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Coloring with Curves and Levels

Lesson 7 from: From Shoot Through Photo Editing: Creating a Double Exposure in Photoshop

Aaron Nace

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Lesson Info

7. Coloring with Curves and Levels

Lesson Info

Coloring with Curves and Levels

Now we're working with our subject, and it's time to start using some of our layer mask. So bringing our subject in right about there with the double exposure oftentimes you get like where there would be transparency. Like, for instance, this picture of a fern has a lot of light color inside of the fern exposure itself. And on this traditional exposure, double exposure, that area would be exposed like a little over exposed. And you would not be able to see that area of the subject either. 70 cents like this area would like these little white pockets and things like that. You would not be able to see the subjects hair and things like that in that area. So that's where we're basically going to start painting over top of our subjects hair and making it blend in to that area. All right, so there are a lot of different ways you can do this. Guys, you can use layer masks because our subject already has a nice layer mask on her weaken. Start working on that layer mask, but instead of affectin...

g the layer mask she's on right, we have a really nice layer mask for this subject. I don't want to just go start like painting black holes in it like that. It's gonna like it messes up a lot of our work that we just did. So instead of painting on this layer mask, we have a really cool technique where you can actually have to layer masks on a layer which you can't actually do, but you can kind of fake it. So if you want to layer masks on a layer, what you do is you group the layer with itself and then put a layer mask on the group. And now I can start affecting the layer mask on the group. There we go. I can start painting this area way there, and we have the same visual effect. But I haven't affected my actual layer mask. So if I wanted, like, temporarily disabled this layer mask, I could do that. But I still have a layer mask active for my layer. So it's like we have to layer masks on the same layer. But they're completely separate, which is really, really nice and allows you to, you know, kind of blend these things in, as you need to all right, now the next thing we're also going to do, I'm gonna change our blending mode for this layer because that's what we're basically that's what we want to work on is our blending boats. A lot of your double exposure in photo shop is going to be done with your blending modes. So a quick way to kind of flip through those and again, like I I took these images like an hour ago. So I actually don't know the best way that these air gonna blend together. So this is like, for my sake and also for your sake when you're kind of playing, Um, if you want to switch like cycle through your blending modes, it's actually really easy to do. There's some keyboard shortcuts for U. S. First you want to hit the for your move tool, and that's gonna make sure you're just selected on your layer. If you're on your brush tool or whatever, it's going to cycle through the blending modes of your brush. So first hit V, and that's gonna make sure you're selecting your layer. Then just hold the shift key down and hit the plus and minus on your keyboard and that's gonna cycle through your different blending modes. All right, So we can see, Like, linear burn is starting to come together a little bit better. And basically, you want to just, like, start. You know, looking through your blending modes, you want to get something that looks like these images blend together. All right, cool. This linear burn. It's kind of nice, actually. Um, it does blend the images together, and we can see it's super dark here where I have my subject. So that just lets me know. I need to kind of work on my layer mask in that area, All right? And again, this is totally like a work in progress. So I don't exactly know how this is going to work, but we're just gonna try. All right. Cool. And I'm gonna paint on the layer mask. You're painting some of the hair away. All right? That looks cool. And I'm also gonna paint on the layer mask for this layer, so I'm gonna hit. There we go. We have a really nice layer mask on that layer. So I'm gonna do the same thing with this layer, basically layer masking out and allowing it to blend in with the hair. All right, Now I'm gonna bring this other piece of fern in there as well, and we're going to start working through our blending modes with that someone hit V on my move to and hold down the shift key and then kind of click and drag and multiply. Looks pretty good there. So I'm gonna put a layer mask on that. We're gonna group it with itself and then use a layer mask there to kind of make this invisible there as well. All right. And I'm just going to zoom in here. We're gonna do a little bit better of a selection here just to make this not visible in that area there. And I'm just using the brush tool to alter this selection, by the way. Cool. All right, so we have a like a traditional, like, basically, are Look, where are the hair is kind of blending into our subject. And now because this is digital, as we have Ah, whole lot more that we can actually play with. So I'm gonna take my layer here. There we go. We have our layer with our fern in there. And let's say I want to introduce more of, like, thes light areas and have that affect both the fern and the subject. Well, because my subject is kind of, she's cut out from her background right now, and our ferns are all cut out from the background. These are all separate layers. Or clean this up down there just a little bit. But I can group all those layers together, and then I can place layer masks on top of the group of everything as well. So I really have a ton of options when it comes to blending everything together. All right, so what I'm gonna do, I have this layer mask of this fern here. