Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating an edgy muted and contrast look, part of Photoshop CS5: Creative Effects.
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With this photograph, I want to share with you a technique that you can use to create a muted or edgy type of look to your photographs. Now this particular technique is incredibly easy, yet nonetheless it can help you come up with some really intriguing results. Well, here you can see that this fashion photograph was captured at the beach. And in our Layers panel, we have two layers: the original file as captured, and then the image after some retouching. Now we talked about the retouching and how to do that in one of my other training titles on fashion retouching.
Yet here, what I want to focus in on is this color effect. So in order to add this affect, all that you need to do is to click on your Adjustment layer icon for Hue/ Saturation in order to create a new Hue/Saturation adjustment. Next, we're going to go ahead and desaturate the image. So we'll lower the Saturation here. Then we're going to change our Blending mode to Soft Light. Now once we use that Soft Light Blending mode, what it will do is it will blend in this Desaturation effect into the color image.
The ending result will be this really distinct look. Check it out. Here we have that before and then the after. Notice this effect works great, whether you're photographing clouds, or people, or landscapes or products. It can just give your image that distinct or interesting aesthetic. Now one of the ways that we can push this even further is by using the Overlay Blending mode. You can think of Overlay as applying what Soft Light does, just with a little bit more intensity. So here you can see the images even a little bit more bleached out.
Here we have that before, and then after. Yet with Overlay, one of things that we can see, which is even more problematic is the black detail in the hair. We've completely lost this. Now for a stylistic effect that could be kind of interesting. But let's say that the client says, you know what, we need more detail in the hair. Well, no big deal. All that you need to do is apply some advanced blending to this adjustment layer. To do that, simply double-click the layer. So you want to double-click it away from the layer name, and also away from the mask thumbnail.
When we double-click the layer name, this opens up our layer Style dialog. Well here, we can work on this layer. If we click and drag up this black point here, you can see that I can bring detail back into the hair. We can now see that in the background over there. Look at the before and after, focusing on the hair there. There is the before, and there is the after. Well, the downside of using this control is that a lot of times it makes the edge really jagged. We can correct that. In order do that, hold down Option or Alt, and simply click and drag these sliders to split those sliders.
This creates a transition or diffusion between how it's bringing back this detail here. Well, now we can click on our Preview. There is before, and there is after, bringing back a little bit of detail into those areas. Now many times, bringing back detail like that's really important if this image is going to be printed. So we have some detail there, so that those blacks don't become completely blocked up. Now how far you go with this of course is up to you. You get to make the decision, in regards to how much detail you need. In my case, I'm going to lower this down just a little bit here, in order to have a little bit less detail.
Then go ahead and click OK. Well, now here we can see the before and after. There is before, and there is after, a pretty distinct look and aesthetic. Again, if you want something a little more subtle, you could always lower the Opacity, or you could try Soft Light. Soft Light will give you nonetheless an interesting look, but not quite so intense. Here is our before, and then after.
- Adding light and drama
- Enhancing color and tone
- Applying graffiti and reflections to surfaces
- Using lens blur and focus to enhance portraits
- Masking multiple images and adding elements
- Combining images with multiple depths of field
- Using layers masks and blending with HDR toning
- Applying border and edge effects
- Adding a sense of motion
- Understanding vanishing point perspective
- Using Photoshop plug-ins