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Using curves, color balance, and blending for best results

From: Photoshop CS5: Creative Effects

Video: Using curves, color balance, and blending for best results

This last summer my whole family got together to celebrate my mom and dad's 60th wedding anniversary and my mom brought her veil with her and of course I had to take a couple of pictures. What I want to do in this picture with my mom is I want to examine how we can use Color Balance and Blending modes and then Curves together in order to come up with some nice results. Well, one of the things that we are going to do first is we are going to create a Curves Adjustment layer. We are going to create this Adjustment layer with something in mind. Let's click on the Adjustment layer icon for Curves.

Using curves, color balance, and blending for best results

This last summer my whole family got together to celebrate my mom and dad's 60th wedding anniversary and my mom brought her veil with her and of course I had to take a couple of pictures. What I want to do in this picture with my mom is I want to examine how we can use Color Balance and Blending modes and then Curves together in order to come up with some nice results. Well, one of the things that we are going to do first is we are going to create a Curves Adjustment layer. We are going to create this Adjustment layer with something in mind. Let's click on the Adjustment layer icon for Curves.

What we are going to here is simply click and drag up the bottom left-hand point, bringing up the Blacks here and then I will go ahead and bring down the rest of the curve. Well, at this juncture, what we have done is we have brought up some of the Black detail. Now the image looks awkward. It looks flat. It doesn't look any good at all. But we are making this adjustment knowing that what we'll do next is create a Color Balance adjustment and we are going to use a Blending mode of Soft Light. And whenever you use Soft Light, a lot of times you just hammer the blacks. I mean, they are hit too hard.

So in this case, this adjustment is going to protect or save those Blacks. Let's turn off the Visibility here so we can see how that works in a second. Next adjustment, we will click on our Adjustment layer icon. Here we will choose Color Balance. With Color Balance we will start off in the Midtones increasing the Reds and the Yellows. We will then go into the Shadows, we will add quite a bit of Red here and again we just have so much color and tone here, but we are not afraid of that. Here is why. We are going to our Blend mode which is Soft Light. So when we use Color Balance on Soft Light, we all of a sudden come up with these interesting combinations.

In this case, we can then go back and modify this color further and I will go into my Midtones as well and just get this where I want it. Next step, lower the Opacity. We will take this down with this image, I am guessing to about 70%. Well, that looks interesting. Here is our before and then after, but it's too heavy-handed. So, this is where that Curves adjustment comes to save the day. When we turn on this adjustment what this will do is it will bring up those Blacks. So let's double-click this layer and examine how we can control the density of those Blacks in the background.

Now each image will respond a little bit differently, but this can really save some of those tones. What you need to do whenever you are doing this technique is look away, close your eyes, and then look back. Here we can see that this gives us some pretty nice results. What this allows us to do is to blend that color into the contrast. In this case if we look at our before, here it is before and then after. It's a pretty subtle adjustment. But nonetheless, it's an adjustment which creates nice vivid and beautiful colors so that my mom, and so that the colors of this photograph, really look nice.

Once again here we have it, our before and then our after. In this case, how we can use Color Balance on a Soft Light Blending mode and then also how we can create a Curves adjustment in order to protect those Blacks or to bring some detail in, back on the Blacks and some of these areas, which in turn affects the overall color and contrast and it just kind of even things out a bit so that we can have this nice look and also be able to reproduce this image without having that concern that we have added too much Black to our photograph.

Once again here we have it before and then after.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5: Creative Effects
Photoshop CS5: Creative Effects

