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Here we're going to take a look at how we can use a new feature inside of Photoshop, which is called HDR Toning. And what HDR Toning allows us to do is to process a single image with kind of a faux-HDR type of a look. Now we can use this particular tool in order to create adjustments that are really subtle or that are really quite dramatic. Now I know that a lot of people have opinions about HTR, as I do myself, so one of the things I keep in mind is what you want to do is deconstruct how this tool works first and then say, 'OK well how can I then integrate this into my own workflow?' One of the things that happens when you use HDR Toning is it asks you to flatten your image.
So, if the image isn't flat, it will flatten that for you. Because of that, I don't really like that because I don't have the flexibility I need to perhaps blend that layer or lower the layer Opacity. Therefore, what I typically do, or what I recommend as well, is to navigate to the Image pulldown menu and here you choose Duplicate. What this will do is it will give you a duplicate version of your image, onto which you can apply the HDR Toning. Then, eventually we can drag that into our original file. All right! Let's go ahead and open up HDR Toning.
We can do so by navigating to Image > Adjustments, and then here we're going to select HDR Toning. This will then open up this dialog. As you look at this dialog, you'll notice it's divided up into a couple of different areas. We have Presets working on our edges, Tone and Detail, Color. And we can also do some adjustments based on our histogram and a curve line. Where to start? One of the first places you might want to start is with Presets. There actually are some pretty fascinating Presets here. For example, let's go ahead and try Monochromatic high contrast, in other words a super high contrast black and white image.
Now when I select that I'll be able to see what this image looks like in this context. Now it is a touch overdone. Yet, nonetheless, it could give me an interesting way to perhaps potentially process this image. Now of course, what I can always do is simply drag these sliders in order to modify how I want this to actually look, and I can dial this in in a way that might work for my particular photograph. Let's take a look at a couple of other Presets here just to give you some variety. Another option would be to choose something like Photorealistic high contrast.
Now in this case, what we are going to see is something that has this real kind of HDR type of look, but it's not quite overdone. Let me show you the before and after. Here is before, and then here is after. So, while that's extreme, it's not completely over the top. The other Preset that I want to highlight is Surrealistic, in this case, again, high contrast. Now in this case, what we are going to see is just something that is really just pushed super hard and super far. But keep in mind that even with these presets what we could do is use them and then we could drag this back on our original image and then lower the Opacity or just use specific aspects of this.
Also keep in mind that typically Presets are just a starting point. All right. Well, let's go back to the Default setting here. Now in this Default setting, how then can we begin to work with this? Well, with this image, one of the things that I don't like is the color saturation. I am going to zoom in a bit on it by pressing Command+Plus. So, I am going to go ahead and Desaturate this image. I'll increase my Details. I am going to go ahead and just modify my sliders here a little bit in order to create a little bit of a brighter kind of snappy look here, modifying everything from Exposure to my Shadow, and also the strength of this overall Highlight here.
Well now, at this juncture, I have this pretty punchy look that I have dialed in simply by moving these sliders. The last thing I want to highlight is we can, of course, modify this Curves layer here. I am going to go ahead and darken things up just a bit, bring down my Highlights there as well, in order to just bring those down a touch. All right. Well, now that I made these adjustments, all that I need to do is to simply click OK in order to apply this. Well, because I've done this to a copy version of my image, what I can then do is select the Move tool, hold down the Shift key and drag and drop this onto my image.
Next, I am going to press F to go to fullscreen. Then I am going to zoom in on the image so we can kind of analyze what we have here. All right. Well, now that we are zoomed in, at a pretty good rate, probably right about here, we can turn this layer on and off. So, if we turn it, off we can see the original image, and then I can turn this on to see what actually happened. Well, now at this juncture, this is really where a lot of the Photoshop creativity can begin. I can do some advance Blending here, or Masking, or using Blending modes. I can also simply lower my Opacity.
If this effect I find a bit too strong, I can simply lower this down, let's say something down to about 50 or 40%. Well now, here are before and after. It's just a subtle snap of this type of HDR Toning. So, again, I think the thing to keep in mind is that you can use HDR Toning in a whole wide range of circumstances. The thing that you need to do is to begin to experiment with this tool, and kind of push the envelope a little bit and then eventually scale back and figure out, okay how can I integrate this into my own photography, in a way that the HDR doesn't overpower the image, but rather complements and bring some of the things that are already there kind of out of the photographs in order to create perhaps more compelling and interesting and engaging images?
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