Thursday, February 5, 2009

Quality Of Light

You may not believe it at first, but all the photographs in this issue of PCPhoto have something in common. That something in common is, of course, light.
By Rick Sammon Published in Quick Fix
quick fix


Reopen your original image. Now you have two images on your monitor.

While holding down the Shift key, use the Move tool and drag the Subject file over your original file. Holding down the Shift key ensures that the files will be perfectly aligned. If your Layer panel is open, it should look something like this.

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Now, with the top layer (Subject) selected (click on it in the Layers panel), go to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow. Doing so will reveal this panel.

Play around with the adjustments here to control the Distance, Opacity, Direction and so on of the shadow.

You control the direction/placement of the shadow with the Angle wheel. You also can control the direction/placement by simply clicking in your image, then by moving your cursor around the subject. As you move your cursor, you move the shadow.

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After you’re pleased with your shadow, flatten the layers by going to Layer >Flatten Layers.


Next, go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effects. That brings up this panel. It’s here that you change the direction and quality of the light.

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For my image, I selected Spotlight as the Light Type because I wanted a side lighting effect. Next, in the Preview window, I clicked on the anchor points to rotate the direction of the spotlight to appear as though the light was coming from the top right of the image.

To adjust the light, I played around with Intensity and Exposure until I was pleased with the result. You can have a lot of fun here playing with the light—so don’t be in a rush to make a quick decision.

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To change the quality of light, I played around with some of the filters in Nik Color Efex Pro 3 and finally decided that the Sunshine filter gave me the effect that I was looking for.

Those quick adjustments, as I mentioned, transformed my flat shot into a much more dramatic and creative image in just a few minutes.

7 .

In the digital darkroom, an image is really never finished—or at least that’s the way I feel. About a week after I created the opening image for this column, I went back to it for more digital darkroom fun. I created this image using Photoshop’s Poster Edges filter (Filter > Artistic > Poster Edges) and a Brush frame from onOne Software’s PhotoFrame 3.

Enough about me! Get your own fun started by using these techniques on your own images.

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