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Single RAW
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Strasburg Number 9- by Mike Savad
Train - Strasburg, Number 9 - by Mike Savad - Print
Can be purchased as a print or a gift

Train - 385 - At the station - Print - Mike Savad Train - Roanoke - 611 - NW - J-Class - Steam 4-6-4 Wheels - Print - Mike Savad Train - 1218 0 End of the line - Print - Mike Savad Train - Roanoke - 1218 - Waiting for Departure - Print - Mike Savad Train - Strasburg - The Great Western 90 - Print - Mike Savad Train - 90 - Now Boarding - Print - Mike Savad

Original Image
1 single raw - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
Sometimes there is often enough information in one single RAW file. I took this with my 20d, the train was moving towards me, and there were people waiting for the train (it's a touring train). The smoke is real, though hard to see on the blank blue sky.

Slight Color Adjustment
2 - processed 1st layer - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
Just like Processing an HDR  I will still use 3 images, only I'll use this one single image. Process the main shot as you would any other raw, balance the shading and boost the color where needed. Here's the first processed image. I brightened some of the darker areas, and warmed up the train tones, but in turn, this bleached out my sky. The engineers face isn't that apparent either, that's another area to work on.

The sky looks better
3 - sky copy - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
I brought the same image back into the RAW editor, and darkened it enough so the sky would be more apparent, and also pushed the blue a bit more. As a result you can now to see the smoke better. However, the train is also a bit blue now, but that will be fixed. On to the guy.

The guy
4 - guys face - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
Added another layer masking in the details on this guys face, Bring in the same image over and over if you need to extract more detail like this. This is a 200% crop taken with a Canon 20d, which is why it's not as sharp as it could be, but you can discern detail with it. He's pretty much a spec in there, but it adds flavor to the image. The last layer will be the Photomatix, single RAW processed file, to get more texture detail from everywhere.

5 - single raw - hdr processed - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
Keep in mind this is 1 single RAW so there will be much noise. These are the setting I used. To be honest I was hoping for more. I should be able to use some of it. We shall see. Stack these images on top of each other. There is no need for alignment, because they are all the same file. See below, the layers palette shows all the images I have listed above, as if I shot 3 different images.

Stacking the image
6 - stack them and clean the sky - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
The easiest method to put the sky back in, is to stack them up with the blue as the top layer, add a mask, use a gradient that is set to background to transparent, choose black, and strike a line from the bottom up with a soft fade. It's ok to have some white at the horizon. Note the layer order, the sky at the top, followed by the main image, followed by the bright face, then the fake HDR last as a detail layer. Use a mask each time and choose a soft brush to paint in the details you want to keep. The next image will show the compiled image up to the HDR.

Compiled Image
before hdr underlay - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
So here is the compiled image, before the fake HDR layer. There really isn't a whole lot of difference between these images. Dark trains don't show detail well, I'm hoping that the processed fake HDR will give me a little more contrast detail. Trains are covered in pipes, gauges, valves, and bolts. I want to see every one of them. Sometimes I can extract that from this next layer.

HDR Layer
8 - after hdr - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
Here it is after the HDR layer, it's a little different, there's a little more depth, and a little more clarity, but you can't expect much from a single file. Now we straighten, tweak the perspective, and crop the image. I plan on cropping the guy on the right out because he's not needed and a pain to clone out.

9 - ready to clone stuff out - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
So now it's straight and ready to be cropped. But I can't crop until I get I clone stuff out. I might need something in the cropped out spots. And I might need to tweak it a little bit more. I plan to clone out the following: The shadow on the bottom, the space around the guys hands in the back to add a little bit of black. The disembodied hand sticking out of the train. The parked cars and sign, and the corner of that roof and mast piece.

Cropped & Cloned
cloned out3 - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
Took about 20 mins to clone out the bits, the hand on the side was a real pain due to fancy graphics they had and little working material. The red boxy thing I painted in looks a bit dumb in there, I'll place a texture over it to help blend it in. I think it's a train car, and I will see what I can do with it in the addition of textures

Adding Texture
11 - water tank texture - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
I have a series of textures of all kinds. They are used as an overlay to enhance the subject. In this case as mentioned above I need more texture on things because it's too static looking. An overlay is easy, get an object like wood, metal, glass, etc. And place it over the image you want to change. Adjust for perspective and such, then either fade it into place or use a Palette tool to enhance it.. Experiment with the layers to see where it would look best. Often the best setting is Softlight, Overlay, Multiply, and Linear Burn. But it varies depending on color, texture, etc.

The image on the right is the one I used to enhance the tank to give it an old wooden look. It's set to multiply, the color was tweaked as was the width. Next hold ALT and click the mask, the image will disappear and will only appear if you use a white brush. Paint where you need to to reveal the texture that you placed earlier. And you will continue to do this, with one layer over another over another and so forth. I thought the top of the tank would look nice if I added some stains. Water runs off the roof creating them. For the best looking stains, whether it be on wood, stone, metal, etc, use a RUST Texture. Something on a smooth background.

