Thursday, January 18, 2007
Build your image corrections, step by step, using layers
5. Controlling The Effect
Controlling the effect on the hills and keeping it off the highlights was a job for the layer mask. Layer masks turn a layer's effects on and off, depending on the tone: black turns off the effect, white turns it on. Some people like the phrase "Black conceals, white reveals." I used Color Range (Select > Color Range) to select multiple points on the hills with the plus (+) eyedropper; you can use the minus (-) eyedropper to deselect colors and tones. I needed to keep the effect on the hills and turn it off elsewhere, so I inverted this selection and filled it with black after being sure I was in the layer mask (Edit > Fill > Use > Black). I noticed the wheels picked up a little extra color, so I painted black on them in the layer mask to turn off the effect there.
6. Name That layer
Once you get beyond a layer or two, it's easy to forget what you did in each one. I like to name the layers at this point (or earlier if I remember), giving them short, descriptive names that fit the adjustment. This is easy to do. Just double-click the layer name to highlight it and type it in (older versions of Photoshop require an extra step of right-clicking the layer to get to Layer Properties, where you change the name—right-clicking, by the way, is important for both Windows and Mac).
7. A Color Boost
Next, I needed to bring out the magenta color on the plane. A Hue/Saturation adjustment layer would do the job, but as I said earlier, you need to use it cautiously. I thought the colors in this photo could get odd if the magenta was adjusted as much as I thought it needed, so I did two things to limit how Hue/Saturation would be used. First, I used Color Range again to select the specific color. This picked up some of the warm tones in the hills, but mainly selected the plane's color. When an adjustment layer is chosen at this point (in this case, Hue/Saturation), a layer mask is automatically gener-ated based on this selection. Next, I used the drop-down menu from Edit to select magenta, which limits the adjustment to that color. Photoshop lets you further refine the control with the eyedroppers. I used the plus (+) eyedropper to click on the magenta color in several places. Now, I could really increase the saturation of this one color without screwing up the rest of the image.
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