Sunday, October 29, 2006

Photoshopped, and I'm out of cash...The REAL entry

Here is my assignment for the Image Skills. The picture is from a 1907 commentary on the 16th century incanabula titled "The Jena Codex." The original is locked up in the Czech National Museum in Prague, and if you can pay for a ticket, I'll be happy to give you a tour. We had gotten several high quality large format slides of other images from the original, but we needed this one, and so we have to try to match this copy of a copy with those high quality photographs. But we also didn't want to make it too showy--you can loose the sense of a printed work if you take the fix-its too far.

As you can see from the "before" image, I had to rotate the image--turning allows you to take full advantage of the landscape format of the camera. After cropping out my husband's thumbs (thanks honey), I found the camera had not been positioned exactly in the center of the image, and consequently we had some keystoning problems. A little skewing took care of that, but the original illustrator did not make his border quite straight, so it still looks a bit funky. I tried to remove the red border to correct that problem, but the red border lines work as a matte to set the colors off, so I chose art over construction. Several parts of the image-the banner and the man standing on the left (Constantine) were out of focus, so I had to select them separately and use the unsharpen mask. One of the odder cleanup tasks was to fix the blackening caused by the gilding techniques- -what ever the material they used to gild the illustration has started to turn black, but the cloning stamp fixed that right up. We also shot the image with existing light, because the library would not allow us to use flash or instruments. A bit of daylight-balanced light snuck onto the top of the image, turning it a bit bluer than the rest. I did some dodging and playing with hue to balance it out. Hope you like the image--my husband says he has a few hundred more for me to work on!


At October 30, 2006 9:48 AM, Anonymous Jenny said...

This is beautiful! You've done a great job. You are certainly putting our PhotoShop class to good use...

Do you know what the bottom text says? Is there a reason you cut that off--other than your husband's thumb?

At October 31, 2006 7:37 AM, Blogger J.S. Bowers said...

Good work. It is hard to manipulate the hue saturation in Photoshop without overly distorting the image. Practically speaking, it is wonderful to have access to images you could never see without the generosity of the Prague museum and your hard work. But, I just wanted to raise the concern art historians are asking about digital media.
Is it now necessary to mention that the image you present: is touched up, when it was touched up, and why? Art historians are starting to ask if images should carry a 'bibliography' of sorts. The Louvre has a long list of every person who worked on any of their paintings and why. Art historians must always consider whether the image they are viewing is rendered in as the artist's hand or if some 'remastering' has taken place (think of the 'Last Supper').

On a personal note, I hope you keep going and get as many of the images online as possible. Good luck :)


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