Post Processing Adjustments

After running the Overlay and Orton Effect actions that I have created, there are still a number of adjustments that need to be made before the images are complete.

When I created the actions, I inserted some Levels layers that brighten each layer about 1 f/Stop.  This is a simple estimate and may not work well at all for a given image.

Take this image, which is pretty bright

overlay-1_main

I wanted to add some texture, so I added this cracked paint to give it a more worn feel:

overlay-1_texture

When I ran the Overlay action, it created a composite that looks like this:

overlay-1_raw

This adds the feel, but the color saturation is off and the strength of the texture is really more harsh than I wanted.  The action set the following levels:

overall_levels_default

Overall Levels

texture_levels_default

Texture Levels

background_adjust

Background Levels

So starting at the Background Levels, I started making adjustments.  Because I wanted more saturated color, I wanted to darken the Background Layer.  Moving the mid-point slider (grey triangle) to the right (lower numbers) will darken the image.

overlay-1_raw

 

background_adjust

Adjusting the Background Levels layer to a mid-point of 1.16 gives me slightly richer colors.

Next I make an adjustment to the Texture Levels to lighten the mid-point so that it will soften the texture a little.

overlay-1_text_adjust

 

texture_adjust

Moving the mid-point slider up to 1.89 lightens the texture and makes the effect just a little bit softer than the default.  The image is getting closer to where I want it, but it is just a little bit lighter than I wanted.

overlay-1_final

 

overall_adjust

Then slightly darkening the Overall Levels by moving the mid-point slider down to 0.94 and resetting the white-point slider to 229 finalizes the image for me.

The changes that I made in this image are pretty minor, but the end result is significantly better in my opinion.  The point is that some adjustment is not only desirable, but necessary.  The actions do not necessarily produce a finished image, but they significantly reduce the amount of work that you have to do with each image.

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