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Using the Shadow/Highlight filter

From: Digital Painting: Street Scene

Video: Using the Shadow/Highlight filter

Because the camera's sensor is imperfect, it can only succeed at capturing either the highlights or the shadows, but not both. Our goal is to restore, as best we can, whatever detail we can. In this video, we'll take a look at the Shadows/Highlights Filter. Now, I'm using the image that we're going to be going through with the rest of this title. This doesn't have the extreme kind of highlight-shadow issue that we looked at earlier with the interior of the church, but it still will benefit from moving that away from the kind of exposure that the camera naturally is going to give it.

Using the Shadow/Highlight filter

Because the camera's sensor is imperfect, it can only succeed at capturing either the highlights or the shadows, but not both. Our goal is to restore, as best we can, whatever detail we can. In this video, we'll take a look at the Shadows/Highlights Filter. Now, I'm using the image that we're going to be going through with the rest of this title. This doesn't have the extreme kind of highlight-shadow issue that we looked at earlier with the interior of the church, but it still will benefit from moving that away from the kind of exposure that the camera naturally is going to give it.

This is a good overall exposure, but we still want to move it away a bit, and again the goal here is to transition from the language of photography to the language of painting. So in the language of painting, exposure is going to be much more even throughout, because of the way the human eye looks around at the image and builds it up over all of these varying parts of the image that it puts together. So let's go to the Highlights/Shadow filter, and it's in Image > Adjustments, right down here, Shadows and Highlights.

What I'm going to do here then is play around with both the Shadow and Highlight amounts. As I've been saying all through the title, there is no one correct answer. It's not like I can give you a pair of numbers here that are going to be the right way to do this. It's going to be up to your eye, and that once again gets back to the artist's eye, rather than the camera's cold machine eye. So let's just punch up the Shadow slider, and you can see what's happening is it's taking the darks out of the shadows. If we look particularly like in this area here where these trees are, as I turn that up, you'll see that I can start to see more of the detail of the bark of the tree.

So I'm going to turn that up so that I can see that. Now, let's go to the Highlights, and this is going to start to take the highlights down. Now, in looking at this image, it may look a bit odd to our eye, but let's turn the preview on and off. See what's happening? There is a broader dynamic range in the initial image, but once we utilize the Shadows and Highlights adjustments, you can see how we can start to compress all that dynamic range. This is taking it away from that photographic language and bringing it more into the realm of painting, and that's exactly what we want to do.

It's really kind of up to you to see where you want to adjust these. Some people will go to a very extreme like image where this does start to have a bit of a funny look to it. But again, if that's the vision you have for your painting, then that's the right setting for you. I'm not going to sit here and tell you what is a correct setting. For my eyes, something around in there, and I always like to kind of A-B it with the original to see what's happening. So something in that realm is what I like, and so now I've got a nice starting point from which I'm going to begin to paint the image with the colors already in a form that is amenable to a painting.

A shadow/highlight adjustment may appear odd to our eyes, but remember, that we see this the way as our gaze continuously changes and adapts while we survey an entire image. The artist typically uses these localized adjustments in determining the tonal values that make up a total painting.

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This video is part of

Image for Digital Painting: Street Scene
Digital Painting: Street Scene

45 video lessons · 15080 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
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  1. 8m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
    3. Installing custom brushes
      7m 0s
  2. 22m 3s
    1. Understanding the visual vocabulary
      4m 46s
    2. Using the vocabulary of photography
      6m 41s
    3. Using the vocabulary of painting
      7m 1s
    4. Looking at reality through a mental painting filter
      3m 35s
  3. 10m 22s
    1. Understanding that resolution is in the brush strokes
      3m 6s
    2. Understanding the subject
      7m 16s
  4. 16m 1s
    1. Removing lens distortions
      2m 33s
    2. Using the Free Transform tool
      4m 42s
    3. Using the Lens Correction filter
      4m 36s
    4. Understanding the ACR lens correction profiles
      4m 10s
  5. 12m 23s
    1. Working with Vibrance
      3m 14s
    2. Using the Match Color command
      2m 59s
    3. Understanding the traditional paint color swatch set
      6m 10s
  6. 16m 6s
    1. The eye has a bettor sensor than a camera
      3m 16s
    2. Using the Shadow/Highlight filter
      3m 17s
    3. Using the HDR Toning filter
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding how RAW files provide malleability
      4m 10s
  7. 14m 42s
    1. Working with the Reduce Noise filter
      2m 50s
    2. Working with the Surface Blur filter
      3m 6s
    3. Using Smart Blur for simplification
      2m 51s
    4. Working with the Topaz Simplify plug-in
      5m 55s
  8. 31m 10s
    1. NDLP: A creative safety net
      5m 1s
    2. Using custom actions
      9m 41s
    3. Using the reference layer
      5m 29s
    4. Cloning layers
      6m 5s
    5. Working with the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 54s
  9. 17m 28s
    1. Brush categorization
      10m 1s
    2. Working with canvas texture
      3m 41s
    3. Using Sample All Layers
      3m 46s
  10. 12m 48s
    1. Being willing to destroy detail
      7m 21s
    2. Establishing the painting style
      5m 27s
  11. 25m 1s
    1. Simplified indication
      9m 3s
    2. Understanding color
      4m 10s
    3. Introducing texture
      11m 48s
  12. 17m 36s
    1. Providing rest areas for the eye
      6m 55s
    2. Focusing on the subject through detail
      10m 41s
  13. 24m 20s
    1. Being willing to depart from the original
      6m 48s
    2. Creating detail to enhance the artwork
      8m 36s
    3. Creating physical surface texture effects
      8m 56s
  14. 10m 33s
    1. Waiting a day
      4m 14s
    2. Examining your importance hierarchy
      6m 19s
  15. 57s
    1. Goodbye
      57s

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