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Improving exposure, contrast, and color with blending

From: Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

Video: Improving exposure, contrast, and color with blending

Here we are going to take a look at how we can use Blending modes in order to correct and enhance our photographs in some interesting ways. We'll be working with three different pictures and we are going to start off with this one here. This photograph is over-exposed. So what I want to do is learn how I can use Blending modes and how I can use these efficiently in order to correct things say like Exposure or Color. Well, first let's go ahead and copy our Background layer, we can do so by clicking and dragging this to the new layer icon or by pressing Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on Windows.

Improving exposure, contrast, and color with blending

Here we are going to take a look at how we can use Blending modes in order to correct and enhance our photographs in some interesting ways. We'll be working with three different pictures and we are going to start off with this one here. This photograph is over-exposed. So what I want to do is learn how I can use Blending modes and how I can use these efficiently in order to correct things say like Exposure or Color. Well, first let's go ahead and copy our Background layer, we can do so by clicking and dragging this to the new layer icon or by pressing Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on Windows.

Next, we know that there are set of Blending modes which allow us to darken our pictures. So let's go ahead and choose one of those and let's try Multiply. This one typically works well in situations like this. Well, here you can see what Multiply did is it brought down the overall exposure from this all the way down to this. You next want to customize this. In order to do that you can go ahead and lower the Opacity so you can determine how far you want to go in regards to this overall darkening effect. And here we have our before and then our after.

Now we can do this by copying or duplicating layers or we can simply do this with adjustment layers. And when we use an adjustment layer, it actually takes up less file size. Let me show you what I mean. Here I'll delete this layer by pressing Delete or Backspace. Next, I'll click on one of my Adjustment layer icon say like Curves. And with Curves I am not going to make any adjustments at all. I'm just leaving it as is. Next, with this Adjustment layer, with no adjustments applied, we are going to go to our Blending mode pull-down menu and choose Multiply once again.

What you'll see is exactly the same if you would copy that Background layer. The reason why I wanted to show you this though is because this is more efficient. Again it takes up less file size and here we can go ahead and decrease this or we could also make adjustments with this layer as well. Well let's jump to another image. We are going to now move to this photograph here, this one is portrait.jpg. In this case this photograph, it's lacking contrast and also brightness. So I could either copy the Background layer or I could create an Adjustment layer, either technique works.

Here let's go ahead and copy the Background layer and let's do this twice. Press Command+J on a Mac twice, press Ctrl+J on Windows twice. What I want to do is have one layer which allows me to bring back some contrast, so I'll go ahead and name this layer contrast, if I can spell this correctly. And next I want this one to brighten up my image or lighten it. So let's go ahead and turn off the visibility of those Eye icons there for a moment and then turn on the visibility for brighten and target that layer. Well, with this layer we know that we have a few different Blending modes which we can use which will brighten up our image.

Lighten and Screen those work really well. If we choose Screen or if we choose Lighten, what we'll see is a brightening effect. Here with this image, Screen works better; it gives us a better boost of those tones. Yet the image is flat. I need contrast. So we'll click on this topmost layer and target that one and then choose the Blending mode say of Soft Light and by doing this, this will now have this really nice contrast. Take a look at our overall progress. Here is before and now here's after.

And even more, we can then dial in how much contrast we want by clicking in that layer and lowering the Opacity. We can also control our brightness by clicking in this layer and then lowering the Opacity of that Blending mode. And we can find the sweet spot for our image, so that in this case this portrait, it has presence and intensity. Again, here is that before and then after. And the point with this image is to think about how you can use multiple blending modes together in order to come up with some really stunning results. Alright! Well the last image we are going to look at is this one here and this time what I want to do is I want to apply a Blending mode which will bring out my colors.

A great Blending mode to do that is Soft Light. So here once again we can either copy the Background layer or click on the Adjustment layer icon, both techniques they do the same thing. Let's click on the Adjustment layer icon just to keep things simple here and to keep our file size down. And the next I'll go to my pull-down menu and here I'll choose Soft Light and by choosing that, with this photograph we can see that wow! Those colors they just now sing, I mean those are warm and beautiful.

This won't make all of your photographs look like this, but Soft Light adds really nice contrast and also color saturation. And we can use this Blending mode in a lot of different situations where we want to bring out contrast if you can see here and also where we want to bring out some of that color saturation. So here's my hope. My hope is that by showing you these different examples, the first one where we looked at how we could use a Blending mode in order to darken, we can use that to correct exposure or other times we may need to use a blending mode to brighten things up and also add some contrast.

How we can use or stack multiple blending modes together? Here we also talked about how you can increase or decrease your Opacity in order to change or dial in the effect. And then the final one that we looked at, was this one here and with this one we talked about how we can use that Soft Light blending mode and how that can help us out with contrast and color saturation.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 for Photographers
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers

173 video lessons · 26720 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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