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Fine-tuning the mask with the Density and Feather controls

From: Photoshop for Photographers: Lighting Effects

Video: Fine-tuning the mask with the Density and Feather controls

In this movie, we will build upon what we discussed in the previous movie.

Fine-tuning the mask with the Density and Feather controls

In this movie, we will build upon what we discussed in the previous movie. And here, we'll look at how we can have even more precise control when it comes to improving the light and the color in our photographs by working with an adjustment layer and a mask. In this particular picture, one of the things that I want to do is, I want to brighten up the subject and add a little bit of warmth to this area of the photograph. Yet, I also want to brighten up and add a touch of warmth to the background as well. Let's take a look at how we can do this by working with an adjustment layer, and also by customizing the mask with a few other controls.

Well, here we'll click on our adjustment layer icon for curves in order to create the curves adjustment. Next, let's navigate to the curve line, and here just click and drag up in order to brighten up the picture. Now from here, what I want to do is further customize the color. And we can do that, by clicking on this pull down menu right here, and by navigating to the different channels. We can navigate to the Red, the Green, or the Blue channel. Let's start off by navigating to the Red channel. Click on that menu item here.

Next, on the curve line to add some red to this photograph, we'll click and drag up. That will increase the reds which we have here. If we were to drag down, that would increase the cyan. So here we'll just drag up just a little bit in order to add a touch of red to the photograph. Then go back to that pull-down menu. Here we'll click on it. And let's go back to the Blue channel, where we can add blue or yellow. So go ahead and click on that one. And then let's drag this down. And what we've done here is we've added a little bit of yellow and red and an overall brightening effect to the photograph.

If you click on the eye icon you can see here's the before. And then now here's the after. It's affecting the entire image in a uniform way. Yet, what I want to do is paint this adjustment into a specific area. To do that, we need to invert our mask. So navigate to the little tab for the mask here. And then click on the Invert button, which will fill the mask with black, which in turn conceals or hides the entire adjustment. Now next for demo purposes, what we're going to do here is select our brush tool.

I want you to choose white as the color which you will paint. And then up here in the options bar, let's choose a really big brush Size, somewhere around 500 pixels or so will work. And then for the Hardness, let's crank this all the way up to 100%. Now you may be wondering, okay Chris, why are we doing this? Well we're doing this for demo purposes, so I can demonstrate how we can customize our brushstrokes using the Mask area in the Properties panel. Alright. Well next let's change our Opacity. Actually let's leave our Opacity at 100%.

If yours is lower, crank that up to 100. Here let's make a few brush strokes over the subject. In this case you can see we have this really strange look. We have these hard edge brushes which doesn't look very good. That just looks quite unnatural. Well you can always soften your brush strokes, by working in the Mask tab here, and by working with the Feather slider. If we increase the Feather slider, you can see how it's going to soften out those edges. Here for demo purposes, I'm going to go back to my curves adjustment and just exaggerate for a moment, make this really bright here, and then go back to the Mask tab.

Again, now as I increase the Feather amount, what you'll see is it softens those edges. Eventually, it will soften them so much, so it just looks like we have this nice bright light source in this area. The reason why I wanted to highlight this is that, whenever you're painting in light, it's almost always a good idea to paint with the soft edge brush, and then even so, to increase the feather just to soften all of the adjustment. Alright. Well let's bring that back again just for demo purposes for a moment. And here, what I want to show you is how we can work with the Density slider.

Now the Density slider will allow us to bring in this adjustment to other areas as well. If we decrease the density, what it will do is it will change the tonality of our mask from black to a lighter shade of gray. The further we go, the more that we'll see that this will affect those background areas. If we bring this all the way down, it will affect the entire photograph. Bring this back up, and again you can see how you can limit the adjustment to those areas. Alright. Well, so far we've seen how we can use Density and Feather and how those might help us out.

Let's see how this can actually work. In order to do that, I'm going to paint with black. And I'm just going to paint over these adjustments to remove them, so that the mask isn't entirely filled with black. Next, I'll choose a more appropriate brush. That's a brush without any Hardness and it's also a brush with a little bit of a lower Opacity. I like to bring mine down below 50%, sometimes I take it all the way down to 30. Just because when you're painting with light and you're lighting your subject after the fact or lighting your photograph, it's nice to have a really soft brush.

And a really low Opacity, so you can incrementally brighten up the picture. Now let's change this to white, so we can paint with white. And here I'm just going to start to paint in this adjustment over the subject. Well right now the lighting effect that I'm painting in is a little bit too intense, that's because my curve here is exaggerated. So let me bring that back down to something a little bit more reasonable. And now I'd go ahead and paint over the photograph, and just brighten in a few different areas of the picture. want to draw the viewer into the subject.

The eye is always attracted to areas of brightness. And so here we're going to brighten up the subject to really bring the viewer into that area of the photograph. As we've seen before, if we make any mistakes with this, we can always paint away those mistakes by painting with black. So we'll just go ahead and paint over these areas, if you need to paint with black because you brought too much in. Just click on the Toggle switch there. Then you can paint away in your little problem areas that you might have. If we click on our eye icon, you can see how we're really turning up the light on the subject in these areas, where we've painted on this mask.

We also may want to paint in a few other areas. So here we'll paint with white. You may want to paint on those with lower Opacity. For example, the legs. I'll just brighten those up just a bit and a little bit of the shorts as well. But really I want the majority of the light to be on the subject up here. After we've made a few brush strokes, let's then increase the Feather amount. What that will do is it will just soften all of those brush strokes and make the light appear much more natural. I'll create a little bit of a softer glow to light, rather than harsh little brush strokes.

Next in order to bring in some of those effect into the background area, we can decrease the Density. In doing that you can see how we're illuminating the background. Yet the subject is receiving this effect at 100%, the background much, much less. We click on the eye icon, you can see how we're affecting the subject, and also a little bit of the background. We've improved the color, we've improved the light, and we are able to do so by creating an adjustment layer, and then by hand painting on that mask, in order to precisely reveal the adjustment in specific areas.

And then we customize the mask, by working with our Density slider, which allows us to bring the adjustment in to the other areas that we didn't paint on. And we also were able to soften the edges of our brush strokes by increasing the Feather amount there. In order to create a more naturally looking light source on the subject. Alright, well let's evaluate our overall progress Here it is, the before and then now, the after.

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This video is part of

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

45 video lessons · 6732 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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