Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video San Francisco Bay Bridge: Illumination, part of Photoshop CS4 for Photographers: Creative Effects.
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Welcome to Chapter 1. In this movie we will be working on the file corwig_bay_bridge. You can find it in the Chapter 1 folder. Before you actually begin to work on this image, I want to evaluate it and I want to share with you a little tip that I use when working with the Adobe Bridge and when I really want to get creative with my photographs. Well, here is what I do. I select the image, then I press the Spacebar key. Ah! All the sudden it minimizes the interface, right. It takes the image to that Full Screen View mode. Now that's so helpful because if I want to evaluate an image, I really have to get rid of everything else. So I can focus in on the task at hand. Now this particular photograph, I like it because it feels a little bit more like a fine art photograph.
Now this bridge, the Bay Bridge, is a commuter bridge, right. Yet I cut out all the traffic because I want it to be a little bit more about the idea of the bridge, not the practical, daily commute of that bridge, but something more. So what I want to do in this project is look at how we can add some light in order to take that concept, or that idea, or the fine art nature of this image even further. All right, let's press the Spacebar key to exit Full Screen View mode and let's go ahead and open up this file by double clicking it, then press F to go to Full Screen View mode. Press the Spacebar key and click and drag to reposition the image so that you are looking up and you are not looking down.
That way you have good posture when you are working on your photographs. All right, well the first thing that I want to do with this image is I want to add a little bit of light to it. So we are going to go down to our Layers palette, we are going to click on the Background layer and drag it to the new icon which will then copy that layer. We will double click the name of this new layer and then type out 'light' to give it a new name there. We will navigate to the Filter pulldown menu. We are going to go to Render and then Lighting Effects. Now the lighting effect that we are interested in using is Omni. Now that's a little bit too intense for me. So I'm going to go ahead and lower this. What I'm looking to do is just bring some light into this area of the image and I'm going to modify these sliders till I find a nice, sweet spot.
Now keep in mind that I'm not looking to try and create an effect that looks perfect here. Because what we will do is we will blend this into the Background layer. But I think for the most part that's looking pretty good. I will click OK to apply that. All right, well, so far so good. Next step is to change our blend mode. So we will click on the pulldown menu and we are going to choose Soft Light. All right, really interesting. Let's take a look at what happened here. Here is our before and after. It's a pretty subtle change. Yet in my opinion, kind of significant, right. It's bringing more attention to this area of the bridge. Now something that's kind of interesting to try at this stage is to copy this layer in order to duplicate the intensity of that effect.
Now we already saw that we can copy this by clicking and dragging it to the new layer icon. You can also press Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC and now we will turn this on and off to look at that before and after. So here is our overall before and then after. Now this top layer is actually kind of interesting yet. It went a little bit too far. So we are going to go ahead and click on the Opacity slider, drag that down. Just want to add a little bit more of a snap there, all right. So far, so good. Well, the next thing that I'm going to do is go ahead and desaturate this image. So I'm going to click on the option to pull out all the color and we will go to our Black & White adjustment layer.
Now a lot of times what I like to do when I'm getting creative with Black & White conversions is try some of the different default settings. For example, I will try the Blue Filter. Now I like that. I like how it darkened the bridge a bit. Now of course, you always want to go in and modify your sliders just a touch here to get the exact Black & White conversions that you like. So I'm just going to modify these sliders a bit. Okay, well I think that looks pretty nice. Well now that I have pulled all the color out I want to add some of my own color back to this image. So I will go back to my Adjustments panel by clicking on the arrow and I'm going to go to Curves. In the Curves panel, I'm going to go on to my Red channel, I'm going to add quite a bit of red to this image and then go to that Blue/Yellow channel. Remember if you click and drag up towards the word Blue there, it becomes blue. If you click and drag down it adds a complimentary color, in this case Yellow.
I will go to the Green/Magenta channel and add a little bit of Magenta and go back to the Red/Cyan channel there and I'm just going to bring this down. Now it's not actually called the Red/Cyan channel. It's called the Red channel. Yet, I like to think of it as Red/ Cyan because those are the two different colors you can add. Here I can add Cyan or I can add Red. All right, well at this juncture, the colors is just overpowering, right, but that's okay because I'm going to blend this back into the image. So I will go to my blending mode and I'm going to choose good old fashioned Soft Light. All right, that's what we are talking about, right. So here is our before and then there is our after with that really interesting color and again, what I'm looking to just create a little bit more of a monochromatic feel. Yet I want some of those deep sepia tones as well.
All right, well so far so good we are making some progress with this image. I'm going to double click the tab on the Adjustment panel to close it. Then I'm going to create a new layer. I'm going to click on the New Layer icon and I'm going to name this new layer corners. What I'm looking to do here is just to darken the corners. So I'm going to go ahead and burn down those corners and I'm going to do that by filling this layer with a color and then changing the blend mode. So I will navigate to my Edit pulldown menu and choose Fill and then I'm going to choose from the Content pulldown menu, Black. So I'll fill that layer with black, perfect.
Take this down to a blend mode of Soft Light. Well, now that we can see it's darkening out the overall image. I want to mask some of that out. So I will click on the Add Layer Mask icon. All right, so far so good. Press the B key to select your Brush tool. Make your Brush bigger and you can do that by pressing the right bracket key. You also want to have a pretty soft brush. So if you go up to your Brush menu, take the Hardness all the way down. All right, perfect. And here what we are going to do is just paint with black in the middle of the image. We are just looking to limit that darkening effect just to the outer edge of the frame. That looks really nice. Just keeping the eye in the center of the frame. All right, well so far so good. I think there is just one more step with this photograph. The next step is going to be click on the Adjustment Layer icon and this time go to Color Balance. Now with Color Balance we are going to add some color to our midtones. What I want to do is just make this a little bit more golden. I felt like the color was a just little bit too reddish there. Add a little bit of that golden, nice yellow effect. Double click the Adjustments tab so we can see our before and after by clicking on this icon.
Really nice. Now down here in our Curves layer where we added that color, I'm feeling that that's just a little bit too intense, so I will click on that and lower the Opacity. All right, I like that. Color Balance layer, let's take a look at our before and after. That looks really nice. Although I need to modify it a bit. So couple of ways you can do that. One is just double click the icon there for Color Balance. It will open up the Adjustments panel right above and here you can swing these options one way or the other and I'm just going to go ahead and modify those a little bit further. Go in to my Highlights. We will bring a little bit more Yellow there and the shadows as well I'm going to bring a little bit of Yellow and a little bit Red into those shadows. Again, I'm just having some fun with colors. Here is our before and after with that adjustment layer.
All right, well we have taken this image to a whole new place. In addition, I hope you have picked up some shortcuts along the way. Let's go ahead and walk through the progress. So I will turn off the eye icons here and all the other layers by holding on the Option key on the Mac, Alt key on the PC and clicking on the eye icon for the Background layer. Here is our original file. We added some light to the center of the image. We duplicated that layer, added a little bit more. Converted to Black & White and brought in our own color. A little bit more muted tone here and then darkened those corners and then brought in some of that golden light and we have a pretty interesting image.
The overall before and then after and again what we did here is we slowly built up that effect. Isn't that really interesting? One thing that you have to keep in mind is while we used this effect for a bridge, you can use this technique on a wide range of images. It's actually really fascinating. You can redirect how the viewer actually looks at your photographs, by using that Filter > Render > Lighting Effects. It's a really interesting filter and the trick with using that filters be sure to use some blending and keep in mind that while we apply this particular filter with this sepia tone effect, you can also apply it to color images as well.
- Adding light and drama
- 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
- Applying border and edge effects