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07-06-2017, 07:49 PM   #1
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Thoughts on use of digital filters in post processing

Recently I have been using digital filters quite often in post processing my photos especially in bright sunny day situations. I want to hear from you if you have used one before and if so, what do you think about it.

I use Silkypix Pro 7 version which comes with the digital filter features. The feature works similarly to Nik software (release earlier by Google); the one you can add to Lightroom or Photoshop as plug-in. There are two types of filters that I use, one is the gradient filter, the other is circular filter. The gradient filter works similarly to a physical filter applied in front of the lens in order to get 'blue sky' effect, provided that you have not overexposed the sky beyond recovery. The circular filter works in situation where you would normally applied with fill-flash in shadow areas. There is a subtle difference between a fill-flash effect vs the digital filter effect though as the fill-flash area covers the entire subject affected whereas the circular filter can be applied specifically only to the persons face (usually darkened because of the reflection of light).

Let me know your thoughts on this...

07-06-2017, 08:59 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
I want to hear from you if you have used one before and if so, what do you think about it.
Not every photo, but maybe 1/3? Quite useful tools if you want to take the time.
07-06-2017, 10:13 PM   #3
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I've always traveled with the philosophy that the less one does in post the better. To that end, I shoot almost exclusively Zeiss lenses on my K1. If you shoot premium lenses, I find that the images just plain look better right out of the camera and will require minimal post processing.

I think that excessive post processing artifacts are visible if one prints the images up extremely large. However, if you're just shooting for the Internet, I don't think viewers would notice the fingerprints of excessive post processing.
07-06-2017, 11:57 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Not every image, however we used to do all sorts of editing and processing in the darkroom, again not on all images, so yes, go for it have fun. Some filters and effects suit certain images, the palette is yours to create the images you like.

07-07-2017, 03:50 AM - 1 Like   #5
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For certain subjects, like landscapes, it can help take a blasé scene and maybe make it a little more artistic. But as others have said, I'd rather rely on a well composed, natural, shot out of the camera than a lot of PP trickery.
07-07-2017, 05:55 AM   #6
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When need a filter, you need it... Particulalrly the kind of graduated ND filters your talking about. They're often the only way , or at least the quickest and easiest, to get the results you want. They're very classical photography stuff, just that in the old days they we're in front of the lens when taking the picture or dodge/burn in the darkroom, much less convenient and versatile than the digital filters we have today.

So, just use them to your liking. There's nothing wrong with using digital filters, as long as the results please you...
07-07-2017, 06:05 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I use graduated digital filters all the time, as well as the occasional radial filter in Lightroom in cases where the light is just a little off, etc.

It's interesting to me to read ( in other places ) about how digital photography has "ruined" photography because of the manipulation people do instead of getting it "right" in-camera.

And yet, I'm finishing up the 3 Volume Ansel Adams photography series, and he describes the massive amount of work and effort he goes through to get the final print he wants, including manipulation of the negatives, lots of tweaking of the prints, etc. The idea that the classic photographers didn't do all kinds of post-imaging manipulation is just flat out wrong.
07-07-2017, 06:07 AM   #8
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My philosophy is that if you know you're going to use an ND, grad ND or colour filter, it's better to have it in front of the lens than behind the sensor.

@dcshooter We all know what "natural" straight-out-of camera really means - .DNG in a program that can handle it, or SOOC JPG at factory default. Nobody's ever seen a latent image either and nobody ever will, but you don't hear the film purists whining about having to run the film through develop-stop-fix.

(At least I hope you don't. )

07-07-2017, 08:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Not every photo, but maybe 1/3? Quite useful tools if you want to take the time.
Agree 100% that not every photo I take but only the ones worth keeping that I would apply digital filter when necessary. With the software tools we have today, it does not take a whole lot of time to apply unless you want to make it meticulously seamless and perfect so no one can notice that it has been post processed.
07-07-2017, 08:17 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I've generally found that trying to use these filters, or Photoshop in general, to 'fix' a poor photograph just results in a digitally modified poor photograph. But if the photograph is already good it can often be subtly improved with a large number of digital tools. But the key word is subtly.
07-07-2017, 09:01 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
Not necessarily the glass filter simulations, but I process every image that I use. The key word being "use," since I shoot far more images that sit in my library never to be used, and processing is admittedly time consuming.

