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In this movie, I'm going to share a few really great tips and tricks for using the contrast modes, both to increase the contrast of an image, and to reduce the contrast of an image. Let's say you want to increase the contrast for effect, as in the case of this image here. I'll go ahead and merge the contents of all the visible layers onto a new layer by pressing Control+Shift+Alt+E, or Command+ Shift+Option+E on the Mac. And then I'll go ahead and rename this layer grayness, because I'm going to turn it into a grayscale version of itself by going up to the Image menu, choosing Adjustments, and then choosing Desaturate, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press Control+Shift+Alt+U, or Command+Shift+Option+U on the Mac.
Then you want to go ahead and try out the Overlay and Hard Light blend modes. So assuming one of my Selection tools is active, I'll press Shift+Alt+O, or Shift+Option+O on the Mac, in order to apply the Overlay mode, and then I'll press Shift+Alt+H, or Shift+Option+H on the Mac, in order to apply the Hard Light mode. And so, just to give you a sense of the difference here, this is the image without that grayness layer; this is the image with that grayness layer, adding contrast, without heightening the saturation of the colors. Now, it may look as if we're blowing highlights inside the model's hair, but this actually isn't the case.
And you can test it for yourself by dropping down to the black/white icon, and choosing the Levels command. And then if I press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and drag the black slider triangle, you can see that nothing is clipped inside the image right now. And then if I press the Alt or Option key, and click and hold on the white slider triangle, I can see that there is a little clipping in the Red channel, in the model's hair right there at that white spot, but not very much actually, and we have to drag this White point down to a value of about 250 before I see anything in the way of clipping that would concern me.
So I'll go ahead and press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac, in order to get rid of that Levels layer. So the idea is this: because Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light are based on Multiply, and Screen, then you're not going to add any clipping to the image that you didn't already have in the first place. All right. Now I'll switch over to this image here. Let's say you want to increase the contrast of an image for the sake of correcting that image. Well, you can go with the technique I just showed you; that is, creating a grayscale version of the image, or you can work with an adjustment layer, which is going to give you more control.
So press and hold the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, click the black/white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Vibrance, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press Control+Shift+V, or Command+Shift+V on the Mac, and I'll go ahead and call this layer grayness as well. And then I'll crank the Saturation value down to -100. And again, you could experiment with the Overlay mode if you want to. I'm going to go direct for Hard Light here in order to achieve this effect. Now, we've got some great contrast; however, we don't have all the saturation we need. So I'll once again click inside the Saturation value here in the Properties panel, and then I'll incrementally raise it by pressing Shift+up arrow until I get a level of saturation that I like.
And for me that happens at a Saturation value of -20%. So despite the fact that we're actually leaching saturation from the image using this Vibrance adjustment layer, the Hard Light mode is increasing the contrast to the extent that we get more saturation, not less. And once again, just to give you a sense of what we've accomplished here, this is the before version of the image; not only very washed out, but some weird wandering colors in the midtones there; and this is the after version, with much better color throughout. All right.
Now let's say you want to take the contrast out of an image. So here is this high contrast barn that we took a look at back in Chapter 26. Now, the Curves adjustment layer is still your best bet for correcting the contrast of your image, but let's say you just don't have the time. You want to get, say, half the work done in about a tenth of the time. Well, then you drop down to the black/white icon, and choose Invert in order to add an Invert adjustment layer. Now, there are no options for this layer. so I'll just go ahead and close the Properties panel. And then the next step is to press Shift+Alt+O, or Shift+Option+O on the Mac, in order to apply the Overlay mode.
So it's just a two step operation; create an Invert adjustment layer, apply the Overlay adjustment mode, and you're done. Now, again, this effect doesn't measure up to what we did back in Chapter 26, but I also spent less than a minute just now showing you how to do it. All right! I'm going to switch to my final image here. Now, by now you know that you can use a High Pass adjustment layer to add sharpness to an image. What if you want to add smoothness? Well, here is a technique you might want to try out. I'll go ahead and create a copy of this layer by pressing Control+Alt+J, or Command+Option+J on the Mac, and I'll call this layer high pass.
