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With this photograph we are going to explore how we can create a high key intriguing color and tone creative effect by using HDR Toning and also some blending modes and adjustment layers. Well let's start off by duplicating the file. We can be so by choosing Image and then Duplicate. Here we'll simply click OK in order to have another version of this document. Next step, navigate to image. Here we are going to choose Adjustments and HDR Toning. Now, with the HDR Toning, what we want to do is we want to increase some detail.
So I am going to go ahead and crank up this Detail slider here. I am also going to zoom in on the image. Now when I zoom in on the image, one of the things that we'll notice is that some of the times what happens is when you increase the Detail you see too much detail in skin tone variation, as you can see here. So we can see that again I am kind of bringing that out. Well, to correct that and in order to create this high key effect, we are just going to increase the Exposure. So essentially, we are going to brighten this up and as we brighten that up, we are going to see that we are going to lose detail in these areas. Well what about this color? Well, here what we'll do is simply Desaturate all the way.
We're simply going to use a Black & White Adjustment layer. Next, we can control the Gamma as well as needed and here you can see we can control this to bring in more or less detail there. Next, let's work on that Edge Glow and find just a nice spot for this, bringing out a lot of really nice detail there, we are looking at the hair, the eyes, the face, and I think that looks pretty good. Let's click OK. Well, what can we do next? Well, next what we might want to do is use one of our Burn or Dodge tools. In this case we'll use the Dodge tool, we are going to go ahead and work on our Midtones, lower the Exposure here, and I'll increase my brush size and all that I am going to do is just start to brighten up some of these tones.
I just want to make this even more white. We are going to do this just to reduce any skin variation that we are noticing that might take away from the overall effect that we're going for, because we want to have a really nice high key look, in this case, we want all of the skin to be pretty white. All right, so we are just going to dodge away some of those variations, just painting over this, slowly building up that effect. I think that looks pretty good. Next step, grab the Move tool, push this one over a little bit, hold down the Shift key and then click and drag and drop to bring in the HDR Toned image into the original file.
Here, we'll simply rename this layer HDR Toning. Let's press F to go to Full Screen View mode and what we are going to do next is we are going to apply a Blending mode, and the Blending mode we are going to use is Soft Light. Soft Light blending mode allows us to bring in the contrast and detail of HDR Toning, but at the same time give us that muted interesting contrast look. Let's examine this one, here we have it before and then after. Let's zoom in a little bit more on the image, so we can see how the detail looks, again before and then after.
At this juncture, we want to evaluate the face, make sure there isn't any exaggerated detail there. This is looking really nice, really smooth, really high key, wonderful. Next step is going to be to create an Adjustment layer. Here we are going to choose Curves. What we will do is simply add a contrast curve, brightening things up, then also darkening up our shadows a little bit here as well. Now a lot of times when you create S curves or when you create this type of contrast, as I exaggerate this, you can see that the edges are becoming really red. Well, if ever you don't want such a strong color effect, simply change this Blending mode to Luminosity.
Now the color effect will still be there but it won't be so prominent. Take a look. There is the before and after and then there is with Luminosity and then there's without Luminosity. Again you can see how it's affecting that color in some pretty drastic ways. Well, in this case this adjustment is way too strong but I was doing that to illustrate how we can modify this without overdoing that Color Saturation. Well, let's zoom out and see how we are doing with this high key aesthetic. Here we have our overall before and then our after. So far, so good.
Once again, I just want to evaluate this layer by layer. All right! Well, the last thing I want to do is bring out just a little bit more of the red in the garment. So to do this, we'll click on our Adjustment layer icon. Here we'll choose Curves. We'll go ahead and make a Curves Adjustment, darkening things up a bit, and then we'll go into our Mask panel. In our Mask panel we are going to use Color Range. In this case, we can sample this color, hold down the Shift key and click and drag over this and as we do that, we can see that we can build up the selection. The great thing about this is we can also select the lips as well.
You can see it's bringing in some of those tones. We just want to go through this and work on this Mask to add these details here. Lowering the range will bring in less of that background in there as well. I am holding down the Shift key, clicking and dragging across the garment here. I think that's pretty good. Let's click OK. All right! Well now we have this adjustment, before and then after, which allows us to target those reds and really bring out that nice vibrant red, which seems like for a high key look, we really need that. All right! Well, let's evaluate the overall before and after. Here we have it: before and then after, creating this high key creative effect by using HDR Toning and then Soft Light blending which we did here on this layer, and then also using a Curves Adjustment simply to boost the overall contrast and brightness of the image.
We change that Blending mode to Luminosity, so that we didn't bring in anymore color, so we have this nice, limited color palette here. Then finally, we made one more curves adjustment where we limited this to a particular area of the image, by creating a mask with Color Range. All right! One last look on this one: before and then let's zoom in a little bit, and then here we can see the after. Good work!
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