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Adding color without increasing contrast

From: Photoshop CS5: Creative Effects

Video: Adding color without increasing contrast

In this action photo of Travis Brown, one of the best mountain bikers in the world, I want to capture some energy. I wanted the image to be vibrant and alive. And while I like the effect here, because I was using a slow shutter speed and panning. I want more color. So with this photograph, we are going to examine how we can use some color adjustments in order to bring out some of the tone, even when we have a high level of contrast like we have here. Well, for starters we are going to go ahead and click on the Adjustment layer icon, which allows us to increase the Vibrance amount.

Adding color without increasing contrast

In this action photo of Travis Brown, one of the best mountain bikers in the world, I want to capture some energy. I wanted the image to be vibrant and alive. And while I like the effect here, because I was using a slow shutter speed and panning. I want more color. So with this photograph, we are going to examine how we can use some color adjustments in order to bring out some of the tone, even when we have a high level of contrast like we have here. Well, for starters we are going to go ahead and click on the Adjustment layer icon, which allows us to increase the Vibrance amount.

Let's click on that icon and then simply increase the Vibrance. What this will do is it will bring out some of the colors that we may not have noticed, like the blues here, and some of these darker tones and already the image is looking a little better. Next, we will employ one of the techniques we've used previously, which is to click on our Adjustment layer icon and then to choose Curves. Then to change the blending mode, say to Soft Light or Overlay. Now, when we do that, it gives us this great contrast and color saturation. if I exaggerate this by going to Overlay, we can see how those colors are really vibrant and alive.

Yeah, there is an issue, right? The image has become too dense, the blacks are too black. They become mucked up. So this isn't going to work for us. Well fortunately for us there is a great work around and here is what it is. What you can do is apply a particular blending mode say Overlay or Soft Light for that matter. Then merge everything to the topmost layer. To do that, we can use a shortcut. On a Mac, it's Shift+Option+Cmd+E, on Windows Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E. So now here if we turn off these underlying layers, we don't necessarily need those because all of these adjustments are merged to the top.

Let's name this layer Merged. Well, here at this juncture, what we have is the ability to apply another blending mode. One of the blending modes we might want to try is Color. If we go down to Color, what this is going to do is use these vibrant colors that we created with this blending mode down here. We now have lost that contrast. Here is our before and then now our after. If I zoom-in a little bit, perhaps you can see this even better on the helmet, the shirt, and the background.

Here is before, and then after. If we want a bit more, we'll click on that Vibrance control there, and we can even add a little bit more interesting color. The great thing about this is that what we did without really knowing it is we applied two blending modes together. Our first blending mode was Soft Light, we then merged to top, which essentially then removes any blending modes. Next, we used this Color blending mode to push this even further. So this is a great technique especially when you have images like this where you have a lot of contrast.

But where somehow, you want to bring out some of these interesting colors. Let's take a look at our before and after. Here we have it before - this feels a little bit pale - and then after. That has some really nice vibrance and color saturation that makes the image come to life.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5: Creative Effects
Photoshop CS5: Creative Effects

