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Filters are a part of Adobe Photoshop often misused or overlooked by designers. Author Nigel French teaches a creative approach to filters, explaining how to combine them both with other filters and with the Photoshop masking and blending tools for maximum visual impact. Plus, learn how to use filter blending modes, filter masks, and how to stack filters to create unique filter combinations.
I'd like to thank my friend Tom Good on Staton Island for showing me this technique. This technique of solarizing the image does not use the solarize filter. The solarize filter, which is part of the stylize group offers no options whatsoever. You get what you are given and you can achieve a much better solarization effect by using adjustment layers A solarized image is one where part, usually about half of the tonal range, is reversed or made negative.
If we wanna compare the result of our custom solarization with applying the Solarize filter, to the same image, we can turn on this layer group here where you can see, I have applied that filter. And that's what it would look like. Rather flat and uninteresting, I think, by comparison. I'm gonna switch now to the starting state of the file. It begins its life as a color image. You can apply Solarization to color images. But I think the effect is more dramatic and overall more pleasing when applied to a monochromatic image. So for that reason, first thing I'm going to do, is apply a black and white adjustment layer.
Next thing I'm going to do is apply a levels adjustment layer, with which I'm going to boost the contrast. So this is probably going to work best on a somewhat overexposed image. So I'm bringing the white point towards the center, and also getting on the gray point and moving that to the left. And then finally, and this really is the punchline, I'm going to apply a curves adjustment. Down here I have my shadows and up here I have my highlights. This now needs to become a bell shaped curve.
So I'm going to drag that all the way down like so to flatten it out completely - results in a black image. But now from the mid-point, I will add an anchor point. and I will pull that up. Now, just how far I pull that up is entirely up to me. And that's where we get to exercise our creative control here. Control that we just do not have with the solarized filter. So I can put it up as high or leave it down as low as I want and I'm going to go to about there I can also since I've applied these changes as adjustment layers come and dial in the exact amount of contrast that I want.
I decide that maybe I don't want to move the gray point slider all the way to the left after all because it looks really interesting, I think, with this particular image when I move it back a little bit towards the right. So you have a lot of creative control, creatove control that you just do not get using the solarized filter
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