Glow and Haze
One of the last ones I wanna hit on is gonna be the glows and the flip side, the haze. So we've already talked about this glow quite a bit. Because I told you, it's one of those things that I love doing with my images. By blurring that background, adding soft light to it. But we're gonna add another thing into the mix with that. So let's press Command or Ctrl-J on our background layer. We go to Filter. Actually, let's change to the Soft Light first. Soft Light, Filter, Blur, and then Gaussian Blur. Now, it's gonna give us that Gaussian Blur effect that we have on our image. Now, how I make this kinda unique other than just doing that is with a little hidden thing in Photoshop that we haven't talked about yet. And it's in the Highlights and Shadows adjustment. Very similar to what you would see on something like Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom. It's in Photoshop, it's just hidden. It's not an adjustment layer, it's hidden. So if we go up to Image, we go to Adjustments, you're gonna see so...
mething right here called Shadows and Highlights, right above HDR Toning. If I click on Shadows and Highlights, where we need to kind of think about this real quick. When I move these sliders, I'm not doing anything to the background, okay. I've got this Shadows and Highlights box open and it's specifically applying itself to this layer, which is gonna be our glowing layer. So anything I do to this, Highlights and Shadows, is only going to affect that glowing layer and not the rest of the image. So if I move this up, notice how you can increase or decrease the intensity of that glow. So I'm not just stuck with whatever I get out of that Gaussian Blur effect. I've got that glowing effect here too. Now, the thing about this is that if you made this a smart object and you're making an action from this and you made a smart object from this and you added modal stops to your Gaussian Blur and to your Shadows and Highlights, you've got one click, awesome kind of glowing, hazy type of, we will make it a haze in a second, glowing type look to the image. The main kicker here when you're adjusting these is gonna be in the Tone sliders of both the shadows and the highlights. The Tone slider's gonna be the main kicker and then the amount is just gonna be a slider that's gonna help make that effect more impactful. The higher the amount and the higher the tone, the more it's gonna affect those shadow areas or not. The same thing's gonna happen here with the highlights. I usually start with the tones and then I work my way from the amounts back and forth to see what I like there. And then the Midtone slider here is gonna also increase the intensity of that as well. And then if we drop the color down, we don't have any color there. This right here is our glowing effect that we're getting on this image. It sets a soft light. If we change this to the blend mode of Screen, look at that, we now have more of a haze type of look. Because what does Screen do? Screen drops out all the black and applies the white. So what it's doing from this is it's dropping out all the black, applying the white, and all the dark colors and applying the light colors. So we get a hazy type of look, as opposed to Soft Light, which would be more of a robust type of glow. On the flip side of Screen, we change it to Multiply and we're gonna get a really dark-looking image, 'cause it's gonna drop all of the highlight areas and allow all the shadow areas to rest on top of there and amplify them in the same time. Not that great. If you're gonna use these, I would use Soft Light or I would use Screen. Now, check this out. Here's where things get a little bit deeper. Let's just double-click this and call this Glow. If I add another layer on top of this, an adjustment layer on top of this, whether that's a Curves adjustment layer or even a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and I use something like a clipping mask by pressing Alt or Option and clicking on that, now this Curves adjustment layer is not going to affect the background. It's only going to affect that glowing area that we created there. So now, I get even more control over that glowing area and what's happening with that glow in that image by boosting up those colors. If that combine that with something like the color blend mode or something like Soft Light, we get even more intensity coming out in that image, just really quickly from doing that. Open up that Gradient Spotlight. Boom, look at that. Now we got a really nice, it's actually really... I could probably work on this a little bit more, 'cause we got a lot of contrast coming on over here. This is a little bit too much contrast. We got a really nice sunset though. We're really exploiting that sunset. I could work on masks, I could mask out that area. All of these project files are there for you to work on as well. So as you see me working on this, you can work on that as well and see what you would do with something like this by combining all of these effects together. Now, if we go into that black and white image that we started at the beginning of this. If we drag this Gradient Spotlight onto here. Oop. And double-click on it, we can move that Gradient