I’m doing a new series of flower images using some new post techniques to create a more stylized and expressionist image, at times skewing to the abstract.
There is some interest here in techniques and methods, so I thought I would outline the basic method, given its current state of evolution. I’ll refer to the other day’s post of the Red Dahlia.
- I shoot exclusively in Raw. The first step is in Lightroom, where basic exposure adjustments, if necessary, are done. I will seek a reasonably bright image with good contrast.
- Lightroom saves the image as a TIFF and exports to Nik Software’s Viveza 2.0. Global adjustments may include brightening and contrast enhancement. I may do local adjustments. For the Red Dahlia, this included bringing out the center of the flower by increasing brightness and detail (“dodging”).
- Then export to Photoshop. The first step is “posterization” – The color depth is reduced to 8 bits, then the color gamut of the image is reduced to a small number of distinct colors or shades per color channel – I usually use 4 to 8. The Red Dahlia was 6 colors per channel.
- Then still in Photoshop, the edges are detected and outlined and intensified. The image is saved and we go back to Lightroom.
- If necessary, additional work is done using Nik Viveza. For the Red Dahlia, this included darkening (“burning”) the background as well increasing brightness in some parts of the flower.
- Lightroom exports the finished product.
It is possible to use Lightroom to do what is done in Nik Viveza, but I find Viveza an equally capable tool, more flexible and easier to use. I recommend the entire suite of tools from Nik which I use extensively.