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Robp

Gainesville, US
951 posts

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Robp Gold Member Nikonian since 23rd Oct 2009
Sat 29-Jan-11 07:30 AM | edited Sat 29-Jan-11 11:10 PM by Robp

We have been enjoying some very interesting threads posted recently here in the "Nikon and Nikonians Imaging Software" forum, including:
Sharpening Review Request
Tips on CNX2 Work Flow
Would Love Critique on How I used CNX2
and others.

One topic that has consistently cropped up has been sharpening and some novel approaches have been mentioned. This is a topic that I find very interesting, so I thought it would be fun and instructive to have a contest, which might not actually determine a "best practice", but should teach us all a few new tricks. I should add that we started to branch off-topic in some threads with discussions of things like deconvolution; this is where I hope we can see some of those esoteric treatments either successfully applied or debunked.

I had discussed this contest idea a while ago with Howard Carson, who was helpful and encouraging, so I hope he will see this and jump in.

I'll provide a RAW version of this un-processed (it is the preview-jpg from a NEF file, so it does contain Nikon's in-camera Picture Controls enhancements) below for use in the contest.

Click on image to view larger version


It is obviously a difficult image taken as a quick grab shot when a flock of birds were startled (probably by an alligator) and were rapidly taking off… lots of motion in front of a finely-detailed, but out-of-focus, background of brush stretching away into the far distance. The "difficulty" should challenge your processing skills.

Here are the Contest Rules:

1. Each participant should work on the same image, which I'll email to you upon request sent to me through Nikonians' email service, accessible by clicking on my avatar. This could be problematic, since some email services wont handle large attachments, but we'll try to work it out.

Edit] The email worked in a couple of cases but not in others; some email servers limit the file sizes they will accept to something smaller than this file. Barry Westhead has come to the rescue, however, and volunteered the use of his server for downloads; read down a couple of post and you'll see his comments. -- Thanks Barry -- You can download the image here:

Ibis-Nef.zip

2. The image I'll send will be an un-edited NEF from my D700 so that you will have complete flexibility in your post-processing efforts. After you process the image, convert it to a 1000 pixel wide, 100% quality JPEG and upload it to your gallery, then link the image (using the new Nikonians linking facility) to a message posted here in reply to this original post. This way, any spin-off comments will stay with the images to which they are addressed rather than having submittals coming in as sub-threads.

3. Include, in your submittal message with linked image, a very short commentary that does not identify the software package(s) that you use (don't want to influence the judging); just say something like "I used masking and hyped the colors some with boosted saturation". Later, we'll ask the winners to provide lots more detail, especially about the sharpening.

4. Please produce a "natural" looking image. Use of Pixel Bender or HDR toning is inappropriate for this exercise. This is not meant to restrict the use of masking, cloning, contrast or any other tools to make the image "look better" in addition to the sharpening, but sharpening, or selective sharpening, should be the main emphasis.

5. At some point, I'll close the acceptance of new submittals so that we can proceed to judge them. If I can figure out how to do it, I'll set up a polling routine to count the votes (may just have to start a new post referencing this one). I think that we'll say that a number of the top poll recipients are all winners and ask then to reveal the "secret processing recipe" they used on this image.

6. Please allow me to "bend" these rules if needed to accommodate unforeseen difficulties.

The objective here is to have fun and learn.

Rob Puller
My Nikonians gallery
Attachment#1 (jpg file)

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G