Question about histograms

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Phil Stripling, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. I have a photo that my wife took posted at
    http://www.fotolog.net/philip/?photo_id=1186795

    The histogram is really strange. There are no bars at the black or white
    end of the scale, and two humps on either side of dead center. The image is
    rather more washed out than I would like, and I am unable to get the
    saturation to increase by changin black, white, and mid-levels. I can get
    close by using another tool to increase contrast and saturation, but the
    results are a little too obvious -- not too realistic.

    Is this photo not one that can be helped by adjusting levels? Is saturation
    the better choice? Are there other options? (I'm not using PhotoShop or
    Elements, so references to their tools will pretty much leave me in the
    dark if you don't explain what you're referring to.)
    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
     
    Phil Stripling, Sep 24, 2003
    #1
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  2. "Phil Stripling" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I have a photo that my wife took posted at
    > http://www.fotolog.net/philip/?photo_id=1186795
    >
    > The histogram is really strange. There are no bars at the black or white
    > end of the scale, and two humps on either side of dead center. The image

    is
    > rather more washed out than I would like, and I am unable to get the
    > saturation to increase by changin black, white, and mid-levels. I can get
    > close by using another tool to increase contrast and saturation, but the
    > results are a little too obvious -- not too realistic.
    >
    > Is this photo not one that can be helped by adjusting levels? Is

    saturation
    > the better choice? Are there other options? (I'm not using PhotoShop or
    > Elements, so references to their tools will pretty much leave me in the
    > dark if you don't explain what you're referring to.)


    Two humps near the center mean that most of the information in the photo is
    close to an average value. And, the photo sure looks like that.
    Manipulation of that photo will help some but not a lot.
     
    Charles Schuler, Sep 24, 2003
    #2
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  3. Phil Stripling

    Jeremy Guest

    Phil Stripling <> wrote:

    > The histogram is really strange. There are no bars at the black or white
    > end of the scale, and two humps on either side of dead center.


    Yeah, it's all concentrated in the midrange, there is very little contrast
    in the image.

    > Is this photo not one that can be helped by adjusting levels?


    I took the reduced-size jpeg from the website into Photoshop, and stretching
    the histogram with Levels does seem to help; however, the picture is very
    small, and the result enhances the compression artifacts so much that it's
    hard to judge what the result would be on the original. But the sky is much
    bluer, and the foreground contrast improves.

    Does your software have the ability to move the white and black points on
    the histogram for each individual color channel? (This is done with Levels
    in Photoshop.) If so, try taking R, G, and B individually and set the white
    and black points in each to where the "humps" end on each side. Since the
    image's problem is lack of contrast, that's about the best you can do (you'll
    amost certainly need to follow up with gamma and color correction).

    --
    Jeremy |
     
    Jeremy, Sep 24, 2003
    #3
  4. Phil Stripling

    Todd Walker Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    > I have a photo that my wife took posted at
    > http://www.fotolog.net/philip/?photo_id=1186795
    >
    > The histogram is really strange. There are no bars at the black or white
    > end of the scale, and two humps on either side of dead center. The image is
    > rather more washed out than I would like, and I am unable to get the
    > saturation to increase by changin black, white, and mid-levels. I can get
    > close by using another tool to increase contrast and saturation, but the
    > results are a little too obvious -- not too realistic.
    >
    > Is this photo not one that can be helped by adjusting levels? Is saturation
    > the better choice? Are there other options? (I'm not using PhotoShop or
    > Elements, so references to their tools will pretty much leave me in the
    > dark if you don't explain what you're referring to.)
    >


    As others have said, this picture is very problematic because all of the
    information is in the middle of the tonal range. A quick levels
    adjustment gave me this:

    http://twalker.d2g.com/forweb/temple.jpg

    At that size it doesn't look too bad but a full size it might be
    objectionable. That one might be a lost cause.

    --
    ________________________________
    Todd Walker
    http://twalker.d2g.com
    Canon 10D:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/canon10d
    My Digital Photography Weblog:
    http://twalker.d2g.com/dpblog.htm
    _________________________________
     
    Todd Walker, Sep 24, 2003
    #4
  5. Jeremy <> writes:

    > Does your software have the ability to move the white and black points on
    > the histogram for each individual color channel? (This is done with Levels
    > in Photoshop.)


    No, I can only adjust levels as black, white, and mid-tone, which doesn't
    help at all in this image.

    > If so, try taking R, G, and B individually and set the white
    > and black points in each to where the "humps" end on each side. Since the
    > image's problem is lack of contrast, that's about the best you can do (you'll
    > amost certainly need to follow up with gamma and color correction).


    Increasing contrast helps, but I end up with an image that looks like one
    of those 30s era color postcards where everything was grossly over
    colored.

    Looks like a losing situation. Bummer.
    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
     
    Phil Stripling, Sep 24, 2003
    #5
  6. Todd Walker <> writes:

    > At that size it doesn't look too bad but a full size it might be
    > objectionable. That one might be a lost cause.


    I scaled my original down to the size on the Web page, and yours is
    definitely an improvement, but it tends to too much color in some of the
    objects. It begins to look like it was hand-colored in with not too much
    attention paid to staying in the lines. :)

    It looks like the weather was against us, there -- hazy late afternoon and
    the sun behind her. It's a shame -- I really like the picture.
    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
     
    Phil Stripling, Sep 24, 2003
    #6
  7. Phil Stripling

    Jeremy Guest

    Phil Stripling <> wrote:

    > Increasing contrast helps, but I end up with an image that looks like one
    > of those 30s era color postcards where everything was grossly over
    > colored.