And then I'll go up to the Filter menu, and I'll choose Other, and then I'll choose High Pass, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press Shift+F10. And I'm going to set the Radius of this image to about 10 pixels. And the idea is, I want of fill in the creases on this gentleman's face, and I estimate that they're about 10-20 pixels thick, so this should fill it in. And then click OK in order to accept that effect. Now I want to convert this layer to grayscale, so I'll go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments, and choose Desaturate.
And then finally, I'll press Shift+Alt+O, or Shift+Option+O on the Mac, in order to apply the Overlay mode. Now if I turn the layer off, and then back on, you can see that we're adding sharpness, so we're actually emphasizing the details in his face. If you want to do the opposite, then with that high pass layer selected, just press Control+I, or Command+I on the Mac, in order to invert it, and you can see that those details pretty near disappear. Now, we don't want to go that far with the effect, so I'll press the 5 key in order to back it off, so that we get this effect here.
And then, so we don't have these sort of unnatural transitions here, I'm going to apply a little bit of Gaussian Blur by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Blur, and then choosing Gaussian Blur. And I decided to go with a Radius value of 2. And it's not a big difference, by the way. If you turn off the Preview checkbox, and then turn it back on; I'll go ahead and zoom in actually another click, so we can hopefully see some kind of difference here. So this is before the Gaussian Blur. You can see that we don't have much detail at all. We just have a bunch of color transitions.
And then if I turn Preview back on, we restore some of that detail, which is ironic, because we're blurring the layer. Anyway, I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change, and then I'll go ahead and zoom back out here. Now then, let's say I want to lighten up the side of his face just a little bit. Well, you can create a kind of dodge effect using the Overlay mode. I'll press Control+Shift+N, or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, and call this layer dodge; click OK. Go ahead and grab the Brush tool. I'll right-click inside the image window to show you that my Hardness value is set to 0%, so we've got a soft brush, and I'm going to reduce the size of my brush a little bit.
Then I'm going to press the X key, so that White is my foreground color, and I'll just paint inside these areas a little bit, just to give you a sense of how this works. Then I'll press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool, and I'll switch the mode from Normal to Soft Light. That ends up blending that lightness into the image. Of course, we've gone too far, so I'll press the Escape key, so that the blend mode pop-up menu is no longer active, and I'll press the 2 key to reduce the Opacity value to 20%. So this is the appearance of the image without that layer, and this is the appearance of the image with that layer.
So it's just a quick and dirty dodge effect. If you wanted to burn instead, you would paint with black. Okay, finally a couple more corrections. I'll press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, click the black/white icon at the bottom of the panel, choose Vibrance, and I'll go ahead and call this grayness once again. And the idea is I want to add some more contrast back to this image, because we got rid of some of the contrast with that high pass layer. So I'll take the Saturation value down to -100%. I'll set the blend mode this time to Soft Light, and then I'll crank the Saturation value back up to -70%, and then I'll hide the Properties panel.
So this is what the image looked like without that layer; this is how it looks now. And finally, I think he's looking a little bit too reddish at this point, so I'm going to click on the background in order to make it active. And then I'll press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, click the black/white icon and choose Hue/Saturation, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press Control+Shift+U, or Command+Shift+U on the Mac, and I'll call this orangeness, and click OK. And then I'll go ahead and select the Target Adjustment tool, and I'll press the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and click and drag to the right a little bit. And I actually want to take that Hue value up to +5, just for the Reds, as you can see.
And so now I'll go ahead and hide the Properties panel. And just to give you a sense of what we were able to accomplish where this image is concerned, I'll press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and click on the eye in front of the Background. This is the original version of the image, and this is the enhanced version of the image, thanks to a combination of both contrast reductions, and enhancements, applied with the help of the Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light blend modes.
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