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Selecting and darkening highlights

From: Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Selecting and darkening highlights

In this movie, I'll show you how to select the highlights in this image using a Luminance Mask and then we'll dramatically darken those highlights using curves. So for starters, I am going to Alt+click or Opt+click on the eye in front of the Background layer, so we can restore the original high contrast version of this photo which is going to work beautifully for masking this dark barn away from this bright sky and snow. So really the image is going to select itself. I'll switch over to the Channels panel and we are looking for the highest contrast of the channels.

Selecting and darkening highlights

In this movie, I'll show you how to select the highlights in this image using a Luminance Mask and then we'll dramatically darken those highlights using curves. So for starters, I am going to Alt+click or Opt+click on the eye in front of the Background layer, so we can restore the original high contrast version of this photo which is going to work beautifully for masking this dark barn away from this bright sky and snow. So really the image is going to select itself. I'll switch over to the Channels panel and we are looking for the highest contrast of the channels.

The Red channel is going to be brightest because the barn is made of wood. The Green channel is going to be slightly darker and the Blue channel is going to be darker still. So obviously, the Blue channel is the one we want. To load it up as the selection, press the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on the Mac and click on the Blue channel. Then switch back to the RGB image, return to the Layers panel and Alt+click or Opt+click on the eye in front of the Background to restore all the layers. Then assuming you loaded dekeKeys, press Ctrl+ Shift+M or Cmd+Shift+M on the Mac in order to create a new curves layer and I'm going to call this layer darken snow because that's its purpose, and then I'll click the OK button.

And notice that Photoshop goes ahead and automatically converts that selection to a layer mask so we are actually seeing the original Blue channel inside that layer mask which means we'll apply the Curves Adjustment to the highlights and nothing more. All right. Now I'll expand the size of my Curves panel, so I can see the entire graph. And this time around, you don't need to use the Target Adjustment tool. I am just looking for an Input of 165 which is right about there and then I'm going to click and drag down. So ultimately the Input value wants to be 165 and then the Output value wants to be 85 and you can just drag to that location if you like or you can create the point and then nudge it from the keyboard, but again Input 165 dropping down to an Output of 85.

So we're darkening all of those colors dramatically. All right. Now I'll go ahead and hide the Properties panel. Now if I turn off this layer for a moment, you can see that I've managed to not only darken up the snow by I had darken the barn as well and you can watch it brighten up as soon as I turn layer the layer off and then if I turn the layer back on, you see that barn get darker, you see the Background get darker, but the Background is not getting dark enough. So what I need to do is increase the contrast of this layer mask. So I'll Alt+click on it or Opt+click on the layer Mask thumbnail here inside the Layers panel to view it independently of the rest of the image and then the great tool for increasing contrast inside Photoshop is the Levels command.

We have to apply a static version of the command because you can't apply an adjustment layer to a mask. So go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and then choose Levels or you can just press Ctrl+L or Cmd+L on the Mac. And you'll see if I move this dialog box over to the right, there is our barn over on the left-hand side of the histogram and there is our snow and sky over on the far right-hand side. So because this is a mask, I want to clip away all of that sky and snow. So I am going to drag this white point triangle over to 200 which tells Photoshop to take everything that has a Luminance Level of 200 or brighter and make it absolutely white.

Then I'll drag the black triangle all the way over to let's say 90 is what I am looking for and that tells Photoshop to take everything with a Luminance Level of 90 or darker and make it absolutely black which is why the barn is turning nearly completely black and the sky and the snow are turning completely white. We are turning some of the weeds black as well as you can see. All right. Now go ahead and click OK to apply that modification and then Alt+click or Opt+click on the layer Mask in order to return to the full color image.

So to see the difference, I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac. This is what the barn and sky looked like before we modified that layer mask and this is how the barn and sky look now. And if I turn this layer off and then back on, you can see that the barn is barely changing at all, but the snow and sky are becoming much darker. And while that's a lot better, we have got a lot more detail inside the snow and sky for example, the composite image is by no means perfect. I'll go ahead and zoom in to this lower right corner of the image and you can see that the snow and sky are turning kind of purplish on this, especially in the shadow regions and we've got a ton of posterization happening at the edges of the mask.

And I'll show you how to fix both problems, by modifying the mask and adjusting the curves on a channel-by-channel basis in the next movie.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

124 video lessons · 20096 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 57s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 21s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

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