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Very Interesting Technique to try out

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  • Very Interesting Technique to try out

    I found this tip while going through my huge collection of misc. tips and techniques copied from various web sites. I decided to try it out and was amazed with it's results. Especially on photos you want to bring out the dark areas. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

    Here's the tip as I got it:

    Best ever photoshop tip in the universe - I only wish I could remember where I got it and who should be thanked. It sounds complicated, with lots of steps, but after just a couple it will be second nature.
    Using curves or levels to lighten dark areas just seems to add noise. Instead, try this:
    AN RGB original -
    >IMAGE > Duplicate > OK
    Turn the duplicate into a grayscale by
    IMAGE > MODE > Grayscale > OK, then;
    FILTER > Blur > Gaussian > OK (enter a value between 1.5 and 4, I have found 2.5 works well as a starting point. Higher values soften the edges in later steps.)

    SELECT > Load Selection then check the box next to INVERT, and click OK

    FILE > Fill (Edit > Fill in Photoshop 6)
    In the USE box, select 50% Gray.
    In the BLENDING box, set opacity to between 40% & 80%. Higher values lighten more.
    In MODE box, select Color Dodge, then OK.

    Obviously, you'll want tpo experiment with the variables of gauss. blur and blending %. You can also reverse things by not selecting INVERT when loading the selection and make changes to the lighter areas.

  • #2

    Good technique! If I'm not mistaken, that came from Katrin's book (I think it's called fill-flash). But I could be wrong because I don't have it in front of me. I've used that technique many times, and found it to be great! Thanks for sharing that with everyone.



    • #3

      As usual, I find myself trying to understand the "what & why" behind this technique: "what" is actually happening and "why" does it work? I do like the results, but I don't understand why the first part needs to be done. :o I.e., why do I need to make a duplicate and make it grayscale? It seems to me that simply filling the dark areas with 50% gray, color dodge and mid-opacity range works just fine. I don't see how that has any connection to the grayscale image, unless I don't understand what 50% gray means. Can you (or someone else) explain this to me?

      Thanks, Jeanie


      • #4
        Thanks, Ed. You just answered my question. I looked up the technique in Katrin's book and there are a few more steps that aren't listed in the tip that DJ posted. Katrin's description clears up all of my confusion. Not sure if it would be copyright infringement to list Katrins' explanation here, so I'll just say it's on pages 59-61 for anyone who has her book.

        And I have to say, WOW! What a great technique! I've got SO MANY dark photos to work on...



        • #5
          You're right Ed. Good catch. I looked it up but I didn't recognize it at first because some of the steps were a bit different. I also didn't get the same results when I had done it in Katrin's book which leads me to believe I had missed something somehow. At anyrate, I like the results I get and the technique doesn't seem to hard to remember. So if nothing else, I gave a tip to those who don't have the book and to those who do I refreshed their memories or clarified a trouble spot they may have had in the book.

          Jeanie I believe what it does is to isolate the darker grays in the greyscale and blurs the edges then through the fill step it loads it to the color version and sets a mask to lighten the image. I do like what it does to the colors it lightens.


          • #6

            I went back and redid the steps in your tip and realized that I had gotten confused when it said to "load selection" on the original RGB. I assumed I should have already saved a selection of the area that I wanted lightened. I didn't realize that the load selection would automatically choose the grayscale image to create a selection from. I ALWAYS learn something on this site. Now if I can just find a "safe" place in my brain to tuck this tip away so that I can access it when I really need it. Thanks for clearing things up for me.



            • #7
              Dj, here's yet another way to lighten or darken--with your image open, duplicate the layer,desaturate the copy,invert it,load the luminosity mask( Ctrl +Alt +tilde ~{just below the "esc" key}), fill with 50% grey, change blend mode to "overlay" and use curves to adjust light/dark. It helps to hide the mask marquee. PS gives you lots of ways to do things, thats why its so fun (and expensive). Tom
              Last edited by thomasgeorge; 10-10-2001, 01:15 PM.


              • #8
                I know that is what is happening but I to was confused why it would assume a selection that was never formally saved. I chose not to question it and be happy that it just does. I have to wonder how that could be used in other situations though.

                Yes there are so many ways to do things in PS and that does add to the mystique of it all. I will give that method a try and compare results. I think it's good to bring up these tips just to get us thinking about them and retrying them. I think it helps lock them in our heads as remembered skills.


                • #9
                  Yet another techinque to try....this is for those photos that aren't as overal dark, but lack detail in the shadows.

                  1. Duplicate the layer,
                  2. "DESATURATE" that layer.
                  3. "INVERT" same layer.
                  4. Set the opacity to "OVERLAY" at about 60-75%.


                  • #10
                    Tom and Vikki,

                    Thanks for telling us about another way. I tried both methods with one of my photos, and got very similar results. I went a little further, using layer masks and playing with different blending modes.



                    • #11
                      DJ, here is another tonal adjustment procedure to try.

                      After opening an image, duplicate the layer,
                      enter Image > Apply Image
                      In the "Apply Image" screen accept the defaults, make sure preview is selected and play with the Blend Modes and Opacity.

                      * Some modes "Color Burn & Multiply" darken while others lighten

                      Apply Image does some wild and wonderful things but for our purpose it reinforces the "Background Copy" image on the "Background" image with unlimited adjustment.

                      This procedure works with Color or B&W but if your going to desaturate it's probably best to do that first.
                      P.S. You can still play with curves if required.



                      • #12
                        Thanks Ron. I will give it a try and let you know how it goes. Love learning new ways of doing things.


                        • #13
                          Thanks for passing on this tip, DJ. I get so many dark photos and have been struggling to simplify the process. This will be a big help.


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