    I see what you mean.

    Starting from there, I tried de-saturating yellow and red by -30% and it
    makes things a bit better. Also, that's a very bright scene; let the black
    level be lower than the darkest part of the image, and move the gamma to
    brighten the image significantly. That might get you something a bit nicer.

    --
    Jeremy |
     
    Jeremy, Sep 24, 2003
    #7
  8. Phil Stripling

    Mike Graham Guest

    In article <>, Phil Stripling wrote:

    > The histogram is really strange. There are no bars at the black or white
    > end of the scale, and two humps on either side of dead center. The image is
    > rather more washed out than I would like, and I am unable to get the
    > saturation to increase by changin black, white, and mid-levels. I can get
    > close by using another tool to increase contrast and saturation, but the
    > results are a little too obvious -- not too realistic.


    I can see what you mean. I tried playing with it a bit, and while just
    moving the white and black levels to the edges of the existing data makes it
    look less washed out, it does, as you say, make it look fake. You might be
    able to salvage it by converting it to black and white and pull a Pee-Wee
    (i.e. "I mean't to do that.").

    > Elements, so references to their tools will pretty much leave me in the
    > dark if you don't explain what you're referring to.)


    Just out of curiosity, what do you use?


    --
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    Mike Graham | Metalworker, rustic, part-time zealot.
    mike 'at' metalmangler.com |
    <http://www.metalmangler.com>| Caledon, Ontario, Canada

    Lousy photographer with a really nice camera - Olympus C3020Zoom.
    <http://www.metalmangler.com/photos/photos.htm>
    <http://www.photo.net/shared/community-member?user_id=766040>
     
    Mike Graham, Sep 24, 2003
    #8
  9. Mike asked, out of idle curiousity:
    > Just out of curiosity, what do you use?


    Graphic Converter.
    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
     
    Phil Stripling, Sep 25, 2003
    #9
  10. Phil Stripling

    Rafe B. Guest

    On 24 Sep 2003 11:55:51 -0700, Phil Stripling
    <> wrote:

    >I have a photo that my wife took posted at
    >http://www.fotolog.net/philip/?photo_id=1186795
    >
    >The histogram is really strange. There are no bars at the black or white
    >end of the scale, and two humps on either side of dead center. The image is
    >rather more washed out than I would like, and I am unable to get the
    >saturation to increase by changin black, white, and mid-levels. I can get
    >close by using another tool to increase contrast and saturation, but the
    >results are a little too obvious -- not too realistic.
    >
    >Is this photo not one that can be helped by adjusting levels? Is saturation
    >the better choice? Are there other options? (I'm not using PhotoShop or
    >Elements, so references to their tools will pretty much leave me in the
    >dark if you don't explain what you're referring to.)




    Have a look at my fixup of this image

    http://www.terrapinphoto.com/1064429118_fixed.jpg

    Fairly straightorward fixup using black point and
    white point settings in the Curves tool.


    rafe b.
    http://www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    Rafe B., Sep 25, 2003
    #10
  11. Phil Stripling

    Guest

    In message <>,
    Phil Stripling <> wrote:

    >I have a photo that my wife took posted at
    >http://www.fotolog.net/philip/?photo_id=1186795
    >
    >The histogram is really strange. There are no bars at the black or white
    >end of the scale, and two humps on either side of dead center. The image is
    >rather more washed out than I would like, and I am unable to get the
    >saturation to increase by changin black, white, and mid-levels. I can get
    >close by using another tool to increase contrast and saturation, but the
    >results are a little too obvious -- not too realistic.


    The saturation of the original is fine. What you need is to boost the
    contrast, perhaps.

    >Is this photo not one that can be helped by adjusting levels? Is saturation
    >the better choice? Are there other options? (I'm not using PhotoShop or
    >Elements, so references to their tools will pretty much leave me in the
    >dark if you don't explain what you're referring to.)


    You want a levels control that allows you to adjust 3 point; black, mid
    (gamma), and white. In photoshop (sorry), I used 77 black, 2.18 gamma,
    and 196 white, and got a nice result. It could probably be improved
    more with a "curves" tool ("levels" only uses one variable gamma curve).
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
     
    , Sep 28, 2003
    #11
  12. Phil Stripling

    Guest

    In message <>,
    Phil Stripling <> wrote:

    >Increasing contrast helps, but I end up with an image that looks like one
    >of those 30s era color postcards where everything was grossly over
    >colored.


    "Contrast" controls use a fixed neutral point from which the rest of the
    histogram expands or compresses, and has no way of changing gamma or
    midpoint.

    The three-point tool you mentioned should be what you're looking for.
    Start off with black at 77, midpoint at about 100, and white at 196, and
    tweak from there.

    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
     
    , Sep 28, 2003
    #12
  13. Phil Stripling

    Guest

    In message <>,
    Rafe B. <> wrote:

    >Have a look at my fixup of this image
    >
    >http://www.terrapinphoto.com/1064429118_fixed.jpg
    >
    >Fairly straightorward fixup using black point and
    >white point settings in the Curves tool.


    There is a magenta cast in your JPG.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
     
    , Sep 28, 2003
    #13
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