Practical Application: Layer Tools
This is a much better looking version of that Seattle photo, from before. I kind of pre-baked it a little bit for you here. This would be, what I could consider a good quality photo, before going on to things like color grading. So, I have this work flow that I do. It's tone, color, artistic effects. Tone, color, artistic... I've gotta say it twice every time I say it. But, I modify the tones in the image, and I do that in Adobe Camera Raw, more than likely. Sometimes I even do it in Photoshop. And then I modify the colors in the image. And that right there, to me, could be what could be referred to as a technically good photograph. That would be, if you're a technician of photos. There's a difference between a technician of photos and an artist. A technician would get this to a point where they're like, "Yep, that's acceptable. It's poster quality, good to go." But the artist comes in and says, "Wait a second. "No, no, no. This isn't quite where I want it to be yet. "I need to push th...
is a little bit further." So, this is the transition of this image. That's why I'm showing you this image versus the one that we had before. It's also usable, it's downloadable, for you as well. So I'm gonna go ahead and I'm a do the color burn and the color dodge. But I'm gonna incorporate a couple of different things with that. So, let me go ahead and go to the color fill. A nice solid color. And I'm a change this to a magenta color. Press okay. And I'm a change this blend mode to something like soft light, just to see what happens. One of my go-tos, often, is soft light. Just as I'm thinking about the process because it makes bright areas brighter, dark areas darker, and doesn't affect them to much in between. After I do soft light, I then can adjust the opacity. Cause this quite a bit coming through here. I'll just go ahead and drop this opacity, just a little bit, to about there, looks good, about 50%. Notice what I'm doing here. I'm making this look like a much more robust, beautiful magenta sunset, then it actually was. Because here's the deal, the last time I was out here, for Olympic National Park, I had one chance to go to this park and shoot this shot. And when I went there, I was like, "Yes, I'm gonna "get the greatest sunset ever." That's what we always say to ourselves, and it never happens, right. It's always the times where I'm doing dishes and I look out the window, and I'm like "Ahhh, why am I not out there?" But we get to be the artist. We get to be the one that decides what the end user sees. They don't see the process that we went through to get here. They just see, "Oh my gosh. "What a beautiful image." And memories are kind of interesting. So, memory in terms of, and I'm going on a little tangent here, but you'll see how this plays in. I've got brothers and sisters, and any time you ask them, "Hey, remember what happened when we were six?" And they're like, "Oh, yeah. This happened." And I'm like, "No, this happened." And my sister is like, "No, this happened." And I'm like, "Wait, no, no. You guys got it all wrong. "This is what happened." And then we go to our dad, and he's like, "No, no, no. You guys are all wrong. "This is what happened." When it reality, nobody really knows. So if the sunset happened on the Seventh, nobody really knows. Get it? So you can do whatever you want to these images. That's what I'm getting at there. Memories are subjective, and the sunset is subjective. They don't know that this March 7th, at 2018, and this is what the sunset looked like. I'm giving you justification. All the justification in the world to make these adjustments. If you needed any, you have it. So, what I've done here, is I've done a soft light blend mode. That's a calculation, to make the areas in the image a little bit more on the magenta side, and the highlights a little bit more on the magenta side, in the dark areas, but not make the whole image all magenta. Then I drop the opacity to 50%. So what else do I have options for here? I've already done soft light, I've already done opacity. I have the option of blend diff. So if I double click on this, I can blend diff to make sure that this only affects the sky. So I'll move this over here, and if I click this and move this over, notice how the city skyline area of the image is preserved. Right? Move this over. But the highlights exist within the sky. So I'll push this over as far as I can. Press alter option, split and feather that over. And now what I'm doing, is I'm getting a really nice transition between that magenta sky and how it fills all of the highlight areas that you would technically see anyway in a sunset. Right? You got a nice beaming, magenta sunset. All the highlight areas are going to have a magenta cast to them. So I can drop the opacity. That's a little bit too much, we can drop the opacity. So there, we'll just double click this and call this "highs" for short. Cause that's our highlight areas. Got a nice, good transition on those highlights. Now let's do one. Let's do an analogous color scheme here. And we'll add another color fill. And we'll select a darker blue. How about right there. Press okay. So here we'll go and we'll change this. Let's try soft light. See what we like there. And let's try color. Let's do color. We'll do color and we'll drop this opacity down, to get... And really, what I'm doing is, you might be thinking, "Well, the whole image is blue." But, yeah, you know, what I'm thinking about here is my shadows. I've done my highlights, let me do my shadows. So what am I thinking about? What am I looking at? What is my biggest concern right now, when it comes to this blue? It's nothing that's going on with the rest of the image. So don't just say, "Oh, well I changed the color "and it didn't work." Well, drop down that opacity, see what those blues look like, with a nice lift, or the blacks, the shadows. A nice lift of those shadows while adding a little bit of the color blue. If I double click this, I'll call this "shads" for shadows. And now, I have opacity set. I have color set. What else can I set? Blend diff. What do I want to protect? The highlights. So, if I double click this, I can move this over. And I can move this over, so that it protects all of the underlying layers, highlights, to give me a nice, smooth transition, in that image between areas of light and dark. I can go probably a little bit further. Bring this over. I usually bring it over, until I see what I like, then alter option, split feather over. And there we go. So now, look at that difference. Two color overlays. One set's a magenta, one set's a blue, to give us a nice analogous color scheme to this photograph. But it can be dramatically altered at any point. If I double click this blue, I can now change this to maybe a deep red, or a deep orange, like a blood orange. Then