Matte and Cinematic Effects
There is another type of effect that we can go for here that's kinda like a, an artistic matte effect and we see this a lot lately. It's the cinematic matte effect, or the cinematic approach to our photos. And it just gives it an overall kind of more moviesque, picturesque style to the photograph. And a cinematic effect can be achieved by using a curves adjustment layer, just using it in a more clever way and it can also be used, be made by using a selective color adjustment layer. Again stacking all these things up and thinking about how these cinematic matte effects can be used with things like black and white which we'll take in approach here in a second. So we'll go ahead and do this, we'll just grab a curves adjustment layer and with these cinematic effects what we're tryin' to do is we're tryin' to take all the darkest dark areas in the image and just lift them up a little bit just make them, make their profile a little less black and a little bit more on the gray side of things.
You see this in video all the time because video tends to be really contrasty, my couch videos that I do as I made reference to before if I'm wearing a dark shirt and I've got dark shadows in there the video looks really contrasty and gritty and I want it to feel more safe and more welcoming so I'll take those black areas and I'll just slightly lift them up a little bit. And we can do the same thing with a black and white image that might be a little too punchy, a little too hard edged just go ahead and lift those black areas up a little bit. So to do that we are literally going to lift the black area. As we said before with the curves, this is your dark area, this is your midtones, this is your highlights. These little handles at the bottom, you don't see me movin' those too much, but these little things at the bottom and the top can also be moved to pinch in your black and your white point. So when you are working with the curves adjustment layer if you move this curve over this way, you're basically telling all the midtone area in your histogram that this is the new white. If we were to turn this this way we're telling all of that information there in that midtone area from here all the way to here, this is the new black, this is your new starting point for black, forget about all this stuff and that's how we get all this nasty pits and pockets of black in the image. However if we take it the opposite direction we're now telling black to get a little bit more onto the midtones, now we're telling black that the new black is actually a middle gray. If we do the same thing with our lights, come over here to this side, we're telling our lights that the new white is now a middle gray. So instead of clipping in and saying that the new midtones are white, we're now telling the whites to become more gray, so you see how you can maneuver that around on the curve there. So if I wanted to lift my blacks to get that cinematic effect I would just come down here to these shadow areas and lift them up. If I wanted to protect what's going on to the rest of the image, 'cause now what's happening with the curve, it's going here, zunk, all the way up to here, so you can imagine all the pixels that are happening between this area of darkness all the way to this midtone are also getting lifted all the way up until very smallest nth degree of the highlights are also getting lifted. Well if we don't want that we just start to add some points. So I'll put a point here, I'll put a point here, and I'll put point here. And now what that allows me to do is it allows me to lift those black areas and look at how they just, it's more warm, it's more inviting, it's more comforting. Now this is a really big jolt, by lifting those blacks to that area, but it's an extreme so that you can actually see it it might be more difficult for you to see this than I see it on my machine. So if I were to turn that curve off that's the before and that's the after. We're not just restricted there either. We can go into the red channel and what if we wanted to add, while we lift those black areas, what if we wanted to add a little bit of red or a little bit of cyan to those areas? That's what the red curve is for. If I add a point here, I can restrict that from being affected, add a point here, restrict that from being affected, add a point here, restrict that from being affected, and these can all be added in to actions, keep that in mind, okay? And then if I move this over, I'm starting to add some cyan into that black area. If I move it up, I'm adding red into that black area, you see that? So not only are my blacks being lifted up now, my shadow area is being lifted up now, I'm also adding a nice just sheen of red on top of that as well. So let me go ahead and add blue, so I add a point here, here, here. If I lift this up, it's gonna make that a little bit more blue, if I bring it to the right, it's gonna make it a little bit more yellow which kinda gets me back to the original which I don't really want, I'll just bring it up to about here like that. So let's go ahead and open up this image and because this is a curves adjustment layer watch what I can do, I can just take this curve, press and hold shift, move it over onto this one, and now I've added that effect to that black and white effect, do you see that? So lifting up those black areas, adding a little bit of that red, adding a little bit of that blue area to the black and white conversion that we've created here. So we're gonna minimize that. There's another place that we can make this cinematic look, this cinematic matte style effect, and that's gonna be over here in selective color. The point is here is that you don't necessarily have to use that curve if you're not comfortable with it, you could also use selective color, because in this drop down up here, we see blacks right? If I increase the blacks, it's doing the same thing that that curve would do by pinching over the the little black handle into the midtones, if I bring it down this way, it's gonna reduce the amount of black that exists in the color black, so we bring it all the way over here, guess what, black turns white, might be not quite the effect that I wanna go for but. If we wanted to add color to it, I've got those colors right here, so if the curve is a little intimidating for you, just try the selective color, go into the black area, drop the black amount of black that's in there and then maybe add a little bit of blue or a little bit of yellow to it by using this handle, if I bring it down it's gonna add blue to those black areas, if I bring this up it's gonna add magenta to those black areas, bring this up it's gonna add more cyan to those black areas, and now I get something that's just a little bit more interesting, a little bit more artistic, has a little bit more of my flair to it. And because this also is in a selective color adjustment, if I were to go into something like the color yellows I could also adjust the color yellows at the same time while I'm doing that. I could also use it almost like a split tone too if I went into my whites, I could add some color to those white areas, increasing the amount of white that's in those white areas, and add some color to those white areas to kinda split tone that a little bit too to get that cinematic look or that cinematic effect. This is really powerful on portraits. If we were to take our test image, bring this up, drag this over onto here, see what's happening with all of our photos, look at the difference in that portrait down there, just by adding that cinematic effect, notice what it's doing just like in my couch videos, look at that, it's lifting up those darker areas here, it's allowing those shadows to still exist there but to exist in a less contrasty way, to allow my face to come out a little bit more. But then look at what's happening to all the rest of the image too, look at what's happening to the interior, look at what's happening to our highlights and our shadows, look at what's happening to the different colors that we have in our image as we add that effect. Turn it on, turn it off, turn it on, turn it off. It's making a really beautiful looking sunrise look up here, it's really nice. So then if I wanted, if I was working on a sunrise and I wanted to continue with that I could go into any one of these colors, just within that selective color, that one layer is doing so much and we haven't even done anything with blend modes, we haven't done anything with blend diff on that, we haven't done anything with the opacity of that, that's just using the selective color, that's just taking that color palette, mixin' those colors together and getting the effect that we want on our image.
Adobe® Photoshop® CC® is a valuable tool for photographers, but it can also be intimidating. In this all-inclusive 20 lesson course, you’ll go from opening the program for the first time to creating images that really stand out. Join Blake Rudis, Photoshop® expert and founder of f64 Academy, as he shows you how to maximize your use of Photoshop®. Topics covered will include:
• Class Introduction & Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, Setup Interface, Cropping and Layers
• Layer Tools, Masks, Selections, Clean-Up Tools and Shapes & Text
• Smart Objects , Transforming, Actions, Filters and Editing Video
• Custom Creative Effects, Natural Retouching, Portrait Workflow, Landscape Workflow, and Composite Workflow
Don’t let the many aspects of Photoshop® prevent you from maximizing your use of this amazing app. Blake will help you develop the confidence to use your imagination and create the images that you will be proud to share with your clients.
Software Used: Adobe® Photoshop® CC® 2018