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Thread: Blue, blue, my world is blue

  1. #1
    can't remember
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    Blue, blue, my world is blue

    This is a complete image, just resized from the in-camera JPG, no PP at all. (I have the raw file as well if required.) The bird is a Scarlet Honeyeater - not a species you see often, and certainly not one I regularly get the opportunity to photograph. So, essentially, this is the shot I'm going to have to work with.

    The background is not sky!

    It's not that weird, un-natural blue because I had my camera set wrong and under-exposed it, it is the wall of a weatherboard shack, painted blue, and (as intended when I took the shot) blurred by being out of focus.



    So, what should I do with this picture? I will clone out some of the greenery as it is messy and distracting, we will take that as a given. Yes, I know I'm a big fan of leaving pictures as-is, but I do clone stuff out now and then, and in the case of this picture, I'll clone some greenery, and I certainly want to do something about the horrible blue.

    Best answer, I guess, is replace the blue with something more natural-looking, such as green. I've had a quick play with ACR and discovered that I can alter the blue and only the blue quite easily ... trouble is, all I can do is alter the saturation and a few other things that are not really relevant. What I need to do is replace the blue entirely with green. For that I need Photoshop, and the Photoshop "replace colour" tool is not terribly helpful.

    Suggestions, good AP members?


    PS: I'm currently using CS3, but I also have an evaluation copy of CS4 with 29 days left on it, so either one is fine.

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    Im no great expert but given what you have said I would do the following.
    1. make a new layer via copy
    2. zoom into 400%
    3. Carefully select the bird using the polygonal lasso tool. (probably take about 30 minutes)
    4. save the selection (just incase you make a mistake)
    5. Feather the edge by 1 pixel
    6. invert the selection.
    7. make a new layer via copy.
    8. Edit this new layer to your hearts content
    9. When you have made your edits merge only the top two layers and use the eraser tool at about 6% to blend in the remaining layers to retain the edge detail for those fluffy bits that are so dam hard to cut around.
    10. Flatten the image - job done.

    I hope this helps, I normally don't offer such advice but as you are so free/willing in giving yours I thought I would give it a go. Obviously you will clone out the unwanted bits along the way and using the above will enable you to keep the bird intact. As for changing the background colour, use the colour select tool, just open up the variance on the select tool and use the add too button as you select the blue bits. There is an easier way in CS4 but I haven't learnt that one yet.

  3. #3
    can't remember
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    Thanks Cris!

    This bit ....
    Quote Originally Posted by Cris View Post
    3. Carefully select the bird using the polygonal lasso tool. (probably take about 30 minutes)
    ... is the bit I'm hoping to be able to avoid. After all, Camera Raw can get exacty the bits I want in a single click, so just maybe there is a way to get Photoshop to do it.

    I just had an idea. Could I make two TIFFs from the raw, identical except for greying out the blue in one of them, then load them into two layers, and get Photoshop to select the areas where the layers are different?

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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cris View Post
    1. make a new layer via copy
    2. zoom into 400%
    3. Carefully select the bird using the polygonal lasso tool. (probably take about 30 minutes)
    4. save the selection (just incase you make a mistake)
    5. Feather the edge by 1 pixel
    6. invert the selection.
    7. make a new layer via copy.
    8. Edit this new layer to your hearts content
    9. When you have made your edits merge only the top two layers and use the eraser tool at about 6% to blend in the remaining layers to retain the edge detail for those fluffy bits that are so dam hard to cut around.
    10. Flatten the image - job done.
    Hmm. That blue background is starting to look pretty good.
    All constructive criticism accepted with gratitude.


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    Ok then, maybe a quicker option could be to open the pic as a smart object (hold down the shift key whilst in camera raw), when the pic opens in photoshop, make a copy , rasterize this layer then reopen it in camera raw, do your edits, send it back to photoshop, as the two layers are not linked the changes made would have only affected the top layer, and an adjustment mask and paint out the bits you don't want revealing the unedited layer below. Just takes a bit of careful work around the tricky bits, but sometimes this works really well.
    There are soooo many ways of attacking things in photoshop.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Cris! I had set this to one side for the moment, and was exploring CS4 a moment ago - just tinkering around to see what was new over CS3 - and discovered that the "select colour range" function - damn near useless in CS3 - has been tweaked. Early days yet, but it might just be all I need for this job.

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    Select colour range will work Tony, but even easier is "replace colour" which you'll find under the Image menu > Adjustments.

    All you have to do is click the eyedropper on the blue in your main picture, select the "fuzziness" level - make it quite high to get as much of the blue as you can, then click on the bottom colour (in the replacement section) and choose the colour you want to replace it with in the colour picker window!
    Cheryl B.

    My Stuff... Canon 40D ~ Canon Speedlite 580EXII ~ Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro ~ Canon 50mm f1.8 ~ Canon 17-85mm f4-5.6 ~ Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 ~ Tamron AF 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 ~ Photoshop CS5 ~ Lightroom 3


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