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Old August 10th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #1
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Picture Style Editor (PSE) CHALLENGE!

If you haven't yet learned how to use custom Picture Styles, now's your chance!

Picture Styles allow us to grade in the RAW domain, before the 8-bit encoder. They are the key to getting unique looks with smooth grading. Here's how to use them:

1) Shoot a RAW photo.
2) Open it in the Picture Style Editor.
3) Manipulate the picture, including contrast, sharpness, saturation, tone, luma curve, and secondary color correction.
4) Save your work as a picture style.
5) Load it into the camera as one of three available custom settings, and shoot video and stills.

I've provided five RAW, pre-cropped 2.35:1 photos of an old church (faithful, cloudy WB, roughly f/5.6, no clipping). These could be used as establishing shots for a few different genres, including gothic horror, antique/western, or small town wedding. The challenge is to grab at least one of the photos, create a picture style for at least one genre, and share the picture style file on this thread, as well as JPGs of your results.

On a future cloudy day, I'll load the most interesting styles, shoot video of the same church, and share the original MOV files.

Here are the photos:

Front

RAW: http://p3pictures.com/pse_challenge/..._Polarizer.zip

Side

RAW: http://p3pictures.com/pse_challenge/...ndows_50mm.zip

Windows

RAW: http://p3pictures.com/pse_challenge/..._Polarizer.zip

Basement

RAW: http://p3pictures.com/pse_challenge/...r_Basement.zip

Steeple

RAW: http://p3pictures.com/pse_challenge/..._Polarizer.zip

Let the challenge begin!!!
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Old August 10th, 2009, 12:51 PM   #2
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That's a neat idea, Jon. I wonder if we can figure out how to load our own pictures styles from Magic Lantern -- that way we could store a large set of them on the camera and select them from a file requester when needed.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #3
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That would be fantastic. Three styles is fairly limiting.

I can think of a couple of methods for handling the files. Either ML could look for any *.pse file, or (even better), it could look for files in a /Styles directory. Being able to choose a named style would be a big improvement over Custom 1, Custom 2, and Custom 3.

I'm looking forward to seeing the styles that people come up with. This challenge is fairly simple, because the colors are limited and the photos are homogeneous. If we get a good response, we can do more difficult challenges - including skin tones.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 08:48 PM   #4
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Jon I have been meaning to take this up, and thanks for the primer on using that feature. I will try something in a day or two.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 01:55 PM   #5
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Maybe I'm just dense or something, but I can't get the PSE to do anything I like... For instance, if I want to push a sepia/warm tone - I can select a specific color and move it within certain very limiting parameters (at least as far as I can tell) and then I end up with weird blocky parts of the image being changed and not the tone of the whole thing... Is there a useful users guide or write up to this piece of software (the Canon manual didn't seem to be of much help)?
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Old August 12th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #6
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Kevin,

I feel your pain! The PSE software is really limited. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the processing limits of the camera and how much is related to the application software.

The only global adjustments are the brightness curve, contrast, tone, saturation, and sharpness (from memory).

Overall brightness and white balance can be adjusted, but they are not part of the Picture Style. They are set uniquely for each photo/video before you shoot.

One approach would be to reduce saturation in PSE, and to shoot a blue card to set a yellow offset. There doesn't seem to be a color offset parameter in PSE.

It's a bit of a cheater solution, but one could reduce saturation, tweak the WB, and add an asterisk to shoot a blue card to set WB in the field for that look.

I think the secondary color correction needs to be used very carefully. Back in December when we had the black crush issue, we tried to use multiple pie slices and bump each up to lift the blacks. We weren't able to get the slices to butt up against one another cleanly. There seems to be a soft edge between slices, but we can't adjust the feathering.

One practical difficulty for this challenge is that you can't save a JPG of the cropped, PSE-processed images I sent out. The only work around I can think of is to do a screen capture of the image and then re-crop by hand.

From what I see, mastering the Picture Style control of the camera is potentially hugely powerful. The application could be friendlier though...
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Old August 12th, 2009, 05:16 PM   #7
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I did some messing with the app yesterday, trying to give the old church a look.... added a lot of blues from PSE but tried to keep church white... Haven't got an idea at all about how this all works. Makes me want to continue to shoot everything is faithful mode, but with contrast and sharpness way down, and deal with it all in post.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #8
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Yeah, because of the difficulties I've had with the PSE, I've been using one of the super flat profiles I found in a post here and have had good luck getting the image I want out of my footage in post (provided I dressed the set and actors correctly).
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Old August 18th, 2009, 05:37 AM   #9
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Here's a couple of profiles for you to download for your collections...

Canon : Picture Style
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