Advanced Local Adjustments using Masks
Before going down the path of doing local adjustments, kind of dial in your base adjustments first. So in this case, let's just straighten that and probably bring up the exposure a bit. Fix the levels and so on. So before getting to that, just get the image looking as best as you can without doing local adjustments, and then think about what might make sense. Now we can do really sort of quick and dirty stuff with the local adjustments without getting really too heavy about it. Just remember, keep the brushes soft, don't worry about being really precise with selections because it doesn't necessarily need to happen that way. So if we take this one, if we just turn off airbrush, let's have relatively soft, large brush, full opacity and flow, nothing fancy, first of all. M see the mask. If I just do a sweep like that where this kind of tire skid is in the front. Remember if you make a mistake, you can just press E to erase. Now I wanna fill in the middle part here, and you have got some s...
hortcuts up at the top to say invert mask and fill mask, and also copy a mask as well. So let's just say fill mask and that will fill that in nicely. So we've got a rough mask there and we can just do something really simple like grab clarity just to enhance that section in the front, like so. And if you want to, again, preview that layer, it's just a simple matter of turning it on and off. So that wasn't a particularly precise mask, but it doesn't need to be as such. I mean, if I showed you this image now and said does it have local adjustments, you'd be none the wiser of such. Remember, if you want to add further layers, just hit the plus button, name your layer. So let's say we wanna do something with the sky. Change to whichever mask drawing possibility you want to have, and then set about doing that, for example. Don't forget you can have a combination of adjustments on the same layer. So if I lighten the exposure here, for example, but I'm worrying it's doing something to the highlights, there's nothing to stop me then grabbing a high dynamic range and just pulling the highlights back. So any layer can have a full combination of all those various different adjustments. It's not like each layer can only have one particular adjustment. So let's have a look at another example. Let's grab something here. Again, gradient masks, often we think, oh, we're gonna use them for landscapes. 'Cause you think of grad filters, it must be a landscape thing. But easily, something like this we can pull a basic gradient mask in over from the right hand side and just lift up the exposure a tad to balance it out. Equally, we could add another one here. Let's just call this face. Grab a brush. Generally I would be using shortcuts, but so you know what's going on, I'm sticking to the menu over here. Again, nice big, soft brush. M on the keyboard to see the mask. And then we can just do a rough mask like that and lift the exposure a little bit if we want, and control the highlights if we need to. Perhaps open up the shadows too. So again, simple mask. Don't get too caught up about being really precise. Generally it doesn't matter. If we turn these layers off, then that just lightened the right hand side and then just lift up the face like so. We can always adjust again after the fact if we need to. Just while I think of it, other shortcuts. Like you saw here that we've got shortcuts for adding and removing layers. If we check out edit keyboard shortcuts like so, I think it's under other, we've got local adjustments. You'll also see a complete set of shortcuts for adding a new layer, adding a new heal layer, which we'll get to. We can change the brush size which is the same shortcut as Photoshop. So if I use my square bracket key, I can make it bigger and smaller. Or Shift + square bracket we can change the hardness. We could set, if we wanted to, a shortcut for opacity. And there's also shortcuts for invert mask, fill mask, and selecting the layers. So if you wanna bounce up and down the layers we can use this button here just to toggle between the layers like so. So again, helps you to move faster through doing things like that. So we've looked at some sort of exposure changes, but don't forget you've got loads of other stuff in there which we can look at. So if we look at this particular image... We saw this in an earlier class, I think, when we were talking about sharpening. It's sometimes really good to deal with sharpening as a local adjustment. Because it often doesn't make sense to put sharpening over the whole image because quite often the whole image isn't in focus anyway, or it has shallow depth of field, or a background might be noisy and we don't wanna enhance the noise by adding sharpening. So it's just as simple to add local sharpening as well. So if we just zoom into 100%, just go full screen for a second, you can see we've got plane of focus on the chilies in the front, and then it rolls of pretty quick to the stuff behind. So there isn't a great deal of point of adding sharpening to areas that aren't necessarily in focus. So what we could do is in exactly the same way, restrict our sharpening to just one particular area. So in this case, what I'd do is if we find our sharpening tool, on our background, let's just put that down to zero. So now we've got no sharpening on the background layer as such. Let's make a new layer and just call that local sharpen, like so. Grab a brush. Zoom in a touch if we need to. Let's just draw a very sort of quick mask like that. Fill the mask, which we would use our shortcut for if we were being nice and fast. You can see the mask there. So if we go to 100%, now what we can do, whoops... Too many double clicks. Now with sharpening, we can just apply our sharpening just on that area. And because it's in focus, we can probably push it a bit harder because we're not perfecting the soft focus areas in the background as such. So let's bring up the halo suppression like so. So now we're really targeting sharpening in just one spot. If I wanted to, I could potentially now give myself a sharpening brush, if we wanna add sharpening here, we can just do that like so. This is also really good for portrait work or head shots. 'Cause quite often we don't wanna sharpen skin texture. We might wanna have nice sharp eyes and hair, for example, but skin is something that we might just simply want to leave alone. So this way we can turn off, go to your background layer, reduce the amount of sharpening you have, go to make a new layer, and then simply brush on the areas where that you want the sharpening to be applied. And that way you'll get less apparent noise because you're not sharpening the out of focus areas, and you'll really see the difference with the sharpened areas too. Let's have a look at another example. So something kind of basic like this, another use for gradient masks. So let's do a quick edit. Remember, always do a kind of basic edit before doing anything else. So let's reset that. So we're back to square one. So we just drop exposure a bit, let's have some clarity, let's lift the shadows, for example. Gonna set my crop. C on the keyboard for crop, hold down shift, remember to disregard any previous crop. Like so. We're comfortable with that. Now we've got a bit of a highlight on the top here, which we might wanna control, but we don't want to affect the highlights on the on the sign itself. So this is a really quick job for the gradient mask. We can just grab gradient mask, draw one down like that, which just is kind of sitting over the image like so. Let's do another one. Let's move it down a little bit. So we've got a gradient mask sitting there and then I can just use highlight recovery just to sort of affect the top of that without affecting the bottom. So if we turn that off and it just has a nice little subtle change to the top like so. So gradient mask doesn't have to be used just for landscapes. You can use it for all kinds of other things as well. Any questions so far, Jim, on any more basic stuff?
