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Creating a soft contrast effect

From: Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

Video: Creating a soft contrast effect

As you're starting to discover, you can use and apply Filters in order to come up with some really creative effects. You know this point I should also point out that there are filters which help you make corrections, whether that's to reduce noise or to sharpen your image, or to correct distortion. Well we'd be covering those other filters in different chapters. Yet here, we're going to focus in on how we can get creative with these different filters. And in this movie, rather than using Smart Filters, what I want to do is simply duplicate my Background layer a few times.

Creating a soft contrast effect

As you're starting to discover, you can use and apply Filters in order to come up with some really creative effects. You know this point I should also point out that there are filters which help you make corrections, whether that's to reduce noise or to sharpen your image, or to correct distortion. Well we'd be covering those other filters in different chapters. Yet here, we're going to focus in on how we can get creative with these different filters. And in this movie, rather than using Smart Filters, what I want to do is simply duplicate my Background layer a few times.

To do that, press Command+J twice on the Mac or Ctrl+J a few times on Windows. I'll go ahead and rename these layers. I'll name this top one, b1 and then the underlying one b2, for blur1 or blur2. I just want to start to showcase some of the different blur effects which we can apply. To do that, click on one of those layers and then go to your Filter pulldown menu, and then select Blur. As we've seen, there's blur which allows us to kind of soften everything in the image. There also are different types of blur as well.

One that I want to highlight is this one here which is called Radial. Radial allows us to create a blur which is either a spin effect, as you can see here, or a zoom effect. By doing this, we can then re-center where this area or where this blur is going to focus in on. You can also control the overall amount of the blur. In order to make it less subtle, we can decrease the amount. Well here what I wanted to do is, to kind of zoom in on the picture. To apply this, just click OK. Now when you're working with the layer, especially with the blur like this, sometimes you won't nail it.

Notice that it's zooming into the sail. I want it to zoom in on the subject. Well how can we then undo that and reapply the filter when we're going for this a layered approach. Well if you're doing that, you can undo by pressing Command+Z on a Mac, or Ctrl+Z on Windows. Then if you go to your Filter pulldown menu, it will show you the last filter which you applied, it was Radial Blur. You could reopen that filter by pressing a shortcut. The shortcut is Command+Option+F on a Mac or Ctrl+Alt+F on Windows, and by pressing the shortcut, it will reopen that dialog of the last filter that you used.

In this case, I can then reposition this down here and then go ahead and click OK in order to apply that. So it's now zooming in on the subject. Let me show you or tell you, I should say, those shortcuts again. You press Command or Ctrl+Z, then you press Command+Option+F on a Mac or Ctrl+Alt+F on Windows. That reopens the last blur which you've applied. Again, giving you a lot of flexibility, when you're working with this a layered approach, so that you can dial in just the right amount of blur. Well here with a picture like this, which is kind of dream like, this blur is kind of interesting.

It adds something to the photograph and it changes the overall mood and really what we're communicating with this image. Well let's look at yet another type of blur. To do that, we'll just turn off the visibility of this layer, and then target the other layer, b2, blur2. For this one, we're going to go to Filter and then Blur and this time I want to navigate to Field Blur. These three blurs Field, Iris, and Tilt, they're fascinating. Let's start off with Field. What you'll find here is that now you have even more precise control, and you'll be able to see a big preview of your image, rather than that small little dialog that I was trying to use to figure out the zoom.

Well here I can see the whole image, and there is this heads-up display icon here, which I can then move around. If I click-and-drag this, say to the front of the image, I can then control the overall blur that we're seeing in the entire picture. Yet, I can also add another point, say for the subject. And on this other point you can either click-and- 1drag on this icon or on the slider, and you can see that I can remove the blur from this particular person here, so that it's blurry in the front of the picture, but it's not blurry in the back of the picture.

We can set multiple points by simply clicking. You can see that as I'm doing that, I'm really kind of creating this circular blur effect, so that all around the subject, everything is blurred except for this particular part of the picture. Now what's interesting about this is that this allows us to create a blur effect, which we couldn't really have created on camera, or we couldn't have created any other way without a lot of steps. If we zoom in on it, you can see how the blur is right here. To reactivate one of these areas, we'll just click on it and you can move that.