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna duplicate the layer mask of that fern and put it on the group of everything. So alter option to select out this layer and then click and drag that up to the group and its gonna put the same layer mask on the group up there. Okay, Now you're like, OK, that does not look right at all. Let's go ahead and paint white in this area. And the reason I'm gonna do this guys is it's going to allow me to actually move my layer mask. Let's just unlinked my layer and my layer mask itself. There we go. And it's gonna allow me to actually move this around and then choose some areas that I want to be visible in my image. There we go, looking quote, and I can even shrink this down if I want to. And again, guys, I'm Carne in, like the play around stage where, like, I don't exactly know, exact Like what? This is going to look like what I'm done. So, you know, this is definitely, like, again, I just have no idea what this is gonna look like. So But this is exactly the type of thing that I would recommend. Doing as you're working through your own images is, you know, kind of play around and experiment and like, Yeah, okay, I don't know what exactly this is gonna look like, but that's kind of half of the fund to Yeah, I want to comment that folks at home are really loving it. I love the comment that says, This is really fantastic information, a lot of folks, but no, it's it's amazing to be able to just watch such a creative artist do their thing and go through that creative process. A lot of times we just see the final effect or the final image, and so seeing you work through it is awesome. So thank you. Oh, yeah. Thank you. And I'm like, on my end, I'm, like, honestly, totally nervous. I really hope this turns our cool, because I have no idea whether it will or not. So you know what? My end, I'm like, All right, cool. Let's make sure we get something cool for everyone at home, too, because again like that, that's part of, like, the creative process to is like, you know, I honestly have no idea, but it's it's coming up pretty okay already. So happy with that. Um, and you guys can see we have, like, a ton of options here. Really? It's really not, um, you're not, like, limited in any way. There we go. When you combine some exposures. When you combine different exposures, you're not limited because you really have the ability to do just about anything you can think of. All right. Very cool. And let's click on her lame ass for here. All right. So we have a few different options as well. Weaken kind of choose to have it be a little bit smaller or a little bit larger. And I can even bring up our, um I can change the properties of my layer mask itself window and will go down to our mask, which is it starts with an M. Let's see, Here's properties. There we go. So I can bring the density of my layer mask down as well, which will allow me to get, like, even more like, cool, double exposure type of effects. All right. And I kind of like that. It's not like a traditional double exposure type of look, but it's I think it does, like, kind of fit what we're doing here. Um, I'm also gonna make sure I'm gonna paint white on our subject here, down below. All right, Now, keep in mind this entire time I have this great mass That's like affecting all of the colors, both of my subject and the background so I can change my opacity here, Aiken, do some more color work on my image. I have a lot of different options, and I think I would want to just change this to be a little bit more read for the skin tone of my subject. All right. Very cool. All right, well, I think that looks pretty cool for now. Um, what we're gonna do, I'm gonna go ahead and start cropping our religion and bringing it together as a whole. So I'm gonna hit C for the crop tool. I'm gonna hold down the shift key and click and drag on my image. And then, basically, I want to create a composition that's going to look really nice with both my subject and the fern in the background there. All right. Now, another tool trick here you can do with the crop tool. You can actually go to your properties, and you can change your opacity of the background. You could lower your opacity if you want to, or you can bring it all the way up. And if you bring it all the way up, then basically, you see, like your final image as you're working with your, um as you're working with your crop tool there. So that's kind of a nice way. If you like. I don't want to see anything else. I just want to see you know, what is my final gonna look like? This is a nice way to do it. All right. And I would like to not include a lot of information from her shirt. If that's possible, maybe I'll include just a little bit cool. Yeah, Brendan. And if I'm working out an image like this and I'm going to crop it and let's say maybe later the next day or even later that day I changed my mind that I wish I had cropped it slightly differently. Is there something I can do to make sure I don't lose any of that information? Good leading question should be an attorney. There's a button up here that says delete crop pixels. I always have that unchecked. If you have delete crop pixels checked once you hit, enter with your crop tool. Those air gone forever. So I always make sure to keep that unchecked. That way, if I decide on my crop, which we're gonna use this crop for now and later, I hit my crop tool. I can always click back here and add