Sunday, 11 November 2018

The Diva | Using ON1's Black Background/Layer

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy | All Rights Reserved
I'm one of those photographers that has a pathological dislike in being tethered to a computer, and spending more than fifteen minutes in post-processing an image is a task I just find intolerable. In some cases, I am naturally forced to...but I try to find ways and means to make it as simple as possible. 

In contrast with most of my peers, I seldom use Photoshop and have never used Lightroom. However, I rely on three post-processing/editing apps as my tools of choice...these are Color Efex Pro (originally of Google and now part of DxO Software, Iridient Developer (the raw image format processing software for macOS, and well known for its ability to process Fujifilm X-Trans raw files), and lastly ON1 Photo Raw ( a raw processor, photo editor and plug-in collection all in one).

Which editing app to choose and use depends on the processing I seek for the image I'm working on. With this blog post I will very briefly explain how I created a black background to the photograph of Gui Lian, the Hokkien Opera diva, who I met during her performances in Georgetown (Penang Island, Malaysia).

The original photograph (below) was cropped to a square format, and I used ON1 Photo Raw to process it as a first step.

Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy | All Rights Reserved
I wanted to black out the extraneous shimmering stage curtains and red tassels, and found such a task not too difficult nor time consuming using ON1's Quick Mask tool. Naturally, one has to create a separate black underlay which will be one of the image layers.

Once a black image is created, I clicked on File> Add Layer(s) From File, and used the Quick Mask tool (yellow arrow on left) to "paint" a line around Gui Lian. The Quick Mask tool wasn't sufficiently precise in blacking out all of the targeted areas, so I also used the Masking Brush tool (red arrow) and went over these areas on complete the task....a task that took me no more than 12 minutes; well within my range of tolerance. I then pumped up the saturation using Iridium Developer tools...a task that took under a minute.

Amongst the reasons I favor ON1 is its website which has many easy to understand and follow tutorials. For those wanting to learn how easy it is to use its layer tools, it has product training videos here.