Spotlight all over the place. So you see, this image here has become kind of like a conglomeration of all the things that we've been doing and building up to get this artistic style and this artistic look and this creative effect that only I could've created. Now, you could've too, 'cause you watched me do it. But that's the whole point. The viewer doesn't see the approach. They just see the end result. So they don't know what happened to get this image. Someone might even think you got this right outta a camera, for some reason. They don't know. They just see the end result. But what we have to do as the artist-photographer is communicate with them what we want them to feel, what we want them to see, and maybe you make them feel what we felt when we were there. And you can only do that with artistic styling. You cannot do it with toning color alone. Even if both of you, like, even if me and wife were in the same location and I took a picture and I showed it to her, she'll be like, that's cool. If I take that picture and I process it and then she sees it, she's like, man, that's beautiful, that's exactly like I felt. It's a huge difference, it's a mindset difference. It's a mindset change. So what I want you to take away from this is get yourself away from just being a technician of toning color and start transitioning into the creative effects. A lot of the stuff that we talked about up until now was just utilizing all of these things and understanding what an adjustment layer is and understanding how to manipulate that adjustment layer. But now that you have that knowledge, you have all kinds of power to create your own custom creative effects by stacking these things on top of each other and seeing what happens in that build process. We've taken everything that we've just talked about throughout this entire course and started stacking it here in this layer stack. Look at it, it's a representation of a lot of things that we've come across over the last 16 days at this point. So if we were to go ahead and... None of these actually have Blend If incorporated in them either. We really didn't even go into that Blend If route, but we could have dug deeper into that too. There's really no holds barred when you are an artist. Okay, you will restrict yourself as a photographer. But there's no holds barred if you're an artist. You'll restrict yourself because you'll feel the pressure to want to make things as realistic as they possibly were. But nobody knows what you saw. You know what I mean? And they wanna feel something when they see your images. Look at any photographers out there that are the greatest of the greats. The reason what separates them apart is that artistic styling. It's not the fact that they can take a technically perfect toning color photo. If Ansel Adams just regularly processed his black and white images, do you think he would be Ansel Adams? Absolutely not. He went to a certain extreme with his black and white process and his images that he created in the darkroom that made his images what they are. And we have to do the same thing with ours. So we have any questions on custom creative effects?
At one point, you mentioned that you don't really use the Eraser much. But is there any time in there where you may, like, double up on a layer or something like that and use the Eraser?
No, I don't use the Eraser tool. The question was, do you ever use the Eraser tool and is there ever a time when you, like, double up on a layer and use the Eraser tool? Not necessarily. I only use masks. I won't use the Eraser tool. The Eraser tool becomes a permanent deletion of pixels, whereas the mask becomes a temporary deletion of pixels by removing that effect with black and white. And you can always go back and paint back in with more white or more black to reverse or get more of the effect. If you wanted another mask, you could put any of those into a group and get two masks, 'cause now you have the group mask and now you have the mask for that layer. So the group mask would be your primary mask that would take precedence over everything that's inside of it. So if there was a time where I ever felt the need, I guess, for that Eraser thing, 'cause you're talking about doubling up on layers, you could just double up on your masks. And you don't have to worry about it, you know what I mean?
So could somebody in theory take the Eraser out of Photoshop so they don't ever have to keep going and using it and going, oh.
When the set up the interface here, did you see we keep Eraser? Nope.
You erased it.
I took it right out. Gone with the Eraser. Men in black, I erased it from your mind. There is no more Eraser, don't use the Eraser. It's bad juju, okay. So that concludes our course on custom creative effects. You'll be seeing a lot more of this as we get into workflow, because when we start building these images through the workflow process, I'm gonna be talking about tone color and effects. You're gonna see a lot more of it, so fear not. If you'd like to follow me, you can follow me at f64.co/cl at f64 Academy. Sign up for that email list there. I love taking questions and helping people out, so. The next thing that we're gonna discuss is natural portrait retouching.