Photography by J.D. Magers

Filtering by Category: On1

On1 Processing For a Very Cold Image

Added on by J.D. Magers.

On Friday morning, I drove over the South Platte River to run an errand.  It had been especially cold the night before, and the moisture from the river coated all the trees next to it with an awesome layer of hoar frost.  It was extremely pretty.  Of course, I didn't have my camera (when will I learn this lesson?!?), so I wasn't able to photograph it.  Friday was cold though, so I figured the frost would still be there on Saturday morning.  I got up, and with camera in hand, I drove back over to the river.  Nothing.  Apparently hoar frost doesn't stay around too long.  Oh well, I was out of the house, and that was good enough for me to try and make some images.  So I walked down to the edge of the main lake and saw a whole bunch of these little jagged icicles sitting on top of the frozen lake.  I spent about 15-20 minutes shooting these little intimate compositions.  This one here is one of my favorites:

Unprocessed image of frozen lake water at Adams County Regional Park, near the South Platte River.  Adams County, Colorado.

Unprocessed image of frozen lake water at Adams County Regional Park, near the South Platte River.  Adams County, Colorado.

Now let's look at how I processed it.  This image was taken around 09:00 in the morning, so the sun had already risen quite a bit. It was also over my right shoulder and slightly behind me.  In photographing scenes like this, it is important to get down low to avoid shooting down on the subject.  I try and shoot across the subject to show depth of field.  

The raw image is pretty flat, and there is not a lot of color in here.  My first thought was to try and convert this to black and white.  There is definitely potential here as a monochrome, but I decided to start out by conveying the feeling of exactly how cold it was when I was out shooting. It was around 25 degrees.  In Lightroom, I lowered the temperature slider down until I got a nice blue tone, and then adjusted the HSL blue sliders until I liked what I saw.  From there, I opened the image in On1 Effects.  

Since this is a photograph of ice, I wanted to bring out the texture that ice has.  The first preset I used was Dynamic Contrast.  This did a very nice job of bringing out the textural elements I was looking for.  Especially in that big air bubble towards the upper right.  I then added a Tone Enhancer layer to bring out the blue color a little bit more. Within the tone enhancer, I slightly lowered the brightness, and increased the Compression setting just a little bit.  The other sliders I didn't touch.  Lastly, I added a subtle vignette to finish off the image.  

The final image, processed using Lightroom and On1 software.

The final image, processed using Lightroom and On1 software.

I really like the way this image looks and think it's a nice way to start off 2016.  What drew me into this image is all of the circles, and the jagged edges of the frost on the surface.  I like how I processed the image too, but realize there might be some aspects that make it look a little off. I would love to hear what you think, so please let me know in the comments.  And, we'll see you on Wednesday.

Using the On1 10 Adjustable Gradient Experiment, Part I

Added on by J.D. Magers.

One aspect of my processing that I want to improve at is the use of adjustable gradients, whether it be in Photoshop, Lightroom, or On1 10.  Yesterday morning I was up early, so I thought I would take some time and start playing around in On1 and the Adjustable Gradient Filter for processing.

The first thing that I'm doing to really learn how these filters work is to not open a photo at all. Instead I created a blank white .jpg that I can open within any program.  When the white photo is opened in On1, we can see what kind of impact any individual preset or filter is going to have when a real photo is opened.  This is a great teaching tool, and it's a lot like experimenting with layers in Photoshop.  This is going to be a really powerful exercise for me, and I encourage everyone to create some simple base documents that are white, black and 50% gray to start learning your processing strategies.

Anyway, I opened my white image in the Adjustable Gradients Filter and selected Lighten.  Right away it hit me that I wasn't going to be able to see anything because how can you lighten an already white image?  That's okay though, as I took the opportunity to look around the window and see what is there with this particular filter.

When the white image was first opened, the main area had the typical adjustable gradient pattern on it.  From here, we can adjust the height and tilt of the areas to be lightened. I'm going to experiment more with this in a real photograph in the coming days.

Moving over to the adjustments panel, I noticed there are five different filters that we can select from (Lighten, Darken, Detail, Vibrance, and Glow).  These same gradients are also selectable in the main list of filters over on the left.  I'm going to have to experiment in a real photo to see what happens when I select a type from the right, if it has the same effect as selecting it initially.

Beyond that, right below the slider for Glow, there is another dropdown menu where we can select five different layers (Screen, Overlay, Overlay Strong, Softlight, and Softlight Strong).  Off the top of my head, I know Screen and Overlay are layers types in Photoshop and Lightroom, so I assume Softlight is as well.  

