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Darkening the sky with Quick Select and Curves

From: Photoshop for Photographers: Lighting Effects

Video: Darkening the sky with Quick Select and Curves

In this movie, we'll take a look at another example

Darkening the sky with Quick Select and Curves

In this movie, we'll take a look at another example of how we can create a selection and then use an adjustment layer in a mask, in order to correct or improve the lighting and color in an area of our photograph. In this particular photograph, one of the things that I notice is that the sky is too bright. I want to darken the sky and also change the color that we have in that area. To do that, we'll use another one of our selection tools. Here we'll use the Quick Select Tool. To choose the Quick Select Tool, tap the w key on your keyboard or click on the Quick Select Tool icon which is located right here.

And in regards to the brush size when you're using this tool, if you have a larger area you may choose to use a larger brush, or when you want to do some detail work, you may decrease the size of the brush. In our situation, we're going to select the sky, so we can use a pretty large brush, and we're just going to click and paint over this area. And as we do that, we want to make sure that we aren't selecting any area that we don't want to modify. Here, if I zoom in a little bit so you can see this, you'll notice that this selected the sky, but also the truck in this area.

We need to subtract that from our selection. So what I'll do is decrease the brush size here by going to the Options bar and changing the brush size. Then if we hold down the Opt key on a Mac, Alt on Windows, you'll notice the icon in the middle changes to a minus icon. That will allow us to then paint away the selection from these areas. And we'll just continue to hold down that key and click and paint around here a little bit in order to subtract those areas from the selection. If you press the Spacebar key, you can pan around the photograph, so press the Spacebar key and click and drag like right there. And just make your way around.

Make sure all of your edges look good. Sometimes it's helpful to zoom in, as I've done here. In other situations, you may not need to zoom in so far. Yet, at least for demo purposes, I think it's helpful to kind of see how we need to fix up some of these edges that we have. You know, quick select is great, the only problem is, it isn't always perfect. So we need to spend a little bit of time just kind of fixing up some of those areas. Alright well let me zoom out a little bit, so we can actually see what we have here. Well now we primarily have the sky selected.

Before we modify that area, though, we almost always want to refine the edge. And that's true whenever you're working with Quick Select. So here lets choose Refine Edge. With Refine Edge we have different views which we can see here. Sometimes it's helpful to view this on a white background or on layers. And once we do that you can see that the edges here are a little bit too jagged. So, let's fix that up by turning on smart radius and by increasing the radius.

Notice how the edges are already looking better. If I zoom in closer, you can see how we've taken away a lot of the jaggedness of the edges there. We can also smooth those edges out and add a little bit of feather here. And what this will do for us is just create a little bit of a softer transition. Another important slider when working with this is Shift Edge. When we drag this to the left, you notice how it's shifted the edge out and away from the actual edge, or when we drag it to the right, we have a little bit more overlap. We can see some of the car there in that area.

So you want to modify this a little bit so you have a touch of overlap, but perhaps not too much. So in this case it looks like if we just take this a little bit to the left, that might help out. Contrast will add a little bit more definition there and then of course we can always modify these sliders here too. Let me reiterate what we've done here. Smart radius, bring that up, a little bit of smoothing, a little bit of feather, contrast, and then a little bit of dragging shift edge to the left. If these details aren't perfect, we can always modify them later, as I'll show you in just a second.

So, here just click OK. All right, well let's zoom out so we can actually see some of the sky here as we start to make adjustments in that area. Next step is to click on the Curves Adjustment Layer icon. Now this will create a curve's adjustment with a mask. The black area is where this adjustment will be hidden or concealed. The white area is where it will be revealed. So I click and drag down, what I can do is I can I can darken the sky in the photograph. If we click on the eye icon, you can see the before and then now the after.

Let me zoom in again a little bit closer so you can actually see the before and after that we have there in that area. If we want to change the color, we'll just go into one of the three channels here in the curves panel. We can go to the blue channel and then drag up a little bit to make the sky a little bit more blue, or we could make it more yellow for that matter. So again, it's really up to you how you want to customize those. I'll just add a little bit more blue to that area. Of the photograph. Alright, well next what we want to do is evaluate how we've done. By clicking on that eye icon we can see there is the before, and then now here is the after.

