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Image Polishing - Before and After
It's been awhile since I posted a Before & After showing an example of how I add "polish" to images in Photochop.  This installment uses a recent image from Indiana, and these county road signs actually have some significance; these signs mark the intersection where the house that my father-in-law Garry once was.  While the house has not been standing on the lot for some years, the small workshop behind the house where Garry's father used to spend lots of time is still there, and these road signs probably bring back lots of memories for Garry and his brothers and sisters.  In fact, Garry's brother Mick still owns the farm land across the road and Mick's daughter Jennifer and her husband Steve recently built a house on that land where they can look out their front window and see the land where their heritage lived for years.  Kind of a cool story.

In any case, let's get started with a quick before & after, shall we?



Here's the original image straight out of the camera.  Not bad, but not very inspiring, eh?  Whaddya say we polish it up a bit?



Step 1:

Totally Rad Actions (TRA) "Oh Snap" at 50% opacity



Step 2: 

Kevin Kubota's "Tea Stain" at 40% opacity with the effect of this action masked in the sky area to maintain color & detail in sky.



Step 3:

-  TRA "Contrast" (80% opacity), sky masked to preserve color and detail
-  TRA "Clairify" (25% opacity), sky masked to preserve color and detail



Step 4:

-  Use clone and patch tools to remove ugly distracting plant to the left of the sign for cleaner overall image and better composition (looks like I missed a spot in the very lower left corner... oops.)



Step 5:

-  Added slight vignetting on edges
-  TRA "Warm It Up, Kris" (75% opacity) to add a tad more richness and, well, warmth to the feel of the image.



I could've stopped after step 5, but let's spiffy up this image just a little more.  Who's with me?

Step 6:

Added the following textures from the Firenze Italian Texture Collection I photographed in Italy:
-  "Sweet Sistine" (80% opacity, soft light blend mode)
-  "Scarred Leonardo" (15% opacity, hard light blend mode)
-  "Watermark" (50% opacity, overlay blend mode, masked grass background to lessen texture in this area)



Step 7:

-  TRA "Old Skool Fast" (40% opacity, soft light blend mode).
-  Sharpening around the signs, sign post, and vegitation at the bottom of the image.



That's all for now.  I'll post more before & afters ocassionally in future posts, so check back often.


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