Originally Posted by byRo
Well done Nancy
Very useful and easy to understand.
I use this technique similar to this a lot, and it is great for giving some depth to flat images.
For those that have another
30 seconds to spare, and don't mind complicating things a wee bit
, there are couple of extensions to the technique that could be considered:
1) Overlay blending is an additive process, as you say "the lights get lighter and the darks get darker". Although overlay blending won't actually result in clipping, it will result in less definition at the ends of the histogram. This, sometimes, may be exactly the effect required but, in general, it's a good idea to lower the contrast of the base image (-10 or -20%) before applying the process - probably about the only time the Brightness / Contrast tool can be safely used.
Afterwards, you'll probably have to apply a levels adjustment to get things full-range again.
This little addition allows you to acheive even more contrast without sacrificing the colours.
2) The technique is great for making the subject stand out and so when you "mask out any areas that you're not happy with.." consider masking out all of the background as well.
Looking forward to seeing more of your tutorials.
I agree it is the best tutorial I have seen on the subject!
Only I find the title a bit misleading:it's not exactly about PWL, but local contrast enhancement...
ByRo: about masking: With Elements and without masks you simply have to paint with 50% grey on the mask to mask out what you want. Or if you have a selection of the subject, inverse selection then inverse (Ctrl I) which blurs nicely the background. With yet another 30 seconds, you can limit the action to dodging and burning. How? Insert a 50% grey solid color adjustment layer in overlay (or softlight) mode under the overlay layer and group the top layer with the grey one. Change top layer mode to lighten or darken... Not only will this give more controlled effects, but it may be the best way to get rid of sharpening halos. Why a solid color adjustment instead of a standard layer? No gain in file size, but you have a mask even in Elements...
Thanks again and I hope for other tutorials of this quality!