Creating Hard GND in Photoshop or Lightroom


Cowseye

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Mar 7, 2010
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#1
Dear experts :)

I wanted to save some money not to buy holders and GNDs and create digital filters. Thus far, I've been using soft grad for both Photoshop and Lightroom. However, I could not simulate Hard Grad in either software. A search in google points me to the hardware GND instead of how to do it in photoshop.

My guess is that doing this is the same way as creating soft grad filters but with some settings to tweak to create hard grad with soft grad line.

Could anyone shed some light or point a direction where should I look?

Thank you.
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#2
Dear experts :)

I wanted to save some money not to buy holders and GNDs and create digital filters. Thus far, I've been using soft grad for both Photoshop and Lightroom. However, I could not simulate Hard Grad in either software. A search in google points me to the hardware GND instead of how to do it in photoshop.

My guess is that doing this is the same way as creating soft grad filters but with some settings to tweak to create hard grad with soft grad line.

Could anyone shed some light or point a direction where should I look?

Thank you.
Just create grads with a short transition distance. That is a hard grad.
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
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#3
Use layers.

Layer duplicate --> Set layer type to Multiply/Darken/any other type in the layer group. I prefer Multiply.

You can use a selection marquee to delete away the part you don't want darkened, then adjust opacity to taste. Usually 20-30% is sufficient. Alternatively a hard brush with shift key (assuming you've made your horizon consistent) held down works.

For soft grad, you can use soft brush with varying degrees of brush opacity to achieve the same effect.


Why a real GND is better - blown highlights will not be resolved with any tool unless you cheat and sub in another scene where the highlight are not blown. The alternative is to expose for the highlights and recover the shadows, which would introduce a lot of noise (not so desirable for landscapes).

Yet another mechanical cheap method is to use a black card - this is easier for extended exposures, I think some people here do it, but not so common. For hard grad you just estimate the amount of time you need and "expose" different parts of the image accordingly. For soft grad you can do what Chinese photographers call 摇黑卡, or shaking the black card, which will soften the transition somewhat. This is not easy to do though, and I'm not a fan of it.

At the end of the day, if you're using a APS-C DSLR, even with UWA at 10mm, a Cokin ring costs $15 max, a UWA filter holder costs $5 for the Tianya version (which is fine) at TK Foto (last I checked), and Tianya filters don't cost more than $12. Hi-tech P series would set you back ~$40 max.

I used the Tianya set up for a very long time, the only reason why I changed to Hi-tech was that the strength was not good enough in greater DR situations (in between 2-3 stops). That set-up doesn't cost you more than $35. I'm sure it's not all that unaffordable.

Of course, if you use a FF camera then everything costs more as you would need a larger size filter (for UWA perspective) - that means less companies make it, and those that do will charge you a premium because they can. Naturally, not many people will note that when purchasing FF cameras..
 

Cowseye

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#4
Thanks DD123 and edutilos :) I'll try out the methods.

I had actually tried out tianya sq filters system before. But, to my surprise, the holder was found within my frame when I'm @ 11mm FL.

I could only shoot at 12mm and beyond. Gave up those filters too early as I was only using the ND filters.

Now I'm interested to give the GNDs a try after testing out the Lee holder system.

On the other hand, could the P series from cokin be wide enough? I heard from many that only the Z series will work but no one brings in the Z series holder locally.

I shall give digital filters one last try before splurging into hitech GND.
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
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#5
Thanks DD123 and edutilos :) I'll try out the methods.

I had actually tried out tianya sq filters system before. But, to my surprise, the holder was found within my frame when I'm @ 11mm FL.

I could only shoot at 12mm and beyond. Gave up those filters too early as I was only using the ND filters.

Now I'm interested to give the GNDs a try after testing out the Lee holder system.

On the other hand, could the P series from cokin be wide enough? I heard from many that only the Z series will work but no one brings in the Z series holder locally.

I shall give digital filters one last try before splurging into hitech GND.
Did you use UWA filter holder (1 slot) or the normal one.. (3 slots)...

I'm quite sure it will be ok with UWA filter holder on 11 mm FL. I stack ND110 + P series UWA filter holder at 10mm only can see a bit at the extreme corners you know... Have been doing so for 5 years.

My advice is if you are money-conscious you should find out what you are buying first...
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
21,645
63
48
lil red dot
#6
Thanks DD123 and edutilos :) I'll try out the methods.

I had actually tried out tianya sq filters system before. But, to my surprise, the holder was found within my frame when I'm @ 11mm FL.

I could only shoot at 12mm and beyond. Gave up those filters too early as I was only using the ND filters.

Now I'm interested to give the GNDs a try after testing out the Lee holder system.

On the other hand, could the P series from cokin be wide enough? I heard from many that only the Z series will work but no one brings in the Z series holder locally.

I shall give digital filters one last try before splurging into hitech GND.
If you are using the Tokina 11-16 on Nikon, yes even the single slot holder will cause vignetting. The only option is to go for larger 100mm filter holders. Orient Photo brings in the Z-pro series holders.
 

SkyStrike

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Staff member
Nov 29, 2010
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#7
Thanks DD123 and edutilos :) I'll try out the methods.

I had actually tried out tianya sq filters system before. But, to my surprise, the holder was found within my frame when I'm @ 11mm FL.

I could only shoot at 12mm and beyond. Gave up those filters too early as I was only using the ND filters.

Now I'm interested to give the GNDs a try after testing out the Lee holder system.

On the other hand, could the P series from cokin be wide enough? I heard from many that only the Z series will work but no one brings in the Z series holder locally.

I shall give digital filters one last try before splurging into hitech GND.

I'm not sure what lens you are using, but I do hear that some UWAs are having this issue as well....But for my 10-22, using Tian Ya P holder for UWA, no vignetting. Vignetting occurs only if I'm lazy and leave the slim UV on.
 

Cowseye

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Mar 7, 2010
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#8
I'm using tokina 11-16mm

When I bought my Tian Ya set, I was told they dun have holder specifically for wide angle. Only a standard type. I thought I could give it a try but end up with disappointment.
 

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