Luminosity Masks & Portraits
This luminosity masking stuff goes well beyond the realm of just manipulating the highlights, mid tones, and shadows within landscape images, let's talk about portraits. Got Adobe Stock image here. Love Adobe Stock, because as you know, I'm a traditional landscape guy so when I need to do stuff with portraits, I cheat (laughs) and they give me the best opportunity to do that. No, for real, I consider myself an artist so, I know that seems so like, I'm no better than anybody else in this room or in the entire internet that's watching this right now. What I mean by that is that an artist doesn't care. I know no bounds. I don't live within the world of landscape, I don't live within the world of portrait, I do what I feel at the time, and if that means, cause if you classify yourself as landscape photographer then I might feel timid to take pictures of people but that's not necessarily the case. So, when we think about luminosity masking here, one of the things that I like to use luminosi...
ty masking for in my portraits is if I have hot spots on a portrait. Now these I think they add a little bit of value to the overall portrait but if for instance, one of these hot spots on the face from where the lights was coming in was a distraction, how would we fix that? You have a couple tools that you can use in Photoshop, like maybe the Healing Brush, but that just blends and blurs pixels together, right? Well, if we want to fix something like that, we can make a selection just for those hot spot areas on a Curves adjustment layer, again Curves is awesome, right? So we're going to go to select, we're going to go to color range and if we go to highlights, we have our range for the highlights that are happening within this image, we got the hot spots right on her face, we can adjust that fuzziness down to about there to get all those hot spots. The cool thing about this too, is that anytime, well especially if we're using something like sampled colors, which I'll show you that one in a second, but if you're using sampled colors here, instead of highlights, so we have different selections here. You notice, I just basically touched on these ones. If we go to sampled colors and we were to click on that area that is the hot spot, we only get fuzziness for that area, but the cool thing with sampled colors is that I can press and hold shift and I can get more data, just by clicking because I'm telling it to select more pixels within this fuzziness. So that's a really cool thing to use also along with the, we'll just stick with the highlights for this one. I'm going to press okay on this. So now if I grab a Curves adjustment layer, here I've got those highlights separated, look what happens when I pull this down to make them a little bit darker, we still get the good quality of light that's happening on her face but it's no longer white, kind of oily skin type look, it's more of just a nice, smooth transition. If we were to zoom in on her face here, see what we're actually doing to these pixels so that I can prove that I'm not obliterating anything, or blurring anything, this would be making those highlight areas brighter, this would be making them a little bit darker. So taking that skin tone and just kind of blending it together. If by chance it's looking a little milky, I know that's not like a professional term, but if it starts to look like, it's not blending very well, in the mask, if we press alt or option and click on that, the mask has it's own properties here. We've got the density of the mask, which is how thick this black is, if we take that density and bring it down, it's going to make it more gray and have more of this curve show up all over the image. But here's this thing right here called Feather. If I move this Feather over, it's actually going to blur those pixels a little bit which makes the blending process happen a little bit better. Now sometimes if you're working in landscape and you use a Feather like that, and you have an area that's transitioning from a building into the sky, you're going to get a haloing effect. But you know what that teaches you, it teaches you number one, not to do it, but it teaches you number two, what's happening with that algorithm with the HDR process where you start to see those halos happening along edges, it's doing some feathering to get that contrast put together. So after we do that feathering, it makes a nice, smoother transition especially with the skin tones. But we have the flip side of that too which is actually pretty cool, because now if we were to take this and blast it up, like we'll even do something like this and make it horrific looking, we go into the properties of that Feather, and we Feather it over a little bit more, notice how we can get a nice, kind of glowing effect on there as well. Might be a little too much for this image, especially if we would just bring this down a little bit more, but now we've just taken those highlight areas and exaggerated them a little bit more. Here's a couple tips for you. What the viewer is going to see when they first look at your photograph is the area of highest highlight. That's why highlight blowouts are like the, ree, ree, ree, ree, don't do it, because someone's going to go right to it. If you don't want them to go to a certain spot, then you gotta make sure you're not blowing that spot out. So they're going to go to the areas of highest highlight first, then they're going to transition to the areas of highest saturation, and then they'll transition into the most in focus areas and you might think, well don't they focus in to the most in focus areas first? Not necessarily. That's why we play with bokeh, however you want to say that, I probably butchered that one too. But it just depends on how you, some say tomato, some say tomato, I've never met a person that says tomato though (laughs). On the flip side of that also, if we go to select and go to color range, we have something in here called skin tones, which you're not going to find that in your traditional luminosity masking, okay. We can move the fuzziness up on the skin tones to pull in more data, again what's white in this screen is going to be what shows up on the mask. So if we were to press okay on that, that's going to make a selection for just her mid tones. If we were to pop on that Curves adjustment layer, now we have the ultimate tan going on, like boom, insta-tan and we can brighten up that a little bit too. And again, if that is coming off a little bit too strong, we have four parts to this, we don't just have the Luminance Mask, we have the opacity, we can drop the opacity a little bit, we have Blend If, we have Blend modes, we haven't even gone into Blend modes in combining this stuff together yet. On this curve, if I were to change this to something like soft light, might not look that great, but it's going to change and alter the way those colors are effecting the image. We change it to luminosity and when we change this to luminosity, the really cool thing about that is no color is going to come along with it, only the luminance values are going to be changed within this Luminosity Mask that we're making on this luminance curve.