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In this exercise, we are going to take on the Local Adaptation options inside the HDR Toning dialog box, because that's where the real power of the feature resides. I've saved the results of the previous exercise as Recovered highlights.jpg, found inside the 33_HDR_pro folder. I also have opened the original version of Stylish young couple.psd. I want to compare them side-by-side for a moment, so I am going to go up to the Applications bar and click on the Arrange Documents icon, and switch to the 2 Up display, like so. And then I will press Shift+Tab in order to hide the right side panels.
And I'll press and hold Shift+Spacebar and drag the image over a little bit to the left, so that we can see both of the models. And Photoshop has gone ahead and thrown stylish young couple, the original image over here on the left, and the modified version appears on the right. And I have to say, I'm frankly impressed by how much positive good we were able to bring to this image, using just a couple of slider bars, Exposure and Gamma, and nothing more. It's a fairly subtle modification, but it's definitely a good one. Notice the rich shadows that we are now developing inside this gentleman's face, and the highlights inside of her face are tempered a little bit as well.
We have a little less contrast in the shadows underneath her nose, and below her jaw line, and so on. And we have really managed to recover some luminance data that was otherwise lost. So a very positive change thus far. Let's see what else we can do here. I'll make sure Stylish young couple.psd is selected, and then I'll press that keyboard shortcut that I've included along with dekeKeys: Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A, to go ahead and consolidate the image inside of one window, and then I will bring back my panels by pressing Shift+Tab.
Now I'll go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and choose HDR Toning once again. Bear in mind that I've restored my Smart Object, so Photoshop is once again going to send me an alert message, saying you have to flatten the document. I will begrudgingly say yes, I do want to proceed, and up comes Local Adaptation. Now after you notice the fact that your image goes absolutely bonkers in the background, you may wonder what in the world is so local about Local Adaptation. Is it just right down the block? Well, actually what it's referring to is that this is an edge- detection function, just like your Unsharp Mask and your High Pass and your Shadows/Highlights.
You are actually drawing halos around portions of the image, and because the command is detecting edges inside the image, it's adapting your modification to that image detail. Hence, Local Adaptation, local being the image itself. So we are starting things off here with Edge Glow, and notice by the way, if you're tight on space, you can go ahead and collapse some of these options here, just by clicking on the little triangle icons. So I'll just leave Edge Glow open for a moment. And what's happening here is we are determining the size of our halos, just like always with the Radius values.
The Strength value is analogous to the Amount value, included along with Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen and so on, except that it's not a percentage. So a Strength value of about 1 is analogous to an Amount value of about 100%. Notice this value only goes up as high as 4, or 400% - just bear that in mind. You're not probably going to want to go this high, but I do want to show you what happens if you reduce the Radius value to, say 1 pixel. In this case, with such a high strength value, you are going to end up getting a classic sharpening effect.
And when I say classic, I mean hideously ugly, actually, but it is classic in that we are sharpening the detail inside the image. What I am going to do is spread out that radius, just as I would if I were using the Shadows/Highlights filter. So I'll take the Radius value up to 100%, and we are spreading the heck out of those highlights, albeit, but they are now taking over the image. We have way too much clarity. So I am going to take that Strength value down to 0.5, which is analogous to an Amount of 50%. All right, let's go ahead and twirl open Tone and Detail.
Now whenever you see Tone inside of Photoshop, that means luminance adjustments. So things start off this time with the Gamma value, and now it works the way we are used to, that is if you lower the Gamma value, you are going to darken the midtones inside the image, and if you raise the Gamma value, you're going to brighten the midtones. I am going to go ahead and leave the midtones flat at 1.0. So once again, Gamma is measured as an exponent, just as it is inside the Levels dialog box, meaning your midtones to the power of one are going to stay the original midtones, to an extent.
Now I will be showing you how even no changes inside of this dialog box results in big changes, but I am saving that information for just a moment. Exposure is going to control the clipping of the white point. And in my case, we do have a fair amount of clipping going on, as you can see here in the background histogram. Even after I update it, we've got a big huge line, and much of its gray, thereby indicating that we have clipping in the red, green, and blue channels. So I am going to take this Exposure value down by pressing Shift+Down Arrow, like so, and you don't have to be as careful with this Exposure setting as you do with the one we saw in the previous exercise.
Still, I am just going to nudge it downward until I see my clipping inside the histogram ease up considerably in the background there. I'll go ahead and take that Exposure value down to, let's say -1 for now. Now the Detail option is like Detail, as you may recall back in Chapter 24 of the Advanced portion of the series. It's like the Detail option that's provided along with the sharpening controls inside Camera RAW. That is to say it controls the degree of micro-sharpening. It's an adjustable more accurate check box, if you were to think about Smart Sharpen.
So if you increase the Detail value, you're going to go in and apply all kinds of micro-sharpening. You are going to bring out some very bad edges inside of this particular image, as well. If you reduce the value, you are going to create this strange sort of lunar glow effect, this over-smoothing effect, almost as if we had taken an inverted high pass layer and merged it with the underlying original. In my case, I am going to take this value to 30, which was the default setting, actually. Next you have independent control over your shadows and highlights, that is how bright are the shadows and how bright are the highlights.
So you can either darken them or lighten them independently. And in my case, I am noticing that we are bringing out a fair amount of noise in the shadow detail, which is to be expected quite frankly because that's where the noise resides. So we are seeing a lot of luminance noise and some color noise from the guy's hair, and we are seeing a lot of color noise under her jaw. So I am going to take that Shadow value down all the way. You could just go ahead and brighten it up if you want to, by taking it up to +100%, and that will add some brightness to the shadows, but I want to sink those shadows.
For all the good it's going to do me, it's actually a fairly subtle control where this image is concerned, because I am starting to run out of shadows. You have the same control over the highlights if you want to. You can brighten those highlights, or you can darken the highlights. Obviously, darkening the highlights is going to have a bad effect on this image if you go too far. I am going to take it to -10%. You don't seem to be able to enter a negative sign in this dialog box, which is actually kind of a pain in the neck. So I will just go ahead and drag this slider down, or nudge the value down using the arrow keys.
And then finally, you have your color controls right here: Vibrance and Saturation. Part of the problems with the default settings are they are all about increasing the Saturation and Vibrance values, which ends up creating just these absolutely absurd effects here. What I recommend you do, when in doubt, is just leave both values set to zero and then turn around and mix your modified version of the image along with the original, which is something that I'll show you how to do in the very next exercise. All right, and that's pretty much it for now.
Let's go ahead and click on the OK button in order to apply these settings, but first, why don't we save our settings off? I am going to click on this flyout menu icon and choose Save Preset. And I am going to go ahead and name my changes moderate contrast, because I consider this to be a fairly moderate modification by comparison to the other presets that Adobe provides. Click on the Save button, and you will now see moderate contrast added to your list. So go ahead and create it, by the way, because you're going to need these settings, you are going to need to get back to them in the very next exercise, And then if you like, go ahead and click on the OK button in order to apply your effect.
Now I am not sure it's better than the original. If I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, this in the original image, and this is the HDR local adaptation modified version of the image. We are certainly bringing forth some shadow detail, and we are calming down some of the highlight detail, so we have a little bit more uniformity where the luminance is concerned, but we are bringing out all kinds of noise. And we have some very strange edge details, some bright neon edges going on. What do we do about that? Well, we blend this image with the original, and I'll show you how to pull that off, from the History panel, in the next exercise.
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