As far as my philosophy goes, People can sniff all they want about the "natural" images coming out of the camera, but it's important to realize that in reality, they are anything but.
@dcshooter, I am sensing that we do share some common values here in terms of philosophy and techniques such as "camera's don't/can't read minds and can't interpret images like our human eyes" and "we want our produced images as close to 'reality' as much as possible".

QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
OOC jpegs are already highly processed in-camera, and RAW images cannot be used without being processed first. I tend to prefer the results I get with my own processing sequence, which typically involves the use of NIK and Alien Skin plugins, and at minimum includes manual Photoshop/Lightroom tweaking, than I do to the renderings produced by Pentax's algorithms. They're just not my bag. But that's solely a matter of personal taste and style, and if you prefer the OOC looks, then by all means, use them.

I don't feel I have a particularly "processed" style, either. In fact, I'd call it pretty naturalistic. And yes, I use nice lenses which at best may give an easier starting point in certain situations, but which I don't think that can really be considered a substitute for editing.
One of the reasons I prefer Silkypix over Lightroom/Photoshop with Nik plug-in is that the digital filters are applied directly in RAW development instead of JPEG file in Lightroom (I could be wrong though as I am not sure the Nik plug-in can be applied to RAW file in Lightroom).

Let me qualify my points further when I mentioned circular digital (correction) filters in my original post. Our traditional thinking of a filter is used to cut down the light (such as ND filters). In the digital world, it can also be applied in the opposite direction as we customary called it a fill-flash technique. Here is a couple of examples, the first one has correction filters applied to the subject's facial feature and second one is using in door fill-flash. Notice in this case, the fill-flash brings out the truer colour of the subject's dress. Of course, in my example, it was my intention to use fill-flash. The flash just did not fire in the first image shown here.

07-07-2017, 09:11 AM   #12
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Personally, no problem!

Digital filters are very useful for me from time to time and I always check the different filters the plug-in has when using Silver Efex Pro (to see if it like one of them more than the default one) when finishing my black and white photos.

I’m not a purist, what interests me more, normally, is to represent what I “saw” / “wanted to see” the moment I have taken that specific “keeper” (if it’s not a keeper, I just delete it).

So count me in the “one can use digital filters” group.
07-07-2017, 09:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
Any program that processes the DNG has its own "default" presets, which vary from program to program, and in my experience are typically pretty heavy handed. And the factory default for JPG from every Pentax DSLR I've used is likewise pretty heavily processed. For that matter, so is even the "natural" setting! Across brands, many other makers use even heavier processing by default on JPGs. Canon default JPGs, for example, are so heavily popped that they look like they will jump off the screen.
How do you feel that *all* DNG processing is pretty heavy handed? What is the effect on the photos that you don't like? I also go for a naturalistic look, and don't feel that the default when loading a DNG is particularly processed. I often do a brightness/contrast adjustment in my photos, though.
07-07-2017, 10:16 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
How do you feel that *all* DNG processing is pretty heavy handed? What is the effect on the photos that you don't like? I also go for a naturalistic look, and don't feel that the default when loading a DNG is particularly processed. I often do a brightness/contrast adjustment in my photos, though.

With my best Zeiss lenses, I find that I no longer need to adjust contrast or colors at all in post.

However, I certainly understand photographers who choose to do subtle dodging/buring/vignette-tweaking in post.
07-07-2017, 12:24 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
Any program that processes the DNG has its own "default" presets, which vary from program to program, and in my experience are typically pretty heavy handed. And the factory default for JPG from every Pentax DSLR I've used is likewise pretty heavily processed.
True, but at least they are all well defined. You can say "Factory presets on the K-1" (or on the K-5 and *istDS also in my case) and people with the same camera model and firmware can duplicate that on the spot.
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