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Adjusting shadows and highlights

From: Photoshop CC Essential Training

Video: Adjusting shadows and highlights

Another powerful adjustment in Photoshop is the ability to adjust your shadows and your highlights within a single adjustment. But if you look at your adjustment panel, you won't see an icon for this and that's because its under the Image menu, you select Adjustments, you can see that there's Shadow Highlights. But if I apply the adjustment here, it's going to be a destructive adjustment. But there's a workaround for that, on my layers panel I'm going to convert my background into a smart object. The easiest way to do that is to right mouse click and then choose Convert to Smart Object. Now when I choose Image and then Adjustments, I can select Shadow Highlights and we can apply this non-destructively.

Adjusting shadows and highlights

Another powerful adjustment in Photoshop is the ability to adjust your shadows and your highlights within a single adjustment. But if you look at your adjustment panel, you won't see an icon for this and that's because its under the Image menu, you select Adjustments, you can see that there's Shadow Highlights. But if I apply the adjustment here, it's going to be a destructive adjustment. But there's a workaround for that, on my layers panel I'm going to convert my background into a smart object. The easiest way to do that is to right mouse click and then choose Convert to Smart Object. Now when I choose Image and then Adjustments, I can select Shadow Highlights and we can apply this non-destructively.

Now, in the Basic mode, we have two sliders. One for the amount for the shadows and one for highlights. The amount slider is kind of like a volume slider as I move this over to the right. We're increasing the amount of change that's being applied to the shadows. In this case it's lightening them. If I use the amount slider under highlights again we're adjusting the volume, but this time we're adjusting how much darker the highlights get. If we choose to show more options, you can see that I also have a Tonal Width and a Radius slider.

I'm going to increase my amount quite a bit, and then we'll use the Tonal Width in order to determine what a shadow is, because if the amount is how much the shadow's being lightened, we need to know what a shadow is. Is a shadow just the very dark areas in your image that are being changed? Or are we going to move this to the right, so that we can change more of our midtone values here? We can always toggle on and off the preview to see the before and after. The radius determines how far out the adjustment should be carried out. That means when Photoshop finds a shadow area, and it applies the amount of lightening to the specific tonal width, how much does it fade or blend out from there? And there's no specific numbers that I can give you here.

You just need to look at your image and make sure that you're getting enough fade so that you can't tell exactly the areas that have been adjusted and those that have not. The highlights have the same options. We have the amount to bring the highlights down. We also have the tonal width, which determines what is a highlight. And see as I move it to the right, it's affecting more of the values closer towards the midtones. I'm going to back off on that, and then we have our radius slider which again you can watch as you drag the slider in your image you can see how it's fading out in different ways.

Here we have a much lower fade so it's not blending out with the surrounding areas. As I move it to the right you can it's almost like it's softening the effect but that's just because it's being faded with more and more pixels. Down below we have two adjustments. Both of these adjustments will be applied after these changes are made. So the color correction if I move to the right. You can see that I can add vibrance. Or we can subtract vibrance. In this case I'm going to leave it set up, maybe around 35. Then we can also choose to increase the midtone contrast if we want to.

Because remember we're taking our highlights and we're bringing them down into our midtone area and at the same time we're taking our shadows and bringing them up into our midtone area. So our images can have a tendency to look really flat. Well, this midtone contrast will allow me to add basically an S curve after the fact to kind of boost that dynamic range again so that we don't get those flat areas. If I tap the P key, we can preview, there's before. And there's after. So you can see I'm really bringing out a lot of detail in that shadow area, and I'm bringing down those highlights so that I'm decreasing the contrast that we had in the before image.

If we liked these settings, you'll notice that there's an option to Save as Default. So, I could save all of these settings as my new defaults if I wanted to. I'll click OK, because we need to take a look at the layers panel. We can see that this does not look like an adjustement layer and that's because it's not. There are a few adjustement that you find under the Image menu that are not actually adjustement layers. And they can't be an adjustement layer for a variety of different reasons. So, the workaround is we converted our background into a Smart Object, and then when we added this adjustment to that Smart Object, Photoshop actually added it as a Smart Filter. And we can see that filter right here.

