Curves and Levels

Lesson 7 of 7

Color Sampler in Photoshop

 

Curves and Levels

Lesson 7 of 7

Color Sampler in Photoshop

 

Lesson Info

Color Sampler in Photoshop

So just to make a point here, um, I talkto the idea of the fact that adjustment layers have a layer mask and the facts that adjustments are editable one of the reasons that I like to do that is when I want tio my aim is to not just do a global adjustment, obviously this was meant to be a dramatic looking photograph that was the whole point that when I set it up, I want to look like this, so I'm not going to go and say who the shadow over there and use standard use of adjusting layer where life gets interesting with levels, curves, camera as they do selective work to say, I want to, in effect paint with light and dark, so I want to give myself the opportunity to say, I want more highlights here, I want more shadows there, so let me preface this by saying this should be this is one of these methods that has should have the little wait for its symbol beside it, because when I get about halfway through, you be like, really that's, what you're going to do to that photograph because I'm goin...

g to deliberately overdo things to see what I'm getting and then pull it back at the end, so be prepared, it will look at first, but there's a reason, ok, so what I do is, I add curves adjusting layer and I'm gonna pull this lying straight down so it gets really dark, okay, put even so it comes almost black because the adjusting their has a layer mask. What I want to be able, do it selectively add dark areas. So right now the entire photograph is black doesn't look very good. So if I have the mass selected my press commanding control, I now I have occurs adjusting layer that makes my photograph very dark that I've completely hidden because I'm going to come back and use it in a moment. So this is part of the whole wait for things you're like, why would you ad and justin layer and then philip mask it completely it's, because I'm setting myself up for the option of deciding where I want black and white or later dark, so now not go back into another one curves say, going to really lighten this up what I want. And then again, phil, that mask and it's not a bad idea to label at least one of them. So you know which one is which? So right now I have to adjust in layers one is darkening, one is lightning, but they're both completely hidden, so the way layer mass works again if you're unfamiliar, black hides white shows so what I do now as I look at this photograph and say, where do I want this to be even more dramatic and darker? So I take my paintbrush, make sure it's just in normal, one hundred percent mode and whatever, I'm gonna make a bigger size wouldn't see and you can see it all go on, change my card a white and as I start, make it a softer brush here. Sorry to the first. Okay, there we go. This is the part where like really that's, what you want to do is paint a whole bunch of black lines. Does that look so realistic and awesome? You can see why you'd want to do that because it's just like yes, that's perfect exactly what I had in mind. Well, the reason I'm doing this is because ultimately I want to make a very subtle change, but if I tried to paint subtle, I'd be going, I think that's in the right place, but I can't see it, so I deliberately made the curves adjustment really dark, so it looks really obvious. Then I click on the one that's going to be the lightning area and there was I want to be lighter there and down here in this little highlight on his gloves, maybe in this area. And I don't know I mean I might go back and change my mind so right now I'm just kind of playing to see what I think I like here and I've done it looks fantastic believe it just like that now will save this jpeg sell it for a billion dollars so now that I've done that ok so now I know I got the right areas now I'll go back each one of these people I don't want to be that dark I wanted to be that dark I don't want it to be that white I wanted to be later so now so you watch the difference white still looks a little bit too like to me you could see how much lighter I mean how much more subtle it is that when I painted with it and I reason I always show this method is I watch people who make a change like so teeny tiny and then they are like looked money going I can't really I think that's why you're doing that as too hard the whole point of a justin layers that lets you and up with the result that you want and there's one last thing I would probably do in this case especially with the highlights I think there's still a little bit too bright of course I could just lower the opacity of that but the other options really nice is when you work with the layer mask there's also this feather command this is like feathering after the fact said, a feather in this election. And now by moving this slider, aiken take away so the now those those highlights don't look quite so glaringly obvious like that when I painted them. Now what may well happen is you might what, halfway through this and go ok, scratch that hole painting highlight thing I did a bad job there are going to fill the mass with black again and use a smaller paintbrush, so nothing in this process is ever like, oh, well, I've kind of painted myself into a corner because it's not you could do exactly the same process with to camera versions, fill it with black and painted on, so I mean how you get where you could do levels? That part is no different. The process, though, is make one adjustment for dark one for light that you temporarily overdue deliberately so you can see where you're painting with the mask, then pull the values back to more reasonable number and, if necessary, make further tweaks paint more on the mask, change the feathering, whatever it might be, particularly for somebody this where it's already dramatic, but even if we were just working on, you know, I've got a landscape photograph, and I want to make an interesting black and white so I'm just going to first of all converted to black and white but then I would do this exact same process at a curve that just layer to darken oneto lighten and start painting in where I want just like, you know, people talk about ansel adams all the time and that you know, he was a purist well, he'd spent a lot of time in the dark room getting things to look exactly the same with dodging and burning all kind of stuff this is the same things I'm idea just we're doing it