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Study in Bonsai
  Study in Bonsai
Study in Bonsai
I'm entering this image to illustrate a techique I just learned from Diana Day. It allows one to replace backgrounds on very complex images without the need for selection techniques. Thanks Diana.

Shutter Speed: 1/500.00 F-stop: f/9.0
Focal Length: 35.00

© Dale Hardin
Sony A77 SLT

 
 
 
Elaine Hessler
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    Really nice with the background! I like the flow of the plant and the background is perfect. How did you do that? Would you ind posting the original picture of the bonsai?

8/31/2012 12:05:06 PM

 
Kristin Duff
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I like this photo too Dale. I am also curious to see the original...

8/31/2012 12:39:14 PM

 
Peter W. Marks
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OK Dale, unless you were sworn to secrecy will you share the technique with us please. It certainly is effective.

8/31/2012 2:50:59 PM

 
Jeff E Jensen
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Yup, what gives?

8/31/2012 2:59:14 PM

 
Kay E. Mahoney
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Nice work, Dale. Beautiful bonsai. Love the background. Would also love to know how it was done.

8/31/2012 3:33:05 PM

 
Carol Flisak
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This is lovely, Dale... wonderful composition, beautiful body language in the bonsai, and well-executed treatment! I would also be interested in knowing your process... if you're willling to share.

8/31/2012 4:31:23 PM

 
Teresa H. Hunt
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Love this Dale!! It's really not right you tell us you learned this cool new technique . . . but don't share the technique. :)

8/31/2012 7:15:44 PM

 
Dale Hardin
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You're all very kind. Thanks for the take on this image. This technique is one used for changing out skies when there are trees with lots of open leaves and limbs that would be next to impossible to select.

The trick is to change the image of the trees to a mask and use that mask when replacing the back ground. Diana showcased the procedure in this months issue of Elements User.

Here are the basics:
Duplicate image. Change to grayscale. Use hue/saturation layer and adjust each color individually. Blue and cyan, saturation slider all the way left, lightness slider all the way right.

All the rest of the colors saturation slider all the way left and lightness slider all the way left also. Say OK.

Add levels layer, move right slider to the center untill background solid white. Move left slider to the right untill image of tree is black. (you may have to use a black/white brush to clean up some problem areas.

Highlight layer and control A to select and control C to copy. Hide layer.

Make another copy of background layer and add mask. Alt click on the mask to make the mask the main image. Your screen image will turn white. Paste the copied selection into the mask. Invert the mask.

Place blank layer under the masked layer and paste in your desired background.

Here are some more samples. Some used this technique and some did not.

8/31/2012 8:44:44 PM

 
Peter W. Marks
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Thank you so much Dale and of course Diana. Now I am wondering if I will live long enough to grow a bonsai tree so that I can try my hand at this technique.

9/1/2012 4:03:36 AM

 
Aimee c. Eisaman
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What a great image! :~) Very artistic...would look great in an office. I do see an area where the selection didn't do as well. Along the left side of the trunk of the tree. Is that due to the color of the trunk? Now you can have Bonsai trees all around you and you don't have to worry about killing them!

9/1/2012 5:55:53 AM

 
Carol Flisak
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Thanks for sharing your technique!

9/1/2012 6:11:30 AM

 
Dale Hardin
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Thanks Peter, and not to worry, you've already lived long enough to grow one of these. Here's a tip. Use a juniper bush and you can make one right away with no waiting.

Thanks so much Aimee. You're right about the left side. There can be some cleanup needed, as I noted in the instructions. Got in a hurry and missed that one.

Thanks Carol, but it's Diane that needs the praise. I'd used this before but she filled in areas I was having difficutly solving. After you do it a couple times it doesn't feel so complicated. In many cases if the background is solid, using a simple threshold layer will do the same thing.

I've had mixed success with the threshold though and this is more consistent.

9/1/2012 8:42:55 AM

 
Dale Hardin
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A few more from the DC trip.

9/1/2012 9:06:27 AM

 
Aimee c. Eisaman
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I really like the tree in image 9...not sure why, but I like it's personality!

9/1/2012 9:37:53 AM

 
Dale Hardin
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Thanks Aimee. I have a fuller version. I think I cropped too much off the bottom on this. Also wish I'd taken an image of each of the trees on display. Will no better next time. :o)

9/1/2012 11:55:16 AM

 
Dale Hardin
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Duh! Will "know" better next time .....

9/1/2012 12:02:06 PM

 
Stephen Shoff
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Well, I certainly think you greatly improved the composition and interest in the picture with your background replacement. Nice job.

9/1/2012 8:24:52 PM

 
Dale Hardin
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Thank you Stephen.

9/1/2012 9:29:17 PM

 
Aimee c. Eisaman
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:)

9/2/2012 4:17:55 AM

 
lisa anderson
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Wow, Dale! What a nice series! I really enjoy image 4 and 5 especially.

9/2/2012 6:12:49 AM

 
Dale Hardin
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Thank you Lisa. It's fun to play around with images like this. Wish I had a better sense of color though. Never seem to know what kind of texture works well with a particular scene.

You should see all those I rejected befor finally saying "this one looks OK, I guess."

9/2/2012 9:10:32 AM

 
Beth Spencer
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These are all awesome Dale!!! I really like Edit 5!! Thanks so much for sharing! I really hope I can try this in the near future.

9/2/2012 8:42:07 PM

 
Dale Hardin
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Thanks Beth. The technique works very well for images like this and for sky replacement where trees are involved and there is a fairly solid background.

On images 1,2,6,9,and 10 I did not use the technique. Those were done in a different way.

9/2/2012 9:31:21 PM

 
Debbie E. Payne
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I would love to try this technique, Dale. I have some bonsai trees from the Chicago Botanical Gardens that it might work with nicely. One of these days.

9/3/2012 10:11:49 AM

 
Dale Hardin
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give it a go Debbie. I forgot to mention that in some cases you end up with a slight white glow outlining part of the image, but by blending with the darken blend, they go away. You may have to do a bit of touchup on the main image that the blend effects.

9/3/2012 5:36:19 PM

 
Debbra L. Bailey
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Goodness Dale, these are gorgeous!!! LOVE them!

9/4/2012 7:05:27 PM

 
Dale Hardin
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Thanks so much Deb. You've made my day.

9/4/2012 8:44:30 PM

 
Katherine Kuhn
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Really great work, Dale! I love these!! And thanks for the step-by-step explanation. A beautiful collection of bonsai for sure!

9/13/2012 12:05:32 PM

 
Dale Hardin
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thanks Katherine. I'm ready to come back to Oregon and check out some more gardens. See you there? :o)

9/13/2012 2:45:56 PM

 
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