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Another way that we can use Adjustment layers is to use them in combination with masking. And here's where things get really interesting because we can start to paint in adjustments in the particular areas. Like with this photograph here, I like the image. I like how he's riding his bike, and I like the way the road kind of snakes back in the background. I feel like this side of the image is a little bit too dark. Well here's what we could do. We could go ahead and navigate over to the Adjustment layer icon for Brightness and Contrast, and here I'm going to brighten up the image, and add just a little bit of contrast there as I brighten it.
Now as I do that, I notice that this looks pretty good over here, yet the cyclist doesn't look very good. So I need to come up with a way to limit how this adjustment is affecting the image. Well, you'll notice that the Adjustment layers come pre-built with the mask already in them, kind of assuming that you're going to do some masking work. Well, that kind of masking work I'm going to do here is to click in the mask. Then go ahead and choose Black- and-White in the Color Picker. Then I'm going to select the Gradient tool. By default, it will pick up my black-and -white colors that I defined down here.
Next, I'm going to go ahead and click and drag across the image. Now remember with masking, a lot of times when we make an adjustment, we may do something incorrectly. We may do something that's the exact opposite of what we want to do, which is exactly what's happened here. Whenever that happens, we say to ourselves, "no big deal." All that we have to do is press Command+I in a Mac or Ctrl+I on a PC. Well, now I have this nice gradation. Let's take a look. Here's my before and then after, really brightening up this side of the image.
Well if I want to bring this out even further, I could also select my Brush tool and then go ahead and paint with white. Make my brush a little bit bigger, and then lower my Opacity down, somewhere probably about 60%. Then I'm just going to start to paint on this side of the image. I'm going to paint a couple of areas here, just to bring in just a touch more brightness, and then I'll lower my Opacity even further. Paint a little bit more on this side. I'm just looking to try to even things out, just a bit. Now I'm going to increase my Opacity, a little bit more for the face there.
And there we have it. We now have some custom brushing in of Brightness. Let's take a look at the before and after. Here's our before, and then here's our after. All right. Well at this juncture, the only problem that I'm feeling is that this road is a little bit too bright. And this side of the face is actually a little bit too hot, a little bit too bright. Well, let's create another Adjustment layer. Click on the Adjustment Layer icon and choose Brightness/Contrast. This time what we're going to do is darken up a portion of the image. All right.
Well once we've done that, we now know that we don't want this to affect the entire photograph. So we're going to invert the mask. We can do so by going to the Mask panel, then by choosing Invert. In other words, this adjustment is doing absolutely nothing. Now if this masking content that we're talking about is a little bit confusing, I recommend that you jump back to the masking chapter where we've talked about masking a little bit more. Yet, here what we want to do is with our Brush tool and with White selected, we want to reveal some of this darkening effect.
So I'm going to go ahead and paint this into this area here. I'm also going to try to darken up the grass over here just a bit, and then also little bit of this side of the face. I'm just going to go ahead and do a little bit more of this. Making my way through this S turn, increase my Opacity all the way, and then I'm going to double-click this Controller here, and just darken this up a little bit more. Let's take a look at our before and after. Here's before, and then there is after. One of the things that's happened with me here is my brushstrokes weren't perfect.
Well, if ever we need to soften those out, click in your mask. You know about this, right? Go to the Mask panel and then add a Feather to those brush strokes. And what that can do is really soften those edges. So it's a smoother transition over the different areas where you've painted. All right. Well, so far so good. Let's take look at our overall before and after. We can do this by holding down the Option key on the Mac, Alt key on a PC, and then by clicking on the Eye icon of the background layer.
So let's hold down Option or Alt. Click on the Eye icon. There's our before, and there's our after. And as you can see, with a couple of simple adjustment layers and a little bit of masking, we are really able to improve this overall image, and in particular, we're able to focus in on specific areas of the Tone and the Brightness values in order to make this image even stronger.
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