Masking Color and Contrast


Think Like a Photographer


Lesson Info

Masking Color and Contrast

now other things that I find you contrast is also something that can pull my eye to a particular area in a photograph in so color is a big issue but contrast is another so let's look at how we can use both of those issues on this particular image I find them this this image a lot of people don't even notice there's an iguana in the picture they instead notice the sky and they noticed the water at the bottom and then they go oh wait a minute is there something in there I want your eye to go to this iguana that's here much more readily and not be distracted by much else in the image in this casing in to do it in photo shop and let's see what we come up with first I'm going to go to the bottom of my layers panel and I'm gonna click on the adjustment layer icon it's the circle it's half white and half black when I get in there I'm going to choose an adjustment called human saturation with hugh and saturation I get this dialogue and I'm just going to adjust the saturation slider it'll be ju...

st like the saturation slider in camera in that if I move it up things become more colorful if I move it down they become less colorful and what I'm going to do is I'm going to bring it down while I had look at the areas so surrounding the iguana I mean ignore the sky and I'm just going to say how far could I move that down before I think somebody will know I did it before it starts looking like this looks like black my picture you know how far can they move it down where people might still not think of it maybe about there I still want a little hint of blue in there stuff if I go further than that it starts looking like a black and white photo it looks more artificial so I do that then the way it works with an adjustment layer is uh this is your adjustment and then this is a mask this mass determines where the adjustment can happen any part of this that's white allows the adjustment to apply to your image if I introduce any black in here by describing the paintbrush and painting with black it will remove the adjustment so the next thing I'll do is a grab my brush paintbrush tool and all set the color and painting with which is this top color toe black this little aero swaps them and then I'm gonna come in and paint on the sky okay when I paint with black it's going to remove the adjustment it's gonna look the same as train the eyeball icon off for this layers and layers hidden and you see the layer that's underneath the original picture but it's just going to do that on lee where I paint so I'll click up here with a sky us and I'll paint across it like this to bring the color back into the sky I would also come down here to where the iguana is and I would usually paint across the iguana I'm going to see if I can cheat on this particular image I'm not certain if I can or not I think yeah I made a selection a long time ago on this image I called the selection that dude and if I loaded in it selects that for me that's just so I'm not gonna have to paint precisely I'm doing that simply to save time usually I grab my brush I'd have a smaller brush would be more precise when I'm painting on it but the fact that I have a selection stored in this file is just going to save me time it's not something will save you time because the selection would already be there but it just makes it so we have time to talk about more things so I'm going to paint here it with black to get rid of that off of the iguana so it stays at full color and uh get rid of my selection so now let's see what that adjustment layer is doing I'll turn off the eyeball in the adjustment layers so you can see what the picture looked like before the adjustment layer was made then I'll turn the eyeball back on so you can see the end result now if you do that in the previous version of the image the blues and the image were more colorful than a lot of other things in the picture is that the blues or what I was really being pulled too afterwards if you look at it now the color on the iguana is just starting to come out a little bit because the colors surrounding it are not competing all that much anymore I want to look a little closer but before my I was being drawn more to the blues because they were more vivid and afterwards now I can look a little bit more thes colors now we might as well doing another adjustment I'll go back to the adjustment layer poppet menu at the bottom of my layers panel I'll choose human saturation once again in this time I mean the increase the saturation to make the image more colorful and this time I'm gonna watch the iguana and say what's the most colorful I could get away with before it looks artificial it's going to affect the whole image but I'm just looking at the iguana push it until you know it's too far and then back off and say what's the highest I could get away with before it looks unnatural he'd be about there I'm thinking to my eye now the people in this room looking at tv screen that tired up to judge but hopefully you guys online can see a little better if I turn off the eyeball here there's before here's after the quanta is becoming a little bit more colorful but it's affecting the rest of the picture as well so now what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this mask that's here that determines what part of the image is being affected and I'm going to fill the entire thing with black black means don't affect the image so if I come up here and just say that it phil with black what's active right now and you can tell it's active by looking at the corners see the corners are highlighted is the mask so when I say fill with black that's where the black goes it's sitting there in the mask and the way a mask works is any part of it that's black means hide the contents of this layer in this case it's hiding that adjustment grab my brush and now I'm gonna paint with white and if I come in here wherever I paint with white uh it's going to bring the adjustment in and so I just come in here and start painting right now I'm deciding where am I bringing in that extra color and I'm not going to do it around the background I'm going to do it where I want your idol look because your eye is drawn to color like a magnet it can't help but look at colorful areas so if we increase the amount of color that's in this iguana it's going to cause your eye most likely to be more drawn to it I'm not being overly careful right now I usually would be being much more careful with figuring out where I'm painting and such but for time's sake I'm going to be a little sloppy here but now let me turn that adjustment we are often back on again here's before here's after it was a relatively subtle change but if I zuma before after do you see that but that is going to help pull your eye to that particular spot because you're I can't help but look a color there is of course a lot more we could do with this the other thing that I like to do is if I add contrast to an area often times or I will linger there longer and it could be a little more attracted to it so I'm gonna add contact trust to the iguana I'll do that by creating a new adjustment layer the same menu I went to before it the bottom of my layers panel and I'm going to choose a choice called curbs now curses are pretty darn advanced adjustment but you don't have to know all that much about it tio add contrast to something in curves what you need to do is first you need to make sure that this little hand icon is turned on and usually it won't be you'll have to click on then you need to move over to your image in the area where you want to add contrast and you need to click in two spots click once in a dark area in lecco then move your mouse on the same object to a bright area when you click on the bright area though don't just let go click and then drag straight up and when you do that you'll be adding contrast to the image what you're doing is with the first click you're locking in the brightness of the dark area so it doesn't get brightened then you're going to a bright area on that same object you're clicking and you're dragging straight up and it's like having a dimmer switch for that and you're pushing the dimmer switch up higher to add more light to it what I need to do now is just make it so it only affects the iguana and doesn't affect the entire picture ah what I can do is a little trick we already have a mask right here I painted on to isolate the iguana why not just dragged this mask up there the problem is if I drag it up there it would move it there but it would remove it from the layer that's underneath in order to move a copy I need to hold on the option key ultima windows I'll just hold the option key down which I'm holding down right now click on this mask and drag it up here photo shop we'll ask hey do you want to replace that mask with one you dragged just say yes and now that adjustment is only affecting where I painted previously to limit where the color changes were being made so it's no longer affecting the entire picture and let's see what that does here I'll turn the eyeball off here's before here's after you see how it makes that you want to jump out from its background if I wanted to I could do the opposite to its surroundings I could make it have less contrast and that would make it jump out even more I might lessen the adjustment that's in the human saturation because now it's looking a little little colorful a little less natural so let's see what we've done I'm going to turn off the eyeballs in these three adjustment layers so you can see what the original picture looked like here's before in the before my I was being drawn to the blue that's surrounding the iguana here is the after now the blue that's surrounding the iguana is toned down enough that I'm not attracted to it anymore and instead I'm attracted to the yellowish orange colors in the iguana itself in the contrast that's in the iguana the problem I have also with this image is at the top right of the photo those clouds near the edge of my frame any detail near the edge of the frame is usually going to draw my attention to it in my eye keeps flicking up here to just look at it for a second I don't know if yours does or not so I'm going to do something about that there are many different things I could do but what I think I'm going to do is use the lasso tool and just make a selection I didn't mean to drag that out of there and put it back up there I'm gonna make a selection what I'm going to do is just select from down here over just past the middle up over like that I just grab that portion I'm gonna click on the layer that contains the picture that's the bottom layer you see I have that selected and I'm going to say layer I want a new layer via copy meaning credit new layer by copying what I currently have selected if you watch my layers panel watch what happens do you see we've got a new layer and that new layer just has a chunk of the sky in it and it's a copy of what's underneath when you work with layers it's just like having a stack of papers or books it's just the top piece covers up whatever's underneath it in what I'm going to do is take that piece in flip it horizontally what I'll do is I'll go to the edit menu there's a choice in there called transform and I'm going to tell it flipped this layer horizontally then I can use butter shops move tooled top most tool that's there and I can click on this in drag to the right until it gets the edge and then I'm just going to grab the delete to the eraser tool because I can see a line here down the middle can you see a little line right there so what I'm going to do is with the eraser tool with a soft brush I'm just going to race soft transition there and also a race down here near the horizon so that we don't have repeated like stuff from the other side of the photograph just to get a soft transition so now if I hide that layer here's before here's after and if I hide what's underneath you'll see just that chunk that's there so now I've made it so my I no longer flicks up