Here is a way to interactively darken a background.
I will often just take the original layer and duplicate it. I will make the duplicate layer be on the top - and set it to Multiply mode. This makes the picture VERY dark all over.
I then add a black mask to this top layer - this makes the darkness go away like it wasnt even there (looks like the original picture again).
I then paint on that black layer mask with a soft, low opacity, WHITE brush. Where ever I paint it gets darker, the more I paint the darker it gets. I control the location and strength by going over the same place a couple of times. This gives me subtle control.
If I go too far - or I dont like what im seeing - I just hit the "x" key and paint with the BLACK brush - and it selectively restores the lightness back where ever I paint. This gives me total control.
If one layer of this darkening is not a dark enough - I just duplicate that top layer one more time - and it gets really strong. I usually end up putting a mask on that layer too - or just use maybe 15 to 25% of its strength via the opacity slider. That makes the overall darkening adjustable.
I like this method because it keeps the colors correct - and I can totally control where the darkening gets placed - and how strong it is - and I can reverse the effect at will till im artistically satisfied.
Last edited by ray12; 05-04-2006 at 07:09 PM.
Try LAB mode
Manipulating luminance without affecting color is a classical reason for working in LAB color mode. The "L" channel containsluminance only data so editing there has no effect whatsoever on color content.
The L channel in LAB is also a good vehicle for sharpening, whereas noise can be removed without losing sharpness by blurring the "A" and "B" color channels.
It seems to me that your original technique would work very well if applied only to Luminance.
Your final solution can easily be converted back to RGB or CMYK without losing detail or color shifts by using Image>Mode>Convert to Profile with Dither unchecked..
Try it ... you'll like it.
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