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Old Nov 4, 2005, 08:26 PM   #1
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ScottDoom
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Default Photo Editing - Simple (PSP7 Tutorial)

This covers the very basic basics of photo editing, so if you know it skip. I'll have a more advanced one up later for true image editing, as well as a third for graphic (logo) creation, and possibly a fourth for animating and avatar creation.

What you need:
1. A computer (duh)
2. A digital photograph (you could try editing that photo on your shelf over there but I doubt it'll work)
3. Jasc Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop

What happens:
This...

To this...


I use Jasc Paint Shop Pro 7 because I'm used to it and I've been using it for a while, but a newr version of Paint Shop Pro or Adobe Photoshop will work. The tools might just be in a different location, or have more control options.

First off, open the original image and set up your image editor so that you have a tab with tool options and a tab with layer selection/options. I use those two tabs the most when editing photos or creating graphics.
Something along the lines of this:


Now that we've got that set up, we're going to start the editing. There are things that must be done before resizing the image, and then there are things that must be done after resizing. If you plan on printing the image, you should save a separate copy before you resize and print that version.

Now the first tool we'll use is the Color Balance tool. This tool alters the lighting in an image and changed the colors naturally, so that it doesn't look out of place as long as you're not too extreme. The options here are pretty much layed out on the screen. A cooler balance gives the photo a cool, shady look while a warmer balance can make the photo look like it was taken at sunset. A very extreme warm balance can also give the entire image a sepia tone. Usually photos taken in indoor lighting will need a cooler balance to give the skin tone a more natural color. For this photo I'm going with a slightly warm balance to give it a bit more color. I usually just move the slider here, and I don't touch the other options. For sunsets sometimes it actually helps to give the image a very cool balance because the sky becomes cooler and the red or orange of the sunset stands out more. Also, lately I have begun to do the two extremes on the same imag: first setting a very warm balance, and then going back and giving it a very cool balance.

In PSP7 this tool is found in Effects -> Enhance Photo -> Automatic Color Balance...

After getting the right mood for the color of an image (a touch of sunset on a forest, a cool cast on a shiny new rim, or whatever it may be) it comes time for contrast adjustment. There are basically two auto-contrast adjustments, but I feel contrast and brightness adjustments can really make or break a photo so I tend to do it manually. The two auto-contrast adjustments can be found in PSP7 under Effects -> Enhance Photo as Automatic Contrast Enhancement... and Clarify... I actually do use Clarify for photos of scenery as it tends to bring more detail to areas further away from the camera, but a note: Clarify really can mess up darker photos and make some ugly results in shadows and dark spots. Clarify can also create "halos" around objects stretching into the sky like skyscrapers, so use it carefully. There's always an Undo button. What I do use most of the time is Brightness/Contrast adjustment tool. I start off with 0 brightness and a 25 or 20 contrast adjustment, and work from there. After a while you can get the hang of what a photo will need in order to get what you want out of it. In this case 0/20 seems to work well, but in most cases I usually raise the brightness with the contrast, and keep the numbers about 5 or 10 from each other, as in 20/30 or 35/40. This also works in the opposite direction: decreasing contrast and brightness. Often times I will also need a brightness decrease of 5 or 10 with a contrast increase, or vice versa.

The Brightness/Contrast adjustment tool can be found in PSP7 under Colors -> Adjust -> Brightness/Contrast...

After only two simple adjustments we already have an image that looks much better than it did before. With other images more may be required (which I will cover in my next tutorial thread) but for this particular photo this is all we really need (for the before resize editing). So if you need to, go ahead and print this image on your photo printer or save it for later printing.

Now for the resize, and other web sharing preperation. The resize depends on the quality of the photo (grainyness caused by ISO speed or camera quality, blurryness caused by low lighting) and also the original size of the photo. I have a 4.0MP camera so adjust your resize level accordingly. For a well-shot photo, I normally resize to 800x600 only because my operating resolution is 1024x768, but in this day I would assume 1024x768 would be an accecptable resize for internet sharing. If the image happens to be blurred or grainy I try a 640x480 resize and usually that clears it up a bit, otherwise I may try a 400x300.

