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An environmental portrait—one photographed in a setting that tells a story about the subject—has the potential to reveal something unique and interesting about the person in focus.
In this course, photographer, teacher, and author Chris Orwig explores a variety of Adobe Photoshop postproduction techniques that enhance the authenticity and mood of an environmental portrait. Working with a photograph of world-champion surfer Kelly Slater, Chris steps through each technique, from black-and-white conversion and toning to retouching and more, explaining his creative process along the way.
Here we're going to continue to work on the shirt and what I want to do is I want to share with you a few techniques that you can use in order to even out color and also tone. We'll start off by creating a new layer and changing the layer blending mode to Color in order to even out the color variance that we have in this area of the shirt. So let's go ahead and take a look at how we can do that. Here we'll click on the New Layer icon and we'll name this new layer Color. Next we're going to select the Brush tool, press the B key to choose the Brush tool.
Now that you have the Brush tool selected if you hold and press Option or Alt, Option on a Mac or Alt on Windows, you can see that you can sample different colors from your image. Well what I want to do is I want to sample this gray that has a little bit less blue in it. You may notice there's a little bit of a kind of a blue color here in the shirt. Well now that I've chosen that color what I can do is I can paint over the image and I can paint over the image with a blending mode of Color in order to get rid of that.
Let me show you what I mean. Here press Command++ or Ctrl++ to zoom in and then what I'm going to do first just to illustrate is I'm going to make a brushstroke. Now this brushstroke doesn't look good here, right? It's very bold and strong and it looks strange. It looks like we just painted on the image. Yet, if we take that Layer blending mode to Color, all of a sudden it looks great. Here you can see how we're just evening out the color as I paint over this area, you can see how I'm removing all of this color variation.
Now at this point I'm doing this at 100% and it's a little bit over the top. Yet I wanted to do that to illustrate how we can use this blending mode in order to paint in a certain color to remove color variation. Well now that we've done all of that what I want to do is delete my layer, because this is more of a demo layer, and then redo this or restart this from the get-go in a way that you would normally use this technique. So here I'll click and drag this to the Trashcan icon and then I'll click on the New Layer to create a new layer.
I'll name this new layer color, and then I'll choose from my pulldown menu a blending mode of Color. Next step is to select the Brush tool. With the Brush tool you want to Option or Alt+Click on a good color, in this case, this tone right here. Then you need to decrease your opacity. Typically I find it works well to go way below 50%, sometimes right around 30 tends to be the magic number. Now if you have a pressure sensitive tablet, by all means click on this option which allows you to take advantage of those pressure sensitive controls in order to build up this effect.
Next step is to just start to paint over this area of the image. I should also point out that when you're choosing a brush you want to use a brush without any Hardness. You want to have a nice soft edge brush so you can kind of slowly paint away any sort of color shift or color problem that you have in a photograph. Now in regards to painting over the area where we've removed the logo this will be really helpful because really what we want to do there is just minimize any kind of strange little variation or difference which calls attention to that area of the image.
Now as you're making adjustments like these, you may also want to move to other areas of your photograph. So here once you've finished out these areas, you can go ahead and press the Spacebar key and then just click and drag to other areas of your picture, again just to add a little bit more uniform color across a certain area of your photograph. And this technique it works in a lot of different situations not just in a situation like this where we removed a logo. Well next before we leave this movie, let's do one more thing.
Here we'll create a new layer. We're going to do a little bit of cloning, so we'll name that new layer cloning. Next press the S key to select the Clone Stamp tool or just click on the Clone Stamp tool here in the Tools panel. Then go up to the Options bar and in the Options bar again we will lower the Opacity. We'll turn on this option to use pressure sensitivity if we have a tablet. You want to make sure Aligned is turned on and you want to Sample All Layers. That allows you to do your cloning work up to this new layer that we created here.
Next I just want to brighten up some of the shadow areas. So if we Option+Click or Alt+Click on a good area we can then move the cursor back and we can start to kind of paint away this area. Now it looks like my Opacity is a little too high so I'm going to go ahead and undo that by pressing Command+Z and then I'll decrease my Opacity even more and just click over this area, Option+Click or Alt+Click on a new area, and again I'm just looking to kind of work on some of these shadows that I have here, either brightening or darkening these shadows to kind of minimize, again just the variation that we have in those areas of our photograph.
Now here this is really like just applying some small finishing touches; it's not dramatic. Many people won't even notice this. But again, all of these little adjustments help to get us towards a place where our image will look better. Well now that we've made this progress let's take a look at how we've done. Here is the so far before and then after. At least in regards to this area of the image we're making some good progress. Let's continue to work on this image and we'll do that in the next movie.
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