If we wanted to make a change to the filter all I need to do is double-click where it says Shadow Highlights and that brings up my options. If I wanted to change the blend modes for the opacity for this adjustment I could double-click on the icon to the right of that and you can see I can change those parameters. In addition, the smart filter, the shadow highlight adjustment layer, has its own mask. So if I click on the thumbnail for the smart filter mask and I select my paintbrush by tapping the B key, if I paint with black, and in this case I'd be painting with white, so I want to tap the X key to exchange my foreground and background color. And if I increase my opacity all the way up to 100, now I can isolate the areas that I want Photoshop to apply this shadow highlight adjustment layer by painting.

Because of course anywhere that I paint right now, I would be painting out the effect. We can see that, because I just painted black in my mask, and this mask is showing or hiding this shadow highlight adjustment. Of course, I don't really want that, so I'm going to use a Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z to undo that. And now we can just see the results. If I toggle on or off the eye icon next to shadow highlights, there's the before and after. So that's a great way to quickly bring back a little detail in your shadow areas that are too dark, or your highlight areas that are too light.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC Essential Training
Photoshop CC Essential Training

164 video lessons · 48279 viewers

Julieanne Kost
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 42s
    1. What is Photoshop?
      1m 42s
  2. 4m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      25s
    3. Installing Adobe Bridge
      1m 23s
    4. What's new NEW
      1m 26s
  3. 40m 58s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      3m 3s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      6m 0s
    3. A tour of workspaces in Bridge
      8m 30s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      4m 42s
    5. Changing file names and batch renaming
      4m 39s
    6. Adding basic metadata with metadata templates
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      7m 1s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      2m 17s
  4. 27m 23s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejected images
      5m 32s
    2. Saving images in collections
      3m 52s
    3. Rating and labeling images
      4m 31s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      3m 7s
    5. Using smart collections
      3m 39s
    6. Viewing final selects in a slideshow
      2m 50s
    7. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      3m 52s
  5. 29m 57s
    1. Comparing raw and JPEG files
      5m 5s
    2. Starting in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      4m 1s
    3. Touring the Camera Raw user interface
      5m 29s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      3m 18s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      4m 44s
    6. Choosing output settings
      3m 34s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      3m 46s
  6. 56m 7s
    1. Using the nondestructive Crop tool: Door and window with ramp
      3m 42s
    2. Correcting a tilted horizon line with the Straighten tool
      4m 12s
    3. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      3m 52s
    4. Fixing blown-out highlights UPDATED
      5m 42s
    5. Revealing hidden shadow detail
      4m 36s
    6. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 55s
    7. Correcting lens distortion
      5m 17s
    8. Making perspective corrections to images
      5m 51s
    9. Removing chromatic aberration
      3m 32s
    10. Sharpening details
      7m 23s
    11. Making an average photo great
      6m 5s
  7. 1h 3m
    1. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      5m 39s
    2. Adding a radial gradient
      6m 35s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustment Brush
      11m 19s
    4. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      4m 35s
    5. A quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      7m 49s
    6. Converting to black and white
      3m 17s
    7. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustment tool
      3m 56s
    8. Selective coloring effects with the Adjustment Brush
      5m 56s
    9. Easy sepia and split-tone effects
      4m 11s
    10. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 27s
    11. Adding vignettes and border effects
      4m 24s
    12. Saving variations within a single file with the Snapshot command
      3m 27s
  8. 19m 16s
    1. Copying and pasting settings across files
      1m 52s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      4m 22s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 47s
    4. Saving multiple files in Camera Raw
      3m 36s
    5. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      3m 39s
  9. 27m 6s
    1. Opening files from Bridge
      3m 9s
    2. Customizing the interface in Photoshop UPDATED
      5m 16s
    3. Managing panels
      5m 1s
    4. Switching and saving workspaces
      3m 45s
    5. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 21s
    6. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      6m 34s
  10. 22m 49s
    1. Working with tabbed documents
      2m 51s
    2. Arranging documents
      3m 37s
    3. Stopping Photoshop from tabbing documents
      2m 49s
    4. Panning, zooming, and using the Rotate View tool
      9m 51s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 41s
  11. 26m 19s
    1. Understanding file formats
      8m 26s
    2. Choosing the resolution you need
      5m 15s
    3. Understanding Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      2m 58s
  12. 59m 15s
    1. Using Undo and the History panel
      6m 40s
    2. Using crop options
      4m 20s
    3. Understanding Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 52s
