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Luminosity Masking in Photoshop

Lesson 5 of 9

Quick Selection & Curves Adjustment Layer

Blake Rudis

Luminosity Masking in Photoshop

Blake Rudis

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Lesson Info

5. Quick Selection & Curves Adjustment Layer


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:08:01
2 Making Luminosity Masks Duration:14:35
4 Selective Color Adjustment Duration:10:10
6 Luminosity Masks & Portraits Duration:06:28
7 Gradient Map Duration:05:35

Lesson Info

Quick Selection & Curves Adjustment Layer

So, it's not just one or the other. It's not just, okay, I'm gonna play with the highlights or I'm gonna play with the shadows. You can manipulate the shadows and the highlights independently on any image, and separate them out as you go. So with this one, I wanna point out, cause the other question you're probably, like, begging to ask in your head is well, why wouldn't I just use that quick selection tool, right, to make a mask. Cause that's typically what we go to when we wanna select the background of something. We'll get the quick selection tool and we'll just (clicks tongue). It doesn't make that noise but you kinda have to when you're using it. If we were to take that quick selection tool, on this image specifically, and go (clicks tongue), okay. If we make a mask, let's just use my curve cause I like it, and if I we're to start manipulating that, I want you to see something right here. See that little line that happens there? I mean there's other ways you can get rid of that li...

