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Night Photography Post Processing Techniques

Lesson 3 of 11

Milky Way Image: Simple Selections And masking

Tim Cooper

Night Photography Post Processing Techniques

Tim Cooper

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Lesson Info

3. Milky Way Image: Simple Selections And masking

Lesson Info

Milky Way Image: Simple Selections And masking

So here we are. The blue one ended up on top, that's the sky I want. But yet I want the bottom part of this image to show through. So the way that we're gonna do that is by using selections and masks. So what I'm gonna do first is select the bottom part of this image. When I go to make a selection I'll often choose the easiest thing to select, even though it may not be the thing I want to select. Case in point, I want the sky here but I think it's gonna be much easier to run the quick select tool through this bottom portion and then invert the selection. So let's do that. We'll grab our quick selection tool, remembering that the bigger the tool is, the more it will grab and we don't want the tool to go outside of the lines here or else you'll start to pick up some sky. So by clicking here and dragging through and unclicking, that's it. It's that quick of a selection in this case. But it's the foreground that's selected and I need the sky selected. So what I'll do is go up to select, in...

verse, and now my sky is selected. Alright, perfect. Now what I'm gonna do is to apply the selection over to this image and mask it out. All I need to do is click the add a mask icon, which I call my front-loading washing machine. So I'm gonna go down to that and I'm gonna click and while this selection is active, clicking this button will turn it into a mask. And immediately you can see exactly what happened. I am now able to see into this foreground area. Okay, well that's great. But what it doesn't do is show me this one. So remember this layer here is the one with the car on the right-hand side. And the layer below it is with the car illumination further to the left. So I want both of those to be blended together. So if I click on this layer and change its blending mode to something called lighten, it will allow the lighter parts of this image to come through into this upper image. So let's change that to lighten. And there you have it. Now you can see there's this little bit of a glow in here. And I'm getting my car trail that's on this layer. So in essence, these two layers are now coming together showing the brightest parts of each image. Alright, now at this point, there's a few things that I don't like. I'm actually able to see the edge of this building that was very close to the top of the pass where we were. And that is on this layer-- nope. It's on that layer. So what I wanna do is I wanna mask that out. Let me just take that one off to make sure. Yes. Alright, so what I wanna do is I wanna mask that out. So I'm gonna click on this layer itself and then just apply a mask. Now there's no selection active so when I apply a mask, I'll just get a white mask. Now wherever I paint with black, it will remove this from the overall photograph. So I'm gonna grab my brush tool and I'm gonna use my left bracket to make my brush tool smaller and shift and left bracket to make it nice and soft and I'm gonna ensure I'm painting with black here and maybe make my brush just a hair smaller than that. Left bracket key and I'm gonna paint that out. Alright now that building is a little bit less obvious and you can see the black area that I painted. And what I did here was I alt-clicked on the mask. And by alt-clicking on the mask, I'm able to see the mask and in this case, I can actually see where I'm painting as well. And this is the area that is now obscuring that building down there. So what we've done is we've added a blue sky, and we've masked out the bottom portion so we could see through to the more illuminated portion of the mountain down here and then we changed the blending mode to lighten to allow this layer part to come up through and I think that's probably pretty good. Now at this case, you know, I might want to desaturate that blue 'cause as I had said before, it might be just too saturated and let's see what other kind of changes we can make. I'm gonna create an adjustment layer over this. So you'll notice I went up and I clicked on that layer itself. And I'm gonna create a hue/saturation layer and because I want this hue/saturation layer only to go to this layer below it, I will hit this clipping icon and that gives us this little arrow, telling me that this adjustment is only going to work on that layer. So if I desaturate it, all's it is is the top layer. Alright so I'm just gonna desaturate that a little bit. And that kinda gives it more of that night sky feel. And then I'm going to do the same thing over this layer. I'm gonna click on that layer and create a hue/saturation layer. Nope, I changed my mind. I'm gonna actually create a color balance layer. And this time, I'm not gonna clip it. I'm just gonna allow it to adjust everything below it. So without clipping it to this layer, it will adjust this layer and that layer and that's what I want. I want to have this be a little bit more of a yellow glow. So by using the color balance, what I can do is push this towards yellow a little bit and maybe even a little bit of red and magenta to kinda make it feel orange, kinda like that glow we would expect from the city or from car trails. There we go. So before the hue/saturation layer, before the color balance layer, you can see a subtle change kinda pushing it a little bit away from that greenish and more to an orange-yellow. And I think we have a pretty realistic blend there. So when you're out making your Milky Way shots, you can think about that foreground and making other photographs to blend in to that foreground to make the image more complete.

Class Description

Taking photos at night presents some obvious problems. Shadows, underexposure, blurring and lack of light can all conspire to ruin a perfectly lovely scene. But good Adobe® Photoshop® and Adobe® Lightroom® post-processing techniques can take a deeply flawed night image and give it new life. In this class, night photography expert Tim Cooper will show you how to deal with common night photography issues through image deconstruction, Blend Modes, layers and masks, color fill layers and other retouching tools.


Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Adobe Photoshop CC 2018

Ratings and Reviews

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John Fletcher

I'd recommend this course to someone who is completely new to night/star photography and photoshop. There are some good, easy processing tips in here to pull off some nice effects. I was really hoping this was going to go into some more detail and talk about processing tips for dealing with high ISO grain and whatnot in images that is pretty much a given when doing night photography. Unfortunately, there was nothing in here about dealing with this. It's more just compositing techniques.

a Creativelive Student

Perfect class for mainly LR users needing to use PS to do some more editing. Tim explains his steps very well. There is no fluff. Just all good tips.

Jean Hilmes

Truly great tips on taking nigh photography.