Histogram Sculpting?

This is a discussion on Histogram Sculpting? within the Post-Processing forums, part of the Photography Tips category; I'm an admirer of this guys photos. Particularly the attached image. [attachment=30865:Untitled_1.jpg] I've been trying for weeks to replicate a histogram like this. He seems ...


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  1. #1

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    I'm an admirer of this guys photos. Particularly the attached image.

    [attachment=30865:Untitled_1.jpg]



    I've been trying for weeks to replicate a histogram like this. He seems to have a duality of contrast and flatness. His contrast is very nicely split and curved. And on the dark end he has flat blacks. Has anyone done something like this before? How can I have contrast and create the flat black "tail" he has on the histogram? Ideas, conjecture, and speculation welcome.

    Thanks and happy editing!

    Tyler
    Attached Images Attached Images  


  • #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmr View Post
    I'm an admirer of this guys photos. Particularly the attached image.

    [attachment=30865:Untitled_1.jpg]



    I've been trying for weeks to replicate a histogram like this. He seems to have a duality of contrast and flatness. His contrast is very nicely split and curved. And on the dark end he has flat blacks. Has anyone done something like this before? How can I have contrast and create the flat black "tail" he has on the histogram? Ideas, conjecture, and speculation welcome.

    Thanks and happy editing!

    Tyler
    the histogram is, ofcourse an analytical tool that graphs the quantity of any given value in a matrix, in this case the matrix is an image. Trying to match one histogram to another image is deceptivly unimportant to achieve similar results. To answer your question, this histogram shows a few unique features. The hilights are clipped, there is a large quantity of values at around level 64 followed by a sharp falloff as the tonal region approaches shadow. This would indicate that a significant bump was placed at L64 with a smooth approach toward the hilight, but was cut back dramatically at around L45. This portion of the curve might even approach vertical, so care would have been needed to avoid posterization. The curve would then be eased as it approaches L0 to avoid shadow clipping. With a histogram this severe, it is likely that the image processing was done in 16 bit and the capture with plenty of mid-shadow detail.

    The image was likely intentionally clipped in the upper hilight region, probobly around L230 by dragging the hilight point on the curve direct leftward, though I am thinking that this might have only been done in the red and green channels, if not then the blue channel would need be flattened by bringing the blue hilight point directly downward. This would be acomplished with appropriate anchor points to control how far into the histogram this alteration took place.

    This, I think, is actually the area which you should be focused. The "simutaniously flat and contrasty" look I would guess is because two of the three channels are "blown out" while the third is relatively flat in the hilight region, permitting the washed out color cast while still maintaining shadow density.

    It is also very unrealistic to assume that similar results can be achieved in one or two curves, it is likely that the histogram profile was achieved through a number of techniques and mixing modes.
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...

  • #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by twinkle_turnip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by tmr View Post
    I'm an admirer of this guys photos. Particularly the attached image.

    [attachment=30865:Untitled_1.jpg]



    I've been trying for weeks to replicate a histogram like this. He seems to have a duality of contrast and flatness. His contrast is very nicely split and curved. And on the dark end he has flat blacks. Has anyone done something like this before? How can I have contrast and create the flat black "tail" he has on the histogram? Ideas, conjecture, and speculation welcome.

    Thanks and happy editing!

    Tyler
    the histogram is, ofcourse an analytical tool that graphs the quantity of any given value in a matrix, in this case the matrix is an image. Trying to match one histogram to another image is deceptivly unimportant to achieve similar results. To answer your question, this histogram shows a few unique features. The hilights are clipped, there is a large quantity of values at around level 64 followed by a sharp falloff as the tonal region approaches shadow. This would indicate that a significant bump was placed at L64 with a smooth approach toward the hilight, but was cut back dramatically at around L45. This portion of the curve might even approach vertical, so care would have been needed to avoid posterization. The curve would then be eased as it approaches L0 to avoid shadow clipping. With a histogram this severe, it is likely that the image processing was done in 16 bit and the capture with plenty of mid-shadow detail.

    The image was likely intentionally clipped in the upper hilight region, probobly around L230 by dragging the hilight point on the curve direct leftward, though I am thinking that this might have only been done in the red and green channels, if not then the blue channel would need be flattened by bringing the blue hilight point directly downward. This would be acomplished with appropriate anchor points to control how far into the histogram this alteration took place.

    This, I think, is actually the area which you should be focused. The "simutaniously flat and contrasty" look I would guess is because two of the three channels are "blown out" while the third is relatively flat in the hilight region, permitting the washed out color cast while still maintaining shadow density.

    It is also very unrealistic to assume that similar results can be achieved in one or two curves, it is likely that the histogram profile was achieved through a number of techniques and mixing modes.
    Wow thanks for such a great response twinke_turnip! I hadn't expected such a detailed and anylitical response but it's exactly what I had hoped for!

    It is the characteristics that I'm looking at in the histogram. For example, where the spikes , flat planes, and no data are--the unique characteristics. Also the general shape or dispersion of data. I've come up with some things that get close but not quite the same. (Do I really want exactly the same?). I don't a lot of reading this last week and I'm pretty sure he could accomplish what he has done solely with curves, maybe curves and levels. Not one or two as you say but through many layers and micro adjustments. I recently saw an image by a man I admire who showed his work process on photoshop (at least part of it). I can't find the image right now, as I'm not on my home computer, otherwise I'd share it. Anyway, it showed how he had literally hundreds of presaved curves and other layer presets he like. He would cyle through them looking for effects that he liked when he was editing a new image.

    Tyler





  • #4
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    It is not impossible that he also "cheated" with some filter. But nothing looks terribly local, so I am thinking that it should be possible to get with curves.
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...


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