How To Remove Haze From A Second Life Photograph Using Gimp

One of the Second Life features that can really make an image stand out is the Environment settings. A technique I often use is to adjust the haze sliders so the sky and land or sea blend together, thereby avoiding the harsh horizon line that is sometimes too evident in Second Life pictures.

The haze effect however often affects the entire image including the foreground. If this is the effect Second Life photographers are looking for thats fine, but if not there is a way around this. This tutorial will show three methods of removing the haze from a Second Life image using Gimp.

The original image used for this Gimp tutorial was taken at Clockwork Bird. Take a few moments to visit this brilliantly constructed location.

If you're looking for methods to remove haze from real world photographs then these methods will work just as well.

There is also a video version of this tutorial on the SL-Inspiration YouTube channel.

Click on each image in turn to view full size.

Method One: Levels I

1/ Open the image in Gimp.

2/ Select Colors > Levels (highlighted in red, above).

3/ The above window will open. The Input Levels has three trianglular handles that can be moved to adjust this setting. For this tutorial we're interested in the two outer handles.

4/ Grab and drag one handle with your cursor by holding down the left mouse button. Adjust the handles using the above image as an example, until you're happy with your image.

5/ The haze should now be markedly reduced in the foreground of the image.

6/ Your image is now ready for further editing, or exporting.

Method Two: Levels II

1/ With the image opened in Gimp, make a duplicate layer by clicking the icon highlighted lower right. Make sure the top layer is active.

Now select Colors > Levels again.

2/ This time we're going to drag the right handle on the Output Levels towards the middle of the Levels window

3/ Adjusting the slider will make the image cloudy, as above. The amount of cloudiness will differ from image to image so a little trial and error will be involved.

4/ From the Mode drop down menu select Soft Light.

5/ The haze should now have cleared from the foreground, although the image as a whole may look a little blown out.

6/ To compensate for this, adjust the opacity of the top layer until you're happy with the image.

7/ The layers can now be merged, and the image exported from Gimp.

Method Three: Curves 

1/ This method is very similar to method two, except this time we'll be using the Curves selection.

Start by duplicating the image so there are two copies in the Layers panel. Make sure the top layer is the active layer. Now select Colors > Curves.

2/ This window will open. The Curves window lets any part of the line be dragged to form a curve. For this tutorial however we're just going to adjust the top of the line, highlighted in red.

3/ Grab the top node with the cursor and drag it into a similar position to the image above. How much you move this node will depend on your image. You're aiming to get a cloudy appearance, as in method two.

4/ The top layer should look something like above. In the Mode drop down window select Soft Light.

5/ The opacity of the top layer will probably need adjusting.

6/ When you're ready merge both layers and export.

Below is the original image to compare the results with.

As you can see, removing haze from a Second Life image is quick and easy. All three methods here produce similar results, although perhaps two and three need more trial and error than the first. I particularly like the foreground contrasted with the background receding into haze these methods produce.