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Protecting the sky with a density mask

From: Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color

Video: Protecting the sky with a density mask

All right, in this next exercise we are really taking the correction to the mat. Once again we are just trying to do the best correction conceivable at this point. We are going to remove a problem that's barely visible but it could turn into a worse problem once we print the image. I'm not sure if you can see. I'm begging your indulgence at this point of time. I'm not even sure you can see this problem in your video and by the way, I'm working in a progress document called Smartly filtered.psd found inside the 03 Typical Lab folder and this image is smartly filtered of course, we have got a collection of three Smart Filters in all.

Protecting the sky with a density mask

All right, in this next exercise we are really taking the correction to the mat. Once again we are just trying to do the best correction conceivable at this point. We are going to remove a problem that's barely visible but it could turn into a worse problem once we print the image. I'm not sure if you can see. I'm begging your indulgence at this point of time. I'm not even sure you can see this problem in your video and by the way, I'm working in a progress document called Smartly filtered.psd found inside the 03 Typical Lab folder and this image is smartly filtered of course, we have got a collection of three Smart Filters in all.

All right, what you may be able to make out on your screen, if not inside the video here, if you are working along with me, is a slight wavering between the white and the yellows inside of this image. This is a function of Medianed JPEG compression artifacts and it's really showing up. I'm going to press Ctrl+3 or Cmd+3 on the Mac. It's showing up worsen side of the B channel. Can you see it? Well, possibly not. So, let me dRAW it out for you. Let me make sure that you can really see it. I'm going to switch back to the RGB composite by pressing Ctrl or Cmd+Tilde. I'm going to go to the top of the adjustment layer stack and I'm going to Alt/option-click on the black white icon, choose Levels and I'm going to call this guy tester.

This is a really great use for adjustment layers incidentally. It's to test problems inside of an image. We don't intend to keep this adjustment layer. We are going to turn it off. But we are just keeping it around. We are just creating it in order to test the problems as I say. So click OK and now I'm going to go over here to the B channel because that's where a problem really resides is inside the B channel and I'm going to change the first value to 100 and the second value to 155. So this is going to make our image look a mess, really I mean it's going to mess up the colors in the image as you can see over here in the Navigator palette, but it demonstrates the problems that we have in the sky.

Can you see it now? If not, let's go to lightness just to make sure you can really see it. Now, I'm going to increase this black point value to let's say about 190. Now you should really see the problem showing up there in the sky and I will click OK. Now, that's not how we want the image to look but it does test out this problem that exists here. What do we about it? Well first, what created this problem in the first place ironically the Median command created the problem. The Median Filter did, notice, if I turn off Median down here at the Bottom Layers palette. Watch what happens inside this region here. It might take a moment to update.

Notice that we have a lot of noise now inside of this area but we don't have that blockiness. Now, some people might say well, that's because you use Median but what you ought to have used in order to smooth over the noise, you ought to have used Gaussian Blur, that's actually not true. Let me show you. I'm going to go ahead and click on the Lab Smart Object there. I have got Median turned off. I'm going to go up to the Filter menu. I'm going to choose Blur and I'm going to choose Gaussian Blur. We will see that we are going to get goops associated with Gaussian Blur as well. They are just rounder instead of being squarish. Problem is anytime you are averaging pixels no matter what kind of command you use to do it, you run the risk of actually exaggerating certain kinds of noise inside of an image particularly here inside of Lab.

So, I'm going to go ahead and cancel out of this. So what do we do, because we need median, we got to have median because otherwise we have got all kinds of color noise and chromatic aberrations that are showing up elsewhere in the image and it's the best command to take care of it. By the way reduce noise, that wonderful elegant Reduce Noise command, which is really a great command, has the same problems. It's going to make those kind of blocks show up as well. Check it out if you want to. Anyway, I'm going to turn Median back on just by pressing Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac and I'm going to leave tester there. For now, I'm not going to throw it away in other words, but I'm going to go ahead and turn it off for the moment.

The reason is because I want to go ahead and load a density mask. So we are just going to sharpen the darkest portions of this image. So there is we are just going to filter the darkest portions of the image and we are not going to worry about these light areas, so that the light areas stay nice and flat. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and just leave everything turned on except for the tester layer. Then go over to the Channels palette, and I want you to Ctrl+Click or Cmd+Click on the lightness channel in order to load it up as a selection outline. So, Photoshop has now gone ahead and selected the lightest portions of the image.

That would be a Luminance Mask if you are familiar with my masking series, very distinguished Luminance Mask from Density Masks. You know that this is a Luminance Mask. We are selecting the lightest portions of the image. I'm going to go to Select menu and to convert a Luminance Mask into a Density Mask, you choose inverse just like that, and then you select the darkest areas in the image. Now, go over to the Layers palette or right click on Smart Filters right there. Right click on the word Smart Filters and choose Add Filter Mask in order to reestablish a filter mask, but this time the one that actually does something inside of the image.

I will go ahead and scoot over a little bit here. Now notice, if I turn on the tester layer that we don't have nearly the problems that we had before. So Shift+Click to turn that Mask off and then Shift+Click again to turn that Mask on. I'm Shift+Clicking on the Mask itself by the way on the Filter Mask and you can see that, that goes a long way towards solving our problems right there. Now, I'm going to go ahead and click inside the image to make it active and then I will turn off the tester layer, that's what is causing these problems right here and go ahead and zoom out from the image. You can see that we still have a nicely sharpened version of the image.

