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Enhancing your images using layers

From: Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop

Video: Enhancing your images using layers

Okay! So, I want to show you a couple of really cool layer tricks. Layers are really the foundation of Photoshop, and they're what allow you to do some really unique things. So, I'm going to use my Black & White adjustment layer, but let's say that we want to make this just black and white in certain parts, and we want to retain that red area in the front. So, I'll make this look just the way I want it to; maybe I adjust things a little bit, make that darker, or lighter. Adjust any different component I might want. Then I go to my mask, but rather than making a selection, I'm going to go to the Color Range, and with Color Range, I'm just going to choose the area that I want, and I can Shift+Click to choose more of that, I could Option+Click to remove a part, and I've got this Fuzziness slider that allows me to constrain that.

Enhancing your images using layers

Okay! So, I want to show you a couple of really cool layer tricks. Layers are really the foundation of Photoshop, and they're what allow you to do some really unique things. So, I'm going to use my Black & White adjustment layer, but let's say that we want to make this just black and white in certain parts, and we want to retain that red area in the front. So, I'll make this look just the way I want it to; maybe I adjust things a little bit, make that darker, or lighter. Adjust any different component I might want. Then I go to my mask, but rather than making a selection, I'm going to go to the Color Range, and with Color Range, I'm just going to choose the area that I want, and I can Shift+Click to choose more of that, I could Option+Click to remove a part, and I've got this Fuzziness slider that allows me to constrain that.

When it looks the way that I want, then I just click OK, and now all I have to do is invert that, and really quickly and easily, I've created a layer mask, so that I have a selective black and white. I've got some of it in color, and some of it in black and white. This works really well for if you have a black and white, and you want someone's eyes to pop, and be in color. You can use Selection tools, but you can also quickly and easily use Color Range. Let me show you another trick. Okay, so in this image -- let's zoom in here; double-click to come to a 100 percent -- This is my friend Steve, and I've taken this picture of Steve as far as I can in Lightroom, and it looks pretty good, but the problem is, Steve has these bright blue eyes, and no matter what I did, that just didn't come through here. And I can dodge or burn them, but that doesn't quite give me the effect that I'm after.

So, a really great trick is to take our quick select tool, and you can literally just click, and then Shift+Click. And if it were more complicated than that, I could Option+Click to remove areas, or paint in areas that I wanted to add. From here, I'm just going to double check, Refine Edge. Now that's kind of spooky. What I can do is I can increase the Contrast; keep it just to the eyes. Smooth things out a little. If I wanted Feather that I could. Just so I'm sure that I only get the area that I want. I click OK. I'm going to hit Command+C to copy his eyes, Command+V to paste them, and now what I can do is I can use Blend Modes to make them pop.

In this particular case, the one that I like to use here is Color Dodge, and you see what it does; it just lights his eyes up. It gives me the exact effect that I wanted, and it's a great example of how you can take existing black and white content, and use layer blend modes to change what you see. There's a lot of power with blend modes, there's a lot of power with layers, and that's a great quick step for changing the look of your image, especially with eyes.

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Black and White with Lightroom and Photoshop

20 video lessons · 4960 viewers

Bryan O'Neil Hughes
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