As I mentioned previously, if you notice some issues around the edges, well you can fix those by navigating to the Mask tab in the Properties panel. Click on that little tab, which will open up some controls for our mask. A really important and valuable control is Mask Edge. If we click on this, it will open up our Refine Mask dialog. This is identical to the dialog for Refine Edge for our selection work. It's just now rather than refining the selection, we're refining the mask. Again, we have some view modes.

When working with edges, I think that On Layers tends to work best so we can actually see this in real time and see how it blends into the underlying layers. Here again, we can smooth things out if we need to. We can add a little bit of feather. We can shift that edge. You can see how I've added a touch of glow around the truck. That doesn't look very good. Or we can drag it to the right so it goes in a little bit further. Again, this particular photograph, we don't need a lot of work with our edges. Yet sometimes this can really help out as you seek to refine the edge and make the edge detail that you have there, that transition area, look even better.

Alright, well, we've applied a little bit of refining to the mask, we'll click "OK," and we have now finished off this project. We've improved the lighting in this photograph, we've darkened the sky. By making a selection, and then after we made that selection, we refined it. Then we created a curves adjustment which had a mask so that we were able to apply an adjustment just to a selected area of the photograph.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Photographers: Lighting Effects
Photoshop for Photographers: Lighting Effects

45 video lessons · 6773 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 1m 35s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      40s
  2. 33m 54s
    1. Using the Basic panel to change the lighting
      5m 28s
    2. Creating a more expressive photograph with Camera Raw
      4m 24s
    3. Correcting under- and overexposure
      5m 21s
    4. Improving the color of light on a group of photos
      5m 6s
    5. Enhancing the quality and color of light
      4m 31s
    6. Using the Radial filter to improve light in certain areas
      4m 4s
    7. Improving larger areas with the Gradient tool
      5m 0s
  3. 21m 59s
    1. Changing the quantity and quality of light with adjustments
      7m 2s
    2. Using multiple adjustment to improve light and color
      4m 7s
    3. Using the Targeted Adjustment tool in Curves
      1m 58s
    4. Improving the color of light
      3m 19s
    5. Using the Shadows and Highlights controls
      5m 33s
  4. 40m 57s
    1. Painting in brightness with curves and masking
      5m 36s
    2. Fine-tuning the mask with the Density and Feather controls
      7m 39s
    3. Adding light with an elliptical selection, a mask, and an adjustment layer
      3m 56s
    4. Darkening the sky with Quick Select and Curves
      6m 33s
    5. Using gradient masks to improve large areas of your photo
      5m 40s
    6. Correcting exposure with a gradient mask
      2m 37s
    7. Improving a portrait with curves and masks
      4m 12s
    8. Speeding up your workflow by using a mask on two layers
      4m 44s
  5. 31m 28s
    1. Increasing visual interest with Soft Light blending
      3m 6s
    2. Soft Light blending: Recovering detail
      4m 0s
    3. Fine-tuning Soft Light blending with advanced Curves adjustments
      4m 55s
    4. Using Screen blending to fix underexposure
      3m 0s
    5. Brightening with blending modes and masking
      3m 49s
    6. Using Multiply blending to fix overexposure
      5m 32s
    7. Combining techniques to achieve the best results
      3m 37s
    8. Changing brightness with Luminosity blending
      3m 29s
  6. 42m 54s
    1. Working with the Burn and Dodge tools
      7m 54s
    2. Brightening by painting on a new layer
      4m 52s
    3. Darkening by painting on a new layer
      5m 8s
    4. Using a Solid Color adjustment layer to burn and dodge
      6m 46s
    5. Improving a portrait by brightening shadows
      5m 5s
    6. Burning and dodging by painting with color
      7m 19s
    7. Darkening the background and fine-tuning the color
      5m 50s
  7. 41m 48s
    1. Introducing Lighting Effects
      8m 7s
    2. Working with Smart Objects
      5m 7s
    3. Adding light and color
      3m 40s
    4. Using multiple lights with one photograph
      5m 52s
    5. Adding light and multiple colors for a creative effect
      5m 42s
    6. Creating an edgy, illuminated look
      5m 32s
    7. Using Lighting Effects to create a surreal effect
      7m 48s
  8. 36s
    1. Next steps
      36s

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