Let me take a look here, David. Yes, can you save a local adjustment setting, like a brush, for adjustments that you repeat on a frequent basis?
No, you actually can't. So that's one of the sort of few tools where you can't necessarily save a preset. You can copy and apply local adjustments from one to the other. So if you had an image like this with local adjustments, we could select the two and do our shift click as before, and that would copy the local adjustments across, but you can't save a brush. And I think the reason for that is that we're creating layers, not brushes. But I can see it might be useful in the future to be able to be able to save kind of almost a local adjustment template. Kind of a before and after. Sort of quite dramatic as such. And this is where we can really sort of build up a few more layers. So if we think about base adjustments again, white balance- and exposure-wise... Probably just warm this guy up a little bit. Throw in some clarity, and you can see, in a hazy image, the addition of clarity really has an instant good effect. Whoops, that's not what I wanted to do. Did not wanna draw that. Let's get rid of that. What I want is C for crop. Let's just put in a more interesting crop. Now we can think about breaking up the image into sort of different parts. So how do I want to treat it? And if we look at this, we can see we've got some fog in the middle, we've got a foreground, and then we've got kind of some sky lurking in the back as well. So I think with local adjustments, break up the image into different parts and think, do they need different treatment? So in this case we could grab a brush again. Let's make a new layer and call this fog and clouds. And then once more we can just do a quick sort of rough mask like that. Remember, you can always finesse it at a later date if you need to. Remember, quick change, E on the keyboard to go to erase. So that's just a rough mask over that foggy stuff instead. Now we already put quite a lot of clarity on the image itself, but we could probably put even more just to bring out those clouds like so. And you could also do local curves, which is great. Which was something that hasn't always been there, but added not too long ago. So a local curve really allows you to get targeted adjustment. Now you can see that it's becoming a bit obvious that I've got a bit of a mask washing over this. Now I can just kind of erase that away so it only is really affecting my clouds as such, like so. And if we want, we could have a softer brush and then drop the opacity down a bit so it's kind of a bit more of a blend, like so. So that gives us a bit more action going on with the clouds. At the front it's sort of a little bit flat, so let's make another layer and call this front. Or freont. Front, like so. Grab a gradient mask again. And this one I won't do quite so soft. It's gonna be a bit more targeted, so it's just the foreground. 'Cause there's some nice kind of moss or whatever it is going along in the front. So if we take exposure, we could up the saturation a bit and just make that come a bit more to life. And maybe even, let's see a penguin close up. It's pretty sharp there, so we can probably add some structure just to make those rocks jump out a bit more as well. Sometimes like, I'm thinking, is there anything else going on in the sky there? And before I would even make a local adjustment and see, if we just grab the exposure slider on the background and see if there's any potential there. So we can see that there could be a bit more going on. So let's just try, let's make another layer and call this sky. Remember, gradients don't have to be straight. We can drop them in at an angle if we wish. And let's see if we can make anything happen in that sky a bit more. Maybe, just with a bit of clarity like so. And we can always go back and finesse that. So far I think the background's looking a bit too dark. We could just lift that up again. Also over here, we might have just made that a little bit too dark, so we could see if we could lift up high dynamic range. Let's look on fog and clouds. And lift that a little bit. So you can always go through your layers, remember your shortcut, which is the comma, so we can cycle through the layers and just look at different stuff as well. You'll also see that in the dropdown menu, that also gives you access to the various different layers as well. So let's just say a new variant. So that's what I just did. That's how it came out. And then the one we're gonna see, that's how Drew did it. So no kind of limitation, really, what's possible. Drew is extremely patient because he actually, if we turn on the mask, he actually went through and masked every single penguin tummy just to bring the highlights down a bit like so. (laughs) So you know, there really is plenty of scope to do whatever you need to on an image. So we've seen kind of a few different techniques. Another popular one. I should just add, before we move on, is always white balance. So if we look at this shot... In its originality. I've just got a filter on, so let's clear that filter. So this is a really nice example, and I can't take credit for this one, this was my colleague, Alex, who did this. So on the right is the image as it came out of camera, and on the left is after his local adjustments. So a lot more drama, a lot more different color tones going on. Looks really, really good. So if we just take a moment to cycle through his layers, and then you can see what's going on. So he hasn't named his layers, bad Alex, so we'll figure it out. But you can see he's just got a local mask in the front there which is just, again, playing around with the white balance. In the center as well, killing down the highlights. And then sky grad, as we saw earlier. And then at the top here, he's just changed the white balance. If you look at the background you can see what the white balance figure is. And then if we look at the top layer, we can see it's much warmer. So all he's done there is just taken the sunlight and just enhanced that even more. So white balance is really good for sort of pulling around the color creatively like that. It's also good for mixed lighting situations. So if you're shooting, like, interiors for example and you've got daylight coming in from one side and you've got artificial light coming in from the top, the easiest thing to do is just have a nice blended, graduated filter from the daylight. And then you can balance the daylight and then you can balance for the artificial lighting at the same time. And it blends really nicely together as well, quite seamless.