19 March 2014

"Automatic" editing in the museum-maze

With dozens of photos to manipulate - call it enhancement, perhaps? - you get into an automatic routine. Here's my process.

Copy the chosen photos to a separate folder. Choosing them is somewhat intuitive - "I'll have this one, but not that". I'm trying to get all the floor types (mosaic, tile, parquet, marble, stone, linoleum) and a range of size and positions of legs/feet.

With the photos safely in their folder, I open groups of 8 or 10 at once into Photoshop, then follow the routine:

1. Image -Mode - Grayscale (click)

2. "automatic crop" - just under the blue PS icon at top left is the crop symbol, and to the right of it are the little white boxes where you set the dimensions; here they are 1600 pixels wide by 800 pixels high, at a resolution of 250 pixels per inch (for printing) -

The file started out quite large, so even if my crop is of less than the width of the photo, there will be enough pixels to keep a clear image. Using the fixed dimensions means you can change the crop quickly by moving one corner, or try it in different parts of the image (when satisfied: click)

3. Ctl+L brings up the Levels box, for adjusting dark/light -
If you look closely at the Levels box (click on the photo to enlarge), you'll see that the white slider on the right has been moved to the left, to where the "dark bit" of the histogram starts - this lightens the entire image. 

4. Save a copy of the image - the keystrokes (on the PC) are Alt+Ctl+S - they soon become automatic!
Making this screengrab, I noticed for the first time that you can simply tick the "save as copy" box near the bottom ... this adds "copy" to the filename shown - much quicker! I've been renaming the file by adding an "a" after its original filename. (Click, then close the file - the keystroke is Ctrl+W.)

The advantage of doing each photo individually [there is such a thing as Batch Mode] is not only that each needs a different kind of adjustment - but as you're doing the actions, you're noticing things, almost subconsciously. The cropping puts the legs in a certain place, includes a certain amount of distance and of, eg, walls of corridors - the subconscious is keeping a tally (eg, too many legs on the left; not enough of this kind of floor yet). 

Even though I dreaded the prospect of choosing the "right" photos, it's starting to happen ... it's not about choosing the "perfect" photos, it's just a matter of making these as good as they can be in themselves and in combination with the others. 

The next challenge is to decide how many images are needed - how much can be taken out ... and which ones don't add to the desired outcome.

1 comment:

irene macwilliam said...

I have often wondered about how much people use the batch bit of photoshop. I remember thinking it would solve my problems when I had loads of images that needed tweaking. Like you I found it did not meet my needs.