Making pictures pop

Leaves finish
Leaves original
Leaves Saturation
Leaves BW
Leaves BW Contrast enhanced
Sunset original
Sunset finished

Tired of the same boring sunset shot/ Fall colors with no brilliance to them?

What you get on the camera different than the awesome colors you saw?

Here is a technique to enhance colors on most shots.

Not only will the contrast be improved but perceived sharpness is also bumped up using this technique.

This technique will not work with people as the skin tones will shift toward red as you slowly enhance the saturation.

I use gimp for this as there is no licensing issues and there are some great scripts for free!

The technique is as follows:

1. Open the original shot.

2. Bump up the saturation until you like the colors. (I usually go for 15-25%)

3. Duplicate the layer

4. Transform that layer to B/W (I use the B/W film simulation script, I also use the Ilford Delta 400 pro and 3200 Setting on the script. I checked rename layer, and left all other settings unchecked.) The reason I like this scripts is it also adds in some noise as if to simulate film grain in the image.

5. Increase the contrast on the B/W layer until you get the separation you are looking for. This will cause you to lose detail in the shadows if you push this to far. (the amount depends, on the leaves I did a 18%, on the sunset I did 8%)

You can also at this point sharpen this layer for more affect if wanted. The sharpening will be really subtle as it is going on an overlay layer.

6. Set the layer to Overlay and the opacity of 75%. That percentage will have to be played with to get the correct effect you are looking for.

See the attached images for a step by step and the last two are the before and after on a sunset.

Comments/Questions/Suggestions are greatly appreciated!


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6 responses

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield gave props (9 Dec 2008):

    Great step-by-step Michael! That's what I love about this site....I can learn so much. Keep 'em coming because the information is very much appreciated!

  • Mr. Martini

    Mr. Martini gave props (9 Dec 2008):

    great advice!

  • adniloj

    adniloj gave props (12 Dec 2008):

    a fun and intriguing 'how to' - so easy to follow!

  • Lynn H

    Lynn H (Deleted) gave props (7 Jan 2009):

    Very informative and interesting, Mike! I didn't know any of this!

  • JS Daniel

    JS Daniel gave props (20 Jan 2009):

    Very useful article. Voted!

  • Marco Martinez

    Marco Martinez gave props (16 Apr 2009):

    Thanks for sharing this technique.

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