Revisiting the 10-Channel Workflow

Venice 2015 Street Scene

I have created a new step-by-step tutorial outlining the complete 10-Channel Workflow, using a street scene captured in Venice this past Feb., 2015. The process starts in Lightroom, and ends in Photoshop to create an enhanced version of a single shot image, that incorporates an expanded dynamic range, added color saturation, and fine detail, that might normally require HDR techniques to accomplish. The advantages of doing all this with a single exposure are obvious in a scene with moving elements.

Here is the straight out of camera shot:

Venice street-1

The basic shot shows a washed out sky, and underexposed buildings typical of this sort of scene.

The camera auto-exposure is attempting to average the bright sky into the exposure, resulting in underexposed buildings and a too-bright sky. The RAW capture has quite a bit of information in it, however, so extra detail can be pulled out of the image in a sort of “stage-one” prep in Lightroom—minus-100 Highlights, and plus-100 shadows with a little minus exposure sliders, delivers the following:

Venice street-2

Here, though the overall contrast is flat and dull, there is adequate information to begin the 10-Channel image enhancement workflow.

The 10-Channel Workflow strategy examines the individual grayscale channels for enhanced tonal contrast that can be used against the color image. This is often an iterative process that explores multiple channels, extracting the best tonal features of R,G,B,L,a,b, and possibly the “K” channel from CMYK to build up enhanced contrast. An extra benefit of taking the image into Lab  is the enhanced color saturation that is possible with a higher quality result than simply using the saturation sliders. Very often, the “a” and “b” channels offer Overlay blending opportunities that can really enhance the local contrast of the image in surprising ways. The final image has a full dynamic range with enhanced contrast and color:

Venice street-3

The final image looks as if it was processed with HDR, but the sharp water and the moving figures give away the fact that this is a single exposure.

Here is a very detailed step-by-step video the goes through the whole process, starting in Lightroom, and ending in Photoshop:

This image was captured during the 2015 Venice Carnival Tour with Bobbi Lane and David Nightingale. Each year David and Bobbi lead a group of 12 photographers on an incredible photo adventure that includes special instruction in travel portraiture, location lighting techniques, special model shoots, special locations, and a bonus organized location shoot in a Murano glass factory. You can see a web gallery of some my images from the 2015 tour here:

http://www.varis.com/Galleries/galleries/VeniceCarnival2015/

I encourage everyone to consider signing up for next years tour, and join me for an amazing photo experience in Venice during Carnival—sign up here:

http://www.chromasia.com/training/events/venice_2_16.php

 

2 thoughts on “Revisiting the 10-Channel Workflow

  1. lfranga

    Fantastic training, Lee. Thank you for sharing. I will be looking forward to your more comprehensive 10-Channel Workflow sometime this year. I hope it is sooner than later :}

    Lowell

    Reply

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