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Thread: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Hey guys what's up,,

    Yesterday we had a photo seminar about star trials photography using 35mm systems.
    so i went home, and i was thinking what would be the most efficient way to use to use the P40+ for star trial photography when i get it ?!
    let's not forget that the P40/65+ are limited to 1 min exposure time

    but i think it doesn't matter at all, why ???

    First of all taking a nice circular star movement would need at least 1 hour 30 min from my personal experience. if something went wrong such as a beam of light or a car passed by your camera it immediately trash your photo from a single exposure shot.
    However, taking a contentious number of shots 30 sec for 1hr 30min would more efficient and then stack them using a PS CS4 action know as start trial link below
    http://www.schursastrophotography.co...tartrails.html

    would be more efficient, in which you can remove any unwanted frames in the sequence.
    now !! another problem, it would need at least 80-120 shot to have a nice star trial shot, so if were to use the full sensor resolution 60 mp or 40 mp would take huge amount of space and it would need a super computer for blending process.
    Now with sensor+ technology in the P40/65+ ,,, taking a sequence for star trial shots would be the most efficient way for space and memory saving.



    This is a shot taken by 5D mark II + 14mm F/2.8 II

    the problem with this shot is that i had to use the JPEG mode for the sequence, to save space and memory on my imac, i couldn't blend 120 raw.
    shots. but it turned to be that the 5D mark II JPEG processing is rubbish for both image processing and printing as well

    your outputs, tips and additions will be so appreciated !!

    cheers!

    Moh
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Shoot raw then process and convert to jpg, then blend.
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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Shoot raw then process and convert to jpg, then blend.
    Thank you Ben, 120 shot; 21mp per shot maybe acceptable , 40 or 60 mp per shot will really take huge amount of space for my backup drives !!! i will need to purchase extra $$ 2TB hard drives for that

    shooting with sensor+ raw will be straight forward and space saving !! thats my point , now 10mp or 15mp from DMF will be defiantly far more superior from 10mp or 15mp DSLR. and better in dynamic range and tonal color range than the 21mp of the 5D mark II, is that statement correct ??

    cheers!

    M
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Sensor + makes a lot of sense here and having a back that can do it myself have to say your not going to run into a quality issue. I'm very impressed with sensor + and i'm not easy to impress.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    The action link itself is broken... They are obviously batching, and I am guessing they blend the stack using the "lighten" mode and flatten as they go? Anyway, pretty easy to add a batch process to the action that takes your pile of tiffs and first converts them to jpegs which would be a lot smaller -- and for that type image blend, a high-quality jpeg is probably fine. Another place to save horsepower would be to reduce your history states to 10 before running the batch...
    Jack
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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Sensor + makes a lot of sense here and having a back that can do it myself have to say your not going to run into a quality issue. I'm very impressed with sensor + and i'm not easy to impress.
    actually guy, after downloading the sample images of sensor+, i myself was also shocked of it's exceptional quality, i think it's the best innovative idea and it really have added more potentials to MF digital backs !!!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Link to action is broken...
    Hi Jack,

    here is the link again


    http://www.schursastrophotography.co...tartrails.html


    it should work now ! i've just tried it
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Your link to that page works, it's the link off that page to the action that is broken... If you have the action, you can upload it as an attachment file to a post here...
    Jack
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    actually guy, after downloading the sample images of sensor+, i myself was also shocked of it's exceptional quality, i think it's the best innovative idea and it really have added more potentials to MF digital backs !!!
    As you have seen in my little mini review on sensor plus i am totally happy with that technology available to me when i need it. I have even uprezed them some without any real degradation.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Your link to that page works, it's the link off that page to the action that is broken... If you have the action, you can upload it as an attachment file to a post here...
    Jack, option-click on it ad it works fine.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Thanks Dave working now --- tried that earlier and it didn't work...

    It is just a simple action to copy a frame and paste it to another, then change the blend mode to lighten, then flatten. Should work fine. If you un-check the flatten command you will have a very large layered file, but then can edit each layer as needed... Maybe run the action on 10 frames at a time, edit that and flatten, then repeat for the next 10...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Thanks Dave working now --- tried that earlier and it didn't work...