So Far
texture so far - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
This is what I have so far. I added that wood grain, and a little bit of white drips. The texture I used were white drips on a gray background set to color dodge and played with for a bit. The red thing in the back was a rusty wavy piece of metal. Next I want add wood to the landing, to give it a more historical feel. I have a large piece of planked wood, the tricky part is to match the distortion and perspective.

Sidewalk Texture
added a deck - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
I chose these two sets of wood to create the deck. I used the sidewalk and set the opacity lower to see said sidewalk.

Using free transform I moved and stretched it until I found something I liked. This is just a placement, I still have to blend them together, especially at the end where the people are standing. The boards need to extend a little past this boundary. Once that's complete I will probably add some weathered stains, some moss maybe, and some darkening. For the back areas, use the ALT mask (all black), to blend it. Watch out for shadows of other things, press lighter with your tablet there. It's still too sharp though, I plan to add a little bit of softness in the end, trying to match the train and tracks. After that, a few cloning out of things near the walk, and also to add a little bit of shadow under it.

New Walk
14 - ready for the next step, deck done - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
It's looking a little bit better. I softened the edges with the smudge tool using the "hair" brush included in the pack. On a new layer I made a copy of the deck, and softened it with Gaussian blur so the farthest point looked softer, then use a mask with a gradient to keep the front spot sharp. While still on the mask, if you use levels, you can adjust the level of the gradient, the white controls the white half, the dark the dark, and the middle - well, the middle. You can create your own adjustable graduated filter in this effect.

aging the wood - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
Now I need to add dirt, and make it look more worn out. I found a gray piece of wood with a heavy texture, Scaled it to match.

The wood you see is on the lower right looks a bit like a telephone pole, Setting the layer to multiply, darkens it and ages it at the same time. Linear light however provides a heavy grain that is too light in color. However if you fade one layer into another, and tweak it with curves or contrast, it gives it a new look. The upper right is a mix of the two, and from that I will fade in with the ALT mask.

So Far
16 - deck done - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
At this point the two layers are blended into one. Adding a little more shadow near the train and where people stand. But keeping it random and spotty, keeping areas brighter where the sun was hitting it. I also added a 3rd layer which was moss, to add a tinge of green, it creates a pressure treated wood look. At the same time I added some white in the background and some shadow for depth, more will happen later.

New Sky
the sky - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
Next adding some clouds, as the sky is too blank. I could also add more smoke, but it may come out too cartoon like.

I shot this in my parking lot a while back, I set this to overlay, it has a painterly look, and there is very little work to do to edit out the rest.

Sky is added
18 - the sky is added - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
So now the sky is added, removed some stuff at the horizon, added a little more smoke so it stands out better. Ready to flatten it again, save it again, and correct for color. Use Selective Color from the layer menu (the black and white cookie), and adjust the sliders. Each color has 4 sliders, the black slider controls the contrast of that color. Play with each until you found something you like.

Color Tweaks
colors adjusted - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
The colors have been tweaked, The reds are a little more vibrant, the sky a bit bluer, took some of the blue out of the train as well.

Now we are going to shade things in. In past tutorials I used a dark shadow layer. But outside, that layer just looks streaky after processing. The lighter HDR action has everything but that dark layer. Using the brush, I will paint in areas that should be brighter or darker. A little more light on the water tower and the front of the train will also be added.

Adding final Touches
main shading - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
I added some light weight shading, it won't be as apparent as with the shadow layer I usually have, but there are brighter pieces. Next the vivid light extra detail layer. This step uses a very small brush, zoomed all the way, and anything metal or that needs detail revealed, will be highlighted with this brush. This makes the image more presentable, and will sharpen very nicely. If you compare these images you'll see things like the 90 sticks out more, the rails are brighter, the guy, a few things on the water tower or more pronounced as well.

After vivid light
after vivid - HDR Tutorial by Mike Savad
This is after the vivid light layer, there is a bit more of a sparkle.

A few small tweaks in the color and it's done. I tried a grunge layer but it killed the look. It's a bright and cheery picture with a touch of nostalgia. Now don't get me wrong, I don't do this on every shot I take, this method takes far too long. But when you have an image that is good, but can be better, adding textures like this can really enhance it. 


Train Gifts - 4039 - In the yard - Mike Savad Train Gifts - Kitchi Gammi - Pullman - Mike Savad Train Gifts - All aboard - Mike Savad Train Gifts - Receiving a Telegram - Mike Savad Train Gifts - Train 89 - In the Workshop - Mike Savad Train Gifts - RailRoad Crossing - Mike Savad

Strasburg Number 9- by Mike Savad
Train - Strasburg, Number 9 - by Mike Savad - Print
Can be purchased as a print or a gift

Copyright - Suburban Scenes by Mike Savad 2012

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