back any information that I want. So yeah, awesome question Thank you. That was perfect. All right, cool. So are double exposure. Like we're definitely moving alone, where it definitely looks like how I wanted to look, we're going to start doing a little bit more like effects to give it a little bit more that, like, film. Look. And then, uh, and we're gonna do some color correction on our skin to all right. So our I'm gonna grab a curves adjustment layer here and really bring down our exposure. And this is going to be kind of for the the outside of the image. We're going to give this, like, a really strong vignette here just cause it's going to do some really cool stuff with our with our colors. All right, so we brought a curves adjustment layer to really bring down the exposure. I'm going to click on my layer mask. And I made a, uh, elliptical selection in the middle, and we're just gonna hit command I to invert that. All right. And now we're going to give it give a big blur, so I'm gonna go to filter, blur and over blur, and basically, I just want to keep going until the effects starts to look a lot more natural. There we go. No, I'm actually gonna do the same thing again because I want to bring I spent a little bit of time analyzing film and like what film actually looks like when you do double exposures and there's always, like, a crazy amount of, like, color and been getting and things like that on the sides of your exposure. So, like, I'm basically gonna be working a little bit to kind of duplicate some of these those effects that we would have with film. All right, so I'm gonna bring my Red Channel up, bring RGB like, way down in it again. I would always suggest, like, using references when you are when you're going to be trying to do these type of effects like it's always a good idea to, you know, type in double exposure into Google and look it as many possible images. You can type of double exposure film double exposure digital and will give you an idea, because again, I mean, what we're doing here is like, it's basically like creating art, right? And there is no, like there's no right or wrong here. It's It's basically like whatever you decide you want to do. So, um, Poland as many references you as you can, and then it's up to you to kind of create something really cool, all right? I mean, he was g for my Grady and tool here and now I'm gonna bring in some of this like, dark exposure, something like that, And see, here we go. It's kind of give our image a little bit more of, and yet I'm gonna put a white frame on this image as well. Somebody hit command A to select everything and on a new layer above everything I'm going to go to edit and down here to stroke with a white color on the inside of my selection, and we're gonna bring our with toe like 15. We'll see how that looks. All right, let's do a little bit larger stroke there. So at this point, I'm just like, honestly, I would say, like playing around, um, which is awesome and totally fun. I can't believe I'm get to do this in front of a live audience. Yes, I've made it in life. Forget to play around. And people actually, I want to see me do that. That's pretty cool. All right. I'm gonna do some color balance adjustment layers as well to kind of get the skin looking how I want it. So we're gonna grab an adjustment layer. We're going to go up here to color balance and then kind of work on the skin tone just a little bit. All right, So pull. There we go. A little bit. Too much greens. We're gonna pull this down just a little bit. All right? That looks good. We're going to do another curves adjustment layer here. Kind of bring that up and I'm gonna pull a little bit of green out here is well, so you can grab, by the way, you can totally do a lot of color adjustments within your curves. Adjustment layers, like if you notice there's too much green in someone's skin, you can just go from RGB, which I'll just like lights and darks. I think most people are familiar with that with curves. But if there's too much green in someone's skin, you can go to your green channel and just click here in the middle and dragged down and a lower the amount of green you drag up in, it'll increase the amount of green green so you don't have to go far. You can also click on one of these points here. Just create your point and then use the up and down arrow on your keyboard to go like one point at a time. In that way, I'm just looking at my image as I'm doing this, and it helps out of time. All right, We're gonna do some hue saturation work now. Here we go, Springer saturation down. All right. And let's see, we're gonna grab a levels adjustment layer. And this time I want to bring some more color into the shadows of my image and the highlights as well. So we're gonna try playing around with our Red Channel, bringing some reds into my shadows and see about some blues and some greens as well. All right, all right. And also some color into my highlights. So we're gonna go to our Blue Channel and pull some color into my highlights using our blue channel as well. And again, from the conception of this image, it's supposed to be more on, like the art side of things. Not so much like the realistic side. So adding some fun colors in there is just kind of like a bonus that you get to kind of work with there. Cool. And I'm gonna duplicate some of these background layers as well. What kind of put them over top of everything. There we go. Dad's more color aunt everything. And then we're just going to edit them just a little bit here, All right? I think you guys like this. I think it does. I mean, I made it, so I'm, like, kind of partial, But I was like, Oh, this is actually cool, but you never know. I mean, honestly, like this morning when I