Dehazing or Haze Removal

Talk about Pixelmator Pro, share tips & tricks, tutorials, and other resources.
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2020-06-12 22:38:53

I'm trying to figure out how to remove haze from this photo. I use only one other photo editor, Affinity Photo, but love how integrated Pixelmator Pro is with macOS. I'd prefer to use Pixelmator Pro. Please help. I tried uploading the image. If that doesn't work, below is a WeTransfer link to the RAW photo in question. Thank you.

https://we.tl/t-6eZWtqXwXp
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2020-06-16 11:44:53

Hi Matt, sorry it took a while (working on a lot of big news this week) but I really wanted to take a look at this for you. Here's what I managed:
Image
And here's the Pixelmator Pro file with all the edits (word of caution: it's 800 MBs, because I've duplicated the RAW layer 5 times as the extended dynamic range data is probably useful in more extreme edits like this). For the finishing touches, I merged the Edited group and used the Repair tool to remove the branches in the shot.

As for how I approached this:

I guess the main technique here is using gradient masks to selectively apply edits to specific areas in the photo.

In the Near group, I've got the original layer at the bottom, to which I've applied no adjustments at all. Then I've duplicated that layer, applied a mask to it, and applied a Gradient fill effect to the mask (to keep the gradient editable). Using the mask and gradient fill, I've slightly and gradually masked out the very bottom of the image (closest to the camera) because that's where the haze is weakest.

Then, I selected the upper layer and increased contrast/reduced exposure/increased black point — basically, did a bunch of things to stretch out the tonal range of the image, focusing on the areas closest to the camera.

After this, I grouped everything together, duplicated it and followed the same process to further refine the areas where the haze is really strong, i.e. furthest away from the camera. For that reason, the gradient (now applied to the group) hides the bottom areas of the image (I hope this makese sense )

Finally, I grouped all the edited areas together and duplicated the original image to have a quick comparison between the original and finished version.

And after all that, I merged the "Edited" group and used the Repair tool to remove the branches.

Let me know if you try these techniques and, if you do, feel free to ask for help if you get stuck on anything!

P.S. The edits I've made can definitely be improved and refined, this was a relatively quick (3-5 min) job. The sky, in particular, is a little on the orange side.

P.P.S. We know we can make improvements both to this process (with the addition of adjustment layers and easily editable gradient masks associated with adjustments) and also with the potential addition of a haze removal effect.