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With this image, we're going to take a look at how we can reshape or add dimension to our photographs by paying attention to light, and by bringing out the highlights, or by darkening the shadows. And you know, there are so many different techniques that we can use to do this. We could use the Burn and Dodge tools, or we could create a new layer, change the blending mode to Soft Light, then paint with black or white, or we could use Curves, and that's a technique that I want to highlight here. So let's go ahead and click on the adjustment layer icon for Curves. We're going to create an initial darkening adjustment; just click and drag that midpoint down.
Then we'll go over to the mask options here, and we'll click Invert to conceal all of that darkening effect. In order to add more dimension, we'll select our Brush tool, we'll paint with white, and we'll decrease our Opacity to something less than 50%. I'm going to try about 25% there; see how that works. Next we want to change our Brush size, so that it's a nice small brush. Actually, I'm going to take this down even further, now that I'm thinking about; I'm going to go down to 15. Whenever you're working with light, I like to start really low. What I'm going to do here is just paint along the edge of the shadows.
In doing this, we can start to darken those shadows. So wherever you see a shadow, again, just kind of follow it. And in this case, I'm going to go back and forth over these shadow areas. If we want to look at more dramatic results, we can increase the Opacity there, and here I'll crank it up, just so you can start to see how this is going to look. Also, we can always back off our brush strokes, as we'll do in a minute, and as we've done a lot in this training title by using that Feather amount. That Feather kind of saves the day in a lot of ways.
So here, we are just going to go ahead and follow some of these shadows, trying to add a bit of dimension or shape to our photograph. And this is a picture of a world-class athlete. What I want to do is just draw out some of the muscles there; the guy is incredibly strong. Here's our before, and then here's the after. Well, right now it looks kind of sketchy, or sloppy. Increase the Feather amount; that, then, will allow us to soften all of those edges, and now it looks like natural light. Here is before, and then here's after. Well next, we may want to brighten a few of the highlights, so click on the adjustment layer icon, click and drag up a bit, and then Invert the mask; same thing. And then here, with our Brush tool, we'll go ahead and start to paint over some of the highlights.
We're just painting with white wherever we see a highlight, and by doing this, by increasing the whites, and then darkening the blacks, again, you're just adding a bit more dimension to the photograph. Anywhere where you think this might help out, we can go ahead and paint across any of those highlights that we're seeing, and here I'm just going to add a few more down there. I'm going to press the 4 button on the keyboard to increase the Opacity, realizing that I need to crank this up a little bit more in order to add even more to this effect here. All right. Well let's take a look at how this one is doing.
If we click on the eye icon again, we can see that before and after. Brush strokes are a little bit too strong, but we will decrease those by increasing that Feather amount, and then if we turn on and off the visibility of these two layers, you can see that before, and then now the after. You can use this technique in so many different situations, whether you're working on someone's face, or body, or you just want to change dimension. Again, draw or bring out those shadows in order to add more dimension, or lessen them to decrease dimension.
So it works in both situations. And again, I like using Curves because of the built-in flexibility. We can simply add Feather, or change that really quickly. We don't have to go to another filter, and apply a Gaussian Blur; we can just do all of this right here. Also, if ever we need to make color adjustments to any of these areas, we can always go back to the curve, and work in the different channels to make any needed adjustments.
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