Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A quasi-infrared look using Topaz Adjust 5

Here’s a photograph of a tree that I took In Japan. We’ll call this one TREE 1. I like the strong form of the tree as well as the lovely colors in the leaves. But then I wondered, what if I were to create a black and white version of this photo? Why? To play down the bright colors and emphasize the shape of the tree. Don’t let color get in the way of the basic forms.

I realize there are a lot of ways to create this look, lots of different applications, programs, effects, etc. If you have your own way of creating a look like this, yours may be even better. But this is what I have, and this is what I used.

TREE 1, OPTION 1 (High Key)
I created a duplicate layer of the tree and then brought it into Topaz Adjust 5. I selected a High Key effect, which lightened and brightened everything, but there was still a bit of color left. So I used a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer in Photoshop and desaturated the photograph until it looked black and white.

The effect was too cold and bright for my taste. How could I warm it up?

I brought the photograph again into Topaz Adjust 5 and went to the Toning effects. I opted for Black Rose. This effect warms up the scene, creates a bit more contrast, and I was pleased with the look.

TREE 1, OPTION 2 (Bleach Bypass)
Topaz has another effect called Bleach Bypass. And it offers Bleach Bypass Cold and Bleach Bypass Warm. What if I used the Bleach Bypass effect rather than the High Key effect? Would it make a difference?

So I tried it, using the same steps as above, i.e. making a duplicate layer, bringing the photo into Topaz Adjust 5, opting for Bleach Bypass Warm in this case. Then I used Photoshop’s Hue/Adjustment layer to desaturate the image some more. I brought the photo back into Topaz Adjust 5 and selected the Black Rose toning effect to warm things up.

I wondered how these same treatments would look on a different tree. So here’s a pretty straightforward shot of another tree. We’ll call this one (cleverly enough) TREE 2. (It's the isolated tree, in color, just below. Formatting in this blog can be weird, so bear with me.)

TREE 2, OPTION 1 (High Key)
I tried these same two approaches on a different tree. I duplicated the layer, brought it into Topaz Adjust 5, used the High Key effect, desaturated the image in Photoshop, then applied the Black Rose toning mode in Topaz Adjust 5. (The first B&W tree below shows you this effect.)

TREE 2, OPTION 2 (Bleach Bypass)
Instead of using Topaz Adjust 5’s High Key effect, I opted for Bleach Bypass Warm. Desaturated the image, then applied the Black Rose toning effect to warm things up. (The second B&W tree below shows you this effect.)

Which effect pleases me more? The Bleach Bypass effect seems harsh, stark, and crunchy whereas the High Key effect looks dreamier and softer and, to me, much more appealing. It has that soft infrared look that I’ve always been drawn to.

As I said, this is not THE way to create an effect such as this. But with the tools at my disposal and with a bit of experimentation, it’s what I came up with this morning. Tomorrow I may try something completely different, but today, here’s what I did, how I did it, and here are the results for you. What do you think?

©Carol Leigh
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