    It is just a simple action to copy a frame and paste it to another, then change the blend mode to lighten, then flatten. Should work fine. If you un-check the flatten command you will have a very large layered file, but then can edit each layer as needed... Maybe run the action on 10 frames at a time, edit that and flatten, then repeat for the next 10...
    Actually Jack the best way to run this action while drinking a glass of good Napa wine is by the following steps:

    1. Download StarTrails from http://www.startrails.de/html/software.html. We will also be using Adobe Photoshop CS4 (although you can use CS3, CS2 or even Elements 7).

    2. Open StarTrails and go to File > "Open Images" and select all of the frames except for the dark frame and foreground frame.

    3. Go to File > "Open Dark Frames" and select your darkframe

    4. Click Build > Star Trails and give it a few minutes. You can watch as the star streaks grow.

    5. Save as a .tiff file and open the .tiff in Photoshop

    6. Also open the foreground exposure jpeg and paste it as a new layer on top of your stacked .tiff file in photoshop

    7. Create a black mask on the foreground layer and paint in the foreground carefully (see graphic above for example).

    8. Apply curves, noise reduction and other editing adjustments and your done!

    I learned these amazing steps from a master in Star trials know as Daniel Newton

    this is the original link if some is interested:

    http://www.jpgmag.com/stories/12961

    cheers!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Looks very cool. Also looks like it doesn't run on Mac...
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Stacking frames for star trails is what I did as part of my senior thesis in college.

    http://doug-peterson.com/anachronistic.mov

    The other huge (not obvious benefit) is that you can shoot star trails in areas and in scenes with more ambient light than a 1 hour exposure would allow.

    The post processing can be pretty intense but you can get images that would be otherwise impossible.

    I'd still rather see a P45+ doing this work. The cleaner the shadow quality the more stars you will be able to bring up from above the noise floor. With proper level clipping you'll be shocked at how many stars you'll be able to pull out. Especially if you use the technique I did of first-in-first-out stacking of 2 captures (over the course of the time I calculated the stars would move about 1 pixel during) to average out the noise to be as close as possible to the noise floor and then used very careful level clipping to hit that eliminate all the noise at that noise floor but significantly boost the stars that sat above it.

    Knowing what I know now about the noise floor in images from a P45+ and a 5DII and the Nikon I used for that project I really wish I had a 45+ for that project!

    O, and convenience aside I cannot imagine doing this project in JPG - I used raw and it had an extraordinary on how well I was able to control the noise floor. Once you've converted the raws you can always throw them out (perhaps anathema for most types of shooting but time lapse and star trails generate a LOT of data), but if you shoot JPG you can never get back to the raw.

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Looks very cool. Also looks like it doesn't run on Mac...
    Actually jack it work well with me, I'm using OSX snow leopard with PS CS4

    I processed lots of images using this technique, however with the JPG files the printing was awful !!! even when using sRaw mode in the 5D MK II
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    Stacking frames for star trails is what I did as part of my senior thesis in college.

    http://doug-peterson.com/anachronistic.mov

    The other huge (not obvious benefit) is that you can shoot star trails in areas and in scenes with more ambient light than a 1 hour exposure would allow.

    The post processing can be pretty intense but you can get images that would be otherwise impossible.

    I'd still rather see a P45+ doing this work. The cleaner the shadow quality the more stars you will be able to bring up from above the noise floor. With proper level clipping you'll be shocked at how many stars you'll be able to pull out. Especially if you use the technique I did of first-in-first-out stacking of 2 captures (over the course of the time I calculated the stars would move about 1 pixel during) to average out the noise to be as close as possible to the noise floor and then used very careful level clipping to hit that eliminate all the noise at that noise floor but significantly boost the stars that sat above it.

    Knowing what I know now about the noise floor in images from a P45+ and a 5DII and the Nikon I used for that project I really wish I had a 45+ for that project!

    O, and convenience aside I cannot imagine doing this project in JPG - I used raw and it had an extraordinary on how well I was able to control the noise floor. Once you've converted the raws you can always throw them out (perhaps anathema for most types of shooting but time lapse and star trails generate a LOT of data), but if you shoot JPG you can never get back to the raw.

