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Here I am going to use a gradient map to unify the colors in a composite image. And what we have, and let's click at the Layers panel, I am going to break it down. We have got this background sky; on top of that we have this image of the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo Texas. It has a layer mask applied to it so without that layer mask, there is the original sky. So I felt the original sky was just not interesting enough, applied a layer mask to it, allowing us to see the more dramatic sky beneath.
And then what I did was applied a gradient map. Because I wanted to tie everything together, it looks too disorganized if you like at the moment. I needed to unify the colors, so I applied a Gradient Map and I didn't like the result of that because it makes everything look for very flat. So in order to get an even distribution of the colors, of the Gradient Map, because what the Gradient Map does is it maps the colors in the gradient and if we have a look at the Gradient Map, these are the colors that I am using.
It maps these colors to specific tonal regions of the image. Now at the moment, there is too much color in the shadow area. That's because if we look at the Histogram of the image, that's where all the information is. It's this dark color that is gloaming on to all of these shadow areas. And we are not seeing any of the lighter color applied to the highlight areas, because they're none. So if we go back to the Layers panel, I address that problem by merging these two layers into one and then applying the equalize adjustment to them, and that's the end result that we get.
So let me now just switch over to our starting point. And I will run you through those steps. So I have got the two lawyers selected and I am going to hold down Command+Option+Shift and press the E key or Ctrl+Alt+shift+E and that's going to merge those two layers into one. And then anticipating the problem, before it even happen I am going to go to Adjustments and Equalize. And let's just look at the Histogram at the moment and then we'll see how that is changed when I apply the Equalize command.
And now, I'm going to add the Gradient Map. And the Gradient Map is in the adjustment layer, and of course, we need to change the colors of the Gradient Map, so I am going to click on it. That takes me to my Gradient Editor. And it's currently using a Foreground to Background, which is not what we wanted; I am just going to put in exactly the colors that I used before. Of course, use any colors that you like, but so that I can replicate the example, I am going to use the same. So I am going to click on my Color Stop on the left-hand side of the gradient.
This is going to apply to the shadow areas, click on my Color Swatch, and then the color that I am after is Red 26, Green 13, and Blue 13. Click OK. And then I am going to add a Color Stop at Location 50% and the color that I want here is Red 102, Green 76, Blue 51.
And then finally, the ending Color Stop, Red 128, Green 128, Blue 64 and there is our end result. So just to summarize, we've applied Gradient Map to unify the colors in this composition, and so that we get an even distribution of the colors in the Gradient Map across the composition, I've applied the Equalize command.
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