Showing compositional techniques in photoshop like vignetting and burning, John takes a first step in zeroing in on the subject of the portrait so that the viewer begins to focus on the subject's eyes and face before editing the eyes in photoshop.
- [Voiceover] Let's begin by opening the image for this course, and you'll find it in the exercise folder. Just double-click on portrait.psd, that'll automatically open it up into Photoshop for us. This is a photo of our daughter that I took as a graduation photo, and it works well here to apply the techniques we are utilizing in this course. In this movie, I'll be showing you how to zero in on the subject by using a vignetting technique. Our eyes are naturally drawn to light in a photograph, in any scene, actually.
And as you can see, there are a lot of light areas in this image. By going in and reducing the non-facial light areas, the remaining bright areas of the image naturally contrasts against the darkened periphery and that's what we'll be doing here with the vignette. Now, you're probably wondering, what is a vignette? A vignette is a technique as old as photography itself. It's used in the darkroom, and it basically comes down to the amount of light hitting the photographic paper as it's being developed.
The more light you allow onto the paper, the more light and brighter areas are going to get. On the opposite side, if you use an instrument that will prevent light from hitting areas of the image, you will allow that area of the image to remain darker, and these are referred to as dodging and burning. Burning is getting the areas darker, dodging is allowing areas to be lighter. And that's what we're going to do here. Now, before I actually get started here, I do want to mention that I am a big proponent of non-destructive editing, as it provides a great safety net to try things out that you may not otherwise be inclined to do.
Non-destructive editing additionally enables you to make changes after the fact. And let me tell you, in a production environment, that's as good as gold. So we're going to begin by creating a vignetting layer. And that is done by basically going down to the bottom of our Layers palette, and I'm going to click on the New Layer icon, but before I do, I'm going to hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows and click on it. And what happens is it brings up this New Layer dialogue.
And we're going to do a couple of things here to this new layer. First of all, the Mode, rather than Normal which is just default compositing mode in Photoshop. We're going to go down and take advantage of Soft Light. And while we're here, let me just explain that all of these, in between these lines, all share a similar quality, and that is, they treat 50% gray as if it were transparent. And anything you add that's darker than 50% gray will be interpreted in the compositing of the pixels as darker.
Anything you add lighter, like white, is interpreted as lightly in the image, and it makes a great technique for being able to do digital retouching in a non-destructive manner. So let's select Soft Light, and we're going to select this and check the Fill Soft Light with neutral color; 50% gray, we'll say OK. And as you can see, nothing has happened. If we look at the layer, it is indeed gray, but because it is transparent as 50% gray, we're not seeing the change.
It's only going to look any different if add darker or lighter tonalities to it. And in this case, we're going to use black to darken areas of the image. I've got my brush and I've made it pretty large. And I've also reduced the Opacity down to a fairly low value. I'd say 20% is the upper range of what you want this to be because it's going to allow us to do multiple strokes to slowly build up density, rather than boom at a 100%.
It's just maximum. So I'm going to start to brush, kind of in the outer corners of the image. And you can already see there's a bit of darkening happening. And I'm just going to go in. One thing I want to avoid is areas that are already really dark. If I apply too much black to my vignetting layer, these are going to get overly done. So I'm not going to stroke those areas as much. But any of the lighter areas are really what's important here.
And let's just audition this by turning this layer now on and off. And you can see right away how much it makes a difference. And it's funny, if you walk away from here, and come back a couple of minutes later, you won't even notice that it's been toned down. But if you turn that off, it certainly points itself out as a "Wow, there's a lot of distractions going on "in the outer periphery of this image." Now I can tell you from experience if you walked away from this image and then came back in in say five minutes and looked at it, you wouldn't even really detect that the vignetting has been done to it.
But if I go over here now and turn that off, it becomes very apparent that those lightened areas are a source of distraction from the face. When it's on, we're already doing a good service to this image, to focus the viewers' eyes on the face. So now that we focused the viewers' attention on the subject's face, we'll move on to modifying the lighting to further bring focus to the eyes in our next movie.
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- How to add catchlights to eyes
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- How to whiten eyes
- How to extend eyelashes