Sydney CBD - how would you manage the highlights?

I posted this image over on RPF some time ago, and it sparked an interesting discussion over highlight rendering. :slight_smile: .

In my original below, I’d used the target white and skew in sigmoid to give a very flat feel to the highlights, which I’m now not sure about, hence the second version, how ever I’m feeling that if I re-edited this image now I’d go a different direction.

Of course one could actually pull in the highlight detail better, however I often like slightly hazy highlights… 1 image, 100s and 100s of options! :smiley: :tada:

Anyway, might be nice to play with! :slight_smile:



DSC03392.ARW (16.3 MB)

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I also prefer some cloud structure to be visible


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I would push the sky to pure white and put all the attention on the buildings :star_struck:


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This one was fairly difficult for me. I think I did ok with the buildings and streets, but I couldn’t do a thing with the sky. dt 4.8.0


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My version…

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My fun with Rawtherapee and GIMP

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I like to see a little data retained in the sky.


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This version might be a bit too colorful but if the sky is really tough I think one option is as others have done to just blow it out or you can mask it and use watermark or the overlay to modify it…for this I used watermark because you have to drag and drop rather than select from list which I find more convenient as I have a huge set of skies…

Masking the sky with low opacity was used above… this can give a bit of color if needed or can just be used to give a little cloud structure…without introducing too much of a change

Without the reduced opacity I find the skys are often hard to find a match that fits in a believable way… below is what it would look like at full opacity


DSC03392.ARW.xmp (17.8 KB)

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I could do very little with the sky. I tried both sigmoid and filmic. My efforts are not worth posting here, but I have found with some recent images I shot in Morocco that filmic V7 seems better at recovering sky detail than sigmoid in some images. I usually use sigmoid because I like the look straight out of the box for most images, but trying to recover sky details seems a strength of filmic. But nothing helped me with this image. Darkening the highlights for the sky tended to screw up the white cars in the image.

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The sky was tough but I managed to bring a little texture back. Don’t pixel-peep too closely around all the “open air” superstructure and other high-contrast details on building / sky boundaries… I brought down the sky reflections in the windows of the nearest high-rise as well as muted that bright white ute in the lower right corner. Plus a few other details…

ART 122.1


DSC03392.ARW.arp (39.9 KB)

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Skipping the tone mappers as I often do and just using the tone eq and a few other modules… I could land here as one result… I think there is not too much more in the sky to be had…


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Just tweaking the brilliance settings I used a little could go to a slightly different look…

image

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I think you did a great job with the sky. I wish I could have come to something like that.

No offense to everybody’s hard work, but I think this picture is stuck with blown out skies and that’s that. Every attempt to save what little cloud structure there is winds up making the ground and buildings look weirdly unnatural to my eyes.

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I’m the clown on RPF that suggested that Steven post the photo over here to see what people would do differently with Sigmoid or Filmic RGB. I played with both, and in both cases my plays resulted in a flat sky. Nothing worth showing. The non-sky portion of the images had some differences, but the sky was virtually identical…very similar to Steven’s two images.

At the end of the day, I don’t think pulling detail out of the sky helps this image. It only serves as a distraction. I see the subject as the man in the suit and the woman in the pink dress. I cropped out the other dude.

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More subdued than my first edit…

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My version…


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