woke up, I had no idea what this image is gonna look like. Um, and it's kind of coming into something of its own, which is really cool. All right, I'm gonna brighten up her face a little bit, and instead of just created, like, a like a marquee. I'm gonna just use the lasso tool and kind of create like a random selection which sometimes can be a lot more like interesting and natural than just like, creating around selection there. So we're gonna use Basically I just made that selection, and that's gonna be over top of her face. And then we're gonna blur this so filter blur, and then over here, right blur and then over to go housing blur. And you just want to choose something that's like enough. There we go. Here we go. So you kind of have, like, a little bit of a irregular shape there, all right? And we'll just paint this black on their cool, all right? And we're gonna do just a little bit more with color here because this is honestly, it's fun. And for for like, an artist like myself, it's like it's fun to be able to, you know, work on an image like this and not be, like, so constrained with like, it has to be perfect skin tones. And it has to look like this like, this is totally the time to, like, play around. So I'm just gonna continue adding a little bit more color eso using a levels adjustment layer. I just brought in like my green channel here, brought some or greens into my shadows here, and we're gonna click command I on the layer mask and then I'm just going to use my Grady and tool to kind of like paint this in in a few areas just to see, like, I might not like this at all, but who knows? It might be like, really kind of cool. Um, or it might not be the green that I want, like, maybe and see, Maybe I wanted to be a different color altogether. And that's kind of the fun of, like, replicating something like a double exposure effect. Is that like you do have, um, you do have a little bit more like unpredictable elements in a photo shoot, all right? And that's actually super weird. To be totally honest, looks like a really double exposure is like, totally unpredictable. And you have no control and doing it in photo shop, you have 100% of the control. So, like you're trying to create something that looks chaotic with complete control. So it's like it's actually a super weird concept. If you think about it, Um, I'm not sure I like so much of the green, so maybe we'll just try playing around with some of the blue and pull some blue in there instead. Yeah, that looks kind of cool there. All right, Now all of this stuff, guys, it's all like, you know, going in there to create some, like, color and interesting effects on our subject. So I can also go in here like, change any of these values. At any point in time, everything is layer by layer. So if I'm, you know, click some of these often on and I decided any point in time that like, Oh, you know what? Like I don't actually like that or like, maybe I want to lower the capacity. I always do this after creating an image like this. It's like, OK, cool. Now it's time to go in there, turn these things off and on and change capacity. Because all of these layers that you create, they stack up with one another. So, like an effect you really like 10 layers ago, Might now we like, way too strong or might not look good. So I'm going in in here and kind of changing these things can really help. All right. Very cool. And I'm gonna go in here also. We're going to just turn this off and we're gonna turn some of this stuff on our background off, we'll just turn these office well, and I'm gonna go in here and do a little bit of retouching on our subject here as well, which we can do it any point in time. So this I'm just gonna use our healing brush tool. We're gonna hold old or option and sample. And I'm just gonna do this on the current layer. A healing brush tool there, people at home will be like that is so destructive. So I won't do it on the O. Generally a healing brush to it was like, you know, Yeah, it's like a pretty safe bet that it's gonna look good yet destructive. Generally, you shouldn't do anything on the same layer, but, um, yeah, I knew that was going to be someone who's like, Don't do that. So I will not do it on the same layer. All right? So I'm just doing our little new layer here. Just kind of like helping to, uh, kind of clean this up just a little bit. Alrighty. Even though this is not a retouching class, but all right, just removing some of the texture, and then we can just turn these all on really quickly and easily go back to our original. And I think this is I don't know. I'm kinda in the I'm kind of in the like mood right now to kind of, like, blur things a little bit, probably because we just had that, like, cool, blurry photo shoot. So I want to see if I can create a double exposure even with our subject here. So I'm going to just take the whole layer where subject is I'm gonna hit command J and duplicate that, and then I'm gonna go filter blur, and I'm gonna go to motion Blur and just give it a little bit of a motion blur just to create, like, a little bit more like a that's on the layer mask. Make sure you're actually on the layer itself, By the way, um, you know what? And I'm actually gonna merge all those together by right clicking Instead of merging them together. I'm gonna create a smart object, which is really similar, emerging an entire group together. Except now, if I wanted to edit the contents of the group, I would just double click right here on the layer, then I could edit the contents, which is nice. But now I'm able to apply, like, a blur onto an entire group, which is also pretty cool. So we're gonna go to filter, blur and then motion blur. And I just want to give this a little bit of motion