digitally instead of manually now, russ early you asked the question about automation this would be an example where if you find you have a bunch of images where in each case you know you're going to want to do some painting with like black and white, you could record in action that said at occurs just mayor make the mass black at eleven curves adjustment there, make the highlights bigger and filled with black and then that's your actions. Elise it's got you right to the point of being ready to paint with either darks or lights to take get the detail really the way you want and again doesn't matter fuse curves or levels because all we're doing is saying overall dramatically, I want darker later that kind of thing okay, okay uh let's see let's um oh I do want to show you this one just to reset this so I'm gonna open this as if it's just a regular old photo not a camera file so I wanted I don't wantto get lost in the shuffle the fact that the that tat on image control thing and curves is really very powerful and this would be a good example where we face a challenge because if I just did levels normally said make it brighter so I want to see what's inside the window to be able to see what's inside the window now everything else blown out too much and this is where levels loses a bit of its shine if I didn't have curves I don't I'm making two levels of justin layers with master and so on but what I can do with curves that gives me of that more control is using that on image control things say well I want this part to be brighter inside the window but these areas still need to be a little darker so it's giving me the ability to spy on image again went too far there this is kind of the idea that curves gives you that other ones don't is you can just say that area there needs this and this area there is that now you khun of course like anything in life go too far and something is something that looks really horrible because you had a curve there's just all over the map and has that look that just doesn't look realistic at all, but at least that's another when you have something with really big contrast between a dark era in light area that you're trying to adjust that's where curves has its strength, my because I spend so much of my time doing multiple camera things, I would probably do this first I didn't like it. I would go back to that exact same method of doing two different camera raw versions, one for the part inside the window frame and one for the part outside just to be able to get the result that I wanted now there's a one particular process of curves that's very interesting is that curves is one of the a few areas where you can really do things numerically, so back in the old days of print it's hard to imagine this now, but the original color separators actually used there was no such thing as a color monitor, so they used a grayscale monitor and just knew by measuring what color values were and would make adjustments based on numbers values off red, green blue or c m y k, which is hard to imagine that's how they did it, but there are still times in photo shop where that's a valuable thing to do because compared to any other alternative, it could be more challenging so here's a scenario where someone actually sent me this photograph and said, what do you do in a case like this? It's had all these wedding photos and it was a destination wedding in florida so all those people from minnesota who got the florida didn't realize you shouldn't just sit out in the sun when you haven't been in this on very much suddenly and the wedding party had people with really bad tan lines because of the bridesmaidsdresses they had already chosen I was like ok, so they were like, can you just like not make that so she doesn't have tan lines anymore it's like, well, maybe now one option would be to try something like cloning, patching or whatever which is potentially would work but one of things that's kind of interesting and I do apologize that I have to zoom into this particular area of the photograph but that's where the problem exists you know we just have to live with that. So what I want to do is I want to make the untended area match better with the tanned area or the sun burn every want to call it so instead of guessing than one of things that I can do is use this method and this applies for this is that happened me the photograph I chose but it could be there's a really dark, annoying shadow on the wall that you wish wasn't so dark so anything where you're trying to make to parts of what should be really the same color match this is an approach you can take so we need to color samplers what it's supposed to be so in other words, the area where they're sunburn and what it currently is you have to remember which one is which and I usually do always the same order this is what I want it to be this is what it currently is, so I'm putting to color samples on there then we added curves adjustment layer he said, oh yes there is and I remember if you remember I turned on this little on image control all the time if it wasn't on the, you'd have to click on it for this next step toe work and this is a kind of a mysterious thing, but this is just the way it works, so when you try it the first time, don't be surprised if it looks like nothing has happened until you move on because we need to do is hold down two keys command shift on the macintosh control shift on windows were going to click right on top of the area we need to fix which in my case is thie marker number two when I do that at first it looks like nothing has happened but if I go to each individual red, green and blue, you'll see there's actually a mark now on each channel, so that's, what that just did so what's gonna happen, though, is we're going to use this little thing called the info panel that you didn't find to be under the window menu. I happen to have it floating around there, and normally, as you move your mouse around, see how the values were constantly changing, but look at the one I said, the one and the two is sound like lawrence welk there's no one and to do, uh it's showing me the red values are this and in number one and there this in number two, so what I want to do is basically telephoto shop will take all those values from number two and match them to number one. This is, by the way, much easier than it sounds when I'm describing it. So when you go through the steps the first time, it takes you half a now because you're kind of going, what in