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Adding light with an elliptical selection, a mask, and an adjustment layer

From: Photoshop for Photographers: Lighting Effects

Video: Adding light with an elliptical selection, a mask, and an adjustment layer

In this movie we will continue our conversation about how we can improve the

Adding light with an elliptical selection, a mask, and an adjustment layer

In this movie we will continue our conversation about how we can improve the lighting and the color in our photographs, by working with adjustment layers and masks. We'll be working with this cute photograph of my youngest daughter Elsie all bundled up for the snow. And here, I'm going to zoom in on the picture a little bit. And what I want to do with this photograph is I want to brighten up the light here on her face and perhaps a little bit on her ski jacket and gloves as well. And this time, rather than beginning by creating the adjustment layer, we're going to begin by building a selection.

So let's go ahead and navigate to the tools panel. And here, we'll select a tool which will allow us to create a selection. Let's use the Elliptical Marquee tool. Now once you've chosen that tool, you can choose to add a feather edge to the selection. Whenever you're working with light or lighting your photographs in Photoshop, it's always a good idea to increase the feather amount. Here I'm going to bring this up to about seven or eight or nine or maybe even ten pixels. Next let's go ahead and click and drag to create a shape over the image. If, when you click and drag, it's in the wrong position.

Hold your cursor button down, press the Spacebar key and then click and drag that around. You can re position the selection. And here basically, I just want to select her cute little face there. And then, let go. Now once you've made a selection, like we've done here, what we can do next is create an adjustment layer, and if you've added a selection, and then if you create an adjustment layer, it will come with a built-in mask as you can see here, and the mask has an area which is black, and another area which is white.

Whatever was selected is white, that is where you will reveal the adjustment, whatever is black, that will conceal or hide the adjustment. So that now, if we go ahead and increase the brightness of that area, you can see how we're primarily just affecting that little area in the Photograph. And the great thing about this is it allows us to quickly just brighten up a little area of the picture. We can also modify the color in this area as well, here let's go to the pull down menu as we've seen before we can go to channels like the red channel, and I'll just click and drag this up a little bit to add a touch of red to that area.

We can also go down to the blue yellow channel and we'll add a little bit of yellow as well. Looks like I added too much red. So I'll go back to the red channel and just bring that down. You have to be careful when you're working with color, don't you? Alright, well just a little bit of red there, I think looks kind of fun. It makes her look a little bit healthier. Alright, well next we can then go to the tab here for the mask. And on this tab, we can increase the feather amount even more if we want to soften the edges that we added with that selection. We can also decrease the density.

That will have this effect show up a little bit more in the background. So here, we have this effect which is primarily lighting up the face, but it's also affecting other areas of the photograph as well. If we want to hand paint on this mask, we can always do so. Just grab your brush tool, here we'll choose white as the color that we'll paint with. I will decrease the brush size here a touch. Make sure there's 0% hardness, and then I'll also decrease my opacity. I'll bring this down to about 20%. I'm just going to paint a little bit over the ski jacket and ski pants here.

Just a paint and a touch of this effect in these areas. So we can always take this further by hand painting on the mask, as we've done here, so that we have this effect, which started out with making a selection. We then created the adjustment layer, and then we further customized that mask using all of the techniques that we've already discussed. In this case, it really helps out this photograph and it helps to make Elsie look even cuter, if that's possible. Yet more importantly, this has helped us or it's given us some insight into another way that we can have some control over how we improve the lighting and the color, in our photographs.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Photographers: Lighting Effects
Photoshop for Photographers: Lighting Effects

45 video lessons · 6730 viewers

Chris Orwig

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  1. 1m 35s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 33m 54s
    1. Using the Basic panel to change the lighting
      5m 28s
    2. Creating a more expressive photograph with Camera Raw
      4m 24s
    3. Correcting under- and overexposure
      5m 21s
    4. Improving the color of light on a group of photos
      5m 6s
    5. Enhancing the quality and color of light
      4m 31s
    6. Using the Radial filter to improve light in certain areas
      4m 4s
    7. Improving larger areas with the Gradient tool
      5m 0s
  3. 21m 59s
    1. Changing the quantity and quality of light with adjustments
      7m 2s
    2. Using multiple adjustment to improve light and color
      4m 7s
    3. Using the Targeted Adjustment tool in Curves
      1m 58s
    4. Improving the color of light
      3m 19s
    5. Using the Shadows and Highlights controls
      5m 33s
  4. 40m 57s
    1. Painting in brightness with curves and masking
      5m 36s
    2. Fine-tuning the mask with the Density and Feather controls
      7m 39s
    3. Adding light with an elliptical selection, a mask, and an adjustment layer
      3m 56s
    4. Darkening the sky with Quick Select and Curves
      6m 33s
    5. Using gradient masks to improve large areas of your photo
      5m 40s
    6. Correcting exposure with a gradient mask
      2m 37s
    7. Improving a portrait with curves and masks
      4m 12s
    8. Speeding up your workflow by using a mask on two layers
      4m 44s
  5. 31m 28s
    1. Increasing visual interest with Soft Light blending
      3m 6s
    2. Soft Light blending: Recovering detail
      4m 0s
    3. Fine-tuning Soft Light blending with advanced Curves adjustments
      4m 55s
    4. Using Screen blending to fix underexposure
      3m 0s
    5. Brightening with blending modes and masking
      3m 49s
    6. Using Multiply blending to fix overexposure
      5m 32s
    7. Combining techniques to achieve the best results
      3m 37s
    8. Changing brightness with Luminosity blending
      3m 29s
  6. 42m 54s
    1. Working with the Burn and Dodge tools
      7m 54s
    2. Brightening by painting on a new layer
      4m 52s
    3. Darkening by painting on a new layer
      5m 8s
    4. Using a Solid Color adjustment layer to burn and dodge
      6m 46s
    5. Improving a portrait by brightening shadows
      5m 5s
    6. Burning and dodging by painting with color
      7m 19s
    7. Darkening the background and fine-tuning the color
      5m 50s
  7. 41m 48s
    1. Introducing Lighting Effects
      8m 7s
    2. Working with Smart Objects
      5m 7s
    3. Adding light and color
      3m 40s
    4. Using multiple lights with one photograph
      5m 52s
    5. Adding light and multiple colors for a creative effect
      5m 42s
    6. Creating an edgy, illuminated look
      5m 32s
    7. Using Lighting Effects to create a surreal effect
      7m 48s
  8. 36s
    1. Next steps

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