve been thinking of taking a course, or perhaps, as someone suggested, watching a tutorial on YouTube. Thanks for posting this sampling of ways to use it!

    • Adobe TV has a lot of good stuff and it’s free. is also good – costs $25 per month but there’s all kinds of things available on it for training. You get the first 30 days free, so try it and see.

  2. Hi Nancy,
    I just love this post! I would have so much trouble deciding what to do with all the many choices you have. I really like the painting effect. Thanks for running us through your selection and editing process.

    • Dennis – you’re so good at traveling through time dimensions, you probably have visited them! And probably left some calling cards too. . .

  3. Very nice “restoration” of this old building, Nancy! It has a cheerful face now while all the original character is preserved.

  4. Funny Nancy – never heard of this challenge but just visited it based on an earlier comment and thoroughly enjoyed it. Stacy’s video was terrific and all of the entries were great. Loved yours as well.

    • Thanks Tina! With how creative you are, you should try it (if it appeals to you to try). I don’t do a lot of the challenges out there, but this one really gets me excited.

  5. Nancy, so many wonderful and fun renditions!! And the harsh crop works really well! What I did notice the most (that is lost in my original composition) is the ability to see the leaded glass windows – which are truly lovely and one of the reasons I really like Topaz grunge the best. So much detail is brought out. Second choice? Topaz Simplify – just looks like a beautiful watercolor and I like the color tones in this version over the next two. Thanks for having so much fun (and sharing it with us)!! 😃

    • Thanks so much Stacy! I’m glad you liked what I did. I really debated on that crop and looking at the other results, they did a good job with not cropping it out. But for me, it worked. Bringing up those leaded glass windows was a good move for me. I didn’t notice them until I was working on one of the other versions and they were so pretty, it was a shame to not showcase them more.

      Thanks again for sponsoring this and letting us all have fun. It’s a great group and I love how experimental everyone is.

  6. I quite like smoky Train Stop and Somber Ecro. I think somber because it nearly looks like an art deco painting with all the geometric shapes. Topaz is a really big filter set and one i actually rarely use that much now. A nice set of images for the challenge.

    • Thanks Ben! Sorry, I haven’t gotten around to the individual blogs to leave comments, but I was impressed as usual with how differently we each did it.

  7. I see im not the only one having fun with the Topaz filters. I like your first variation where with the cropping to the porch only it highlights all the leadlight window details I missed seeing otherwise :)

    • Thanks for the note! There’s not too many of using Topaz on ABFriday, so it’s been fun to see what someone else does. Several months ago, one of the other photographers and I used the exact same preset in Topaz, which I find to be wildly coincidental. Our pictures looked similar, but not identical.

  8. I liked them all. The last one, the one you liked the least, looks like a computerized version of a model house for sale. I think the “Grunge Me” was my favorite.

    • Thanks for the vote! They all turned out good, just for different reasons. The last one does look a bit commercial. Still good, just not quite as good an outcome as the others.

    • Thanks Dor! Yes, the outcomes of post photo processing can vary widely. If you click over to Stacy Fisher’s post, you’ll be amazed at how differently each of us did it.

    • Thanks Cee! I was once again blown away by how much variety there was in the outcomes. I’m glad you turned me onto this and am happy for Stacy how much it’s grown in this last year.

  9. Following counts mental exercise. What fun. The names of the filters are cool, too. Somber ecru one is so stylized – almost like a painting by Edward Hopper. Grunge looks like a nice fiction story or novel cover

    • They do sound like a story or novel cover, don’t they? I’m glad you liked the outcomes. Thanks for stopping by with a comment. Sorry, I can’t think of a good comeback like you do with your comments. Definitely, your mind works differently than mine does!

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