You can see how it's kind of pushing off these other blur effects and creating that different shape. You can also have multiple subjects that are in focus. Here I can go up to the top of the sail, say and click to add a point and then bring in some focus to this area, so that now I have the sail and also the subject in focus. In a sense, it's almost like you're able to bend focus a little bit. You can come up with, as I mentioned before, these just really imaginative or creative results.

Well what I find is in this dialog while it allows me all of this flexibility, the one thing I find distracting are all of these little icons. To hide those, press the H key. That allows you to view your image without any of those controls on it, in order to evaluate if you've made some changes which are good. Another great way to evaluate your file is to click on the Preview button. By doing so, you can see that overall before and then now after. Well after you've dialed in, what type of blur or focus you want, in order to apply this just click OK and it will then apply or render that effect on this other layer, so that we can see that effect here.

Here it is, we can click this on or off. Here's our before and after. There's one blur option or here is another blur option, and by using multiple layers like this, well in a sense we still have flexibility. If ever we want to apply a Blending mode to one of these layers, like we did with Smart Filters in the previous movie, we'll just go down and choose that blending mode. If you want to change the opacity or create a mask again you can do that. So you can do the same things that you do with Smart Filters on layers.

Again, really it's just a preference in regards to your overall workflow. All right! Well now that I've showcased these two different types of blurs, I want to dig deeper into a couple other filters, and so let's continue to talk about how we can work with filters, and let's go ahead and do that in the next few movies.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Photographers
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

