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Photoshop Tutorials For The Brainy Beginner.
A weird technique that I absolutely can’t live without. Using it in a real situation to finely tune on an image. A practical use of the layer masks on a real case.
“Watching John Smith with Photoshop is like watching Yoda with a light saber” (One of my former students).
The technique I am going to show here is a very powerful tool. I will show you how to go from the first image to the second. The purpose today is to add brightness to the already bright areas without touching the dark ones.
It is also a technique that we can use for adding smoke or veils to an image and I’ll show how to do these things in another tutorial.
You already know all you need for this technique.
1) Click on the first image above, save it, in Photoshop open and resize it to 4200 x 4956 pixels with a 300 ppi resolution. Menu Image → Image size and feed the dialog. Make sure the 3 Check boxes are checked and choose the option “Bicubic (…) better for enlargement.”
Now we have the same image to work with.
2) You’ll notice a black rectangle on the right side of the image. I didn’t decide if the veil should go down like it is wrapping itself around the model or if it should go upward like in the wind. We will do this on the next tutorial. Do not crop this region.
3) Now, go to the channels tab of the Layers panel and CTRL + CLICK inside the icon of the RGB channel. A selection appears (marching ants on your screen) that “represents” the whites of the image. You don’t need to understand this, it is complicated to explain with words but easy to use. Go back to the Layers panel.
Alternatively to CTRL+CLICK in the channel icon you might use the CTRL+ALT+2 shortcut (doesn’t work on all versions though). If it does the above just becomes “Hit CTRL+ALT+2”.
4) Create a new layer (CTRL+SHIFT+N), choose white as a foreground color (D+X) and fill the selection with the foreground color.
The white parts of the image are whiter. The black stay black and the gray are slightly clearer.
If you look a the image closely you’ll see that the white outline of the bust are duller than on the legs. So we’ll keep this layer only above the upper body. To do this we’ll use a layer mask.
5) Choose the Polygonal Lasso (L), press Enter to get the option box enlightened, and choose a 150px feathering.
Select the bust. Your selection should look like the image below (press Q to toggle from this reddish horror to the marching ants and back).
Hit SHIFT+F3 to add a layer mask showing only the selection. We get the image below. Much better but now the legs look a bit dull.
6) For the legs. CTRL+D to cancel any selection (you shouldn’t have any). CTRL+J to make a new layer from the active layer. CTRL+& to activate the layer mask. CTRL+I to invert (negative) the mask.
7) Finishing touches. Press V to have a tool without opacity and punch 8 to set the opacity of the white layer above the legs to 80%.
To hide the ugly whitish spot on the left side just under the veil, create a new layer, L, Enter, 100, Enter, select roughly an area wider than the spot, fill with black. Move it a bit so that it doesn’t hide the veil too much and not the knee at all.
8) More finishing touches. We have the background, then Layer 1 (+mask) who contains the white on the bust (100% opacity), Layer 2 + mask that contains the white on the legs, and Layer 3 containing the black used to mask the ugly spot.
Activate the mask from Layer 1 and using a not too small but not too large brush (400px) with an opacity of 100% paint with black where the bust and head might be too bright.
You are done the final image is the 2nd image from this tutorial.