The Professional Photographers’ Guide to Post Processing
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Arash’s Take on the guide…
In recent years, advances in CMOS image sensor technology have enabled DSLR cameras to capture detailed, high-quality images at very high ISO settings; this has taken low-light and action photography to a whole new level. To make the most out of your camera’s high ISO performance, proper post processing, including advanced noise reduction and efficient sharpening, is essential. The first step in effective post-processing is executing an optimal RAW conversion that produces a TIFF file that is clean, free of artifacts, and detailed, without too much sharpening or strong noise reduction. For Canon users, we recommend converting your RAW images in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 (DPP 4). We cover exactly how to do that in the DPP 4 RAW Conversion Guide. This new supplemental guide deals with the post-RAW conversion processing of your TIFF files for final presentation.
In order to use this guide, you need Adobe Photoshop (CS4 or later) as well as the Neat Image noise reduction plugin for Photoshop. We recommend the pro version. You will need an up-to-date PC or Mac computer to process your files. A modern quad-core processor (Intel i7 or Xeon) with at least 16GB of RAM and a fast SSD drive for running Photoshop is recommended. It is best to do your image processing on a high quality IPS LCD panel capable of displaying Adobe RGB color gamut. We recommend calibrating your screen using a hardware color calibration solution such as Spyder or Xrite. The consumer LCD screens used in many laptops and low-end desktops suffer from poor contrast ratios and a limited color gamut. Images processed on inferior screens may appear noisy, too dark, too bright, or unsharp. And they will often show a color cast when viewed on a high quality monitor that has been properly calibrated.
Artie’s Take on the guide…
This guide is for serious photographers who wish to maximize the quality of their optimized, noise reduced files and who want to learn to sharpen their images after they are sized for a final usage. The emphasis is on sharpening for electronic presentation. The guide includes the brilliant techniques that Arash developed for applying just the right amount of NR to the subject (while retaining all the fine detail) and then applying a lot more NR to the background where it is almost always needed. His efforts were refined by Arthur Morris to ensure that the guide is clear, concise, easy-to-read, and easy to-easy-to-follow; artie’s great strength is his how-to writing. He has used Arash’s brilliant NR and sharpening techniques on his 15 inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display with great success.
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