to the corner and looks at those clouds and now instead what my eyes doing is it's enjoying this roundish area down here in the middle it's enjoying the curve of the horizon and its enjoying the iguana and I don't know if that's what your eyes doing or not but that's what I'm trying to get your eye to dio I'm making an effort other things that I do two images like this is I always when I'm done I look all the way around the edges just like I do in camera to see is there anything up there making this look busy or a possible distraction so what I'm going to do in this particular case and I very commonly do is I'm going to do another adjustment and I'm gonna darken the image usually I do it with curves but most people aren't comfortable with curves I'll just use any adjustment that would darken in this case I'll use brightness and contrast because it's one of the easiest adjustments I'm going to bring this down a bit and then I'm going to fill the mask that's controlling where the shows up I'm going to fill it with um with black so go to the edit menu choose phil and anytime I have a mask with black and it's not doing anything because black means hide things so I need to grab the paintbrush tool now and paint this in wherever I think it's needed and what I'm going to do is paint it on the edges of the picture so I'll come down here and darken that up I might darken this up might even talking this up not sure if I can get away with darkening this part up it might be too obvious I think I could get away with it all right let's see what that did I'll turn off that adjustment layer before after so now if I end up putting a little too much of that in all I need to do a switch the color and painting with two black which now means let's remove that adjustment and I think it might have just got a little too much here was a little too obvious so I'll paint to remove it so now let's see what we've done to the simmons again I'll turn off these eyeballs there's the original and they'll turn them back on and you see the difference in the image we're starting to transform it a bit now there's a trick to show before and after if you have more than one layer like this if you go to your layers you could move your mouse over the eyeball icon for the original image hold on the option key that's all tim windows if you option click on that icon it automatically hides all the others if you option click a second time that's all clicking and windows it'll turn all the others back on again and that's a nice way to be able to see before and after so here's my before where when I look at it my eye enjoys this shape that's there the blue of the water the clouds all sorts of things in almost doesn't even notice in iguana sitting there in my after though my I quickly enjoys that little circle and kind of wraps around the tail to the iguana and enjoys the curvature of the horizon but then it kind of comes back to the iguana in the middle I don't know if your eye does that or not but all I know is I'm trying to have some influence in where you look in this picture the only other thing I might do here is in the upper right and upper left corner's there's the tiniest white lighter white ish stuff like a little mini cloud up in the corner and retouch out just go down to the layer that contains that information make a little selection like this and you remember that content aware thing just that it was under phil content where something we used on the panorama see if it can handle it you just have to click on the layer that actually contains that part of your picture before you do it yeah okay so we clean that up I don't if you saw that or not but if I choose before and after now do you see the upper right in upper left corner that's just a little barely a hint of like a hint of a cloud all right so I'm going to save this image now put it on my desktop but that should give you some sense for how I think when I'm in photo shop is the same kind of thing that I was doing with the kid and the framed by the doorway I'm thinking about how can I get somebody to look where I want them to my picture and how can I eliminate as many distractions is possible I do see it a little bit more tweaking I doing this image in that there are distractions do you see this little white speck here that's detail that it's so bright and everything my eye is going to just flick to it so I might work on that layer and just used the selection tool here select around that edit phil content aware gone and I would look at other things see this little tiny white specks here but it's to shift elite means the filled dialogue I might get rid of a few of those on ly the ones that are big enough that my eye flicks to him tiny little pieces of dust I wouldn't deal with and I'd leave the ones in the middle because I think those give me you know stuff to look at in that particular area but I notice one more right there that my I flicked too right there for a millisecond if my flicked something for a millisecond and the picture and there wasn't a payoff when I got there I'm thinking about retention it out making it darker making it less saturated all that kind of stuff it might also retouch right here on the tail do you see that part there my eye flick to that I don't know if yours did and I'm not sure if content where will be good enough to get rid of it yeah all right now with this I'm not using the techniques that I would always use for retouching in that I usually put things on separate layers and use all sorts of things instead of things like the eraser to will and all that I just didn't want to introduce technology that you might not used to be using for some of this so if you guys have some questions of wouldn't you put that on a separate layer wouldn't you use a layer mask in the sky wouldn't you yeah I would but for those of people that aren't used to those techniques I'm trying to keep it as simple as I can within reason but is there any questions about process yes so I mean specifically do you teach any photoshopped type classes around