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Advice needed on reducing shadows

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  • Advice needed on reducing shadows

    This is my first question (no doubt of many as I have seen work by so many talented people here!)

    Is anybody able to advise me as to effective ways of reducing the intensity of shadows, so they still retain a fairly natural look?
    I've been struggling with this one for a while now, having tried various adjustment layers to little effect.

    Attached is a fairly typical example of the shadows I mean.
    All help will be greatly appreciated!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hi Stuart,

    Is this the sort of thing you have in mind? All I did with this was duplicated the layer, then in Levels moved the central arrow to the left a bit - this lightened the whole layer. I then took a large and low-pressured airbrush eraser and took out the non-shadowed areas. Took me about 2 minutes.

    One of the many techniques I learnt on this site!!


    Attached Files


    • #3

      Welcome aboard. Here is one way I learned from Katrin Eismann's book "Restoration & Retouching". Pick up a copy, as it's money *well* spent.

      Duplicate the image. Convert the new image to grayscale. Gaussian blur (around 4 - 5 pixels). Invert the image. Target the original image, and load the selection made from the grayscale image. Make a new layer via copy. Fill this layer with 50% gray. Layer blending mode should be set to Color Dodge, with Preserve Transparency checked. The image should now be much lighter. If parts are too light, you can add a layer mask, then paint the very light parts with black to undo the effects, or you can use the opacity setting to fine tune it. If the shadows are still too light, try duplicating the layer. Good luck.



      • #4
        Cheers guys for the excellent advice. Sam, that is EXACTLY the sort of help I needed.
        Ed, thanx for the book tip, I'm going to check that one out.


        • #5
          If you are running Photoshop 6, I can send you an action that does what Ed described. I made it myself because I found that I needed to reduce the shadows in several photos.


          • #6
            Hey DJ,

            I read about the action you put together for reducing the shadows. If I could impose on you could you email it to me at your convenience? My email address is:

            [email protected]

            I have a cable modem so it does'nt matter how big it is. I would really like to try it out.

            Its kind of interesting because I was reading that the new photoshop is going to do away with actions in leau of some other similar type feature. That is a shame because there are so many nice actions out there. That alone may prevent me from upgrading right away.

            In any case, if you can send it I would appreciate it.

            Thank You - Carl


            • #7
              I would like it also, DJ. Thanks,

              Last edited by Sharon Brunson; 03-01-2002, 06:10 PM.


              • #8
                I sent them on to you. Let me know how things go. It's only 2k so I think your connection speed shouldn't be an issue here. There really isn't too many steps involved in it. Remember, you are dealing with an amatuer action recorder here so I am keeping my fingers crossed.


                • #9
                  DJ - that works GREAT. It will go in my permanent actions folder.
                  Thank you so much.



                  • #10


                    I would also be interested in the action that you have sent to the others.

                    I am not familiar with "actions", so please explain.

                    [email protected]




                    • #11
                      A quick and dirty, quite similar to Ed's method, called contrast masking:

                      Duplicate the layer
                      Desaturate the duplicate layer
                      Invert it
                      Apply a Gaussian blur (>5)
                      Set the blend mode to overlay and fiddle with the opacity slider.

                      In addition to boosting the shadow detail, it also kills some of the highlights.
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Reduce Shadows Action

                        Sharon gave me the tip on how to upload an action file and since I seem to be having e-mail attachment troubles I thought a better way and far easier was to up load a zipped version of the action.
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          hello there...
                          another way to get more light into shadows...

                          in photoshop, open the image that needs to be touched up..
                          create a new layer and set its mode to overlay in the layers palette...using the airbrush tool and a large brush ..paint broad strokes of a light off white color..the image underneath will then begin to brighten as though naturual light has been cast upon it..

                          you can also create shadows using the same method...
                          create a new layer and set its mode to multiply...paint with a medium dark color using the airbrush...

                          hope this has helped



                          • #14
                            Hey Grandad! Welcome to the site. It's not often we get someone giving a tip (thanks) on their first post. Hope to hear more from you.



                            • #15
                              hello ed...
                              thank you for the welcome...

                              hopefully i can learn a few things from the members here and also if i others as well