Old Mill in Pigeon Forge TN

Go From This:

Old Mill - Original


Old Mill - Finished

Old Mill – Finished

I love this photograph of the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge TN and had the occasion to revisit it with the addition of the Nik Color Effex Pro 4 filters to my Photoshop arsenal.  I have fallen in love with their HDR filter even for single images.  The procedure below was used to transform this image, and uses a couple of the Effex Pro effects.

Please note that I did some color enhancement using the LAB color space as proposed by Dan  Margulis in his classic book on LAB (LAB Color).  He also has several videos on Scott Kelby’s site.  I have an action that does this for me and all I have to do is adjust the opacity of the layers while in LAB mode.

Following is the procedure I used:

    1. Opened image in Adobe Camera Raw.  Made some exposure and contrast adjustments and opened into Photoshop CS 5.
    2. I used Nik software HDR for single image and customized one of the presets.
    3. Took the HDR layer into Color Effex Pro 4 and used the “Foliage” filter with some changed settings.
    4. Once back into Photoshop, masked out the two concrete pillars on either side of water wheel along with the concrete under the base of the wheel.
    5. I next collapsed all the layers into a single layer on top of the stack with CTRL-Alt-Shift-E  and renamed the layer “Master 1“.
    6. Next I did an LAB color enhancement as follows (Dan Margulis procedure):
      • Did Image-Duplicate to make a copy of the image and renamed it “LAB”
        In the duplicate image, I collapsed all the layers and converted it to the LAB color space.
      • Added two curve adjustment layers. The first was called “color” and the second called “contrast.”
      • In the “color” adjustment layer, for both the “a” and “b” channels, I brought the bottom left point over exactly 2 units to the right (had the grid set to the 10 div mode) and the top right handle exactly 2 units to the left. It is important that the resulting straight line in both channels passes exactly through the middle point on the grid.
      • I next adjusted the opacity of the “color” layer to taste, which for this image was about 50%.
      • For this image, no adjustments to brightness or contrast were made with the “contrast” layer.
      • The image was flattened and converted back to the RGB color space.
    7. While still in the duplicated image called “LAB”.  I selected the move tool and while holding the SHIFT key down, clicked on the top of the layer and drug it back into the original image.  This placed the layer onto the top of the stack, which I then renamed to “LAB“.
    8. While holding down the “ALT” key, I clicked on the mask of the “Effex Foliage” layer and drug it up to the “Lab” layer.  This added a mask to the “LAB” layer which removed the effect of the “LAB” layer from the same pillar and concrete areas as was done in the “Effex Foliage” layer.
    9. Once more the layers were collapsed to the top of the stack by clicking on the top layer and doing CTRL-Alt-Shift-E .  This layer was named “Master 2“.
    10. The “Master 2” layer was taken into Color Effex Pro 4 again, and this time the “Classical Soft Focus” filter was applied and adjusted to taste.
    11. Once back into PS, a mask was added to the soft focus layer, and the water wheel was masked out.
    12. To soften the edges of the mask, I CTRL clicked on the mask of the soft focus layer, and then inverted the selection by doing CTRL-SHIFT-I.
    13. The last editing step was to select “SELECT-REFINE EDGE” and added a slight feather to the mask.
    14. The file was saved, re-sized to 800 pixels wide for the web, and the borders added.

About clayandali
Trained as a research chemist, but have been involved with Entrepreneurship for over 30 years. I have been involved in photography for 41 years. Ali is a graduate of the Ohio Institute of Photography in Dayton, OH. She loves both portrait and landscape work.

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