Some of the chromatic aberration is restored but it's not too bad and we are just sharpening the darkest details. I'm just going to click on the eyeball in front of the Smart Filters there. This is what it looks like without any of the filters and this is what it looks like with the filters turned on. Alright, so done a really nice job of correcting everything about this image except for one thing, the image needs to not have this blob, this little sort of fingerprint on the window here that's showing up at the top of the image. Also, we need some cropping because you can see around the edges if you look closely we have a little bit of transparency showing through, this is because the image got distorted slightly when we applied the lens correction function.

So, we're going to crop the image and make it look just picture perfect in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color
Photoshop CS3 Mastering Lab Color

70 video lessons · 10757 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 23m 32s
    1. Your doorway to better color
      2m 18s
    2. Lab and the untreated JPEG image
      6m 15s
    3. Lab and Camera Raw with a JPEG file
      6m 5s
    4. Lab and Camera Raw with a raw photograph
      8m 54s
  2. 1h 6m
    1. Don't fear the Lab mode
      1m 5s
    2. Why color is 3D
      4m 22s
    3. Device-dependant RGB and CMYK
      5m 15s
    4. Device-dependant CIELAB D50
      5m 33s
    5. Color by the numbers (mixing Lab values)
      5m 35s
    6. The Hue/Saturation color wheel
      4m 0s
    7. The slightly skewed Lab color wheel
      9m 56s
    8. Lab's wide world of "imaginary colors"
      6m 41s
    9. Examining RGB and CMYK channels
      6m 37s
    10. The strange (but powerful) Lab channels
      6m 47s
    11. How RGB and CMYK channels blend
      6m 45s
    12. How channels blend in Lab
      3m 54s
  3. 1h 17m
    1. Bad becomes great, great becomes better
      1m 0s
    2. Cheapening a perfectly good image in RGB
      5m 3s
    3. Making a great image even better in Lab
      8m 9s
    4. Saving a Lab image file
      2m 13s
    5. Favoring yellow to balance skin tones
      6m 12s
    6. Dropping out the blues
      5m 34s
    7. Correcting a very bad image in RGB
      7m 20s
    8. Sharpening luminance independently of color
      5m 22s
    9. Correcting a very bad image in Lab
      7m 34s
    10. Sharpening the Lightness channel
      5m 47s
    11. Finessing the Lightness channel with Curves
      8m 27s
    12. Applying Curves to the a and b channels
      7m 52s
    13. Sharpening for effect, blurring away noise
      7m 14s
  4. 57m 23s
    1. The convergence of all things nondestructive
      1m 26s
    2. Correcting saturation and color cast
      8m 5s
    3. Fading the oranges and reds
      4m 32s
    4. The secret power of Brightness/Contrast in Lab
      5m 5s
    5. Smart Objects and sharpening
      3m 33s
    6. Fixing chromatic aberrations in RGB
      8m 51s
    7. Adding clarity with High Pass
      3m 13s
    8. Reducing color noise with Median
      4m 35s
    9. Protecting the sky with a density mask
      5m 48s
    10. Nondestructive cropping with Canvas Size
      6m 23s
    11. Convert to RGB, flatten, and save
      5m 52s
  5. 1h 34m
    1. Images with bigger issues
      1m 6s
    2. Fixing a color cast
      6m 14s
    3. Exaggerating a color cast
      5m 23s
    4. Quantifying and correcting a color cast
      8m 11s
    5. Sharpening an image with the Emboss command
      4m 38s
    6. Introducing a more complicated color cast
      3m 43s
    7. Drawing a custom contrast curve
      7m 21s
    8. Performing a gross color cast compensation
      3m 49s
    9. Fine-tuning a color cast compensation
      5m 52s
    10. Restoring neutral highlights
      6m 8s
    11. Masking away aberrant hues
      5m 16s
    12. Sharpen, save, convert to RGB, and crop
      6m 18s
    13. Applying a Shadows/Highlights Smart Filter
      5m 1s
    14. Tweaking Shadows/Highlights in Lab
      5m 25s
    15. Rendering Shadows/Highlights in Lab
      7m 57s
    16. Correcting color cast and contrast
      6m 16s
    17. Completing a low-frequency portrait with High Pass
      5m 22s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Changing some colors, leaving others as is
      1m 7s
    2. Rotating hues in RGB with Hue/Saturation
      5m 0s
    3. Modifying colors in Lab with Curves
      5m 47s
    4. Blending colors with Underlying Layer
      6m 8s
    5. Changing colors in wardrobe shots
      6m 1s
    6. Blending the Red and b channels
      8m 5s
    7. Developing a base mask
      8m 8s
    8. Colorizing an isolated area
      7m 33s
    9. Revealing complementary highlights
      3m 18s
    10. Repairing strangely colored shadows
      5m 37s
    11. Tanning and deepening skin tones
      4m 13s
    12. Exposing bright eyes and teeth
      4m 39s
  7. 1m 8s
    1. See ya
      1m 8s

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