Back Modifications (4)

The Knobbly Tree

By Rose73
Hi again,

Hope you are all well.

I’ve been experimenting with my black and white conversions, and have three different images I would like to ask your feedback and suggestions on.

The first one today, is a picture I’d uploaded before and had converted to B&W, but on reflection see just how ‘wishy washy’ in tonal contrast it is. After receiving some really helpful feedback and tips on a previous upload (The Organ of Dexterity) and looking at the modifications you did for this, I thought I’d have a go at trying to improve some older images I’d converted.

I took Keith’s advice about trying to make sure of having the best possible colour image before converting it to B&W. I adjusted some of the DPP settings e.g. the sharpen and contrast sliders I moved to 1 or 2 for all my images, which I’d previously reverted to zero after listening to someone’s video on Silver Efex. I don’t need to use the Nik RAW Presharpener now as the sharpness etc have improved considerably.

I chose ‘Push Process 012’ as the preset. I looked at the ‘High Contrast’ ones but felt they looked a bit ‘too’ dark? This brought out the texture of the tree a lot more, and also darkened the wall and the cross behind. I then chose the ‘Red Filter’ to lighten the tree bark a little more. I used control points to darken parts of the wall at the bottom left to give more contrast between the wall and the tree, and I also darkened the bright highlights in the sky a touch. Lastly, I reduced the bright highlights on the ‘baldy head’ of the tree appendage! I think that was all.

I’ve always thought the tree appendage looked like a face/head, but it was Dora who suggested it looked like a face in pain, and that the cross behind seemed fitting in this context. From what I’ve read recently, I thought the higher tonal contrast would suit this image, given that it increases the sense of intensity etc.?

I look forward to your comments and further suggestions as always. I’ve uploaded the original B&W conversion under modifications for comparison. Thanks.

Cheers Julie Smile


Tags: Trees Cemetery Black and white High kirk

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Comments


dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 784 England
5 Jul 2021 12:30PM
Good to see you here again Julie.

It's nice to see you've found a way to get good sharpness that works for you.
I also like the way you've experimented with the settings in Nik. That is the best way to a good result. While different images will need different amounts of adjustment, for example the amount of red will affect how much you need/want to lighten/darken that channel, you'll soon get to the point where you'll instinctively know what changes you want to make.
Some of the presets can be extreme which is why they should be regarded more as a starting point, though sometimes they can hit the spot straight away.

You've got lots of detail in the Version but I prefer the high contrast of the lead image, it does suit the tragic mood of the gargoyle-like tree. But others would prefer different interpretations I'm sure, there's no right or wrong, tough alternatives are always worht considering. Sometimes I have multiple mono conversions and find it hard to pick a favourite.

There's only one tiung that I'd try different, and it's not to do with pocessing.
A step to the right so that the 'face' is outlined against the cross in the background rather than in line with it. I think that would emphasise the 'face' and heighten the drama.
5 Jul 2021 12:32PM
I think your interpretation of the face is spot-on, Julie, dramatised by the cross, yes. Strong and subtle visuals, well done.

Dave 🙂
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2455 United Kingdom
5 Jul 2021 12:46PM
'Facial pareidolia' - the psychological condition that predisposes some of us to see human faces in totally unrelated, inanimate objects. It's generally regarded as harmless, but incurable... Wink Welcome to the club!

I like this a lot, and I would go for the main upload - it's darker, more mysterious. This is about mood, atmosphere, not a literal representation. The juxtaposition with the cross is perfect. If I saw this in the main gallery it would get my UA. Well done for seeing not just the face but the composition. You are looking for your own view of the world and thinking about how to convey it - I wish more people did that, rather than trying to replicate what they have seen others do.

I have been using the colour filters more of late, I find them fascinating - with film, I never got beyond the occasional use of a red filter. Have you noticed that you can adjust strength of application?

It would be nice to see the colour original, in order to have a play. I might add Burn edges, discreetly, and I wonder if you have tried the Structure slider? It sharpens textures, but requires a very light touch - no more than 5% or 6%.
Moira


Quote:A step to the right so that the 'face' is outlined against the cross in the background rather than in line with it. I think that would emphasise the 'face' and heighten the drama.