ne by doin like, refine edge, and select this, and do that. But, really the best way to do this is to find yourself a highlight luminosity mask that just goes up a little bit into that area. And typically, the way these luminosity masks work is they feather themselves out and they transition from one pixel to the next. Making a physical selection like that with that quick selection tool doesn't necessarily feather out the same way. It doesn't operate the same. It knows a little bit different bounds. So, I just wanted to show you that as like a gee whiz in case you're sitting there thinking Blake, why wouldn't I just use a quick selection tool. I just showed you. Cool. So now if I were to make the traditional luminosity mask selection for this by pressing control, alt, and two, it's gonna get that traditional luminosity mask goin. I'm gonna press Curves, my curves adjustment layer. Press alt or option to look at it. And I only want to manipulate what's happening back here. So when I go into my levels adjustment for this, I'm just gonna start pullin out some of that shadowed area that's around the image. So I go to; I just had a really, like, out of body experience there (laughs). Image, Adjustments. I'm like, where am I going? Okay, Image, Adjustments, go to Levels. We can move this slider over to the right. We can start to make a selection for the highlights. And the reason why I like this, okay, specifically, cause you know, you might say, well, I'm really good with quick selections Blake. I'm just gonna do the quick selection for that area. I'm gonna do my refinement like I usually do. And then when you make this curves adjustment layer to this image, what's it only affecting? Just that area that you selected. But when you make this a luminosity mask, you want the colors and the light that is happening here in this image to reflect what's happening also here on the image. That's why they have a relationship, okay. So when we press OK on this mask, and we start manipulating this curve, notice how the light, as it changes in the background, is also changing in my middle ground. And that's what I want. So if I make this a little bit deeper, back here, and then brighten that up a little bit, notice how the color's changing in the middle ground of the image. Now, I don't just have to work with tone, you know. Let me just break down the curve for you real quick in case you need a curves refresher. This is your dark areas, this is your mid tone areas, this is your highlight areas. So I've just made the dark areas darker of this highlight. Okay? Wrap your head around that. It's kinda tricky. What happens when you go into Adobe CameraRoll? You just make the highlight darker. I'm just made the darkest dark areas of that highlight darker, not just made the whole highlight darker. See what I'm sayin there? Poof. The curves adjustable. That's why I said it's the most powerful tool on the planet. It's amazing. Just give me a program with a bunch of curves in it and let me have fun. So if we wanted to come into these mid tone areas we could make the mid tone areas of this highlight darker, or the mid tones of this highlight area lighter, or the highlight areas of the highlight brighter or darker. That's control. I don't know. I'm a control freak when it comes to editing. I wanna know everything that's happening. You do not hold anything back from me. So if I go into the RGB, that's the RGB, so RGB up here basically is standing for the luminance value of this image, so all the tone that's happening here. If I were to go into the color red, check this out. Bump this up. I can make that landscape now a little bit more red in those highlight areas. This is where, like, you see an image, and like, I've been there. Wait a second. That photo looks nothing like that one. Well that's probably because they did some color grading that you didn't do, maybe cause you didn't know how to do it. But now you know, okay. So they add that robust redness to the landscape back there to make it just, you know, more potent and beautiful. You can go into your greens and maybe add some more magenta there. Start really pushin that concept of the sunset setting. You know, that's the thing that I love about being a landscape photographer is I go to a place, I just need the data. I'm a data collector. When I show up on the screen, I'm collecting data. I mean, ya, there's some emotion involved. I like being there and I try to capture that. But, I just need data. Let me come in here. I'll just push. You guys are laughin at me. (audience laughs) (laughing) That's all I need. You know, I can push that data all day long. If it was an Excel spreadsheet I'd like it even more. So, we can add some blue to it, we can even add some more yellow to that to make that even more of a robust type. It's always one thing, like, to know when people are laughing at you. Like I've cracked a couple jokes and nobody laughed. But then here I'm trying to talk like for real and you're laughing at me (laughs). What am I missing in my own presentation? Ya, so that would be a selection for just those highlight areas transitioning from the back to the front. But if you didn't want that stuff in the front, you're not stuck, okay. This is traditional masking. It's not like, you know, oh I made that mask and that's what I made and I'm stuck with it. If you do that trick that I do where you double click on this, make your color overlay that's set to magenta, you can see where all that stuff is applying. If we click on this mask, press B for the brush tool, with black selected, we can brush away the areas we don't want that to affect cause it's just a mask. You know, we don't have to make this all technical and crazy and just about luminosity masking. We got all kinds of power that we can use here, okay. So that's pretty good. Another way to look at that, is again, alt or option, and clicking on your mask. Alt or option clicking will show me even more, because it's black and white. What if I don't want this up here? Okay, I can paint that out. What if I don't want this down here? Okay, I can paint that out. That was a little bit harder to see in that magenta mode. But just go through your modes. See what you can do. I'm just gonna paint this out cause I don't want that there. Paint this out around these rocks. A mask just has do be believable, okay. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be believable. That's for the highlights, but let's flip that over and let's do that for the shadows. Let's not do in the control alt way. Let's show you the other option here. So I'm gonna click on that background. I'm gonna go to Select, Color Range, go to Shadows, and I'm gonna move that range over here. So now that's selecting more of that shadow area cause I want that stuff in the foreground. I wanna make these rocks look really cool that are happening above me. So I'll pull that over to get more. And look at the fuzziness of that. Say, okay, do I want that to be less contrasty, or more contrasty. Well for this case it's probably gonna be better suited more contrasty rather than less contrasty. If you do something like this, you're gonna have really hard edges on your mask and it just doesn't look good. I mean, there's things that we can do to work around that and I'll show you about playing with masks here, but try to get the mask as best as you can when you're making these selections. So I'll move that fuzziness over to about there. Press OK. And we're gonna make a curves adjustment layer for this cause it's the coolest tool on the planet. And we can call this Shadows. Dark areas of those shadow areas darker, or brighter. And we're making the highlight areas of those shadowy areas brighter or darker, okay. And then I can still manipulate anything I want in that curves adjustment layer as well. If I wanna add some red to there, I could. That would be violent. Don't do that. But you get the concept, okay. So there's our shadows. Oops. There's our shadows, and our highlights. Here's the overall before. Just adding a little more drama. So, I know what you're thinkin. Cause I thought it too when I first got introduced to luminosity masks. Why would I want to do this when I can just go into Adobe CamerRoll or Lightroom and manipulate the shadow slider to get it darker? I'm gonna keep pressin it on you here. A shadow in Lightroom or Adobe CamerRoll is either darker or lighter. Take it or leave it, right? Here, we have this set to a curve. So think about the four different parts to just a single layer. The four parts to a layer. We have opacity and fill, they're cousin parts. Then we have the blend mode. What we choose to show up within how that blends with the rest of the image. Then if we go inside of there we have the layer styles with things like blend if. And then we have the mask. So for my shadow areas I now have four different ways to make this extremely powerful. On top of that I've combined it with a curves adjustment layer. So not only do I have four different ways to make that layer do what I want it to do, but I can also adjust the mid tones within the mid tones of the shadows, of the highlights. Come on. (audience laughing) All right. Someone's saying that's cool, I can just do that with the shadows in slider. I'm like, great. Awesome. I don't need to be here anymore. Cool. None of you are thinking that right now right, cause you'd have to feel the wrath.

Class Description

Luminosity Masking has been the talk of the town for a while in the photo industry—and for good reason. It’s one of the easiest, most effective ways to create striking images that cover a wide range of levels of light. The idea is to separate the luminance data from your image, make a mask and edit the data independently. Blake Rudis will begin by walking you through the basics of Luminosity Masking, and then will address some of the more advanced uses. Once you master this awesome tool, you won’t know how you ever got by without it.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018



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.