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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    Doug really amazing what you have did in your thesis

    i totally agree with you regarding the use of one exposure shot, however as i said i that i tried the bulb mode for 1 hour but when a car pass by or one opens a flash light your image is screwed and you have to retake it again, i have many photographer friends whom very insensitive and they screwed my star trial shots many times, i find the blending technique more practical if you were to hang out with friends for camping, but alone yes the one shot long exposure is better

    This action is magic and does the job very fast if you followed the steps

    I'm so curious now about using sensor+ feature for this technique !!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    After reading this thread I decided I would like to try it with my Sinar eMotion and Contax combo, but unfortunately I discovered that the Swiss* are a little too thorough when it comes to quality sometimes, as when the camera is set to 16 seconds the back takes a black frame after EVERY capture. So I would end up with one 16 second capture out of every 32 seconds, and the result of layering many captures like this together would be a whole bunch of dotted lines across the sky Anyone know if it's possible to turn off the automatic black frame for a series of captures? Probably not.

    Ben

    * Actually maybe I should say Germans as the eMotion backs were invented and made by Jenoptik in Germany
    Last edited by bdp; 3rd April 2010 at 17:32.

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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    After a bit more experimenting it seems the Sinar back doesn't do a black frame after every capture if the exposure is 1 second or shorter. But that may not be long enough to expose the stars, even at a big aperture like f4. Also I think it will eventually stop to take a black frame after continuous shooting for 5 or 10 minutes - haven't tested that one.

    Also the black frame seems to take longer than the exposure - an 8 sec exposure takes 14 seconds before it will shoot another frame. A 2 second exposure takes around 7 seconds before another frame. But at 1 second it will shoot with only a short delay between captures, maybe half a second or so.

    Shame because I'm going to Fiji for a job in a week and staying on for a few days for a holiday, and there will be no moon for a couple of nights while I'm there, plus no light pollution (being on a island). Another job for the trusty 5D I suppose.

    Ben

    PS there is an EXCELLENT iphone app called Star Walk which is very useful for star trail photography - it shows you where everything is - horizon, north south etc and will even spin the stars for you!

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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Hmmm . . . . This is very interesting. I'll try 10 or 15 exposures with my h3d 39 next time I have a really clear night just to test the technique. If one of the issues is sensor heating shouldn't I have have the issue running back to back exposures?

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by bdp View Post
    After a bit more experimenting it seems the Sinar back doesn't do a black frame after every capture if the exposure is 1 second or shorter. But that may not be long enough to expose the stars, even at a big aperture like f4. Also I think it will eventually stop to take a black frame after continuous shooting for 5 or 10 minutes - haven't tested that one.

    Also the black frame seems to take longer than the exposure - an 8 sec exposure takes 14 seconds before it will shoot another frame. A 2 second exposure takes around 7 seconds before another frame. But at 1 second it will shoot with only a short delay between captures, maybe half a second or so.

    Shame because I'm going to Fiji for a job in a week and staying on for a few days for a holiday, and there will be no moon for a couple of nights while I'm there, plus no light pollution (being on a island). Another job for the trusty 5D I suppose.

    Ben

    PS there is an EXCELLENT iphone app called Star Walk which is very useful for star trail photography - it shows you where everything is - horizon, north south etc and will even spin the stars for you!
    hi Ben, thanks for trying, mmmm, i think it's hard if you were using the full resolution of your DB, even if the black frame thing was solved, because with this technique using high resolution raw file gonna kill your computer during the exposure stacking, however i'm curious what are the results of using sensor+ , i guess we gonna have to wait until someone try it here or when i get my baby in few months , i assure you, i will certainly keep you posted

    another thing, regarding the 5D mark II, it's not that good for startrial photography, when compared to the 1ds mark III or nikon D3 or D3x ,, based on my recent experience

    thank you so the application, i've heard it's awesome, it will show you the north star, which is the most important location for a perfect star trial photography

    cheers! my friend and good luck in your trip

    PS: perhaps you can try by renting a P40+ from C.I
    Last edited by mAlKhamis; 3rd April 2010 at 21:27.
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Hmmm . . . . This is very interesting. I'll try 10 or 15 exposures with my h3d 39 next time I have a really clear night just to test the technique. If one of the issues is sensor heating shouldn't I have have the issue running back to back exposures?
    hi Woody, i think you gonna do fine with hessy , if each frame had 4 min of exposure multiply that by 15 frame = 1 hour , should be perfect for the circular movement, blending 15 frame will be very easy compared to 80 or 120 frames

    good luck and cheers!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Hi Mohammad,

    I think I need to point towards Octans, being in the southern hemisphere

    Can I ask you why a 5D wouldn't be any good? I have the MK I and I can turn off long exp NR which is responsible for the black frame.

