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I've saved my progress as Volumetric man.psd. In the previous exercise, we went ahead and assigned Shadows/Highlights to this Smart Object as an editable Smart Filter and just to remind you of where we're going, I'll go back to Static Shad-High comp.psd. This is that version of the effect that we created back in Chapter 17 using static pixel-based layers. So each filter is assigned to a pixel-based layer, which grows the file incrementally, creates additional complexity, more work for Photoshop, less editability for you because you cannot edit the numerical settings applied to any one of these pixel-based layers.
If you decided you wanted to assign different Shadows/Highlights functions for example, you would have to delete this layer and start again. But I'm going to go ahead and turn Off the Filter set group for a moment here, so that we can see this is where we are so far. So, if I switch back and forth between these two images, you can see that they appear identical, even though they're set up differently. And so, what's left here is to assign the Gaussian Blur and High Pass Filters subject to their own Filter Mask that does not affect Shadows/Highlights.
So, the Shadows/Highlight Filter has to be preserved inside of its own Nested Smart Object and that's what we're about to do now. So, if you're working along with me, switch back to Volumetric man.psd. With Dead calm selected here, I want you to go to the Layers panel flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now, at this point you might think, what in the world are you doing? Why are you taking what is obviously a Smart Object that we just got done creating couple of exercises ago and converting it into another Smart Object? That doesn't even make any sense.
Well, remember that a Smart Object is a protective envelope. So, it's a kind of container. So, when we're taking one Smart Object and supposedly converting it into another one, we're actually placing one protective envelope into another protective envelope, so that we just have an additional layer of protection going on and that's all that's happening here. So, it should say, place inside Smart Object. If you loaded dekeKeys, you have a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+comma, Command+comma on the Mac, and the only outward indication that we've done anything, because we still have a Dead calm Smart Object here in the Layers panel and the image still looks identical out here in the image window, the only difference is that we just lost our Smart Filter; it just disappeared.
Well that's because it's now inside of this Smart Object. So to check it out, go ahead and double-click on this Smart Object thumbnail and that's going to open a different image. In my case I've done this a couple of times here, so it's called Dead calm2.psb but it's a temporary file; for you, it'll just be called Dead calm. psb, and it's that same Smart Object we saw just a moment ago with the Shadows/Highlights effect applied to it. All right, now I'm going to go ahead and close this image by pressing Ctrl+W, Command+W on a Mac, so that we're back inside of the larger composition, we've converted it into yet another Smart Object that is we've placed it inside a different Smart Object.
Now let's go up to the Filter menu and replicate those passes of the Gaussian Blur Filter and the High Pass Filter by choosing Blur and then Gaussian Blur or if you loaded dekeKeys, you've got Shift+F7 as a keyboard shortcut. A Radius of 15 pixels is what I applied before, recall that I'm trying to get a brightness bounce so that we have a little bit of flare going on. So, I'll click OK in order to accept that affect. Now, it doesn't look great this way because he's just blurry. What we need is a blend mode. So go over to little Settings Icon over on the right-hand side of Layers panel and double-click on it to bring up the Blending Options dialog box and change the Blend mode from Normal to Overlay in order to achieve this effect here.
Now, it does quite the number on the saturation values in the image; it also creates these nice soft highlights and it does a pretty small job actually of covering over any weird facial details, so it's a fairly flattering effect. However, it ends up over-darkening the shadows. So we're really losing shadow detail on the shirt and the foreground and in the shadows in the waves and underneath his chin and under his brows and so on. That's why ultimately we're going to need that Filter Mask, but for now, just go ahead and click OK.
Next, I want to sharpen the image and because he is a low-frequency portrait shot, the best sharpening tool is High Pass. So I'll go up to the Filter menu, choose Other and then choose the High Pass command or if you loaded dekeKeys, you have Shift+F10, and I'm going to apply a Radius value of 5 pixels just as I have ready to go right here and then click OK and then, we're going to change its blend mode as well by double-clicking on the High Pass settings icon, brings up the Blending Options dialog box once again, I'm going to select the biggest of the Contrast modes and that is Linear Light.
That's going to give us the highest contrast effect that there is, so we get as much sharpening as possible. It's a kind of over-the-top effect but that's what I'm looking for. So I'll click OK in order to apply that modification. The next step is to go ahead and assign a Filter Mask and what we want is a luminance mask. I'm going to return back to Static Shad-High comp.psd for a moment and I want you to remember, what we did last time around. I went ahead and Alt+clicked or Option+clicked on the eyeball in front of the Background layer so that we restore the original washed out version of the image, so that we're starting with the unfiltered image from which to draw a luminance mask.
Then I switched over to the Channels panel and I walked you through how each one of the Channels work but we in the end, landed on the Red Channel because after all this is a portrait shot, the image is going to be brightest inside of the Red Channel, this is where we're going to have the most contrast between the skin tones and the non-skin tones, and so the shirt in the foreground here end up appearing dark and the skin tones end up appearing very light. You may recall when we're working with the Filter Mask, dark areas are hidden, that is black conceals the effects of the filter, white reveals the effects of the filter, and so we're going to get rid of some of the filtering effects down here which is exactly what we want in the shadow detail and we're going to keep the filtering effects inside of the face, inside of the sky background as well.
Problem is, when I switch back to Volumetric man.psd, if I switch over to the Layers panel and say all right, I don't want to see the effects of any of these Filters for a moment, so I'll click on the eyeball in front of Smart Filters to turn it Off. I still am however seeing the effects of this Shadows/Highlights Filter because that's nested and thereby unavailable to me inside of this composition. So, if I switch over to the Channels panel and I click on Red, that's a very different looking Red Channel and it's going to give me a very different result.
Now, it may be okay by the way and maybe an entirely acceptable result, but it will not be a result that's identical to what we achieved in Chapter 17. If it's important to you to get back to that original luminance information, then what you have to do is to return to your RGB image, switch back to Layers panel and open up that Nested Smart Object and gain access to its Red Channel and I'll show you how to do exactly that in the next exercise.
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