There are also several shapes that we can create an adjustable gradient with as well.  On the top tool bar, there is the following drop down list.  

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 6.50.48 AM.png

The Gradient selection is the default setting when you first select this filter.  Center and Edges both give us an oval, and I suspect they are opposites of each other.  I can probably use this to create a vignette.  At this time I don't know what the Reflected Gradient is or what it does, but we'll figure it out.  A topic for another day.

The last thing I took note of is the Preset dropdown to the left of the Shape Gradient drop down.  Underneath this drop down are immediate selections for applying an adjustable vignette (both black and white), and then hard linear gradients from the four sides of the image.  These appear to work together with the Shape Gradient dropdown.  For example, when I select the Vignette Preset, if my shape is on Gradient, the program will automatically change to the Center selection.  But when you have one of the Presets selected first, and then try to change the shape, the preset defaults back to none.  So I think these two are intertwined.

This exercise has taught me a lot about the selections that are available with the Adjustable Gradient Filter.  Since I originally selected the Lighten Filter on a white image though, it wasn't really that informative.  I need to do this exercise on gray or black to really start digging in to what this filter type can do.  That and get it on a real image.  We'll get to that in the coming days. We have lots of work left to do with this filter.  

I hope this exercise has been valuable to you as well.  As I mentioned, I think looking at presets on a blank white, black, and gray image will teach you a lot about how that particular preset works. As such, we're going to be doing a lot of this in the future.  Please let me know what you think of this strategy in the comments, or shoot me an email.  Thank you for reading today.  More later...

First Impressions of On1 10 for Photography

Added on by J.D. Magers.

I have been a user of the On1 suite of plugins for processing photos for the past couple of years. I first started around OnOne Perfect Suite 8.  Overall, I like this set of plugins very much.  I think it is a really powerful program that does a lot of really cool things.  I like how it makes my photographs look, and it's generally easy to use.  Late last month, the suite was relaunched again as On1 10.  Below are my first impressions of this upgraded software package.

This is the interface below as it looks when first opened.

The One1 10 Perfect Effects interface when you first open an image.

The One1 10 Perfect Effects interface when you first open an image.

I like the clean, simple black background look.  Everything is much easier to see on a black background.  The integration of all the different programs within the creative suite is much nicer too.  I like how you can seamlessly switch back and forth between Perfect Effects and Perfect Enhance without having to open the photo up in Perfect Layers.  This is a much needed improvement in my opinion, as I never really was comfortable opening an image up in Layers first.  That probably has more to do with not practicing enough, but that is my fault.  

Anyway, over on the left are the tabs for Presets and Filters.  Part of me likes the way they are separated, and part of me doesn't (sometimes I wish it was just a giant list - I don't want to have to think about whether the filter I want is a preset or a filter).  I do like however when you click on one, we are presented with a view within that panel that shows us what all the different filters are going to look like if they are chosen.  This is actually extremely helpful in showing me what all the potentials are so I can make a decision more quickly.

All the potential applications of the Haze Reducing Preset.

All the potential applications of the Haze Reducing Preset.

All the adjustment sliders are over on the right hand side.  Their functionality is pretty much the same.  I will say that I am still a little confused by how you add a layer to the photo.  Before, there used to be a little + sign that would add a layer to whatever preset you were working with.  Now when you select a layer, it brings up the menu which has the list of presets.  If you select one, and then go to add another layer on top of it, the layer looks like it disappears.  Before if you didn’t like a layer, you could just drag it down to the trash.  This doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.   Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I’m still getting used to this design change. 

One other thing that I for sure don’t like is that when I right click on an image in Lightroom, and select it for opening in the On1 suite, it doesn’t open right away.  On1 opens, but the picture doesn’t.  I end up having to open it twice.  I’m not sure if this is a bug in the system or not, but it previously didn’t operate this way.  If I was processing more than an hour a night, the program would likely already be open and not really a problem.  My nightly processing is time limited though, and the extra time needed to reopen an image is not ideal.

Some people will hate even the smallest of changes.  The new On1 10 suite has some pretty drastic changes to the way it looks and the way it functions.  Overall, my first impression is that this is still the same awesome program that I have been using for the past couple of years.  Does it look different?  Sure, but that shouldn’t really matter because it still is able to take my photos and do some pretty awesome stuff with them.  That’s good enough for me.

I would love to hear what you think about the new On1 suite.  Please feel free to discuss in the comments section below.  Have a great day.  See you tomorrow…