double click this magenta, maybe change this to cyan. The magic is gone. I'm almost back to normal. You see the difference there? Color makes a world of difference, in your images. Especially, when you're using those colors in conjunction with things like blend diff, and soft light, opacity. And it's not a drastic change. We're not trying to make drastic changes here. So, let's go ahead and change that back to magenta cause I really liked the way that looked. Change this back to blue. We're not going for drastic changes, we're just going for nice, subtle changes that build up on top of each other. If I want to take this even further, maybe I want the luminance values in this to be a little bit brighter or a little bit darker. I could add a curves adjustments layer. And this would be just basically a contrast adjustment. I can make the whole image a little bit darker, to kind of get that evening kind of feel. And bring up those highlights, so it's not so dark in those highlights. And if I don't want this to affect the color work that I've done below, I have another application for that. Right? I have that application, or that blend mode, of luminosity. So now the colors are not being affected by that curves adjustment layer. The color work that I already did down there, is not being affected at all, by what I'm doing with that curves adjustment layer. And I've got a nice, beautiful transition, with darker darks, but still with the same color that I just applied to, below. And if I wanted to, I could even blend diff with this, as well. So maybe, drop the opacity a little bit here because it's a little bit dark. Double click. And if I really wanted to make sure that this is not affecting my highlights, and only affecting the darkest dark areas of my image, what can I do? Protect all the underlying areas, highlight areas. Alter option, split and feather. And while I may not be able to see that, I can turn that cover overlay on, and that's what I'm actually protecting. If I go back into those blending styles, blend diff, right to there. That's the only place that that curves adjustment layer is now affecting. Alter option, split and feather it over. Perfect transition. And if I turn that cover overlay off, there's the before. And then if we turn all of these on. Cool thing about layers too, we can discuss this, layers are really cool. You can like, zip. So, if I zip from down here, up here, all of them come back on. If I zip from down here, they all turn off. And again, alter option will just, singularly turn one of those layers on and off. So I know we covered a lot. We covered all of the layer tools, that I call them. And we discussed them as basically, cell phone applications. At the root, a cell phone can only make a phone call. But when you put these applications into it, it can do anything under the sun. Same thing with a layer. At it's root, it's just a layer that sits on top of all the other layers. But when you get into the little applications of it, you can change and manipulate that layer to do many different things that happen in one layer. Now, what I really want you to grasp from this is some of the effects, these are three layers that are creating this effect. If you didn't know how to manipulate your blend modes, and your opacity, and your blend diff, like that, this could take 15 layers to achieve the same result. So one layer, when you use things like blend modes, opacity, fill, blend diff, you have access to all kinds of things in one single layer. Instead of having to 15 to 20 different layers to get the same effect. So do we have any questions?
So how would you now save this image out, for a presentation or a print?
It's perfect, a perfect question. The question was, how would I save this out for a presentation or a print. It depends on what I'm doing. Some printers want a TIFF file. If they want a TIFF, I would save down a flattened version of a TIFF because a TIFF can also contain layered data. And maybe I don't want them to have my layered data. Some printers want JPEG. If I was gonna just save this out as a JPEG, I would just flatten it down and save it as a JPEG. The cool thing about JPEG and saving in Photoshop, is that you don't actually have to flatten it. I could just go up to file, save as, JPEG, and it would automatically do the flattening process for me. That's a really important thing to understand too because if you flatten this work down and then maybe this is a PSD, and you save over it, all that work's gone. So make sure that, you know. So, if I'm printing, it's gonna go to JPEG. If I'm doing client, if I'm sharing with a client, say it's a portrait shoot, I might use the "save for web" feature to make sure that I bring that into a smaller version, for them. Which we covered that in the set up and interface. So, those are. Yes?
So I'm looking at that image, and the thing that of course attracts me, is the mountain. Mount Rainier. How would you make that mountain pop a little bit more?
That's a perfect question and when we get into masking I'm a show you exactly that. What I would do, is I would do very similar things. Notice how, when I talked about these applications, I'm missing the fourth application, which is what we're gonna get into with masking. And with masking, that's where I would do very similar things to what I'm doing here, and then paint areas around it. So that area only affects that mountain. We'll get in to that, though. Yes, ma'am?
And then, I kind of didn't understand quite well the this layer and the underlayer. What is the difference between those two? And how do you know which one to chose?
Right. So the questions was, what's the difference between this layer and underlying layer? And this layer and underlying layer, let's go ahead and just open that up, real quick. One more time, so you can see that. I believe that was this one, right here. So, this is what we use for this layer and we use for underlying layer. So if I double click on this and look at the layer styles that are happening here, this is a very easy thing to look at because of the nature of it. This is a black and white photo, so it's very easy to see what blend diff is doing here. But with this layer, if I press, if I just move this over, this is saying any blacks, in this layer, just remove it. Okay? This is saying any whites, in this layer, just remove them. Temporarily, obviously, because it's blend diff. But now, if I say underlying layer, whatever's underneath that layer will start to show up. You're saying, allow the underlying layers to show through this layer. Or protect the underlying layer, from what I am doing to you right now, with this layer. That is the hard part to wrap your head around. That's why, a lot of times, I don't use this top slider. I typically use the bottom one because I'm thinking of everything that's happening below that layer.