Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video San Francisco sign pt. 2: Adding lights , part of Photoshop CS4 for Photographers: Creative Effects.
All right, now that we have added some typography and we have worked on the Plus sign. Let's work on the rest of the image. Press the M key to select the Marquee tool. Then press Shift+M to select the Elliptical Marquee tool. Now here is what we are going to do. We are going to hold down the Shift key, click and drag to create a selection, then press the Spacebar key to reposition your selection. Never let go of the mouse button, never let go of the Shift key. So we are repositioning that, so it's right on top of this sign. Click and drag to expand it some more. Reposition it by pressing the Spacebar button, clicking and then dragging, let go of the Spacebar and then click and drag to change the overall size.
So again, you never let go of the mouse button. All right, well now that we have a pretty nice selection on this portion of the image, what I want to do is invert that selection. So I'm going to navigate to Select and choose Inverse or use a shortcut of course and I can go ahead and click on the Curves icon to open up the Curves dialog inside of the Adjustments panel. What I'm interested in doing here is just darkening the background. I will go ahead and bring down my white point a bit. I just want to add quite a bit of darkening effect there. Let's take a look at our before and after either by clicking on this eye icon or this one here. Here is before and after. Again, just darkening the overall background.
Now I don't want to darken all the background, so I will go ahead and make sure I'm clicked in the mask, press the B key and then right-click on the image to choose little bit more normal brush, nice soft brush and I think that worked pretty well, little bit larger there. Clicked off of that and I'm going to paint with black. Currently white is on my foreground, press the X key, now I have black. I'm just looking to bring back a little bit of detail on this portion of the sign. It came a little bit darker and also bring back some of the detail on the wall here, some of those deeper tones. I don't want to lose all that detail and of course, I'm going for a pretty high contrast effect, yet just going to bring back some of those details in the darker areas. Let's do a little quick bit of masking. Okay let's look at our before and after now. Before and after and with that mask we can see the before and after by Shift-clicking it. There is before and then there is after. All right, well so far so good.
The next thing that I want to do is grab the Marquee tool again. Press the M key. Click and drag to make a selection, a rough selection around the sign here and then we are going to create another curves adjustment. We will do that by clicking on the Adjustment Layer icon and choosing Curves and here what we are going to do is brighten this up, add a little bit more contrast to it. I'm just looking to add, just a little bit more snap to that and bring down those whites a bit up top and then here is our before and after on this side. Now I created a pretty hard edge selection. Sometimes that's going to be a problem for you. In order to view your mask, what you want to do is hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC and click on the Mask icon. This will show you the mask. Again, a pretty hard edge.
Not a very good idea. So I will go to my Masks panel and I will add a bit of Feather and as I increase this you can see a much more transition that's probably too much. Go ahead and navigate back to the Layers palette. On a Mac, Option-click, on a PC Alt-click that icon so that we see the image. Now of course, you can work on the feather without looking at the mask, but I find that at times it's kind of helpful to look at it in that view. All right, well so far so good. We have a little bit of effect on the center; we have an effect on the background. Hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, click on your Background layer, overall before and after. All right, so far so good.
What I want to do at this juncture is I want to merge all of these layers to my topmost layer and I'm going to do that by way of a shortcut. Now this is a bit of a crazy shortcut but an important shortcut. It's Shift+Option+Command+E and that shortcut allows you to take all of your underlying layers, merge them to top. We will go ahead and name this layer merged. Now that these have all been merged, I'm going to navigate to my Filter pulldown menu and choose Render and then good old fashioned Lighting Effects. Now I don't want to apply an Omni light there. Although that looks pretty interesting to have that on the sign with a darker background. What I'm going for in this one is a Spotlight. So I have this nice spotlight effect. I need to rotate that. I will click and drag on the square and make this a little bit more thin and I'm looking to add some lights, coming off of the actual lights that we have here.
All right, well there is one light source. Click on the Light icon, add another one. Rotate this one around so that it is aligned up with the other light and of course we need to get a rotation just right and then expand it a bit more. Of course, what we can do is we can further modify these controls, just looking to make this look kind of interesting. Bring some light on the sign there a little bit. So I'm going to go ahead and modify the controls, add a little bit more ambient light to the image. I'm going to click on those lights. I think it needs to come down a bit, doesn't it? It is a little bit too intense there. Now that I see it's too intense, I need to modify it. Go over to the other light source, backed out one of is well there a touch and pull it away just a bit from that area and I will add a little bit of a positive light source there and then click OK to apply that, who knows if that's going to be good, but it looks like a decent start. This light actually looks pretty good. This one I didn't quite now but no problem, we can fix that.
So let's a look at our before and after there. Again, just redirecting our eye to this portion of the image. Now here is something we can do to fix this up, so it looks perfect. I will go ahead and click on the Add Layer Mask icon to my merged layer. Now I will grab the Brush tool, press the B key. Have a nice, soft edged brush. Now I'm going to go ahead and paint with black along this edge, just to soften out that light source edge. Make the brush even bigger and I'm going to go ahead and do that around the edge of this, just looking to bring our limit where that light is going and so now we have a little bit of a directional light here. We can try a couple of things.
Sometimes it's fun to try Soft Light. Although, in this case, that's not going to do too much for us, right. Just adds to overall contrast because the brightness is a little bit lost in that white background but sometimes that works. Other times, what we are going to do is lower the opacity just to diminish the effect a little bit. So I will go ahead and lower the opacity there. Here is my before and after. Again, just bringing a little bit more into this area and then finally, I will zoom out so I can actually look at the edges. I realize I want to darken those edges. So I'm going to create a new layer by way of shortcut. Do you remember this one? Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC. We will name this layer burn. Our blend mode is what? Soft Light, you got it. Click OK. Grab your Brush tool, good old B key.
Now what I'm going to do here is rather than paint at a 100% opacity, I will lower my opacity. We will go down somewhere right about 60. I'm just going to look to darken up the edges a bit and look through the image, darken a few different areas of the image, smaller brush, Left Bracket key. Go ahead and make those changes there and let's take a look at our before and after. Zoom in so we can actually see that, before and after. All right, so far so good. Let's press F to go to Full Screen view mode, press F7 to bring back your Layers palette. Here is our overall before and after.
Hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, here is before and then after. Of course, we are going for a pretty interesting stylized effect. Now if any of these effects are too intense for you, you know a lot of times we will have different preferences. You can lower the opacity, right. You can also go at the very end, add a little bit of a curves adjustment. You know brighten up the overall image. Say, you know I don't like it. That quite high of a contrast or for that matter, you can flatten out contrast. Now I will go ahead and show you how you can do that, just make this line a little bit less steep that we will flatten it out and sometimes this image will actually print better while this image, the one with the high contrast will probably look better if this image is intended to be viewed on a monitor.
So let's a look at our final before and after. Hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, click on the eye icon in the Background layer. Here is our before and after. All right, that was quite a bit of fun and we definitely increased the overall visual interest in this photograph.
- 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