Anything Photoshop or Photography

HOW TO USE AN ADJUSTMENT LAYER TO LOCALIZE LIGHT AND/OR DARK IN IMAGE

Image of miniature mums using Corel Painter in backgroundThis week I am going to discuss a really short but sweet way to increase areas to be brighter and darker in localized areas. Last week my Photoshop with Corel Painter for Texture blog covered how to use Corel Painter in image backgrounds, which is what was done in the above Miniature Mum shot. For this week’s technique, Pete Collins (one of the Photoshop guys) did a short video on the NAPP website (best deal for Photoshop Nuts to learn new tricks) a while back demonstrating this concept, but I have also seen it in other places.

The Technique

The basic premise is that you can use any adjustment layer – does not matter which one you choose – to create an overall brightening or darkening of your image by just changing the blend mode of the layer. So to brighten your image, select the Screen blend mode, and to darken your image choose the Multiply blend mode, for example. Now just fill the layer masks with black by clicking in the mask and pressing CTRL+I or going to the Properties Panel and clicking the Invert button. With a soft brush, or any kind of brush for that matter, paint back in white areas you want brighter for the Screen blend mode layer or darker for the Multiply blend mode layer. In the image above, an unadjusted Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer was set to Screen blend mode and the white petals were painted back at a low opacity brush setting to dial in the focus a little more to the flower and yellow center. Next an unadjusted Curves Adjustment Layer was added and set to Multiply blend mode. The image became really dark. By filling the layer mask with black and painting back a slight vignetting effect, the focus could once more be directed to the flower effectively. If you want to add a little feathering for the vignette, go the Properties Panel and set it to 100 pixels as a starting point. The Layer Opacity was set to 68% so the vignetting was not too dark. (See screenshot of Curves Adjustment Layer below showing no changes made to it and corresponding layer highlighted in Layer Panel.) If you wanted the image lighter or darker, you can always duplicate the adjustment layers and then adjust the layer opacities to get the exact amount required. You can also make changes in the actual adjustment layer if it helps the image. This is such a wonderfully easy technique and it keeps the image size much smaller than if you were duplicating the layer each time. The text font is a free download called Adorable.

Screenshot of Curves Adjustment Layer

*****
Christmas Ornament of Santa Claus imageJust thought I would add a Christmas image that used the same technique above. This time the Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer was set to Screen and the Santa Claus and Red M&M ornaments were painted back in the black layer mask. Then on top another Curves Adjustment Layer was set to Multiply – this time the outside edges were painted white in the layer mask to reveal darker edges, similar to the screenshot above. No Painter was used but it does use my free SJ-Snow2 Overlay – slight blur set to 65% layer opacity that I created last year. Last, Obsidian Dawn’s Merry Christmas brush was placed on a layer with a layer style added (using Bevel & Emboss, Stroke, Pattern – created using Christmas day by Photoshop-Stock pat 5 set to a scale of 332%) to get the candy cane look. I should also add that the first thing done in Photoshop was to apply Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) DeNoise, the best noise plug-in around, and Topaz Clarity, another favorite used to add a little localized sharpening on the Santa Claus.

This is definitely a really easy way to pop you images and get the lighting the way you want in your image without having to do a lot of Camera Raw, Curves or Levels adjustments. Hope you enjoyed this tip – have a great Turkey Day for my fellow US friends!…..Digital Lady Syd

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One response

  1. Pingback: » Mossy Turtle Digital Lady Syd's Tidbits Blog

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