91 video lessons · 32771 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 1m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Using the exercise files
      48s
  2. 25m 0s
    1. Removing an object from its background
      2m 56s
    2. Creating and modifying a shadow
      3m 13s
    3. Modifying a directional shadow
      5m 30s
    4. Removing a model from a white background
      2m 46s
    5. Building a false context
      2m 7s
    6. Adding and modifying shadows
      8m 28s
  3. 22m 42s
    1. Adding illumination to create a glow from within
      4m 10s
    2. Adding light with curves and masking
      3m 43s
    3. Adding light for emphasis
      3m 42s
    4. Improving black-and-white images with curves and masking
      3m 26s
    5. Using Shadow/Highlights to improve exposure
      3m 42s
    6. Correcting an overly backlit photograph
      3m 59s
  4. 28m 12s
    1. Improving sunset colors with color balance
      3m 20s
    2. Using color balance and masking to enhance color
      2m 36s
    3. Creating new and vivid colors
      2m 15s
    4. Using curves, color balance, and blending for best results
      3m 21s
    5. Enhancing colors
      3m 32s
    6. Saturating and desaturating colors for emphasis
      1m 56s
    7. Adding color without increasing contrast
      3m 0s
    8. Improving the impact of color with curves and color balance
      8m 12s
  5. 38m 41s
    1. Creating stunning color with Hue/Saturation and color balance
      6m 16s
    2. Creating an edgy muted and contrast look
      3m 40s
    3. Reducing color for impact
      5m 41s
    4. Enhancing color and creating color variations
      7m 29s
    5. Using Apply Image to create interesting results
      3m 29s
    6. Combining HDR toning with color effects
      5m 52s
    7. Making adjustments with Selective Color
      6m 14s
  6. 34m 23s
    1. Introducing the HDR Toning feature
      4m 44s
    2. Using layer masks and blending with HDR toning
      6m 3s
    3. HDR toning creative effect
      7m 14s
    4. Enhancing a photograph with HDR for black-and-white conversion
      6m 16s
    5. Creating a high key color effect
      5m 52s
    6. Getting an HDR-like effect with the High Pass filter
      4m 14s
  7. 26m 33s
    1. Basic infrared conversion
      5m 50s
    2. Working with infrared presets
      5m 30s
    3. Combining infrared and HDR toning
      7m 41s
    4. Creating infrared with contrast and sharpness
      7m 32s
  8. 16m 17s
    1. Using adjustment layers to create solarization
      2m 56s
    2. Adding creative color and a blur effect
      5m 20s
    3. Experimenting with gradient color and solarization
      2m 44s
    4. Creating a golden solarized effect
      5m 17s
  9. 18m 41s
    1. Creating soft focus with filters and blending
      2m 20s
    2. Using Smart Filters to create soft focus
      2m 15s
    3. Using soft focus without sacrificing color and contrast
      3m 58s
    4. Applying soft focus to skin
      5m 42s
    5. Creating a desaturated soft focus effect
      4m 26s
  10. 17m 52s
    1. Adding grain with Adobe Camera Raw
      6m 24s
    2. Adding grain with the Noise filter
      5m 24s
    3. Adding grain with the Film Grain filter
      6m 4s
  11. 37m 24s
    1. Modifying tone and converting to black and white
      4m 38s
    2. Adding texture with a grocery bag
      9m 38s
    3. Making an image sepia toned
      3m 13s
    4. Adding texture in three different ways
      5m 48s
    5. Adding a subtle vintage color effect
      4m 10s
    6. Creating a vintage color effect
      4m 43s
    7. Creative texture blending
      5m 14s
  12. 23m 37s
    1. Deconstructing the lens blur effect
      6m 23s
    2. The lens blur effect in action
      4m 13s
    3. Applying lens blur with a mask
      4m 49s
    4. Using lens blur in portraits
      3m 25s
    5. Desert fashion project
      4m 47s
  13. 23m 0s
    1. Applying motion blur
      4m 39s
    2. Creating radial zoom blur
      4m 27s
    3. Working with motion blur and masking
      6m 14s
    4. Getting creative with the Radial, Motion, and Lens Flare filters
      3m 21s
    5. Adding color and emphasis
      4m 19s
  14. 18m 15s
    1. Adding graffiti on a single plane
      4m 17s
    2. Adding reflections on multiple planes
      3m 0s
    3. Using Free Transform to create a vanishing point perspective, pt. 1
      4m 46s
    4. Using Free Transform to create a vanishing point perspective, pt. 2
      6m 12s
  15. 17m 40s
    1. Cropping with Abode Camera Raw
      4m 32s
    2. Enhancing the sunrise colors
      5m 18s
    3. Modifying the color and tone of the mountains
      7m 50s
  16. 33m 18s
    1. Hand-painting a border or an edge
      5m 39s
    2. Adding a prebuilt edge
      4m 28s
    3. Working with a real film edge
      7m 57s
    4. Introducing the PhotoFrame plug-in
      5m 21s
    5. Using the PhotoFrame plug-in, pt. 1
      4m 11s
    6. Using the PhotoFrame plug-in, pt. 2
      5m 42s
  17. 41m 48s
    1. Changing color with onOne PhotoTools
      5m 43s
    2. Modifying focus with onOne Focal Point
      3m 56s
    3. Hand painting focus with onOne FocalPoint
      3m 9s
    4. Enhancing color with Nik Color Efex Pro
      9m 27s
    5. Actualizing your vision with Nik Color Efex Pro
      8m 39s
    6. Converting to black and white with Nik Silver Efex Pro
      5m 33s
    7. More black and white options with Nik Silver Efex Pro
      5m 21s
  18. 12m 39s
    1. Finding and installing custom brushes
      4m 33s
    2. Custom brush creativity
      8m 6s
  19. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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