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In this movie, I'll show you how to reduce the density of a filter mask. So, here is the idea. If the mask doesn't have enough impact, if you want to increase its contrast, then you select the filter mask by clicking on it here inside the Layers panel, and then you press Ctrl+L, or Cmd+L on the Mac in order to bring up the Levels dialog box, and you'd increase the Black point value like so, and then you decrease the White point value. And I am doing so in both cases by pressing Shift+Down Arrow. That would preserve more of the shadow detail from the original image, and bump up the degree to which the filters are impacting the highlights.
But we also end up with these strange edges, definitely not an effect we're looking for. If you want to reduce the impact of the mask which is what we're looking to do, then you can modify the Black point and White point values for the output levels. However, there's a better way to work. So, I'm going to cancel out of the Levels dialog box, and I'll double-click on the filter mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to bring up the Properties panel which includes the total of five options when you're working on a mask, starting off with Density which is the option that we're looking for.
And as I reduce this Density value from 100%, keep your eye on the filter mask thumbnail here inside the Layers panel and you can see that we're reducing the contrast of the mask, specifically we're brightening the shadows. That is to say we're turning the blacks, incrementally brighter shades of gray. Now, I can take this Density value all the way down to 0% in which case we eliminate that mask entirely, or so it would seem. We've actually only done so on-the-fly. So I could go ahead and hide the panel, I could close this image, I can wait five weeks, I can open the image again, double-click on that filter mask thumbnail, and that Density value is still sitting there at 0%.
If I take it all the way back to 100%, then I restore that filter mask, because it's still actually sitting there, no matter what modifications I make to this Density value. In other words, Density is a parametric effect, that is, it relies on the numerical parameter and you can modify it anytime you like. In my case, I want to take that Density value down to about 80% to achieve this effect here, and so that just takes a little bit of the wind out of the mask, meaning that I'm restoring some degree, 20%, of the impact associated with these three Smart Filters, and now I'll hide the Properties panel in order to get it off screen.
Now, at this point, you may feel like you've gone a little bit too far with the contrast inside the image. If you want to back it off a little bit, then drop down to the Black/White icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose the Brightness/Contrast command. And that will bring up the Brightness/Contrast controls in the Properties panel, press Shift+Enter, or Shift+Return on the Mac to highlight the Brightest value, press the Tab key to highlight the Contrast value, and then press Shift+Down Arrow perhaps three times in a row to reduce the contrast to -30, and then go ahead and hide the Properties panel in order to achieve the final effect.
And just to see what we've been able to achieve over the course of this project, I'm going to double-click on the dude thumbnail here in order to open up the original Smart Object, and I'll zoom in as well. Then I'll switch back to the composition at hand, zoom in it too, and press Shift+F in order to switch to the Full Screen mode and now I'll go ahead and Shift+Spacebar+Drag these images to scroll both of them. So, this is the image as it appeared after we corrected for the lens distortion, and this is the final version of the image; thanks to the combination of Shadows/Highlights, Gaussian Blur, High Pass, and a Filter Mask working together here inside Photoshop.
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