Use Luminance Masks to Alter Shadows & Highlights
next, we're gonna move in Two luminous masks. Luepnitz masks are relatively similar to channels. They're gonna look kind of sort of the same. And you can use a channel mask or illuminates mask a lot of times relatively interchangeably, not completely so, but relatively interchangeably. But the difference between a luminous masking a channel mask is that illuminates mask make selections based on tone, not color. So it actually is a combination of all of your R G B values together. So you're actually not selecting the red information or the green information of the blue information. You're selecting the highlights or you're selecting the shadows. And this is very, very useful for when you want to select highlights or shadows, either as a way to expand or compress tonal ranges of an image. Recover shadow detail add contrast to a tonal range of the image. Maybe you want to, um, ad yellow to one part of the image of blue to the other. This makes it to be a highly effective way to color grad...
e and make those changes. So we're going to, um, make aluminum. It's mask. I'm gonna go ahead and close this out, and we're first gonna use it as a way to brighten shadows. All right, so we have this particular image, it's pretty dark. There's lots of dark shadow tones. So I need to brighten the shadows, Okay. And so what I'm gonna do is it doesn't really matter what adjustment you make Whether you're making, like, a curves your levels, it's really all about you just creating the effect. And then we're gonna target that adjustment. OK, So people get wrapped up and do I use curves or levels? That's actually not what super important. It's more important about what you're doing with it and then how you're targeting that adjustment. And so here's what we're going to do. We're gonna create a curve adjustment layer, and we're going to brighten it up. And I can kind of see that I'm now getting brighter tones in my shadows. But unfortunately, the faces garbage, it's completely blown out. It's way too, but I need to take this adjustment, and I only need to apply it to the shadows. So first thing you have to do in making a luminous mass because you have to turn off your adjustment because it's tough to make that selection. If you're already manipulating the image beyond what you need, you don't have to make the adjustment. First, you could make the mask and then make the adjustment. That's the benefit of using adjustment layers and working, not destructively, but I like to make it first. It just helps me see things. So I select the mask very, very important. It's like the mask from a good image, and we go to apply image and it's using the merged emerges usually good, because if you're doing this tacked onto the end of your image, you want to make sure you're working with what you're seeing, not necessarily just what's there. We only have one layer here. And so if you have 20 different layers, it's really important that you're making the mask based off those, not some arbitrary layer underneath. Then you want to make sure channel is RGB that's gonna combine all of your channels together. Also, we're gonna leave multiply on there for now, just for the same reason that we did so earlier, which was that we can keep compounding this effect over and over to help us refine it. But the one difference here is I'm actually going to check Invert, and you can kind of see it in the thumbnail. Now, if you want to see what this is looking like before you even, uh, hit Okay, you can option click on the mask ahead of time, then go into image and apply image. And now I'm looking at exactly the mask. So if I hit invert, I know what's being selected. I know the face has has not much of this effect on it now. This is obviously way too strong. It's covering way too much of the information. So what I could Dio is again I can use contrast. I can use contrast to come in and refine what I'm doing. So if I want to come in and hit command, l I can manipulate it this way and it's going to start taking away from my highlights and taking away from my mid tones, the more I compress the information here and so before and after, I'm able to see that it's targeting a much tighter tonal range down there. You can also, if you would prefer we can turn this on and you can hit command l and you can bring it up while you're actually looking at the image itself. Instead of looking at the mask, I find that it's usually a little bit easier for me to look at the mask. But it's entirely a matter of personal preference, and you can kind of see how it's starting to really grab those shadow tones as I start to tweak through it. Now, The reason I like to look at the mask when I'm doing it is because I'm not necessarily married to what it looks like in this step. Okay, so I'm gonna go ahead and turn this on, and I know it's too strong. But what I can do is I can either dial it back again or I can lower the opacity. So there's a lot of different ways you can go into this. I'm and that's gonna give you a whole lot of flexibility with how you manipulate these tones. Now you can also just like the channel masks. Um, there is one extra element here of density and feathering, and when you click on the mask, if you double click on it by default, it brings up selecting mask, which is this back in the day before to one of more recent versions. Ah, photo shop. What it would do is it would bring up