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Wim van Egmond
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Post by Wim van Egmond »

The background is a bit messy. But I liked the idea that if you would pull the string this dragon would fly!

Wim

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salden
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Post by salden »

Nothing wrong with the background. Maybe tone it down a tad, but not much. That is funny about the string.
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Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Pretty neat shot Wim, I like the composition and it does seem as though the background could use a little something but it's okay. Thanks Wim :D

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

Very nice shot Wim. Dragonflies have the coolest design. I love the veins in the wings.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
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Wim van Egmond
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Post by Wim van Egmond »

I think the trick with macro is to look at the background and fit the subject in a nice position towards the faint shapes in the background. But in this case I had to take it as frontal as possible. Perhaps a bit oversaturated. I was in a hurry:)

best regards,

Wim

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Wim,

I have been thinking about your concern about background in this picture. Perhaps part of the "messy" impression comes from semi-sharp variations in tone caused by interaction between background detail and your lens bokeh. In some similar cases, I have gotten good results by using Photoshop to further blur the background. See http://www.photomacrography1.net/forum/ ... php?t=4989 for example and discussion. Typically I make two layers, both copies of the original, then Gaussian blur radius=5-10 the bottom layer, add a "reveal all" layer mask to the upper layer, then paint black into the mask to expose the blurred background.

It's worth a try, anyway...

--Rik

Wim van Egmond
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Post by Wim van Egmond »

It is a good suggestion. Trouble with gausian blur is of course the 'bending' The extra layer can perhaps avoid that. I must say that too much blur makes it look unnatural.

I guess my objective gives this type of blur. But it could als depend on the type of background. If there is a lot of contrast with highlights in the background I think you always get this type of blur with edges.

Wim

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Yes, using the layer mask is critical. At the transition between original image & Gaussian-blurred background, I paint the mask using a hardness=0 brush that is pretty large, say 20-30 pixels for an 800-pixel wide image.

To get the right amount of blur, I rely on Photoshop's preview to help me out. My goal is usually just to eliminate the pseudo-detail caused by the hard edge of the aperture, without changing the effective size of the aperture very much (a small fraction of 1 f/stop, for most backgrounds).

Using layers, it is even easy to adjust the amount of blur after the mask is painted. The process goes like this. Take a first cut at blurring the background image layer and painting the separation mask. Then replace the previously blurred background image with a copy of the original image (which you still have in the top layer). Open the Gaussian blur dialog and click on Preview. Then you can interactively drag the width slider while seeing the effect -- it's a very nice user interface! You'll probably have to tweak up the mask after you change the blur, but that's pretty straightforward by again painting black and white using a soft brush.

It takes some practice to get good at using Photoshop layers and masks, but they are wonderful tools after you get used to them.

--Rik

Wim van Egmond
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Post by Wim van Egmond »

Dear Rik,

Thanks for the tips! I'll experiment a bit with it. I usualluy add a slight bit of grain to make the blurred parts a bit rougher. I use layer masks quite often! So I know how to use them. But the less work you have on an image the better it is! :)

best regards,

Wim

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