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One of the things that constantly amazes me about Photoshop is that there are so many different ways that we can accomplish the same task. And so here, I want to show you another technique that you can use when working with highlights; when you want to reduce or darken those highlights. And this technique will involve making a selection and then using a Curves Adjustment layer. Well, this is a photograph of a World Champion Ironman Triathlete. I want to select the highlights here in this portrait of him because I want to darken those.
So to make that selection we'll go to the Select menu then we'll choose Color Range. In this Color Range dialog what you can do is you can click on different parts of your image. Here you can see this mask. Whatever is white is selected; whatever is black isn't. We can then click on the highlight here, and you can see we can control our overall fuzziness and also we can select Localized Color Clusters, if we want it to just remain in this area. In this case I do, so I'll turn that on. We can also control how far out this extends here, so we want to have this limited just to the face. Next, click OK.
In doing this you can see that we have this part of our image selected, just those highlights there. The next step is to click on our Adjustment Layer icon for Curves. Now at first this adjustment won't look good until we soften the edges of the mask. Let me show you what I mean. Well, with Curves we can click and drag down or I can click and drag up, and you can see how I'm working on this part of the image. Let me exaggerate this for a moment, so you can really see how that's highlighting or brightening that part of the face. If we go to the Mask icon, we can increase the feather, as I do that you should see how it's really softening that overall area or that brightening effect.
Well, obviously we don't want to brighten, but I just wanted to turn that up or increase that brightness, so you can kind of see how that works. Here what we want to do is darken, so we'll bring this midpoint down. We're also going to bring down our top white point. In this way we can really diminish this pretty effectively. As we do this we also may want to go into the different channels, like the red channel. Here we can add a little bit of hue to this area, or perhaps we want to go to the Blue-Yellow channel in order to change the overall color.
In doing this we can create color here which matches the rest of the photograph. Finally, go to the Mask panel and in the Mask panel experiment a little bit with your feather. With this technique you need a pretty high feather amount so you want to kind of experiment with that slider amount there, until you see a really nice effect. Next, let's zoom in on the image a little bit so we can evaluate how we've done with this one. Here's our before. Click again. There is our after. Whenever you create effects like this it's almost always a good idea just to modify your opacity and see what would happen if we were to scale this back a little bit.
Because sometimes it can surprise you how you can kind of back it off and it will look a little bit more realistic or interesting. And here you can see, we've discovered yet another technique for dealing with highlights and for improving skin. So what technique is best? Well, there isn't one best technique; rather, it's about learning all of the different techniques. So that when we encounter images where one technique doesn't work, we can then turn to our other technique or tricks that we know in order to make corrections like this on our photographs.
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