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In praise of the Watercolor transform for more than watercolor effect

Posted: March 18th, 2018, 1:15 pm
by Charles2
The Watercolor transform can add drama without turning the photo into a watercolor painting. You can see a before and after comparison at

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4772/40173916014_435eecbd01_o_d.jpg

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4775/27011602598_8464946e1e_o_d.jpg

The recipe was: set output to same pixel size as input; set all Median sliders to 0, Sharpen radius to 1, Sharpen threshold to 100%, and Edge Darken to 80%. Next, apply LevelsHSV | Full Range, because the histogram showed room only at the highlight end.

Perhaps, to be meticulous, I should have kept the central area of the top of the stump unchanged.

Maybe there is a shorter path to the same result.

Re: In praise of the Watercolor transform for more than watercolor effect

Posted: March 20th, 2018, 8:03 pm
by Marpel
Charles2,

I have used the Watercolor transform quite a bit over the last couple years and almost always use it with the dimensions at the same size rather than the default 2000 pixels, while also somewhat reducing the default 75% edge darkening slider. This results in a less "extreme" effect (for what I require). Have not played with the other parameters, though.

Having said that, not exactly sure what your aim is - increase contrast, maybe??

For a bit of contrast increase, as well as a bit of increased saturation, I often use the Composite transform, with Soft Light mode. As Soft Light can have a tendency to push the lights and darks a bit past the DR (and potential blow out results) with a full histogram, I often process the raw so the image is a bit flat and has some "elbow room" at each end of the histogram (especially the bright end). With practice, I have sort of figured out how much to push the "flatness" and then how much/or how little a percentage to use of Soft Light (sometimes I use 100%, others times, somewhat less). You should give it a try.

Marv

Re: In praise of the Watercolor transform for more than watercolor effect

Posted: March 22nd, 2018, 1:17 pm
by Charles2
"what your aim is - increase contrast, maybe??" No aim; the recipe I gave looks different to me than adding contrast (whether by combining an image with itself through Soft Light or by other means). It is a special effect, different from the overt watercolor effect, each helpful in particular situations.