In this lesson we will look at recreating this photo on both anodized aluminum and black granite. Note the one problem with this photo is that the hot casts a shadow on the boys face. For this reason I will need to put in a little more of an adjustment to lighten up the face. Photo provided by
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Here is Our Image
Here is the original image we are going to work with
The Image is of Good Quality
If I zoom in on the image you will see that there is little degradation in the pixels which means there is little compression done on the image. This is good and my adjustments will be yield good results.
We need to Select the Convert to Grayscale
Go to BITMAPS (1) MODE (2) GRAYSCALE (3).
Convert to Grayscale
Here is our image converted to grayscale.
Open up The Contrast Enhancement Dialogue Box
Go to EFFECTS (1) | ADJUST (2) | CONTRAST ENHANCEMENT (3)
Increase the Tonal Value of the Image
First we are going to increase the tonal value of the image. For a better discussion on tonal range see this website . To see our changes first we need to click on the “lock” button (1). Next we are going to slide our Highlights slider to the left (2). Drag the triangle to the left. This will “brighten” up our image by forcing the whiter pixels in our image to go white. Remember this adjustment only affects the highlights in my image or the white areas. To darken up my image I need to also adjust the “shadow” values in my image. To do this I move the triangle located on the left side of my histogram to the right (3). Notice how my histogram now fills up my whole pane.
Our Secret Weapon – The Unsharp Mask
Now when it comes to making any photo pop it requires us to use the Unsharp Mask. Trust me not to many photos printed by professionals have not under gone a certain amount of Sharpening. So if the professionals use it than we need to use it. Note: if you do sublimation than you should sharpen almost all photos unless the quality is really bad. The process of sublimation blurs out the photo and makes it fuzzy. This can be counteracted by the Unsharp mask. For a further discussion on the Unsharp mask go here
Make sure your photo is selected. Go to BITMAPS (1) SHARPEN (2) UNSHARP MASK (3).
Sharpen Your Image – A little Bit
Ok in this example I am going to do a do 3 examples with 3 different levels of adjustments done to them. First of all make sure the lock button is locked (1) so we can see our adjustments. Usually I am only working with the Percentage (2) and the Radius (3) and not the Threshold (4). For my first example my adjustment is 225 on the percentage and 1 on the radius.
Make Sure You Invert Your Image
Invert your image by going to EFFECTS | TRANSFORM | INVERT
My First Example
Here is my first example. As I mentioned the darkness in the face can be attributed to the shadow cast by the hat. I need to increase this setting. Note:my image is being lasered on anodized aluminum. This is a “Fine” material and yields the best photos. You want your best photos – do it on this material or Black brass coated steel. We will look at wood in another article. Fine materials are processed one way course materials are another way – see this article.
Unsharp Mask – A little more
Ok I have increased the radius and keep the percentage the same
Our Image Adjusted a Little More
Now we are getting somewhere.
Our Image Adjusted Even a Little More
Ok I have increased the Percentage and the Radius using the Unsharp Command
Our Image Adjusted a Little More
Ok I showed both images around and it was a real toss up. Either this one or the image before it. Remember to invert the image before you laser it.
Here are our images in a line
Ok you can be the judge. Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The detail in this lasered engraved photo is exceptional. Remember if we are going on a fine material such as metal than these steps are the only way to go. Forget programs such as Photograv, 1 Touch they do not even come close with this type of material.