Thursday, January 18, 2007
Build your image corrections, step by step, using layers
8. Shady Work
Next, the shaded side of the plane needed work. The color isn't very good because of the light and the exposure. First, I needed to brighten that specific area, but nowhere else. To do that, I added a Levels adjustment layer and clicked OK without making any adjustment. Then, I went to the layer mode at the top, clicked on the drop-down menu arrow and got a long list of modes. You don't need to know them all—Screen and Multiply are both very useful, though: Screen to lighten, Multiply to darken. So I chose Screen, which made the whole photo light.
I needed to limit that lightness to the side of the plane, so I filled the layer mask with black (Edit > Fill > Use > Black; you can also use keystrokes that work with the foreground and background colors—Alt/Option + Backspace to fill with the foreground color, and Ctrl/Cmd + Backspace to fill with the background color). Then I painted in white over the side of the plane (in the layer mask, white turns the effect on). Be sure to choose a soft-edged brush of an appropriate size for the area—you can see the brush in the screenshot shown here (the red circle). This is a much faster way of dealing with a specific area than trying to use a selection tool. You can quickly brush in the overall area, then change the brush to black to fix the edges that went too far.
9. Richer Color
The shade on the side of the plane was now brighter, revealing more color, including a gold stripe that wasn't so visible before. The dark magenta wasn't very strong, however, because it was so severely underexposed. When a dark color is underexposed, it loses much of its chroma (chroma relates to how much color is in a tone compared to gray, and as colors drop in brightness, the tone loses that color, becoming grayer). The only way to restore this color is to sample it elsewhere in the photograph and add it to the area.
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