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Contrast Masking

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  #1  
Old 04-21-2002, 08:45 AM
DannyRaphael's Avatar
DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Contrast Masking

Easy Contrast Manipulation Technique

In a Photoshop book I was reading there was mention of using a contrast mask to solve a particular problem, but no further detail was provided on what a contrast mask was nor how to create one.

Hadn't heard of a contrast mask before, so I did a little surfing to see what I could find.

The Mother of all Contrast Mask Tutorials
After using the technique to create a CONTRAST MASK detailed at this site, I was very impressed by the subtle-to-intense contrast results that can be achieved, plus some subtle sharpening as well.

The last step is a Gaussian Blur, which is used (in effect) as a tuning knob.

My only suggestion would be to duplicate the subject image beforehand to enable easy side-by-side comparison while tuning with Gaussian Blur.

Instead of the generic desaturate command, one might substitute a Channel Mixer adjustment layer set to 'monochrome' for added flexibility.

Will this technique replace Curves?
Of course not. To me it's (now) just another tool in the 'bag of tricks.' Since the effect is applied via a separate layer, in addition to opacity, one can further tune the results with a layer mask or additional adjustment layers of your choice.

Pictures worth 1,000 words
Be sure to check out the "Informative Report" (supplimental site) mentioned at the end of the turtorial for some dynamite side-by-side effect-of-various-Gaussian-Blur-setting examples.

Actions, anyone?
This technique begs to be converted into an Action, so one I developed with PS 5.5 is attached in case that floats your boat. It should work with PS 5.x and above.

Happy Photoshopping!
Attached Files
File Type: zip contrast mask.zip (640 Bytes, 1033 views)

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 04-21-2002 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 04-21-2002, 09:21 AM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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I see what you mean. Big difference. I downloaded it to give it a try. Thanks again. You seem to find some neat stuff.
DJ
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Old 04-21-2002, 06:05 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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I gave it a try and I really liked what I saw. At first I thought it wasn't anything I couldn't do with a layers adjustment of curves and the effects were similar but there are definate differences that you will see in this example. The first image is the original. The second I ran a curves adjustment and on the third I did the contrast mask action. Note the differences in the sky contrast details and the ground. Even some of the clothing has more depth than the basic curves adjusted image.
Very good tool and I found it is best used on scenic images rather than portraits. Also the finished product comes with a before version and the after version which has the mask on a seperate layer giving you added control over the finished result. You are also prompted to adjust the gaussian blur to eliminate any haloing that may occur and get the best blend possible. Love it!!
DJ
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File Type: jpg contrastmaskcompare.jpg (92.8 KB, 385 views)
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Old 04-21-2002, 06:40 PM
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Thank you so much for the tip. I had been working on a very dark snapshot and when I used a curves adjustment layer by itself, the whole photo looked faded to me. This technique fixed it.

I'll be sending in my contribution on May 21 for sure,

Margaret
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Old 04-21-2002, 06:40 PM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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WOW! I love what it did to that sky DJ!! I've got a few "washed out" scenery shots that I've been trying to figure out what to do with - wishing there were such a thing as an equivalent a "polarizing lens filter" in Photoshop. I found one technique on the web after an hour of searching, but now I'm going to try this and compare with the other technique I found. Can't wait to try it!

Thanks for the pointer Danny!

Jeanie
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Old 04-21-2002, 08:25 PM
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DJ

Thanks for the examples. It is really interesting to see the differences between the curves and mask examples. I think we all should stick to the curves adjustment because " THE CIGARETTE MAGICALLY DISAPPEARED WHEN USING CURVES ADJUSTMENT"

Seriously, this is really useful to learn when everything is new to you.

Thanks Danny for sharing the fruits of your surfing.

Jerry
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Old 04-21-2002, 08:43 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Jerry
Now how did you see that little tiny missing ciggerette? Boy when you scrutinize you do a good job. I had fixed that photo a while back using a curves adjustment and then I decided to clone out the ciggerette. The contrast mask came from the original version. Boy I can't get away with a thing with you guys.

Jeanie, that is what the Contrast Mask action did to the sky. That's one of the features I really loved about the action vs the curves.
DJ
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Old 04-21-2002, 10:41 PM
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Sharon Sharon is offline
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Danny

Thanks so much for posting the action your created from the Contrast Mask tutorial. It really brought out the shadowed grass in one of my photos. I know I will be using this action often.

Sharon
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Old 04-22-2002, 04:22 AM
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BigAl BigAl is offline
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Hi Danny,
Quote:
I was reading there was mention of using a contrast mask to solve a particular problem, but no further detail was provided on what a contrast mask was nor how to create one
You forgot to search RetouchPro

Check this one. (And here I can also test linking to a specific post )

Contrast masking is really quick and easy, and once you've used it, you end up trying it in all kinds of situations. Luminous Landscapes is also in my Favourites list.
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Old 04-22-2002, 07:39 AM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Right as Rain

BigAl...

As usual, you're right on the $money$.

Considering I titled this thread "Contrast Masking," I have no idea why it never occurred to me to use "contrast masking" (or " contrast mask* ") as search arguments. That'll teach me to make search arguments a little more generic!

I learned something from the other thread and I expect others will too. Appreciate you pointing that one out.

BTW: The "direct link" to the specific post (vs. the thread) worked like a charm. A+ on using that recently debated (and debugged) method.

While messing [again] with the forum search engine trying to figure out how I missed your original post, I found several other interesting tidbits, so I'm itching to do more reading. If I don't get any work done today, it's all due to your inspiration!

Oops... Just noticed the clock just rolled past 5:30 a.m. locally. Must be time to put on a new pot of real strong coffee before I mine for more ReTouchPro.com gems.

Thanks again...Have a good one.

DannyR
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