Tag Archives: fall colors

Adding Depth to an Image using Photoshop and Luminosity Painting

Sunrise - Lee Vining - 2012

As part of my desire to learn more about some advanced techniques in Photoshop, I’ve been concentrating on learning how best to take a flat image out of the camera and add depth to it using various image adjustment techniques – especially, dodging and burning. At one level, I’ve understood the basics of those techniques for a while – but I’ve not attempted to apply them in any serious way before now. Any student of Ansel Adams understands the use he made of those techniques!

So, I set out to explore and learn some more – and I learned a lot. What did we do before the Internet? Seriously, it’s amazing what a resource it’s become!

The basic idea involves being able to select carefully certain parts of an image for adjustment. Typically, luminosity – brightness – is most important but saturation, sharpness and other features follow. Most of the tools in Photoshop are blunt instruments that apply to the whole image – but you can constrain those adjustments to only portions of an image using selections and/or layer masks. In so doing, you can make much more selective adjustments – and create depth in an image that might have originally looked flat.

One of the first to describe a technique for this was Tony Kuyper – who in 2006 wrote about the idea of luminosity masks. A couple of years later, he described luminosity painting – and most recently, cooperated with Sean Bagshaw who has created a comprehensive video tutorial describing how to apply Tony’s techniques and Photoshop Actions/Panels in detail. If you want to understand the details, Tony and Sean’s work seems very comprehensive.

At the other extreme is a short video by Aaron Nace titled “Dodge and Burn Like a Boss: Using Apply Image” I stumbled across on Phlearn.com. In this video, he describes how to do selective dodging and burning using the notion of luminosity masks. His technique is different, in many ways simpler – but also less precise. For many images, that might be fine – it all depends on the level of precision adjustment you might want. And, when you watch the video, fasten your seat belt. Aaron moves along quickly – so be ready to stop and review as he explains his technique!

Tonight I created an example of applying Aaron’s technique to an image I shot last fall in the Eastern Sierras on an amazing photo workshop with Michael Frye. Up top you can see the image after walking through the adjustments – and below is the original, out of the camera image. It’s pretty flat, frankly. The edited image has more color – but, more importantly, more depth and, I think, overall richness.

IMG_0717

But, I’m still learning! Let me know what you think by sharing a comment below!

Fall Colors in the Eastern Sierras – The Golden Road

Golden Road - Lee Vining - 2012

In this image, I’m putting to use some new techniques learned in a Photoshop workshop with Mark Lindsay. Doug Kaye and I had very much enjoyed an earlier workshop with Mark last fall and we were looking to learn even more.

The basics of the technique used in this image involve the following workflow:

  1. Color cast adjustment – using info points and Lab color indications to neutralize blues.
  2. Luminosity adjustment – using channel curves to add contrast and detail into the most interesting areas of the image.
  3. Lab color – using the Multiply blend mode technique along with a luminance channel layer mask to enhance the colors.
  4. Sharpening – by going back to RGB and using Unsharp Mask to apply “hiraloam sharpening” – hi radius, low amount.

The original image I started with had a substantial blue cast on the trees. In this version, the colors are much more accurate.

Beautiful Yosemite Colors from Denise Dewire

A friend of mine, Ventura-based Denise Dewire, has posted some beautiful fall color images taken on a recent visit to Yosemite.

Denise and I met earlier this fall in another fall colors workshop in the eastern Sierra. We’re both Canon 5D Mark II shooters – and she makes some great images!

Be sure to also check out her portfolio on 500px!