Painting an Adjustment
So, let's, take a look at the basics of applying a targeted adjustment, and I'm going to show you the way that I actually prefer to approach this there's one step here that I consider optional, but very help awful, and I'll explain why, but the idea here, pretty straightforward, I want to enhance the drama of the sky, for example, you know, they just want to enhance contrast in the sky, make it look a little bit more dark and stormy. We already have this contrast of the bright yellow canola flowers on the hill against the sort of dark and gloomy looking sky. I just want to make it a little bit more dramatic. I don't want to make the canola look more dramatic. I just want to make the sky mohr dramatic, and so here's, the approach that I take when it's a pretty straightforward situation, I'm just going to paint the adjustment into the image, let's, see what that looks like. As I mentioned, they targeted adjustment involves those two things, an adjustment layer plus a layer mask, so we're...
going to start off with an adjustment layer. What kind of adjustment layer any kind you like, depending on the effect you want to have in the image, in this case, I could use levels, for example, but for tonal adjustments, I generally prefer curves, so I'll go ahead and add a curves adjustment, and if you take a look at the layers panel, you'll see that we have a double thumbnail, as it were. The background image layer has just a thumbnail in a name. The adjustment layer has essentially to thumbnails there's, a thumbnail that represents the actual adjustment. It indicates the type of adjustment we're working with, but we have a second thumb. Now that second thumbnail is the layer mask, it comes automatically with our adjustment layers. You don't have to do anything special to get a layer mask for your adjustment layers well, let's, evaluate let's. Consider what that adjustment layer mask looks like. It's, entirely white, and what does white did reveals so black blocks and white reveals. So in this case, in the case of every adjustment layer that we create by default, the adjustment is affecting every single pixel in the image. The layer mask is revealing this effect everywhere in the photo, but as we saw with that eagle when we started out today, we can change that. We can make the layer mask look different, so in this case, if I want to adjust to the sky but not the foreground, what does my layer mask ultimately need to look like? Black on the bottom so we'll call this roughly. What about it's? Almost half let's? Just call it half in half just to make it simple. We want the layer mask to be approximately the top half white and the bottom half black. The top half will reveal our adjustment. The bottom half will block our adjustment, so this adjustment will only affect the sky. So in theory, I could paint onto my layer mask with black to block the effect of the adjustment for the bottom part of the image. My preference is to work in reverse. My preference is to start with the adjustment, not affecting any of the image, and then I'm painting the adjustment into the photo totally optional. I can work in either direction. I could have it all white and then paint the black areas in, or I can have it all black and paint the white areas in. I just feel that makes more sense in my little brain to paint the adjustment into the image rather than to block the adjustment out of the image. But before I start painting, if I'm going to be painting on that layer mask to define which areas of the photo, I want the adjustment to effect my personal preferences toe apply a very strong adjustment, an initial adjustment so I can see very clearly. Where the adjustment is visible and where it's not and so all usually apply an adjustment that's similar to what I have in mind just a lot stronger so in this case I want to enhance contrast, so I'm really going to enhance contrast for the image, so I've made this extreme s curve, so there is no question about whether or not the image has been affected by this adjustment. And again we know based on that white layer mask that this image this adjustment is applying everywhere within the photo, every single pixel is getting some sort of effect based on this adjustment, but I can change that s o I have this adjustment layer, I have this mask now I'm going to start applying changes to that mask so that I could determine where this in this case very strong adjustment is visible, but again, my preference is to paint the adjustment into the photo rather than blocking it from specific areas. So I like to start out with a layer mask that instead of being white is black. In other words, the adjustment will disappear, and then I add the adjustment where I want it my personal preference, you certainly don't have to go that route you could just paint in black on the foreground, but I'm going to fill in this layer mass with black I can do that just by inverting the opposite of white is black, so if I invert, I get the opposite very straightforward so I could go to the image menu and choose adjustments and then choose invert but a little quicker and easier is that keyboard shortcut control eye on windows command I on macintosh to invert your layer mask first, I want to make sure that I'm on the layer mask, so for example, if I were on the image, then I'm inverting the photo not exactly what I had in mind, so I want to make sure that the layer mask is what's active to do that. I can just look at it and you see these little crop corners that appear around the outer edge of that layer mask. Well, maybe you can because they're a little hard to see their very tiny, so when in doubt, just click on it. I always just habitually click on that layer mask sometimes multiple times for no good reason just because it's an easy way to make sure that that layer mask is active so that I know I'm working on the layer mask, not on the image it's also a good opportunity if you've added multiple adjustment layers to just make sure you're on the right one and I working on my curves adjustment as opposed to maybe I had already applied a color balance adjustment, et cetera so with that layer mask active all press control island windows command I on macintosh you can see that the layer mask is now filled with black. The effect has now disappeared but now I can paint the effect into the image so I'm going to choose the brush tool from the tool box I could also just press the letter b on the keyboard to activate the brush I mentioned the keyboard shortcut for adjusting the size and hardness I could just click the pop up on the options bar toward the left here the little brush pop up and choose a soft edged round brush. I can just make sure the hardness is set to zero percent, for example because remember that subtlety versus accuracy thing in this case I'm going to blend my adjustment into the surrounding image by using a soft edged brush well, seymour examples of that type of situation a little bit later I can also check to make sure that the brushes otherwise set up in sort of a normal way the blend motive set to normal the capacity is at a four hundred percent which is typically how I would be working with this type situation now come out over the image I can use the left and right square bracket keys to adjust the size of the brush left square bracket key will reduce the size right square bracket key will increase the size will use a relatively large brush here and then I will press the letter d on the keyboard for default colors in the case of a lame ass, because a layer mask is active right now that will set white as my foreground color and black as my background color. If I were working on a pixel layer that would be reversed, black would be the foreground white would be the background, so I'm working with white as my foreground color. If that's not what I needed right now, if I needed to paint with black to block the adjustment from some area, then I could just press the letter x on the keyboard to exchange the foreground and background colors so painting with white welcome out over the image and easy as can be. I'm just painting the effect into the photo, so coming down kind of close to this horizon as it were soft edged brush. So it's got that kind of fuzzy edge to it, blending the adjustment in again because I applied an adjustment that was exaggerated way stronger than I really intended. It's really easy for me to see exactly where that effect is happening within the photo, but then I can also come back to my adjustment and refined things. So for example, I'll click on the thumbnail for my curves adjustment layer and I'll just tone down the strength of that adjustment just a little bit maybe something like that's still a little dramatic but not too crazy but I could also go back to the layer mascot anytime so all of this is being preserved my adjustment layer with total flexibility I can come back and make changes to the settings for the adjustment at any time and my layer mask I can come back and clean it up so hyper pathetically speaking had I made a mistake, I'll go ahead and increase the hardness of the brush and we'll just paint a streak and in fact I'm going to make this adjustment really exaggerated again just so we can see a little more clearly I paint a streak accidentally with the brush tool right through the foreground of the photo so if you take a look at the thumbnail for that layer mask we see we have a white streak going through the area that should be black. No problem obviously since I just did that I could press control z or command z to take a step backward in the history to undo but let's assume I was doing other work in the meantime and I didn't realize this mistake was made no problem I compress x to exchange foreground background colors so that black is now my foreground color and it all just the size of the brush and I can just simply paint away that little mistakes I'm just cleaning up that layer masks or something like that come up here and fix the white areas such as painting with white where I want the adjustment to be visible and painting with black in the areas where I do not want it to be visible and you can probably see I'm getting a little bit of that adjustment into the hill here into the canola field so I might want to go in there and clean that up a little bit but I don't have to be super precise because I'm using the soft edged brush I've got that transition I'll show you what that looks like here real briefly the hips right there thank you so looking at that soft edged transition because I was using a soft edged brush instead of getting ill go ahead, make a hard edge brush and just paint a streak through the sky here there's a hard edged effect a hard transition then I need to be very, very precise with my painting but if I'm using a soft edged brush then I get that transition that blending and so I get a little bit of leeway so I can make the adjustment a little bit stronger than I might otherwise be able to get away with because there's a degree of transition between those areas so even with the strong adjustment in this case, obviously it's still a bit too strong. Maybe somewhere down there adds the drama without being overly dramatic. And because I was using that soft edged brush, I've got enough transition between the sky and the foreground. So that's, sort of the easy approach, I would say in terms of applying that adjustment to, in this case, on lee the sky. I'm just painting the effect where I wanted painting literally directly on that layer mass, because remember, a leather mask is just a stencil. It's, just a black and white image that defines where I want something to appear in the case of an adjustment layer, obviously that's the adjustment. So adjust this area, but not that area reveal. The adjustment here blocked the adjustment. They're very straightforward, so black blocks and white reveals.