Normally I use a Bilinear resample resize, but for this image I'll be using a Pixel resize. The Pixel resize can sometimes create jagged, sharp edges on objects in the photo unless you're doing an exact 50% resize, but for this photo a Pixel resize seems to work better than a Bilinear resample.
The Resize tool can be found under Image -> Resize...

The nice thing about a Pixel resize is it leaves the image nice and sharp, but I'm going to continue this tutorial as if a Bilinear resize was used. A Bilinear resize can often times leave the photo a little hazy and blurry, but this can be fixed with two tools known as Unsharp Mask and Sharpen. A kind of contradictory team of tools. As I see it, Unsharp mask sort of blurs the photo up a bit more, while defining certain things. Then Sharpen goes in and cleans up what Unsharp Mask showed it. Obviously that's not really what's happening, but that's how I see it. Therefore Unsharp Mask comes first and then Sharpen comes second. If the result turns out a bit odd, then occasionaly I reverse the process, or only use one of the two tools.
To be honest I'm not exactly sure what the Unsharp mask tools do, but after a bit of initial experimentation I have settled with the following options which I use for every photo:

The Unsharp mask can be found in PSP7 under Effects -> Sharpen -> Unsharp mask... The Sharpen tool has no options and can be found in PSP under Effects -> Sharpen -> Sharpen... Don't worry about the image becoming a little over sharpened because when saving and compressing into a JPEG the image becomes a bit softened once again... Something along the lines of a new piece of clothing shrinking after a wash...

Now that the image is ready, we will need to give it a nice frame. I usually use black or white, or a combination of both. Only rarely do I include color in the framing. For this photo I'm going to go with a small black frame. First select the frame color by right-clicking the color you want. In PSP7 this will change the secondary color. With this tool, the primary color (left-click color select) does not change the effect.

Now we can add the border of the color selected. In PSP7 you can find the border tool under Image -> Add Borders...
For horizontal images I normally leave the Symmetric option checked, but for vertical images I sometimes set the opposite borders two separate sizes (as in top/bottom 25, and left/right 10). The frame largely depends on what the photo contains and what you want out of it. Not always will a dark frame work with a dark photo nor a light frame with a light photo. Sometimes it's the exact opposite.

When using a color in a frame I tend to use darker colors in very small frames, and very pale colors the same as a normal large white frame. I always pick the color from the image with the Dropper tool which can be found on the left in PSP7.

After the frame is set, it's time to save the photo in the highest quality JPEG. By default I believe PSP7 compresses the photo to a level 30 or 40 JPEG, but after spending all this time editing we want a compression level of 1 (0 in Adobe, I think). Go to File -> Save As... and make sure the selected file type is a JPEG, then hit Options and select a compression level of 1. For screenshots and random images a level of 30 or 40 is idea for saving webspace.


And you're done! Upload to imageshack.us or your own personal webspace and share.
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Old Nov 4, 2005, 08:27 PM   #2
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Next I'll be explaning a bit more, dealing with layers and selective editing.
Preview:
=
(Note: I'll explain more than what's seen in that edit.)
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Old Nov 4, 2005, 08:28 PM   #3
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Paint Shop Pro rocks, I've been using it all my web life.

I don't care for the newest version though, PSPX or PSP10.1 ...Does not perform as well, but has some nice features. PSP9 is where it's at.
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Old Nov 5, 2005, 06:41 PM   #4
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Good thing I spent all that time writing this thing... So many people found it useful.
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Old Nov 5, 2005, 07:07 PM   #5
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PSP7 is my favorite version. I still use a lot even though Photoshop is my choice for doing the professional stuff.

I really, really like the tools in PSP7, they are great and the interface is simple and easy to get around in. Good tutorials btw.
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Old Nov 5, 2005, 08:24 PM   #6
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Good tutorial
Im a photoshop man myself

my routine usaaly consists on opening a photo, a levels adjustment , an unsharp mask, a quick hue/sauturation adjustment, and sometimes a colour balance adjustment
.
Then doing anything else depends on the photo
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Old Nov 5, 2005, 10:27 PM   #7
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My workflow usually goes like this: contrast [levels], colors [hue/saturation], sharpening [unsharp mask followed by sharpen]. Then, resize [bicubic only!] and sharpen, and put on a border.

All done in The GIMP. Most of the time though, I end up tweaking the contrast and colors more than once. Every image requires special consideration of the settings to use, but that's a no-brainer

What you've outlined here is fairly standard stuff, but I am surprised that you recommended a lower quality interpolation algorithm for resizing. Though algorithms like bicubic interpolation do make things a bit blurry, a light sharpen afterwards fixes that.
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Old Nov 6, 2005, 12:08 AM   #8
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Photoshop CS2 FTW.
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Old Nov 6, 2005, 12:21 AM   #9
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Free bump!










P.S. But I'm still not reading...
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 07:56 PM   #10
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Oh really now? Hmm... I guess I'll get on it. If I do it you guys better read/use it or I'll... Umm... Well... I won't do anything but you better anyways.
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 08:16 PM   #11
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nice tutorials, makes me wish i had a digicam
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 08:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wangFu
nice tutorials, makes me wish i had a digicam
You have a PC like that and no digi-cam? Whatcha smokin'? Get'r done!
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 09:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waqas
waiting for next tutorial
If anyones interested i could try and write a digital painting tutorial

One im working on now,and one i did a few weeks ago.





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Old Nov 13, 2005, 09:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottDoom
You have a PC like that and no digi-cam? Whatcha smokin'? Get'r done!
hehe i know, im looking to get one soon, after xmas or maybe if i can find an after thanksgiving sale deal :P
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 11:59 PM   #15
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I followed that turtorial down to the teeth with psp7 and this is waht happened..

original pic resized..



now after doing everything step by step in tut..

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Old Nov 14, 2005, 12:17 AM   #16
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Hmmm... Interesting... I'm not sure what's wrong, but here you go:


But seriously I'm not sure why it ended up like that... Maybe you used a bicubic resize and then sharpened it (with the wrong unsharp mask setting maybe) and it becamse way too sharp, because that's what it looks like.
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Old Nov 14, 2005, 06:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waqas
waiting for next tutorial

Me too. I've had some ideas for chops but they always look too crude to post.
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Old Nov 14, 2005, 01:27 PM   #18
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Don't you wish you could do that?
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Old Nov 14, 2005, 01:28 PM   #19
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I can.
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 02:18 AM   #20
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Are you gonna expand these tuts? You are the masta.
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 02:23 AM   #21
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It's amazing what brightness, color, and contrast levels can do. Toss in sharpening and kinds and areas of blurs and you have most of my photoshop skills.

Of course, you could always just take a better picture.....
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 03:05 AM   #22
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Wow, you are the man, but I think that I got my filters mixed up somehow.

http://lmsb.no-ip.com/hosted/before.jpg

http://lmsb.no-ip.com/hosted/after.jpg
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 03:12 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shasha
WHYYYYYYYY!
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 03:12 AM   #24
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^ lol

It amazing really what alittle photo editing can do to an image to be honest. on the TUT
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 03:45 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSGRUNT
Me too. I've had some ideas for chops but they always look too crude to post.

Thats what we need, a chopping tutorial
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 07:09 AM   #26
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These tutorials are great ScottDoom. I'd like to see more if you have the time. I just received my first digi cam(Canon A520) a couple days ago. Keep up the good work.
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 07:37 AM   #27
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Using the unsharpening tool with the same settings for all picturesn is a bad idea, as all pictures are not equally sharp/unsharp (Unsharpening tool actually increases sharpness btw), and it's very resolution dependent. You need to test the settings for each and every picture to see what works best.
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