here a creative live if somebody wanted to go a little further with wait twenty yeah exactly right so and we know that this is really you know really directed towards photography and photographers but it's great to see a little bit of post processing I do know that adobe then you might be familiar with this just had a new deal where you can get a photo shop I think it's ten bucks in my photoshopped light room for the shop and light room for ten dollars a month but you have to already own photoshopped his version otherwise the cost is higher but it's for those people that already own photo shop but it might be an older version and they want to get to the newest version where they've changed over to this subscription plan well if you own an older version of photo shop it can be a few years few versions old you can sign up for the new creative cloud which is the monthly subscription for ten dollars a month you get photoshopped and light room it's a nice little bundle but you have to do it before the end of the year and you have to own an older version of photo shop in order to get that deal okay perfect and if somebody was a brand new novice photographer you know they've taken this two day class could some of these techniques these post processing techniques that you just showed maybe photoshopped elements could be would be a good start yeah sure you can use photo shop almost to do a lot of this stuff the main thing is I don't have photoshopped elements it's not something they use if you own the main version you wouldn't end up using that that's the only reason I haven't so yeah there are all sorts of things you can use um definitely so am I I can show you more images more progression I just want to see if there were some questions I think from a question standpoint we're in good shape okay we're gonna leave it to you yeah so let's take a look at a few other images now oftentimes in a picture they'll be something that was semi interesting in the image but it just doesn't come through in the photo in this particular case there's actually the equivalent to graffiti on this temple on the walls and sense the graffiti is not in english it might be a little bit interesting to bring it out and I don't know if it's actually graffiti it might be you know religious markings that are overly important and put in there by the the elder you know people that run this place who knows but there's markings over here that are hard to see I'm going to do a curves adjustment layer and when the curves adjustment layer remember that little hand tool I always have that thing turned on and you have to do that where if it's not turned on then when you click on your image it won't do anything related to curves if that hand icon is turned on though whenever you click on your picture it knows to do something related to a curve mine gets turned on automatically because I've gone to the upper right corner of this dialogue and there's a choice here called auto select targeted adjustment tool it should say automatically turn on the hand tool you know the hand icon that's what it means and because I have that turned on every time I open curves that hands automatically pushed in but that's not the default setting so now let's see what I can do I want to get this graffiti like stuff to come out more so here's how I approach it first I click on the wall itself quick and what that's going to do is lock in the brightness of the wall to say don't change this then I'm going to go to where I see the markings I'm in a clique and now it's like having a dimmer switch in my hand that's going to control how bright or dark stuff I'm clicking on is so I click and if I want that graffiti like stuff show up more I need to drag down excuse me to darken it as I've dragged down you see the difference now I'm ignoring the rest of the picture on lee looking at the wall because we have a mask and we can paint on that master control where the sound's within the picture if I turn off the eyeball for this particular adjustment later you'll see what it looked like before the adjustment turn it back on you'll see it after and you see how much easier it is to see that particular detail that's the exact same technique in general that I used on the iguana to give it more contrast the only difference was in the iguana I was brightening the bright stuff here I'm darkening the dark stuff in general what I do when I want contrast is I decide that I'm either going to brighten the bright stuff to get the contrast or I'm going to dark in the dark stuff to get the contrast and I moved my mouse onto the image and first I click on what I don't want to change so in this case I clicked on the wall then I go to either the bright stuff or the dark stuff and I dragged up or down so now let's get this so doesn't apply to the entire picture I'm going to fill that mask with black so it doesn't apply anywhere the way I usually do that is instead of going to the edit menu and choose phil which I use before then choosing black I use something that just has a very quick keyboard shortcut what it is is I type command I command I means invert it means give me the opposite of what I currently have and if you look at what's in my mask right now I have white if I type command I control I am windows it just gives me the opposite of that and end up with black now I can grab my brush and I need to make sure I'm paying with white and I come over here and I can paint it in just four I want it let's see if it helps up there that makes come out a little bit maybe over here so sometimes I really want to pull out some detail because that detail might have been what was interesting to me in the photo let's say it was the opposite though I'm going to throw away this adjustment layer and let's say what I liked in this image instead was the stairs slowly converging getting smaller and smaller towards the top and it sends you right up towards his head then I might find those little markings on the walls to be a distraction and if that's the case and I don't want you to