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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Here we're going to take a look at another filter which allows us to add and remove light in a fascinating way. So let's copy the background layer of this portrait of Shawn Stussy, the mastermind behind the clothing brands Stussy. Let's go ahead and name this new layer, light. Next we'll navigate to our Filter pulldown menu, and here what we're going to choose is Render and then Lighting Effects. This will open up our Lighting Effects dialog, and we have a number of different options and also some controls over here on the right.
Typically, what I find is helpful to do is to click and drag to expand this, so that we can see all the options in the Properties panel. Next in order to get familiar with how to work with this whole dialog, you may want to go to these presets. By selecting some of these presets, you'll start to see how you can add lights which have different colors. You can also add lights which are directional, or you can have multiple lights which shine up or down. You can then click into these and move these around as you can see that I'm doing here, by simply changing the position of these various lights.
Well in order to keep things simple, I'm going to go down to Soft Omni, because what I want to do with this image is I want to bring more focus to his face and darken the edges a little bit. Now this is overdone, so I'm going to change the way that this works, and we can change this of course, by moving over to the edge here. We can scale the area that we were focusing in on, and as we've seen before, we can use these controls or these sliders as well. Well before we get that far, what I am going to do is change my overall ambient lighting.
I'm going to click and drag this all the way up, and then I'm going to drag my Intensity slider all the way down, or actually I don't need to go all the way down, just to the middle there. I don't need negative intensity. The reason why I'm doing this is, with the Ambience all the way up, when we click our Preview, you're seeing nothing right. We're not doing anything. Yet here, we could start to darken that just a little bit, and then we could start to brighten the face. As I do that, you can see how more light is being brought into this area of the picture. If I want less reach or this to be tighter or smaller, I can then decrease that size.
So it's really just on his face and by changing this, we can now see that what's happening is we're brightening up this part of the image. Well after we have this brightening effect, we can then control some other characteristics of the way that the light is coming in. Either making that have more Gloss or Metallic type of the feel, we can make this softer or harder. Now with the Ambience I'm going to go ahead and decrease that a little bit more, and really what I'm trying to highlight here is how you're using your Ambience and then your Intensity sliders together, in order to try to find the sweet spot for how you can change the mood of the image.
Here click on the Preview icon. Here's before and now after, and I don't know so much if this is really mood as it is direction or the way that a viewer appreciates an image. By having this light source a little bit higher, the focus isn't necessarily down below on his arms, it's more on his face. Let me exaggerate this a little bit more, just so that we can see how this could work. I'll go ahead and bring that up there, and then I'll click OK in order to apply this. This will then render that on this layer, and if we click on the eye icon, we can see here's our before and now here's our after, much more light in this area.
When I work with this filter myself, what I find is helpful to do is to almost overexaggerate it a little bit, and then once I get back the Layers panel, to lower my Opacity. The reason why I find that to be helpful is because sometimes, inside of that dialog with all of those overlays, it's just hard to see. Or in other situations what you can do is leave this all the way up and than click on the Add layer Mask icon. Next, double-click your mask and choose Invert. That will hide all of that brightening effect.
Then in order to have more precise control to paint with light, you can choose your brush and the color white and then go ahead and increase your brush size by pressing the Right Bracket key, lower the Opacity here, and just start to paint this in. And you can see, in this case what I'm doing is, just bringing a little bit of that brightness up to this upper part of the image. And so I'm using this in a sense as a way to kind of light a photograph, like I would with studio lights or reflectors, and by integrating masks into our approach, well it gives us just this precise control about how and where we want this light to show up.
In this case, now all that it's doing is just brightening up the subjects face, and it's just kind of a curious way to make an adjustment like that. Now there are other ways to make adjustments like this with Selections, Curves, and Masks excreta. It's just that Render > Lighting Effects, well it helps us to think about things in regards to as if it were an actual light source. And by thinking about it that way, sometimes it can help us clarify the vision for a photograph and also to come up with some creative ways to process and edit our photographs.
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