the second time it takes three minutes because you know the process. So basically we've marked number two, which is the part that needs fixing and we've marked number want to say these what the color values should be if they were the same color, so see down the bottom here when I have this I mean the red channel now and I've got this spot selected it says input one ninety nine output to a one hey I think I shifted it just a little bit by mistake so I'm gonna put it back where it should have been um actually that's no that's fine sorry okay so what I want to do is output is what it's supposed to be so I look at here and I see it says one eighty five now again this is one of these wait because initially you'll be like really that's better it's going to look really bad until we're finished so then we go to the green channel and we look at the numbers and it says it's supposed to be one fifty three it's one eighty two type in one fifty three so all I'm doing is I'm typing in the numbers next to that number one marker and then I go to the blue channel and it's saying it's supposed to be one forty so now what I have is a curves adjustment there that's changing everything to that color so at this point I used the same theory it a moment ago to say well I don't want the whole thing to change I want just that problem area to change so if I invert the mass to black now if I take a paintbrush and make sure my foreign colors white then in effect my paintbrush, because I'm painting the white on the mask has just become the paint in the color it's supposed to be brush you see how closely that is matching the colors that's there now it's not going to be perfect because of course skin tones change over time but is certainly very darn close and especially when you have something like ah blue wall with the dark shadow it's really just two shades of blue though off here we've got other issues with skin tones and freckles and everything else, but you can see we're already very, very close and this is where I would take advantage of my welcome pen by changing the pressure sensitivity I want to make sure I don't touch her dress I did a little bit there because it's going to shift the color of her dress but look at the difference I did that pretty quickly it's pretty darn close already now on top of that, usually what happens in about eight out of ten cases I would say is you still see a bit of a line between where you fixed and where it was good so I would at a blank layer and use one of the tools like healing brush or something just to go along that border and kind of make sure we're not seeing an obvious border thing happening just to make sure there's no really what we're trying to do is the challenge here is you all saw the original photograph, so you're off enough staring directly at that part of the photograph because you know where the difference wass but ideally it's going to be this size and you're going to just say here's the finish voter wrath and hopefully no one goes what's with her chest you know that that tells you maybe you need a little more work on it, but one of the challenges that we face is when we're doing this kind of before and after we know where it is, so we tend to stare right there and go how that looks too obvious to me but the test is so someone who didn't see that before on lee the after photograph and if you show the after and they still go what's happening there again they need more work but they look like and go ok and nothing jumps out at them that suggests you did a pretty good job. So this is the one area where curves shines because the one place we could be that specific to say numerically the value should be like this some people color correct their photographs that way all the time because they have color values in their head that say shadow should be this and highlight should be that I don't think that's is necessary and the bottom line is levels curves camera all do a very good job they'll have their own strengths personally, I tend to use mostly camera just because it's the most intuitive and gives me the most control so you can use anyone you want. But keep in mind that thought process of always ending up and giving you is much flexibility there with adjustment layers or the smart filter concept. Okay, wait get a really quick clarification for a couple of folks. How did you place the markers? What tool was hey, the markers are actually it's the same slaughters. The eyedropper is called the color sampler tool, so you have that chosen you can add up the four of them at any given time, and once they are unnecessary, you'll see there's a little button says clear all, then you can remove them because you don't need them as part of the they will print or anything, they're just there as a reference for you. Another quick question if you don't mind jose compan junior, can you freeze spots on the curve so the areas in the photo that correspond with those points on the curve don't change when you make adjustments to another area? Unfortunately, not except I mean there's already going to be a point, so the curve will change between those two nodes so that's about as close as there is to it I mean, it's going to kind of stay in one part, but as you move that other one, there will be some effect that small degree, maybe one final question for those people who have really enjoyed seeing the smart objects and raj usmint layers. And like them, alfred myers and a few other people wanted to know. Is it possible to set smart object as the default option for creating filters? Unfortunately, no. Well, that's, one of those things where, in a roundabout way, there probably is some kind of way to make it easier. But, um, one of the shortcuts that I made in keyboard shortcut land was just soon as I have a layer or an image. I press the shortcut, says, make smart object, so then I just know that anything I do from then on filters will automatically be smart.

Class Description

What is the best way to adjust your image? In Curves and Levels, Dave Cross will edit images using Levels, Curves, Camera Raw, and Lightroom to demonstrate the differences between each approach.

You’ll look at the advantages of each technique and learn when you should use each method. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of how these important techniques work and how to decide which tool to use for the job.


Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2

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