be exploring them as much what I would do is again go to curves and again make sure the hand icon is active this time I'm going to click on the wall to say don't change this because if I click without dragging just click and let go it means locking the brightness in this time I'm going to go for this part up here where I can really see that markings ah click and then I just think to make this show up less what I brighten it or dark innit imagine you have a dimmer switch in your hand where if you move it up you're gonna add light in brighton if you move it down you're going to take away light and darken I'm just gonna drag it up then I'll turn off the eyeball on this adjustment layer here's what it looked like before here's what it looks like after do you see a little less contrast in there that could have tried to push it further if I wanted to in fact I'll I'll move it up a little bit manually here if I move it up far enough you would never be able to see that text but the problem is we also have shadows in there and they're going away as well so I'm only gonna go a little bit I'm gonna invert my mask with command I command I will give me the opposite of what I have and now I'm gonna paint it in just where I need it so the entire image isn't changed instead only this part over here where I wanted you to be able to see that a little less let's see that helps over here or not I might need to do a separate adjustment for other areas that don't have his dark of paint if you can see is that making a little harder to see what's there so oftentimes that's what what I might do the other thing I could do in this particular photograph is try to get your eye to go a lot more up to the kid and a lot less to the rest of the photograph many different ways of doing that but one is mainly with brightness your eyes usually drawn to the bright area the photo great that I have this actually blown out detail right behind his head that's pulling you up there so is the color and his outfit and so is the shape of these stairs getting smaller as they go to the top all of those things there positive pulling me up to here but there's still a lot of detail on the sides and just a lot of brightness on the sides not sure how successful this is will be but I'm going to go in here and do anything that would darken the photograph I'm only using brightness and contrast because no one can claim they don't know how to use it the brightness slider is just one slider it brightens their darkens I'm gonna darken this not looking at the kid but looking to the surroundings to say how dark though I think I can make it before it's overly obvious I've done it how dark might it have been in there you say may be somewhere in there then I'm gonna grab my brush and I'm going to paint with black blacks going to remove the adjustment and I'm gonna paint where where I want your eyes to go I want your eye to go right here and then what I'll do is a lesson the opacity of my brush see appears opacity I'm going to bring that down a bit maybe down to about thirty percent and I'll get a bigger brush and I'll just give a little bit of a surrounding around it also semi remove it so it's got just that general areas brighter let's see what that did I'm going to turn off the eyeball for this adjustment layer not sure if it'll be overly successful or not but before you see all the brightness around it there I can look anywhere after it's a little obvious when I turned the eyeball on and off but nobody else is going to see the eyeball being turned on and off or I could paint with black right about here and here just a lesson how much those stairs were being brightened I really don't think anybody's going to notice it could also come in here with human saturation and maybe make the image more colorful I'm thinking about the kid not the rest of the photo then I'm going to invert the mask with command I and just paint that inn where I think I want it which will be where I want your eye to go and I don't care if his face can handle it or not you can as far as if it's gonna be too colorful I could do the opposite to the rest of the image to a human saturation in this time lower it and paint with black to say I don't want this to apply everywhere I want your eye to be right up here where the colorados so I don't let it happen there let's see what I've done to this image I'm going to turn off all these adjustment layers by option clicking on the bottom eyeball here's before before I'd look around that image a bit here's after do you see the graffiti is lessened your eyes going more towards the top and on lee because I'm trained this on and off in succession doesn't make it a little bit obvious that right here it's a little brighter than the rest of the image but that's just because you're seeing before and after most people wouldn't notice

Class Description

So you just bought your first DSLR, now what? In this two-day workshop, professional photographer and Photoshop Hall of Famer Ben Willmore will take you inside his award-winning mind. From composition techniques to post-production Photoshop magic, Ben will unpack everything the pros know about taking and editing amazing photos. Ben will reveal his entire thought process when shooting — showing you how simple choices like lens selection can dramatically alter your results. You will also learn what settings you need to capture the right light, how to modify your gear to make it more useful, Photoshop techniques to polish your photos, and how to use apps and software to streamline your workflow. Whether you’re a beginning photographer, or a working photographer interested in a refresher course, this workshop will teach you how to make the most out of your DSLR.


Ashleigh L

AMAZING CLASS! I caught bits and pieces of the live stream, but even in those bits and pieces of it, I learned so much! He's a great teacher, easy to understand and great visuals. He "walks around" the subject to give us different POV, tells us the negative/positive/neutral of the photo, and tips. Thank you, Ben!