On the exit road from James Madison’s Montpelier, which we looked at back in December, were these wonderful green barns. Each was a stable on the ground level with storage above. The resultant image files have sat in my files for over two years with previous attempts at processing not doing these delightful structures justice.
Having acquired the OnOne Perfect Suite I have been watching Brian Matiash’s weekly videos, Perfect Inspiration, and decided to apply some of his ideas and processing techniques to these images.
Firstly, I needed to harness as much information as I could from the original raw files. To do this I triple processed them in Lightroom 4.1 (-2.0, 0, +2.0 EV) and combined them into an HDR image in Photomatix Pro. Because I like to have full control over each of the effects I apply to an image, I then opened the resultant HDR file in Photoshop CS6. Although the Perfect Effects suite can be run as a Lightroom Plug-in there is not the flexibility that can be had through using Photoshop.
One of the first areas I work on is any road or gravel path. These always benefit from applying either a black & white toning or in this case the Dirty Money preset. I never apply these effects at their full 100%, preferring to blend them at around 50% or lower. A mask is also applied within Perfect Effects so that the effect was only applied to the roadway in this first image.
The effects in the Perfect Effects Suite can be stacked but I am now preferring to apply each separately giving them a separate layer in Photoshop. This provides additional flexibility to how the effects are combined through additional masks in Photoshop as well as being able to lower the opacity of the resultant layer from Perfect Effects.
On returning the file to Perfect Effects, I then applied the Grunge Goddess preset at about a strength of 40%. This effect was then masked so that it only applied to the roof of the barn. Grunge Goddess brought out the textures in the roof for this particular barn. If there is any rust in a metal roof, I find that the Moulin Rouge preset is very effective, either on its own or in combination with Grunge Goddess.
Again, after taking the file back to Photoshop to create a new layer and then reopening the Perfect Effects Suite, I applied the Texture Boost preset. I lowered the strength again to about 40% and then applied masks to limit where the effect would be applied. The sky had a 100% mask applied (I have never liked how these texture related effects in any of the post-processing software change the sky, it always looks so fake!). I also added a 50% mask to the leaves and the grass on the bank behind the road.
Overall, this whole process took less than 20 minutes, most of which was spent getting the mask on the roof as accurate as possible. I then applied the same basic effects to the second image apart from the Dirty Money preset as there was not a tarmac based road in this image.
I would highly recommend the Perfect Effects program as it has some amazing effects and is very easy to use. There is the full flexibility to select not only the strength of the blending of each effect but also the blend mode, just as in Photoshop. If you wish to try this amazing package, you can download a 30-day free trial. I also have a discount coupon (click on the icon in the side-bar and use the code MSIMAGES) for at least 10% off the purchase of any of OnOne Software package.