Thanks very much Keith for your comments. I’ll go back and try reshooting this standing a little more to the right as you've suggested. I appreciate the tips you gave previously on improving the colour image first, and the workflow method. Thank you. Cheers Julie Smile

Quote:'Facial pareidolia' - the psychological condition that predisposes some of us to see human faces in totally unrelated, inanimate objects. It's generally regarded as harmless, but incurable... Wink Welcome to the club!


Yes, I see faces in my bedroom curtains! Help!! Sad

Thanks for your comments Moira...they are much appreciated.
Yes, I've played around with the filters to see the difference in their strength. I haven't used the main Structure slider much I don't think. I did use it on another B&W image, but under the Control Point sliders. I find B&W so appealing and challenging now because of what you say - its more about mood and artistic decision, rather than just a literal replica of a scene.

I've uploaded the colour original for you....Smile
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2455 United Kingdom
5 Jul 2021 2:06PM
Thanks for adding the colour file, I've had some fun... I've added a mod which is quite similar to yours, but using a different route.

First I cropped tighter to reduce space bottom and left. I quite like the effect of placing the face lower in the frame. I lightened slightly, then used the burn tool very gently on shadows to emphasise the face.

Then Nik Silver Efex - using my favourite filmnoir1 preset but then: Contrast reduced to +50; Stucture +6; Shadows and highlights fully protected; grain refined to 500; burn edges effect reduced; a more discreet frame used; and toning option 3 used, a split tone effect which adds a hint of yellow to lighter tones, blue to darker tones - I think it has an eerie quality.

I really enjoyed that!

BTW,

Quote:Yes, I see faces in my bedroom curtains! Help!!

Our bathroom has marble effect tiles. It's unnerving how many faces I can see from the loo... Wink
Hi Moira,

I'm just looking at your modification...I like it! I can see you've cropped the image a little at the bottom, and also used a tint? Is that a No.3? Also, there seems to be more texture in the tree bark ...is that the structure slider you used? Even more pain on that face now!! Smile

EDIT: Sorry, we were typing at the same time! Yes, it does have an eerie quality! Thanks for outlining what you did there...Cheers Julie
"Our bathroom has marble effect tiles. It's unnerving how many faces I can see from the loo... Wink"

No, I think we're beyond help Moira! Wink


mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2455 United Kingdom
5 Jul 2021 2:17PM
Julie, I think we were both typing at the same time. Yes, toning option 3. And I think that a combination of very gentle use of both the Structure slider and the burn tool enhances the pain factor. (As Mrs Doyle said, 'Maybe I like the misery...' Wink )
banehawi Plus
17 2.5k 4262 Canada
5 Jul 2021 4:42PM
I tried something different in the mod Julie.

I cropped space from the left, and added a top to the cross; converted to mono, then applied a blur to the background areas, while sharpening the "face" and adding contrast in this area only. I wanted to make it stand out a bit more, - just an idea you might want to play with.


Regards


Willie
pamelajean Plus
15 1.6k 2237 United Kingdom
5 Jul 2021 4:48PM
On the light-hearted side, Julie, you will find quite a few pareidoliacs on this site, including me.
I found THIS interesting article today titled "Why the brain is programmed to see faces in everyday objects". So don't worry, it's quite normal.

Quote:I cropped space from the left, and added a top to the cross; converted to mono, then applied a blur to the background areas, while sharpening the "face" and adding contrast in this area only.


I like your modification Willie and the blurring of the background so the main subject stands out. You've also managed to add even MORE pain to that 'face'!! Wink

Quote:On the light-hearted side, Julie, you will find quite a few pareidoliacs on this site, including me.
I found THIS interesting article today titled "Why the brain is programmed to see faces in everyday objects". So don't worry, it's quite normal.



Whew! That's a relief to know Pamela....Wink

EDIT: Just finished reading the article...very interesting!
Experimenting is good fun Julie of all prefer your lead well done.
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1876 England
6 Jul 2021 7:54AM
All the presets are, of course, just starting points... And with the tints, you can have further fun after leaving the Nik window playing with things like saturation and hue in your standard software...
8 Sep 2021 2:15AM
My preference is for the lead image....the richness of the tones is its strength...other than subject and composition, of course.

For me, it has the look of a face in turmoil....or pai, Julie.

Peter

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