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Improving a black-and-white landscape

From: Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

Video: Improving a black-and-white landscape

So far in this chapter, I've shared with you a few techniques that you can use for burning and dodging, or darkening and brightening. And primarily, we've worked on photographs of people. Yet here what I want to do is turn our attention to working on a landscape photograph; in this case, a black and white picture, and I want to share with you an extension of a technique that we've already learned so that you can kind of have the best of both worlds or the best of two different techniques. So this particular technique starts off with a shortcut. You'll want to write this shortcut down because it's important.

Improving a black-and-white landscape

So far in this chapter, I've shared with you a few techniques that you can use for burning and dodging, or darkening and brightening. And primarily, we've worked on photographs of people. Yet here what I want to do is turn our attention to working on a landscape photograph; in this case, a black and white picture, and I want to share with you an extension of a technique that we've already learned so that you can kind of have the best of both worlds or the best of two different techniques. So this particular technique starts off with a shortcut. You'll want to write this shortcut down because it's important.

It's Shift+Command+N on a Mac or Shift+Ctrl+N on Windows. This allows you to create a new layer. Let's name this new layer burn and dodge. What we'll do here is change the Blending mode to Soft Light. Now so far, this is nothing new; we've done this before, a new layer in Soft Light Blending mode. Yet what's new here is we're going to now fill this layer with a Soft-Light-neutral color which is 50% gray. Let's go ahead and click on that option and then click OK. Well, just for demo purposes in my Layers panel if I take this Blending mode back to Normal, you can see I just have a gray layer here.

Well, let's go back to Soft Light. Why are we doing this? Well, we're doing this so that we can use our Burn and Dodge tools on this layer. Let me show you what I mean. Well, here we'll navigate over to our Burn and Dodge tools and what I want to do is first start off with Dodge. I'll dodge Midtones, I want to decrease my Exposure here, something less than 50%, and I want to go ahead and decrease my Brush Size as well. Well, now that I've done that, I'm going to go ahead and paint over this path and I'll just do this multiple times here. And as I do this, you can see that I'm starting to brighten this up.

Well, how is this working? Well, this is working because we're painting on this Soft Light layer. And if you look at the Soft Light layer closely, what you'll see is these different brush strokes which I made. Let me go ahead and make a few more and then we'll take a look at it. Also, I'm going to increase my Exposure here a little bit by clicking over the name and using the scrubby sliders, and I'm going to do that just to add a little bit more of a brightening effect here or to make this happen a bit more quickly, so that you can really see how this can work and how we can start to build this up.

Now one of the things I'm thinking about as I'm making these adjustments is that I want to control the way someone views this picture. I want to add a little bit of drama and I want to do so by burning and dodging. So let me make just a few more brush strokes and then let's take a look at this layer. Well, here with this layer, if we take this back to that Blending mode of Normal, what we can now see is that we've made some areas which are brighter. And by having those areas here on Soft Light, what that's done for us is that's helped us to brighten up this path.

We can then use this technique on other areas of our photograph as well. Here I'll decrease the Exposure quite a bit, and then with the same tool and a little bit smaller brush size, I'm going to brighten up the hillside. Brighten up some of the highlights that I'm seeing in the photograph. I'm also going to try to create little bit of directional line here in a few places, so I'll go through both sides of the image looking for how I want to direct the viewer. Again, this image is really about trying to draw someone down that path, and so I'm trying to create some brightness values which will do that.

I'll go ahead and work on the hillsides as well here, just a touch. I'm also trying to increase a little bit or create a little bit of visual drama. Well, now that we've made these adjustments, the next thing I want to do is the opposite. Here we'll go to the Burn tool. With the Burn tool, I'm going to work on my Midtones, decrease my Exposure, and then start to paint over the areas that I want to darken; in this case, the center and the sides of the path. And you'll notice that really what I'm doing here is I'm just trying to look at how I can create some sort of shape with the image and just paint over this so that it's not just completely flat.

Well, what about the sky? What could we do there? Well, with the sky, if we zoom out for a minute, we can see it just looks kind of flat. Well, with this tool, we could change our Range to Shadows and here I'll press the Right Bracket key to make my brush bigger. I'm going to go ahead and paint over the sky. As I'm doing this, you can see it's darkening up a little bit. Let's increase the Exposure so that this is even more dramatic and so that we can see this more quickly. What I'm interested in doing in the sky is really just darkening this all up.

So I'm making really big brushstrokes, press the Right or Left Bracket key in order to change your brush size, and I'm looking to try to just add a ton of drama up there. So again, I'm just going through the image and painting over the sky here. Careful not to paint away any of my other adjustments and also to try to make these mostly smooth. So I'm trying to have these smooth, long brushstrokes over this area so it's really consistent. Well, by making these adjustments and these brushstrokes, you can see that we've really changed to overall image.

Here is our before, and now after. The one problem I have with my photograph is that my brushstrokes, they're a little bit too identifiable. To soften those up, we can do what we've done before. Go to the Filter pulldown menu, choose Blur, and Gaussian Blur, and what we're looking for here is a Gaussian Blur amount which just kind of hides the edges of those brushstrokes. You want to look at your preview of your before and after to make sure it's not softening things so much that it's ruining the effect that you created, but it's enhancing it.

So here it looks like just a couple of pixels works well. Then we'll click OK. Now let's say that we decided that we've made a mistake. Well, how can we erase something on a layer like this? Well, you can erase something by choosing your Brush tool. Then in your Color Picker, if you choose or enter a value of 50% for the Brightness, you can click OK. And then with this tool all the way up at 100% here, you can go ahead and paint over an area that you want to erase.

Let's say that I want to erase part of this hillside here, this brightening effect. Well, I can just paint over it and you can see how I can remove that. In my painting with 50% gray on a Soft Light layer, what that does is essentially remove any effect which we've added in. The other advantage of doing this is that we can now paint with also black or white. If I paint with black, and here let me decrease the Opacity a bit so it's not quite so harsh, you can see that what I'm doing is I'm darkening this area. Now again, that was a little bit too much, so I'll go back to my 50% Brightness value.

Here we'll click or enter 50. In the next, I'll increase the Opacity and then go ahead and make my brush bigger and you can see how I can remove that darkening effect. And so what we can do is we can either use our Burn or Dodge tools, or we can simply paint with black or white in order to darken or brighten our image. And here I'm just darkening this back up not using one of my tools, Burn or Dodge, but rather using that technique which we learned previously, painting with white or black.

Here we can also brighten up the path as well by painting with white in these areas. So in a sense, this particular technique, it gives us the best of both worlds. We're able to either use the tools or we're able to use this technique of painting with one of these tones. And here I'm just making a few final adjustments, I'm getting a little carried away just because this is really a lot of fun in regards to a change in the way someone looks at your photograph. Well, at this point, enough is enough. I'm going to decrease my Opacity just a touch here in order to soften that a little bit, and then let's evaluate.

Here we have that before and now after. And in looking at this there's one thing that's bothered me a little bit. What I'm going to do is go back to my 50% Brightness value here and I want to paint away some of this adjustment on this path. So I'll go ahead and just paint that back a little. I think that became too dark, too much of a defined line there. And when you're burning and dodging, it really is an art and craft. You're trying to control the drama, the interest, the brightness values of all of these different tones.

And enclosing by using some of these techniques and tools which we've learned in this chapter and by practicing a little bit with these, what you can do is come up with some really fascinating results as you can see here. All right! Well, let's take a look at this one more time. Here's our overall before, and now our after.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Photographers
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

173 video lessons · 26769 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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