    I think my computer could handle it - it's the latest 2 x 2.93 tower chock full of RAM

    Woody - You may be fine with the Hassy - each back has it's own method of determining when to do a black frame afaik. I think the Sinar calculates how long it has been since the last exposure and if it has been longer than say 5 or 10 minutes it decides it should take a black ref frame after the next exposure. So I don't know how it would go if I just did continuous 1 sec exposures back to back. It may pause after 10 minutes to do a new black ref file then keep going. On the eMotion backs you can force it to take a black ref after the next image is captured by pressing a button in the menu - I don't know what this is for. However I have discovered it will take a black reference image after every capture if the shutter speed is longer than 1 sec.

    Maybe I'll get some sort of image wide open at 1 sec if the stars are bright and I could bump the ISO to 200. The NR in the Sinar software is very good, so might be able to clean up the noise without killing the stars. Also could play with the black clipping as Doug suggests although I haven't read his thesis.

    Ben

    Ben
    Last edited by bdp; 3rd April 2010 at 22:11.

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by bdp View Post
    Hi Mohammad,

    I think I need to point towards Octans, being in the southern hemisphere

    Can I ask you why a 5D wouldn't be any good? I have the MK I and I can turn off long exp NR which is responsible for the black frame.

    I think my computer could handle it - it's the latest 2 x 2.93 tower chock full of RAM

    Woody - You may be fine with the Hassy - each back has it's own method of determining when to do a black frame afaik. I think the Sinar calculates how long it has been since the last exposure and if it has been longer than say 5 or 10 minutes it decides it should take a black ref frame after the next exposure. So I don't know how it would go if I just did continuous 1 sec exposures back to back. It may pause after 10 minutes to do a new black ref file then keep going. On the eMotion backs you can force it to take a black ref after the next image is captured by pressing a button in the menu - I don't know what this is for. However I have discovered it will take a black reference image after every capture if the shutter speed is longer than 1 sec.

    Maybe I'll get some sort of image wide open at 1 sec if the stars are bright and I could bump the ISO to 200. The NR in the Sinar software is very good, so might be able to clean up the noise without killing the stars. Also could play with the black clipping as Doug suggests although I haven't read his thesis.

    Ben

    Ben
    Hi ben,

    sorry I'm bad when it comes to star navigation i think you are right

    regarding the 5D mark ii cons for this method based on my little experience:

    1. battery goes out very fast, so i advice you to have a grip or extra batteries.

    2. you need to turn off the NR for this type of photography, however 5D's images with NR turned off are horrible, needs lots of post processing.

    3. Jpeg and SRaw modes are also terrible in quality wise. however if you are planning to use the full 21MP raw files, maybe your computer can handle stacking 120 images, but mine don't thu i have 27 inch C7i with 16 ram, for some reason it crushes during that process.

    4. it's much better to use higher ISO's in this type of photography, i've tried my friends D3s at ISO 1000 and the results were just amazing, very colorful star trials with NR turned off.

    maybe there is something wrong with 5D's mark II, but for this type of photography, we failed to produce a high quality images with 4 5Ds cameras, what we have concluded is that when we turn the NR off, the true face of the 5D reveals itself, however that's not the case with 1ds mark III, turning off the NR doesn't affect the image quality at all.

    cheers!

    M
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Hi Mohammad,

    OK, thanks I'll take my AC adapter for my 5D then, and shoot raw to maximise quality.

    Ben

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    good luck Ben and enjoy cheers!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    I have a book called the Photoshop Darkroom by Davis which he uses a Statistics script (available in CS3 & 4) to stack the images.
    File/Scripts/Statistics and set stack mode to Maximum
    The result he shows is very good, just needed some foreground lightening to make a point of interest.
    I have not tired this myself yet.
    Odille

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  27. #27
    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: A though on star trial photography using P40/65+

    Quote Originally Posted by Analog6 View Post
    I have a book called the Photoshop Darkroom by Davis which he uses a Statistics script (available in CS3 & 4) to stack the images.
    File/Scripts/Statistics and set stack mode to Maximum
    The result he shows is very good, just needed some foreground lightening to make a point of interest.
    I have not tired this myself yet.
    yap Odille, I'm aware of it, however this action, the one that can be downloaded above, is much easier to use and it produces pretty much the same results, and yes we need to use a light source for a foreground interest you got it thank you for your response and cheers! my friend
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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