173 video lessons · 26696 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 1m 43s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      45s
  2. 11m 49s
    1. Ideas for how to learn Photoshop more effectively
      4m 25s
    2. Isolating what you've learned and taking quality notes
      3m 53s
    3. Getting creative and being ready to be surprised
      3m 31s
  3. 38m 57s
    1. Customizing the Bridge workspace
      4m 46s
    2. Reviewing and evaluating your photos
      4m 22s
    3. Rating, ranking, and filtering photographs
      5m 42s
    4. Organizing photos with stacks
      3m 55s
    5. Grouping pictures together with collections
      3m 56s
    6. Adding metadata and keywords
      4m 47s
    7. Renaming images
      1m 45s
    8. Accessing the Photoshop tools from within Bridge
      2m 28s
    9. Working with Bridge and Photoshop
      2m 40s
    10. Working with Mini Bridge
      4m 36s
  4. 45m 29s
    1. Setting up your color settings
      3m 31s
    2. Choosing preferences for the HUD color picker
      3m 50s
    3. Setting image interpolation preferences
      3m 3s
    4. Modifying zoom preferences
      4m 20s
    5. Changing HUD brush options
      3m 41s
    6. Customizing interface preferences
      3m 30s
    7. Opening up documents in tabs
      4m 11s
    8. Reviewing file-handling preferences
      5m 4s
    9. Setting performance preferences
      4m 23s
    10. Choosing cursor preferences
      5m 14s
    11. Reviewing guides and type preview preferences
      4m 42s
  5. 21m 4s
    1. Exploring two simple steps for more accurate color
      2m 57s
    2. Introducing color profiles
      5m 17s
    3. Opening and saving files with embedded profiles
      7m 33s
    4. Setting up your studio
      1m 59s
    5. A demonstration of monitor calibration
      1m 46s
    6. Finding color management resources
      1m 32s
  6. 28m 34s
    1. Introducing the Tools panel
      4m 53s
    2. Changing the view mode and working with panels
      5m 33s
    3. Opening and arranging multiple documents
      6m 31s
    4. Combining, saving, and closing multiple documents
      5m 17s
    5. Creating custom keyboard shortcuts
      5m 11s
    6. Working with a Wacom tablet
      1m 9s
  7. 18m 24s
    1. The foundation of digital imaging: pixels and bit depth
      6m 12s
    2. Introducing image resizing
      3m 42s
    3. Resizing images effectively
      3m 48s
    4. Resizing and straightening with the Crop tool
      2m 28s
    5. Creative tip: sizing images correctly
      2m 14s
  8. 41m 56s
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      2m 47s
    2. Accessing the Camera Raw preferences
      3m 16s
    3. Improving your images with the basic controls
      7m 0s
    4. Correcting color and white balance
      4m 44s
    5. Processing multiple images at once
      5m 56s
    6. Utilizing the Crop tool to recompose your pictures
      5m 28s
    7. Creating dramatic black-and-white conversions
      5m 34s
    8. Reducing noise and making tack-sharp photos
      7m 11s
  9. 32m 55s
    1. Introducing layers
      2m 22s
    2. Understanding layers and layer transparency
      1m 29s
    3. Working with layer opacity
      3m 29s
    4. Aligning layers
      1m 32s
    5. Creating new layers
      4m 53s
    6. Organizing layers
      2m 31s
    7. Filtering and finding layers
      2m 8s
    8. Adding layer style effects
      5m 28s
    9. Creating a clipping mask
      6m 50s
    10. Targeting and moving layers
      2m 13s
  10. 33m 22s
    1. Making selections with the marquee tools
      4m 50s
    2. Using the three lasso tools
      4m 56s
    3. Selecting with the Magic Wand tool
      5m 43s
    4. Working with the Quick Select tool
      7m 21s
    5. Selecting based on color with the Color Range controls
      7m 13s
    6. Correcting skin tones with Color Range
      3m 19s
  11. 23m 2s
    1. Introducing masking
      1m 14s
    2. Painting away the contents of a layer with a mask
      3m 59s
    3. Using a selection to build a mask
      3m 3s
    4. Removing a subject from the background with a mask
      6m 37s
    5. Using a mask to selectively sharpen an image
      3m 58s
    6. Making selections with Quick Mask
      4m 11s
  12. 13m 42s
    1. Creating a custom border using selections and masks
      5m 4s
    2. Painting custom border effects
      3m 34s
    3. Using prebuilt borders
      4m 13s
    4. Exploring the PhotoFrame plug-in
      51s
  13. 11m 49s
    1. Adding brightness and contrast
      3m 3s
    2. Using hue and saturation and the Target Adjustment tool
      5m 34s
    3. Working with vibrancy and saturation
      3m 12s
  14. 14m 36s
    1. Working with auto levels
      3m 36s
    2. Enhancing color and tone with levels
      4m 12s
    3. Painting in adjustments with levels and masking
      4m 10s
    4. Creative tip: checking in
      2m 38s
  15. 29m 50s
    1. Introducing the Curves dialog box
      3m 12s
    2. Using auto curves and adjustments to enhance an image
      4m 17s
    3. Changing brightness with curves and masks
      3m 59s
    4. Using curves and masks to improve tone and color
      4m 56s
    5. Making advanced selections and masks
      3m 53s