    4. Cropping to the perfect print size
      3m 51s
    5. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      5m 2s
    6. Making the canvas bigger using the Canvas Size command
      4m 57s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      4m 21s
    8. Removing keystoning from buildings
      2m 6s
    9. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
    10. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      8m 29s
    11. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects UPDATED
      3m 56s
    12. Warping images UPDATED
      4m 48s
    13. Preserving important elements with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 49s
  13. 41m 55s
    1. Exploring layer basics UPDATED
      13m 25s
    2. Loading, selecting, and transforming layers UPDATED
      9m 28s
    3. Organizing layers into layer groups
      8m 47s
    4. Merging, rasterizing, and flattening layers
      10m 15s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      11m 41s
    2. Combining selections
      6m 40s
    3. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      7m 40s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool and Refine Edge
      7m 12s
    5. Selecting soft-edged objects using Refine Edge
      9m 28s
    6. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      5m 42s
    7. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      9m 9s
    8. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 55s
    9. Combining multiple exposures with layer masks
      5m 5s
    10. Making selections with Color Range NEW
      5m 17s
    11. Selecting with Focus Mask NEW
      3m 10s
  15. 42m 5s
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      3m 29s
    2. Starting with a preset
      2m 36s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      7m 32s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 7s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      2m 37s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      1m 56s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      5m 39s
    8. Making washed-out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 7s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      3m 32s
    10. Creating traditional darkroom toning effects
      2m 51s
    11. Controlling which layers are affected by an adjustment layer
      3m 49s
    12. Three different ways to add an adjustment layer
      50s
  16. 24m 41s
    1. Adjusting shadows and highlights
      5m 49s
    2. Replacing color using Selective Color
      5m 39s
    3. Using fill layers to create a hand-painted look
      7m 18s
    4. Using a gradient fill layer to add a color wash
      5m 55s
  17. 40m 53s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Healing Brush and Patch tools
      10m 21s
    2. A quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      3m 4s
    3. Making teeth bright and white
      2m 47s
    4. Brightening eyes, to make a person appear more alert
      6m 31s
    5. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 53s
    6. De-emphasizing wrinkles with the Healing Brush
      1m 53s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify UPDATED
      5m 6s
    8. Removing unwanted details with Content-Aware Fill UPDATED
      6m 18s
  18. 22m 47s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      5m 50s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      6m 21s
    3. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      4m 3s
    4. Working with bracketed exposures (HDR)
      6m 33s
  19. 1h 0m
    1. Overview of filters UPDATED
      3m 3s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters UPDATED
      5m 56s
    3. Straightening images using the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
      5m 28s
    4. Creating a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      3m 23s
    5. Creating an infrared look with Diffuse Glow
      5m 4s
    6. Adding noise with the Add Noise filter
      7m 7s
    7. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen
      7m 22s
    8. Giving an image texture with the Texturizer filter
      1m 53s
    9. Using the Field, Iris, and Tilt-Shift Blurs UPDATED
      6m 9s
    10. Using the Spin and Path Blurs NEW
      7m 38s
    11. Applying the Camera Raw filter
      2m 48s
    12. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      4m 11s
  20. 24m 3s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      5m 24s
    2. Scanning or photographing paper to add a deckled edge
      4m 55s
    3. Adding texture with blend modes
      1m 58s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      5m 57s
    5. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      2m 49s
    6. Adding a realistic off-center vignette
      3m 0s
  21. 35m 37s
    1. Exploring character (point) type UPDATED
      11m 58s
    2. Adding paragraph (area) type
      4m 7s
    3. Adding type on a path
      7m 3s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      3m 41s
    5. Warping type
      2m 36s
    6. Defining character and paragraph styles
      6m 12s
  22. 24m 13s
    1. Using the shape tools
      13m 45s
    2. Custom shape layers
      6m 15s
    3. Adding a keyline to an image
      4m 13s
  23. 24m 48s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      8m 57s
    2. Adding edges, textures, and color overlays using styles
      5m 11s
    3. Creating a transparent logo or watermark
      4m 46s
    4. Knowing how and when to scale layer effects
      5m 54s
  24. 11m 43s
    1. Creating contact sheets
      4m 29s
    2. Creating PDF presentations
      3m 25s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 49s
  25. 23m 9s
    1. Working with video clips
      12m 14s
    2. Adding special effects to video files
      5m 56s
    3. Adding pans and zooms to still images
      4m 59s
  26. 1m 4s
    1. Next steps
      1m 4s

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