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Gradient Map

Lesson 7 from: Luminosity Masking in Photoshop

Blake Rudis

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Lesson Info

7. Gradient Map

Lesson Info

Gradient Map

Then there's another thing we can do with this, especially with portraits that I like to do, beyond selecting for skin tones and selecting for those hot-spot areas is to look at color grading. Another great Adobe stock image. So color grading is something I like to do at the very end of my workflow. I don't try to mix color grading in the beginning. That's why I don't really care too much for presets that happen on my photo that alter the colors at the very beginning because that's a finishing effect. This is where you put your mood into the image. This is where you put you into the image, and this is where you make the viewer feel what you felt while you were either editing or how that image made you feel. So this is why I typically tell people not to edit while they're angry, okay? 'Cause then the viewer's gonna look at it like, ooh, that's kind of off-putting. The image is yelling at me. (laughs) Your anger is gonna come out in there. It sounds crazy but parts of you come out in you...

r image. That's why those images are yours and not somebody else's. If we didn't put ourself into our work, we could pretty much justify never doing any work 'cause somebody else has already done it. Right? Okay? So, I digress. It's a whole metaphysical conversation for another day. So if I wanted to change or alter maybe the background or the highlight of the background of what's happening here and color grade this a little bit, I like to use something called a gradient map. I'll just give you a little for instance on how this gradient map thing works. So gradient map is when you press gradient map from down here in your adjustments. It's down here, right there, Gradient Map. The gradient map is going to pull in whatever colors you have over here in your palette by default. So I had a peach color there before, so a peach through white is coming in. If I default my colors by pressing D to black and white, I'll go down to the gradient map, and guess what? We have a killer black and white image. Again, this is why I like to do black and white conversions in Photoshop rather than doing them somewhere else because I think that the gradient map is awesome. What the gradient map does is it maps out all of the colors in your image to whatever you want them to be. Tonally based, okay. So this is saying that you want the darkest dark areas in your image to be black. You want the lightest light areas in your image to be white. And it transitions in there, that's why it makes a really nice black and white image. Why this works out really well is that blue on the color wheel is a very dark color. It will make your blues almost black. It's really cool. Instead of dropping out that color saturation, it makes a really nice black and white. So with that being said, if we change this to something like, I don't know, this or this, that is basically telling our image that over the point, so here's your darkest dark areas. We want you to become this tan color. And then I've also added a couple different points in this gradient map to add different colors to make a more harsh transition between these colors. So your darkest, darkest areas are gonna be that tan, and your lightest light areas are gonna be a kind of creamish color. So that's how the gradient map works. If we want to use that in terms of luminosity masking, if I were to press CTRL + ALT + to make that traditional luminosity mask, and then pop on that gradient map, that's gonna default it to black and white. But let's change this to, let's say, something like, let's do, I like this one. I'm a big fan of blues and cyans and stuff. Let's do this one right here. A nice, dark transition map. If we look at the mask, that mask is saying, what areas this color grade is going to affect. And that color grade is gonna be anything that's the lightest light areas transitioning into grays, and no blacks will be affected in this image so to speak when it comes to color grading. So we need to modify that, and go to Image, go to Adjustments, go to Levels, and maybe we only want this to affect the darkest dark areas in our image. And if that's the case, we need to flip that luminosity mask. So I teach you a cool trick here that just graciously happened because I was moving a little too fast. If you make your selection for a luminosity mask and you want to make the dark selection but you made it for a highlight selection, well instead of just going back and redoing everything, you can invert a mask. So if I press CTRL + I on this mask, that's now selecting all the darkest dark areas. Okay? So now if I go, and we go to Image, and we go to Adjustments, and we go to Levels, make that darker, that's all the darkest dark areas. I'm not affecting his skin tones at all. And if we ALT + click off of there, look at that. It's a really awesome color grade if I do say so myself. I can get tongue-tied in the process until I ruin that. But if we click on that gradient map, now I can change that to any color that I'm feeling when I look at this image. Obviously this is gonna be a pretty harsh kind of color grade. But we not only have the luminosity mask to make that adjustment, we have the opacity, we have the blend modes. So if I change this blend mode to something like Soft Light, look at the color grade that comes off on that. It's really nice. If we click on that gradient map, change it to something like that, a little bit more of on the manly tones. That looks good too. That pretty cool. If I press CTRL + I on that mask, just see what it looks like. Let's just see what it looks like. That would be if this color grade were affecting the highlight areas transitioning into the darkest areas. See that? So you have two kind of concepts there too. If you do it on the shadow areas, and you're like, well, maybe let's see what that looks like on the highlights. Let's press our CTRL + I to invert that mask.

Ratings and Reviews


Great great great. What? You can do that? And easy Wow. Wait, you can do that too and so easy too? Wow! (ratta tat tat useful stuff)

Bhaven Jani

Amazing class, so top notch, to the point, and made easy to understand. Yes, luminosity masking is not an easy topic, it is complex, I have been using PS for several years and it still took me a while to get my head around it. But Blake Rudis makes it so engaging and intuitive to understand. And guess what, once you understand LM, you won't be able to edit images without using it. its so powerful. Thanks a ton for this class.

user e5ab02

I've been using PS for quite some time and have avoided this technique BECAUSE it's a bit tedious getting to the meat of what this tool can do. It is however well worth it. Blake has done a great job in presenting this and showing how it can best be used. He DOES NOT in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM seem overbearing or egotistical. On the contrary, he seems very approachable and is well aware that what he's teaching is a very dry subject and is trying to make it fun and graspable. Do NOT pay any attention to the reviewer above who says he is...that says so much about the reviewer's insecurities.

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