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I have saved the results of the previous exercise as Local adaptations.psd, found inside the 33_HDR_pro folder. And in this exercise, I am going to show you the final group of options that are available to you inside the HDR Toning dialog box, and these include the toning curve and histogram adjustments. So switch over, if you can, to Stylish young couple.psd, that original version of the image, and then go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments, and choose HDR Toning. When you see the alert message, click Yes in order to bring up the dialog box and then suffer through these horrible default settings.
Now this time around, what I want you to do is just neutralize the settings. Let's just go ahead and set things so you get the smallest changes possible, which is still a lot from this feature, as you will see. Change the Radius value to 1. That's as low as you can go. Change the Strength value to 0.1, which is the lowest that value can go. Gamma should stay 1.00. Exposure is 0.00. The Detail value should drop to 0% as well. Shadow, Highlight, and everybody else should be reduced to 0. And these are the minimum adjustments that you can make using the Local Adaptations settings.
Certainly from here on, you could reduce the Gamma value in order to darken up the image so that you potentially regain some of that shadow information, but not really. This is just a wildly destructive effect is what it comes down to, and when I say destructive, I mean it goes through and rewrites the color of each and every pixel, whether for good or for bad. Anyway because these are the neutral settings right there, I am going to save them off as such. I am going to click on this flyout menu icon and choose the Save Preset command. And I will go ahead and name my presets "Neutral settings" and then click on the Save button, and then they are available to me as a preset, so I can get to them in the future.
All right, so what is to be done about the fact that this image is overly bright in its current state. Well, you can rein things in with a fair amount of success actually using these Toning Curve and Histogram options. Now if I were to twirl open this section of the dialog box, it would come up clipped because I don't have enough room to accommodate all of these options on this particular monitor. So I am going to twirl close the Tone and Detail options and then twirl open Toning Curve and Histogram. And now notice my histogram is represented down here at the bottom of the screen, and I can see that I have sacrificed a ton of shadow detail.
We have got all kinds of spikes going on, as well. I am going to go ahead and drag that black point over to an input value of 25%, output of 0, meaning that we are taking the darkest 25% of the colors inside the modified version of the image, and we are clipping them to black. Next I am going to add a point about right there, I think, on the curve, and I am going to drag it down like so, until the Input value is 90 degrees. And I have managed to haphazardly sign the Output value to 65% at this point. I want it to be 75% so I will press Shift+Arrow, a couple of times, actually about three times here, and then down arrow a little bit until I get that point down to 75%. So 90% for Input, 75% for Output, and I am going to go ahead and create one more point.
Now, by the way, you can use this curve just like the one inside the Curves dialog box, meaning that you can drag with your cursor out here inside the image window, in order to see the bouncing ball inside the graph. If you Ctrl+Click or Command +Click on a Mac on a specific color inside the image window, then you will add that color as a point in the graph. And I went ahead and Ctrl+Clicked, or on a Mac, Cmd+Clicked inside this guy's hair, inside one of lighter portions of his hair, that is, to add a point at this location.
The Input value happens to be 49% for me. The Output value is 15%. I am going to press Shift+Left arrow and then just left arrow a few times more in order to reduce the Input level to 40%. So the left and right arrows affect the Input value; the up and down arrows affect the Output value. Then I will raise this point to 20% by pressing the up arrow key a few times. So again, if I started at the beginning here, that is the first point I added, the first point - and I got to it by pressing the Minus key, so minus and plus - switch you between points here inside the curve. I went ahead and set the first point to an Input value of 25%, Output of 0; the second point is set to an Input level of 40% and an Output of 20%; and then that final point right there is set to an Input level of 90% and an Output of 75%. And that's going to do us, with one additional modification.
I am going to increase the Vibrance value to 30% for this effect. Now that looks over the top here inside the image window. Bear mind, however, that we are going to turn around and mix it with the original image. But first, I want to go ahead and save off this Preset, and I am going to do so by clicking on the flyout menu, choosing the Preset command, and naming this guy "Curves and Vibrance," and then I will click OK in order to save that change. I will click the OK button to apply that modification. Then, in short order here, I will go up to the History panel, and I will save off this HDR Toning effect as a new snapshot by Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking in the Camera icon, and I will call this guy, once again, Faux HDR.
Although it's not really essential that you name these snapshots, incidentally, because they are not saved along with the image; they are just available to you as long as you have the image open inside of Photoshop. Anyway, tag that as the source state, switch back to your Open state, so you regain the original image, press Ctrl+ Shift+N or Command+Shift+ N to create a new layer, call this one "Faux HDR," click OK, and then take advantage of that keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Backspace or Command+Option+Delete on the Mac, in order to fill the layer from the source snapshot here in History panel.
Now you can collapse the History panel, and I am going to reduce the opacity of this layer to 50% by pressing the 5 key. And now we can go ahead and compare these effects, the effects of the last exercise and this exercise to each other onscreen. I will press Shift+Tab to hide the right side panels. I will go up to the Applications bar and click on the Arrange Documents icon, choose 2up, and now we can see the newest effect over here on the left-hand side and the old effect over there on the right-hand side, that is the effect from the previous exercise on the right. I will Shift+Spacebar+drag the images over just a little bit, and what we are seeing his two pretty darn equivalent effects, which suggest that HDR Toning, especially where local adaptations are concerned, ends up producing some pretty similar effects over and over again, which is true, by the way, so long as you are willing to go ahead and mix those effects with the underlying original image.
So, what I would suggest you do, if you take to HDR Toning, is that you go ahead and come up with some settings that work for you, save off those settings as presets and then try them out on a few other images and see how well they work and what kind of tweaking they require. In the next exercise, we are going to compare the effects of HDR Toning to a more familiar and more flexible command, Shadows Highlights.
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