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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
We will be working on this file frog_ paradise.psd. You can find it in the Chapter 17_levels folder. Let's go ahead and double click this file to open it in Photoshop. F to go to Full Screen View mode. What I want to do here is just begin to introduce some topic of working with Levels and masking. We will also talk about this in a little bit more detail in the next movie. But now to this quick movie. This image is titled frog_paradise because when I saw this I thought, Oh! That's like a frog's like dream come true, diving off that diving board into all that muck. All right, well anyway, let's go ahead and create a Levels Adjustment so I'll click on Adjustments and I'm going to close my Presets for a moment and just modify this by eye. I want to make a subjective edit.
So I'll click on the icon for Levels and here I'm just interested in increasing the overall contrast and color saturation. I want to darken the image up just a little bit, okay, great. Next, I'll go back to the list and I'm going to create another Levels Adjustments. Now this time what I'm interested in doing is darkening down the pool a little bit. I want to make this pool darker yet I don't want to darken the edges. Now how I can limit my adjustment to a specific area. Well, all I need to do is go back to the Masks panel and then choose Invert. Now this adjustment is not affecting any of the image. Grab the Brush tool, press the B key and hover over your image, change your brush size by pressing the Left Bracket key for smaller, Right Bracket key for bigger. Shift+Left Bracket, that makes it nice and soft. And we want to paint with white, right? Well, you notice that my Color Picker down below, I have black and white down here, you can see that right here. To flip those press the X key. Now I can paint with white on this area of the image. Now there is a real low Opacity here on my Options bar. 35%, so it's pretty subtle. I'll increase that a little bit more, just add a little bit more darkness. Smaller brush size. Now increase the Opacity even more. I want to darken this top just a touch more here and around the edges and then a smaller brush, Left Bracket key.
I'm also going to try to darken this diving board a little bit. Add a little bit of interesting shape to that and then lets click OK, here is our before and after. Again, just deepening the tones there and we are almost done. I'm going to click on the Adjustment Layer icon and choose Levels, this time I'm going to focus in on this bright spot here. I'm just going to look to try to darken that up and I'm going to modify my sliders. I think that looks pretty good there and then I'm going to go to my Blue-Yellow channel, yes that's right, I'm going to add a little bit of Yellow to that.
Next, click on the Masks panel tab and choose Invert. Now I don't want that everywhere, I do just want that up here. So I have my brush, I'll paint with white. Real low Opacity, real low there, somewhere below 50%. I'm just going to start to bring that in on that portion of the image. Little bit bigger brush here, little bit lower Opacity. I need to create a little bit of a transition so it connects to the rest of the image. Look at our before and after. Again, just a nice way to reduce the brightness there, change the color just a little bit and our final overall before and after.
Now my intent here was to begin to show you how you can work with Levels and masks in order to come up with some really interesting results.
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