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One of the Photoshop secrets that you are discovering already is that enhancing color and tone isn't that difficult. Here we are going to yet again take a look at an example, how we can really easily improve this photograph. Now in this particular scene when I pulled it up on my computer I thought wow! What interesting colors. I love this. I love the tones. Whenever you see something, you always have to ask yourself, what else can I do? Here we will examine how we can use Blending modes and Adjustment layers in order to bring out some of the tones that are already in this photograph.
Well, for starters, let's simply click on our Curves Adjustment layer icon. Next, in order to have a good workflow, let's examine how we can quickly change the Blending mode to Soft Light. Here is how you do it? Press the V key to select the Move tool. Next, on a Mac, press Shift+Option, on Windows, press Shift+Alt, and then the letter F. There you'll see it will take this to a Blending mode, Soft Light. Perfect! From here we can then lower the Opacity and dial-in just the right effect. I like using the Soft Light blending mode because it's so easy. It's so efficient.
Check out the colors. Here is our before and now our after. Already the image is looking better. Well let's click in the background. Next thing I want to do is focus in on this path here. Press the W key to choose your Quick Select tool. Then go ahead and click and drag across this area of the photograph. In this case, I'll hold down Option or Alt, clean up some of these edges, just want a nice selection here on this area of the image. One of the things that's great about the Quick Select tool is it allows us to work incredibly quickly. Well next step, I'll click in my topmost layer, then I'll click on the Adjustment layer icon and we are going to use Color Balance.
Now if we click Color Balance right now, it will create Color Balance with a mask. Therefore if we go into our Highlights and make an adjustment, it's only going to affect this area of the photograph. We can really bring out some of those nice bright yellows there. So I'll go ahead and make that a little bit more yellow and red. Midtones bring out some of those Yellows, a little bit more there as well, and again, just modify that color. Bring out some of those tones that already exist. I am just drawing them forward. Well what about some of the other colors? Let's say we want to add a bit more blue to that background.
Well, there is a really easy way to do that. We can duplicate this layer by pressing Cmd+J or Ctrl+J. Next, invert the mask. To do that, press Cmd+I or Ctrl+I. This adjustment is now affecting everything but this path. Well, that adjustment looks interesting. That's not what I'm looking for. So I'll click on this Reset button right here. It takes all the values back to their default. Now, all that I want to do is just bring out some of the blues, maybe a little bit more cyan there, little less purple in that, and even that simple adjustment right there looks really interesting.
Here is that before and then after. Next step, of course go back, lower the opacity to mix up your amount. So you have it exactly where you want it. Just modify all of these till you get a really nice color combination. What's interesting about this is that if we look at the before, here is what we initially thought was vivid and intriguing. Now with just a few small adjustment layers, here is where we've arrived at. It's so fascinating to see how this really comes together simply by using curves and blending modes and also adjustment layers like color balance with Masks.
By limiting where we're adjusting, we can really come up with some intriguing results. Once again, here we have it our before and then after.
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