because I feel like like, film, you know, has that, like things aren't, like, perfectly resolved every time with film. And if I'm gonna create in effect like this, that is kind of supposed to replicate film, I think a little bit of like a little bit of blood makes sense. So I'm probably gonna leave arise a little bit sharp. So put a layer mask on here and then paint black it like a low capacity around her eyes. But like other areas, things like that. I'm gonna go ahead and a lot of that blur to take place. You haven't just in a blur mood today. It's such a blue food. Made absolutely no sense. Alright, quote, Ideally, I did this and we're, um both You guys like this blue on the bottom, or you think Should we change this color that's going on in the Yeah, we dig it, all right? I think you could use a little bit of red there, too. Like some red and some blue go. Yeah, we have a question from photo maker. If you create a group with the different layers, will, whatever you do to the top, most layer of the group applied to the whole group. Is that what you were just saying? Um okay, so So in this case, we have this group five. I'll go ahead and highlight this, adding in a different color. So everything that's in red is in group five right now. So if I decide to do like a hue saturation adjustment layer in this case, it's going to affect every single thing that's underneath it. Like if I bring my saturation low or if I bring my saturation of higher. If I were to bring this here, then it only affects everything underneath it. So with an adjustment layer, things like this, it definitely it affects everything that's underneath it. Um, and that's whether it's in a group or not. I can bring it out of the group, and it's gonna affect everything that's underneath it. Um, earlier with the, um, there we go. Let's just go back to this later here Earlier, I had a duplicate of the group with my subject in it, and I wanted to blur that. But remember, I did my subject. And then I had another layer on top of that which I used the healing brush on. And then I had another late that was in a group with a layer mask as well. So if I added the Blur to my subject, the group with the healing brush stuff on it wouldn't be blurred, so it would look like blurred skin with, like, very clear, like spot removal stuff, which would be super weird. So instead of like doing a blurred all of those layers at the same time, I just duplicated it. Emergent together is a smart object. Now a smart object is super cool because you can double click on a smart object and it will open up your original group. And I could go here and, like, turn the healing stuff on and off if I wanted to do that. So it's like turning a whole group into a smart object you can still like, edit what's in that group, but you can also treat that entire group then as a one layer, which is really nice. Yeah, Very welcome. Cool. Alright, guys. Well, this is Let's see. We're almost done here. This is the time one like you wanna do a couple more effects? I'm gonna create a new layer. I'm gonna hit shift delete on this new layer, and I'm gonna fill this with 50% gray. And then I'm gonna go to filter down to noise, and we're gonna add some noise in this take away the monochromatic there and just give it a lot of noise. And again, we're recreating like a film. Look here. Right, So this is a lot of we can play around. We're gonna change our layer blend mode from normal down to something like overlay, which gets rid of our Anything 50% gray, by the way, will disappear in any of these groups, like normal overlay, soft light, things like that. All right. And then I could just work on, like, lowering my opacity here. And basically, that adds a little bit of like, you know what you know adds a little bit of grain in there for a little bit more like a creative effect. Just makes it look a little bit more like, um or basically all right, cool. And yeah, this is so much fun. All right, I'm gonna go in here in paint block on my layer mask, cover her ear. Cool. Alright, guys. And yeah, I like that. I mean, pretty came out, all right? Actually, for a totally impromptu I have never done this before. Cool.

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Ratings and Reviews

Pamela Richardson

I LOVED Aaron's presentation style, his wonderful humour, his gentleness and humility, his creative eye, and his extensive skills with both the camera and with Photoshop. I learned a great deal from this class, and highly recommend it. It was both fun to watch, and very informative. Aaron's friendly and casual presentation style was a delight, and helped to make a very complex subject seem quite approachable. I appreciated his willingness to share his knowledge with his viewers. I understand that it is a huge challenge to create something in front of a live audience, and maintain composure, but he managed it. Aaron's use of motion-blurred images of the mother and daughter for the composite was just very creative, and was something that would never have occurred to me. I also watched Aaron's compositing class on Feb 22, which was truly remarkable. He paid close attention to every fine detail in the scene that he was creating through compositing, including size and color tone of the light source, scale, perspective, and every last detail of the shadows to make a believable and magical image! He was very good in directing and encouraging his models during the shoot on both days, and very courteous with all the assistants. I have been involved with photography on a semi-professional level for almost 40 years, and have been doing photo editing with Adobe and Corel products since 2002.


Super inspiring, great class!

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