91 video lessons · 32779 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 1m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Using the exercise files
      48s
  2. 25m 0s
    1. Removing an object from its background
      2m 56s
    2. Creating and modifying a shadow
      3m 13s
    3. Modifying a directional shadow
      5m 30s
    4. Removing a model from a white background
      2m 46s
    5. Building a false context
      2m 7s
    6. Adding and modifying shadows
      8m 28s
  3. 22m 42s
    1. Adding illumination to create a glow from within
      4m 10s
    2. Adding light with curves and masking
      3m 43s
    3. Adding light for emphasis
      3m 42s
    4. Improving black-and-white images with curves and masking
      3m 26s
    5. Using Shadow/Highlights to improve exposure
      3m 42s
    6. Correcting an overly backlit photograph
      3m 59s
  4. 28m 12s
    1. Improving sunset colors with color balance
      3m 20s
    2. Using color balance and masking to enhance color
      2m 36s
    3. Creating new and vivid colors
      2m 15s
    4. Using curves, color balance, and blending for best results
      3m 21s
    5. Enhancing colors
      3m 32s
    6. Saturating and desaturating colors for emphasis
      1m 56s
    7. Adding color without increasing contrast
      3m 0s
    8. Improving the impact of color with curves and color balance
      8m 12s
  5. 38m 41s
    1. Creating stunning color with Hue/Saturation and color balance
      6m 16s
    2. Creating an edgy muted and contrast look
      3m 40s
    3. Reducing color for impact
      5m 41s
    4. Enhancing color and creating color variations
      7m 29s
    5. Using Apply Image to create interesting results
      3m 29s
    6. Combining HDR toning with color effects
      5m 52s
    7. Making adjustments with Selective Color
      6m 14s
  6. 34m 23s
    1. Introducing the HDR Toning feature
      4m 44s
    2. Using layer masks and blending with HDR toning
      6m 3s
    3. HDR toning creative effect
      7m 14s
    4. Enhancing a photograph with HDR for black-and-white conversion
      6m 16s
    5. Creating a high key color effect
      5m 52s
    6. Getting an HDR-like effect with the High Pass filter
      4m 14s
  7. 26m 33s
    1. Basic infrared conversion
      5m 50s
    2. Working with infrared presets
      5m 30s
    3. Combining infrared and HDR toning
      7m 41s
    4. Creating infrared with contrast and sharpness
      7m 32s
  8. 16m 17s
    1. Using adjustment layers to create solarization
      2m 56s
    2. Adding creative color and a blur effect
      5m 20s
    3. Experimenting with gradient color and solarization
      2m 44s
    4. Creating a golden solarized effect
      5m 17s
  9. 18m 41s
    1. Creating soft focus with filters and blending
      2m 20s
    2. Using Smart Filters to create soft focus
      2m 15s
    3. Using soft focus without sacrificing color and contrast
      3m 58s
    4. Applying soft focus to skin
      5m 42s
    5. Creating a desaturated soft focus effect
      4m 26s
  10. 17m 52s
    1. Adding grain with Adobe Camera Raw
      6m 24s
    2. Adding grain with the Noise filter
      5m 24s
    3. Adding grain with the Film Grain filter
      6m 4s
  11. 37m 24s
    1. Modifying tone and converting to black and white
      4m 38s
    2. Adding texture with a grocery bag
      9m 38s
    3. Making an image sepia toned
      3m 13s
    4. Adding texture in three different ways
      5m 48s
    5. Adding a subtle vintage color effect
      4m 10s
    6. Creating a vintage color effect
      4m 43s
    7. Creative texture blending
      5m 14s
  12. 23m 37s
    1. Deconstructing the lens blur effect
      6m 23s
    2. The lens blur effect in action
      4m 13s
    3. Applying lens blur with a mask
      4m 49s
    4. Using lens blur in portraits
      3m 25s
    5. Desert fashion project
      4m 47s
  13. 23m 0s
    1. Applying motion blur
      4m 39s
    2. Creating radial zoom blur
      4m 27s
    3. Working with motion blur and masking
      6m 14s
    4. Getting creative with the Radial, Motion, and Lens Flare filters
      3m 21s
    5. Adding color and emphasis
      4m 19s
  14. 18m 15s
    1. Adding graffiti on a single plane
      4m 17s
    2. Adding reflections on multiple planes
      3m 0s
    3. Using Free Transform to create a vanishing point perspective, pt. 1
      4m 46s
    4. Using Free Transform to create a vanishing point perspective, pt. 2
      6m 12s
  15. 17m 40s
    1. Cropping with Abode Camera Raw
      4m 32s
    2. Enhancing the sunrise colors
      5m 18s
    3. Modifying the color and tone of the mountains
      7m 50s
  16. 33m 18s
    1. Hand-painting a border or an edge
      5m 39s
    2. Adding a prebuilt edge
      4m 28s
    3. Working with a real film edge
      7m 57s
    4. Introducing the PhotoFrame plug-in
      5m 21s
    5. Using the PhotoFrame plug-in, pt. 1
      4m 11s
    6. Using the PhotoFrame plug-in, pt. 2
      5m 42s
  17. 41m 48s
    1. Changing color with onOne PhotoTools
      5m 43s
    2. Modifying focus with onOne Focal Point
      3m 56s
    3. Hand painting focus with onOne FocalPoint
      3m 9s
    4. Enhancing color with Nik Color Efex Pro
      9m 27s
    5. Actualizing your vision with Nik Color Efex Pro
      8m 39s
    6. Converting to black and white with Nik Silver Efex Pro
      5m 33s
    7. More black and white options with Nik Silver Efex Pro
      5m 21s
  18. 12m 39s
    1. Finding and installing custom brushes
      4m 33s
    2. Custom brush creativity
      8m 6s
  19. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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