Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why I Didn't Use Lucis Art

So, this looks like Lucis, right? Or HDR or something, huh? Nope, plain Photoshop layers -- and it's a monster of a file. It was taken along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park during our trip there in May. It's taken from the Moormans River Overlook about 5 miles north of Waynesboro, Virginia. This is a five-frame hand-held panorama stitched together with Photoshop's wonderful photomerge feature. Amazing, five vertical frames handheld and Photoshop manages to get this from those frames -- well, not exactly. Below is what actually came straight out of the merge -- a difficult exposure with all those clouds. And since I was handholding and shooting a panorama, bracketing wasn't a possibility. Since I knew there were some dramatic clouds here that I wanted to bring out, I thought fine, I'll just use Lucis to bring them up. Well, Lucis choked on this file. The base layer was 122 megs, and I guess that was too much for the filter, because it errored every time I tried it. So, I decided to go for the same look in Photoshop. The result: 10 layers and 986 megabytes on my 46.25" x 20.25" file at 240 dpi. OK, I can probably delete 2 or 3 layers. I've never even come close to a gigabyte file, but this one taxes Photoshop. The key layers in the mix are a black and white layer created with Nik Silver Efex put into luminosity blending mode at 88%, then a couple of color balance and curves layers above that to bring up the color and contrast in the sky. No Lucis this time, but I don't want to work on 986 megabyte Photoshop files every day either.


  1. Great capture and post-processing Steve. I know we all see lots of nice landscapes but I like this one better than most. It might be a good cadidate to Cliff-size!

  2. Beautiful shot Steve! It's hard to imagine that Lucis would have made it any better!

    Well done!

  3. Very cool image Steve-

    I feel your pain. I did a lot of panorama shooting on my last two trips. And lots of waiting while the computer "thinks".

    You did a nice job in bringing back the sky. I think I like it better than Lucis by a mile.

    Great work.

  4. Why would you ever put yourself through this much pain?

    Really cool shot. I know that Photoshop does a good job with panoramas but this had to take a lot of work.