    6. Enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks
      5m 53s
    7. Using, modifying, and saving curves presets
      3m 40s
  16. 20m 12s
    1. Introducing the magic of blend modes
      6m 33s
    2. Blending multiple images together
      3m 50s
    3. Using blending modes to remove white or black
      2m 8s
    4. Improving exposure, contrast, and color with blending
      5m 37s
    5. Using blending shortcuts
      2m 4s
  17. 10m 26s
    1. Working with color correction in Camera Raw
      1m 21s
    2. Correcting color with the eyedroppers
      3m 11s
    3. Correcting color and tone with the eyedroppers
      5m 54s
  18. 36m 1s
    1. Using a Replace Color adjustment
      4m 14s
    2. Using Replace Color, Hue/Saturation, and masks
      5m 32s
    3. Replacing color with advanced masking
      7m 14s
    4. Selecting and modifying color with the Hue/Saturation eyedroppers
      2m 30s
    5. Using Color Balance to create vivid color
      4m 3s
    6. Modifying color with Selective Color
      5m 3s
    7. Changing color with Photo Filter
      4m 4s
    8. Making creative color changes with Color Lookup
      1m 44s
    9. Creative tip: shoot more
      1m 37s
  19. 35m 13s
    1. The modern equivalent of a traditional technique
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing two burn and dodge techniques
      7m 22s
    3. Burning and dodging with the Brush and Gradient tools
      4m 18s
    4. Dodging and reducing shadows in a portrait
      6m 0s
    5. Using selections, masks, and curves to change tonality
      7m 21s
    6. Improving a black-and-white landscape
      8m 32s
  20. 16m 9s
    1. The power of black and white
      4m 14s
    2. Converting a portrait to black and white
      4m 6s
    3. Converting a landscape to black and white
      4m 23s
    4. Adding grain and tone to a black-and-white image
      3m 26s
  21. 31m 57s
    1. Introducing Smart Filters
      3m 36s
    2. Applying Smart Filters
      6m 20s
    3. Creating a soft contrast effect
      6m 38s
    4. Changing focus with the Blur Gallery
      3m 40s
    5. Working with Tilt-Shift Blur
      3m 52s
    6. Creating a realistic lens flare
      2m 45s
    7. Adding light with the Lighting Effects filter
      5m 6s
  22. 12m 33s
    1. Using the Noise Reduction filter
      3m 46s
    2. Exploring advanced noise reduction using channels
      2m 49s
    3. Masking in noise reduction to a specific area
      2m 1s
    4. Reducing noise with Surface Blur
      3m 57s
  23. 48m 30s
    1. Cleaning before you enhance
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the healing and cloning tools
      7m 22s
    3. Cleaning up the background of an image
      6m 21s
    4. Basic portrait retouching
      3m 15s
    5. Brightening shadows under the eyes
      4m 53s
    6. Brightening the eyes
      2m 30s
    7. Retouching selected areas
      5m 27s
    8. Using Content-Aware Fill to remove distractions
      5m 34s
    9. Moving a subject with the Content-Aware Move tool
      7m 54s
    10. Changing shape and dimension with Liquify
      4m 12s
  24. 24m 2s
    1. Using the Lens Correction filter
      6m 52s
    2. Reducing exaggerated distortion
      5m 16s
    3. Applying Free Transform to correct perspective
      3m 49s
    4. Correcting distortion with the Perspective Crop tool
      3m 45s
    5. Using Puppet Warp to correct perspective
      4m 20s
  25. 26m 48s
    1. Combining two photos with movement
      4m 12s
    2. Using two frames for a group photo
      4m 57s
    3. Creating a panoramic photo from multiple frames
      3m 37s
    4. Correcting distortion with the Adaptive Wide Angle correction
      7m 34s
    5. Cropping, filling in the gaps, and making final panographic adjustments
      6m 28s
  26. 27m 24s
    1. Working with Smart Sharpen
      6m 17s
    2. Using Unsharpen Mask
      4m 49s
    3. High Pass sharpening an image
      4m 47s
    4. Selectively sharpening the in-focus areas of an image
      3m 35s
    5. Selective sharpening with hand-drawn masks
      7m 56s
  27. 22m 44s
    1. Preparing images for the web and email
      4m 38s
    2. Sharpening for the web
      3m 5s
    3. Using Save for Web to create an optimized JPEG
      4m 26s
    4. Exporting images to Facebook or Flickr
      4m 46s
    5. Creating a web gallery
      5m 49s
  28. 26m 6s
    1. Desktop printing recommendations
      2m 46s
    2. Creating a PDF layout and contact sheets
      5m 56s
    3. Using a soft proof to visualize the print
      8m 0s
    4. Adjusting printer settings
      3m 43s
    5. Customizing the Print dialog box options
      5m 41s
  29. 32m 4s
    1. Opening up a video file in Photoshop
      7m 7s
    2. Editing a video clip and adding text
      5m 15s
    3. Using adjustment layers and adding an audio track
      4m 47s
    4. Creating a project with multiple clips
      4m 55s
    5. Adding a cross-dissolve fade and creating custom shortcuts
      4m 43s
    6. Customizing the workspace to review your project
      3m 2s
    7. Exporting a project
      2m 15s
  30. 3m 4s
    1. Exploring additional resources and ways to keep in touch
      2m 29s
    2. Goodbye
      35s

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