Have you ever had a photo that needed at little more oomph? Say the sky was a little too washed out without enough contrast.....and maybe another part was too dark and need to be lightened a little. Take this image of mine. It was taken at Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico, in summer 2006. The sky is a little blah and some parts of the foreground are a little too dark.
But, with a little magic of using the Overlay Layer Blend Mode, we can change this to this.....all non-destructively. You may have seen me do this in some of my other blog posts, but it may have been buried inside a lot of other things I was doing and you may not have noticed.
Here is how you do it.
Step 1. I opened my photo in Photoshop CS6. I have a hard time seeing the light gray letters on the dark gray interface, that CS6 has as its default. So, I went into the Photoshop Preferences and changed my interface to this dark gray on light gray.....much easier for me to see.
Step 2. Overlay Blend Mode ignores gray.....it makes things darker or lighter.....it increases contrast. I will use a dodge and burn layer. A dodge and burn layer is nothing more that a layer that is filled with gray and set to Overlay. if I hold down the Option / Alt key when I click on the button to add a new layer, I get the New Layer dialog that allows you to name the layer and to select a blend mode and then you can fill that layer with the color that is neutral to that blend mode. I typed in a name for the layer ..... dodgeAndBurn ..... I used the camel style of writing the name ..... first letter of first word is small letter ..... no space between words ..... all following words begin with capital letter ..... dodgeAndBurn. I set the Mode to Overlay and this then allows me to check the box to Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray).
I clicked OK and I now have this new layer set to Overlay and filled with 50% gray. You do not see any change to the image because Overlay is neutral to the 50% gray fill ..... that is, the gray pixels are ignored in the Overlay mode.
Step 3. Next, I selected a soft round brush. The foreground color is black, so I will be painting with black. In the brush Option Bar, I set the Opacity to 30%. Then I painted over the sky area in the image. On my dodgeAndBurn layer I am adding a darker gray than the 50% gray that is in the layer. This will cause the Overlay Blend Mode to darken the image in that area. I held the mouse down the entire time I was painting so that the brush stroke was just one application of the 30% brush. If you let the mouse up, it starts another 30% application. You can see the darker area in the layer thumbnail.
Step 4. Next I changed the foreground color to white ..... left the brush Opacity at 30% ..... painted over the image area that I wanted to lighten ..... adjusted the brush size as needed. I painted over the chimney, the right side hill slope, and the left side foreground. On my dodgeAndBurn layer I am adding a lighter gray than the 50% gray that is in the layer. This will cause the Overlay Blend Mode to lighten the image in that area.
Step 5. I thought the sky could be a little darker and I went a little too far with the white to lighten around the chimney. I changed the Foreground color to black ..... set the brush Opacity at 10% ..... painted with black near the chimney to darken the light area ..... painted over the sky area to darken it a little more.
If I hide the visibility of the background layer, you can see how I have modified the burnAndDodge layer shades of gray. Where the gray is darker than the 50% gray, the image is darkened. Where the gray is less than the 50% gray, the image is lightened.
And that is how I went from this
And it is all non-destructive since all the modifications were done on the dodgeAndBurn Overlay layer that was filled with 50% gray.
If you need to adjust some of your images before you put them into your scrapbook pages, I hope you remember this method of doing it. It is rather fast and easy and non-destructive to your original image.
That is it for now.
Enjoy your scrapbooking and recording your events for the future.
Welcome to EarlK Design!
The EarlK Design blog consists mainly of entries that show how to do things using Adobe Photoshop that I hope you will find helpful and give your creative mind more tools to work with.
I use Adobe Photoshop CS6, and sometimes Adobe Illustrator CS5, Lightroom 5, and Corel Painter X. However, I believe that much of what I show can be done using Photoshop Elements.