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Applying selective effects

From: Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop

Video: Applying selective effects

In this lesson we'll focus our attention on targeted effects. We'll add a Targeted Adjustment as well as a Targeted Filter, utilizing layer masks in both cases to apply the effects only where we want them. I'd like to start off by converting the church in the foreground here to a black and white version. Of course, part of what I like about the image is, the complementary colors of blue and yellow. But I think it might be more interesting, and the sky might have more impact, if we reduce the color in the church. So, I'm going to create a selection of the church, but actually it's much easier in this case, to first create a selection of the sky and then invert it. So, I'll choose my Magic Wand tool from the toolbox, and then I'll click within the sky and Shift-click in a few areas in order to add to the selection, until I have a selection of the entire sky.

Applying selective effects

In this lesson we'll focus our attention on targeted effects. We'll add a Targeted Adjustment as well as a Targeted Filter, utilizing layer masks in both cases to apply the effects only where we want them. I'd like to start off by converting the church in the foreground here to a black and white version. Of course, part of what I like about the image is, the complementary colors of blue and yellow. But I think it might be more interesting, and the sky might have more impact, if we reduce the color in the church. So, I'm going to create a selection of the church, but actually it's much easier in this case, to first create a selection of the sky and then invert it. So, I'll choose my Magic Wand tool from the toolbox, and then I'll click within the sky and Shift-click in a few areas in order to add to the selection, until I have a selection of the entire sky.

Notice that I'm working with the Contiguous option turned off, so that I can include the Discontiguous areas of sky in my selection. I'll then choose Select > Inverse from the menu. So my selection now includes only the church, and I'm going to apply some adjustments, and in fact, multiple adjustments. So rather than just adding an Adjustment layer and having that Adjustment layer mask based on the selection, I'm first going to add a layer group. I'll click on the Create Layer Group button, the small folder icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. And then I will add a layer mask to this layer group so that the layer group is masked, based on the current selection.

I can now add adjustments and they will be placed inside this layer group since it's active, and those adjustments will then only affect the area that I had selected. The church in this case, because the layer mass attached to the layer group will constrain the visibility of everything inside that layer group. So I'll go ahead and choose Black and White, for example. And I could apply some refinements there if I'd like. And I'll also add a Curves Adjustment. And maybe increase contrast just a little bit for the church. There.

That's looking a little bit more interesting. So, once again, you can see that the layer mask attached to my layer groups identifies the church as the only area to be affected. And so my Adjustment Layers contained inside that layer group will only affect the church. I actually think that I'd like to reduce the opacity of my Black and White adjustment so that a little bit of the color shows through. So I'll click on the Black and White Adjustment layer on the Layers panel and then adjust the opacity setting just a little bit, I'm only going to reduce it a tiny bit.

So that we can see a hint of yellow coming through there. That looks to be pretty good. And now I'd like to apply a filter effect to the background image, to the sky. I'll go ahead and click on my Background Image layer, and I will choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters. And click OK to confirm that I want to convert my Background Image layer into a smart object, and now I can apply some filters to my image. I'll go ahead and choose Filter > Filter gallery from the menu to bring up the Filter gallery. Let's see, we're starting with Plastic Wrap and Ocean Ripple, and that's certainly interesting, but let's take a look at what else might be possible. I think I'll move plastic wrap to the top of the stack, and then change it to perhaps under painting.

Maybe we'll make the ocean ripple just a little bit more dramatic, there. The point is, that I can apply a variety of different effects if I'd like. And maybe take a look at dry brush, now I like ocean ripple more there. But I might take a look at some of the other filters just to see what's possible, what sort of interpretation I might like to apply to the image. And once I'm happy with the result, I think this'll be just fine. I can click the OK button to apply the filter. But of course, the filter effect has affected the entire image, and that's because the layer mask for my Smart Filters is filled with white.

White reveals on a layer mask, and so we're revealing the filter effect for the entire image. But I can add black to the layer mask for my Smart Filters effect, in order to have the filters only applied to a portion of the image. And I can actually use my existing layer mask as the basis of the Smart Filters mask. I'll go ahead and hold the Ctrl key on Windows or Cmd key on Macintosh while clicking on the layer mask for my layer group. That will load the layer mask as a selection. I'll then click on the layer mask associated with my Smart Filters to make it active, and choose Edit > Fill from the menu, in order to fill the selected area of the layer mask. In this case I want to fill it with black, so that the filter effect is not visible in that selected area.

So I'll go ahead and click OK in order to fill the layer mask in the selected area with black. And you can see that now the church is not affected by the filter effect. I'll choose Select > Deselect to deselect my selection. And you can see more clearly now that we've applied a series of adjustments that only affect the church. And then applied a Smart Filter that affects only the sky. And at any time, of course, I can refine both the layer masks and the filter effects, or the Adjustment Layers, in order to fine tune the result.

Layer masks, combined with both Adjustment Layers and image layers, open up some tremendous, creative potential for your images. In this lesson we've combined both to produce an interpretation of the original photo.

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Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop

31 video lessons · 735 viewers

Tim Grey
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