properties and you'll see density and feather. Okay. And density and feather control the mask. So where is the opacity controls the overall effect of the layer. These two are going to control the mask and density is kind of like opacity of the mask. So let's say you've made this effect and you know what? I wish it actually did have a little bit more of the highlights in there. So what you do is you lessen the density and it starts to kind of change the transparency of the mask, and it starts to bleed the effect back into the rest of the image and to that super useful. You may also find that maybe not in this particular case, but a feather will start to make your adjustments a little bit softer and a little bit less obvious. So if you want something that feels a little bit more like a dodge and burn or whatever your change happens to be, a feather is gonna bleed that adjustment into other parts of your image. I typically don't use a heavy feather when I'm using complex masks. But if you remember in the first image when we edited out the, uh, background, sometimes a slight soft feather will make the hair look a little bit less crispy because sometimes you get to heart of an edge when you cut things out. And so if you feather this by a pixel or two, you can sometimes soften that affect a little bit, all right? No, it's not just about frightening shadows darkening shadows. Sometimes it's about contrast. And so what you can do is you can actually create. Let's say you have a low contrast shadow area like I do here, but I still want really dark, deep blacks electorally bring that black point in a little bit when I manipulated, and that's actually changing contrast of the shadow range. So let's say your blacks aren't black enough. You want to make them a little bit darker. You can target just a tiny little portion of that, and you can make them extra dark. I find they're certain fashion photographers that do this. Mario Testino has it happened a lot in his processing. You'll notice he'll shoot a natural life. But the blacks, the shadows are just very, very rich and dark. It's a very specific, targeted adjustment to that tonal range, and it's really amped up, and this is one way to do that. She just create a mask that's very targeted in that range. And this is broad by comparison. I mean, you can actually take this and target something like that, and you could make the blackest blacks the darkest part of your tonal range really, really dark. So this is brightened. May be tough to see on that screen, but see if I brightened up a little bit and so you can kind of see it just makes it hopes a little bit darker. Okay, so this is just a way to do it now. I also really like it as a way to pop highlights. You'll often see like a little bit of a gloss to skin certain commercial imagery. This becomes a way that you can target those highlights and make them pop. So, for example, if I wanted to come in and just make thes highlights pop, I could basically do the same thing that I did in the darkening are started the brightening of the shadows. I could do that for the brightening of the highlights. And so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna come in and I'm gonna create one of these little brightening, and I'm going to do an image and apply image. But this time, make sure invert is not checked so that I'm now looking at this and then I'm gonna manipulate the contrast using command l So it's only targeting what I want, and it just pops highlights a little bit. Now, another great element of utilizing masks like this is you don't necessarily have to use it on the whole image. So if you say I really only want to use this on part of the image, you could come through and you could paint black over part of the image. Okay, fine. It wouldn't suggest it, but you can. You can destroy the mask. I like to leave these complex mass kind of in place. But what I like to dio I will group. I will group a layer with itself so that I can add a mask to that group because you can't really put those masks on top of each other. You great vector mass. But But if you put something in a group with itself yuk unmask a mask. And so I've got this very complex mask that's coming in here and doing this. But let's say I don't want it on the whole image, right? All I'm going to do is painted in where I want it to be. And I'm sloppy in my pain and my painting before after, see that I'm sloppy and my painting because I've let Photoshopped do all the work for me. And so you just very simply mask something with itself. You know what? I don't want that highlight on the nose. I only wanted on the cheek. Great. Just put it on the cheek and you're still getting that complex effect exactly where you want it. And so when you combine all of these effects together, there we go. The cool thing about apply image and making his mask is if you want invert because you forget. Just do this Hit command. I you can invert it. I was gonna manipulate this down a little bit, okay? And there's my my brightening, a little bit of contrast. And now what I can do is I can click and drag is my before and there's my after and it just gives me a nice little punch, a nice little polish to the tonal ranges in the image, and it's actually pretty easy. There's very little work that I'm doing. Uh, that's here. It's just it's this. It's It's a little bit of mental gymnastics and you can actually do a lot of it'll do a lot of the work for you.