Lobster, Colour & Photoshop

work in progress

Here is a screen grab from some work in progress that will be uploaded to flickr over the coming weeks.

On Thursday, Ian Lobb the creator of the plug-in Lobster, came and spoke to our students, at length, about a variety of issues. Some of which I found refreshing and re-affirmed what it was I am doing when I point a camera at the world around me.

Some of the ideas he spoke about included, the time it takes to really learn a craft, the appreciation that you gain about the craft itself by learning it over time, and the importance of thinking about your tools in a deeper and more profound way, just to name a few.

Most of which few people learn or understand when using a digital camera in conjunction with software like Photoshop™.

For example. Buy any book on how to use Photoshop™, and look at the sections/chapters about curves and levels. The two most important tools in the program. why are all the images used so monochromatic, why are they so de-saturated?

It is because Photoshop™ does not mimic the way we see the colour of the world.

I am not going to talk about this at length, as Ian does so it eloquently in his free download-able notes, and manuals.

This is copied directly from the site, used here without permission, and for instructional purposes only.

  1. Lobster files remain in RGB mode. The Luminosity and Chromaticity layers are unique. Do not confuse Lobster-generated layers with easily constructed Mode changes or unchanged channel information. Lobster is the result of independent research that has sought to open up important Photoshop formulas for all workers.
  2. Lobster remedies the RGB tonal problems of Curves and Levels. Digital is currently the dominant form of photography, and Curves is the dominant tonal tool in digital photography. In its present form, the tonal expectations of Curves' RGB interface are often incorrect or confusing – this means Curves cannot work to its potential precision. This marvellous tool is often reduced to a “push it and see” function in the practice of many digital workers. (These issues are demonstrated in detail in Exercise in Curves) The second most important tonal tool in digital photography is Levels. Its interface is usually misrepresented in digital texts.
    Lobster remedies the RGB tonal problems of Curves and Levels – and the misrepresentations of their RGB interfaces are corrected.
  3. Lobster accurately separates tonal (luminosity) values and operations from the colour values and operations. A “Divide and Conquer” approach is a light-hearted way of describing a basic feature of Lobster: the separation of tonal (luminosity) values and operations from the colour values and operations. Luminosity can now be locked into place and then hue and/or saturation modified at will. Luminosity no longer changes when hue and/or saturation are changed. Luminosity can be changed without causing shifts in hue. This feature is important for any digital worker, but vital for those who are involved in curatorial, archival or medical work that involves digital tonal correction to a file. Files could be needlessly and incorrectly changed in hue without using “Lobster”, thus misrepresenting the appearance of records.
  4. Lobster is quick! Lobster can also be used quickly. Its accurate breakdown of tone and colour means that tonal adjustments through Curves and Levels are easy to read from the Curve click points and the Levels histogram. Without Lobster, in an RGB file of greater than zero saturation – this is NOT the case. Saturation and hue can be adjusted through the Chromaticity set without worrying about causing tonal changes. A file can look good quickly and accurately. The user is always working with, rather than against, their informed intentions.
  5. Lobster can also be used slowly and thoughtfully. Every aspect of luminosity, hue and saturation can be independently displayed and made available to the most careful and thoughtful editing. e.g. Curves can be used to very subtly change saturation at precisely predetermined brightness points.
  6. Lobster gives more useful histograms. The histograms above the Luminosity layer and Chromaticity set gives unique information. Both have different information from those normally supplied by Photoshop – and both are enormously useful for many operations.
  7. Lobster gives you new uses for tools such as Dodge & Burn. New uses for many tools and dialogue boxes can now be found, eg:
    • Dodge and Burn without their usual, uncontrollable, hue changes.
    • Selective Color, Hue/Saturation, all the interfaces on Curves and Levels etc. can now be applied only to the chromaticity aspect of the image. This creates many new sets of options.
    • Black and White Points in Levels and Curves can be set without changing hue. Apply Image can now be used to mix tonal and colour information from many files allowing for a great enriching of available information.

    There are scores of other new possibilities to a file in Lobster.

  8. Lobster enables you to make accurate changes to colour. When the Luminosity of a file has been locked into place, you can use the Chromaticity Set to change only the hue, or the saturation, if you wish. You can achieve this through many dialogue boxes – and each produces changes with a slightly different result. Changing only the chromaticity values produces a different result from changing all the RGB values of a file.
    However you can also produce extreme changes where both aspects of the chromaticity change – Lobster is extremely flexible.
  9. Lobster's manual contains information about Photoshop not found elsewhere. A basic understanding of Luminosity is one of the keys to the Lobster Manual – this helps explain many Photoshop operations that are otherwise inexplicable. The Manual contains information about Photoshop not normally published. The Manual does not needlessly repeat information available in other guides.
  10. Lobster gives Adjustment Layers whole new uses. The “Points of Insertion” in a Lobster file allow an adjustment layer with the same settings to produce a different result in different positions. When this is combined with Layer Blending modes the combinations are endless. The differences range from extremely subtle to gross. The Lobster Manual provides suggestions for check-lists and templates to test these features and form an understanding based on objective and subjective qualities.
  11. Lobster is easy to download, install, activate and use. You simply purchase Lobster online, download the application and manual, and away you go. Installation is simple, just drag and drop the application, enter your serial number, and you are ready to work. Processing an image with Lobster is as simple as drag and drop. (Please note that if you are behind a firewall or do not have access to the internet from your work computer, then you may have to manually activate Lobster.)
  12. “Everything in photography is a trade-off”. All of the features of a Lobster file are not positive. These features come at the price of a larger file size. A basic Lobster file is approximately 3 times the size of its single layered version. Lobster users should work with computers powerful enough for this file size increase.

No comments: