Wednesday, May 21, 2008

SoFoBoMo wrapup: Processing the files

Can't make up my mind
(Photo: "Cant make up my mind" - from a trip to Austin TX last week)

In my last SoFoBoMo entry I discussed shooting, and a little processing. In this one I'll discuss how I processed the files in a more in-depth manner.

After doing all the shooting, rating, sorting and deleting many shots I ended up with over 100 shots to process. I wanted to process all of the RAW files in Adobe Camera Raw, move into Photoshop and do the black and white conversion there. I quickly figured out that it would simply take too long to finish that way. (Largely because I waited till the last 2 days of the fuzzy month to do the processing, lesson for next year ... set a date certain for end of shooting and schedule at least a week for post)

I ended up using Aperture for most processing and black and white conversion. And, in hindsight, it may have been better to do it that way. I could look at all of the files at once, smaller groups of files, two up etc. It gave me the ability to make judgments as to how well the shots fit together in terms of content, composition and processing.

Consistency was the name of the game. Had I done this processing in ACR and Photoshop, I'm sure I would have had to do a lot more re-edits to get the to look consistent. Using Aperture it changed the process from editing a single image and moving to the next to editing them as a group. Zooming in and out on groups of them and looking at them as thumbnails helped to smooth out the rough edges a lot.

I made the decision to go for a film grain and toned look early in this process. Unfortunatly Aperture does not have a grain (noise) generator, and the toning simply leaves a lot to be desired. With 108 images to process and only a few free hours over the last 2 days of my fuzzy month I had to take the easy way out.

I ended up using Alien Skin Exposure. I selected a TRI-X 400 preset and worked with the grain and tone controls to get a look I enjoyed. I then exported the files from Aperture as TIFF and created a Photoshop action to help apply the plugin to the files and save them as new files.

Then I took these files, and imported them back into Aperture for final sequencing and layout ... yes ... layout.

Next: Creating a PDF book with Aperture.

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