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I didn't post anything Tuesday but I'll keep on attempting to spark a return to creative efforts here.

This is one worth looking at again. Kimi posted this six years ago ... something she learned in a class; it came off of the internet here: http://creativebits.org/photoshop/two_d ... st_masking

I quote Kimi's instructions:
The designer used a contrast mask to adjust his highlights and shadows. You can too by following these simple steps.

1. Open an image that has plugged shadows and/or blown out highlights
2. Duplicate that layer (Command + J)
3. Desaturate the duplicated layer (Shift + Command + U)
4. Invert the duplicated layer (Command + I)
5. Change the duplicated layer's blend mode to Overlay
6. Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur (around 30)

The contrast mask will reduce the blown out highlights and open up the plugged shadows. You can then of course make further adjustments by changing the duplicated layer's opacity, changing the blend if settings in the Layer Style dialog box or by adding a layer mask to isolate areas.


I consider the last step optional. I have done this with and without Gaus Blur and, IMHO, can't see much difference.

This works great with plugged up, muddy shadows. Example, here's one of my chipmunks volunteering to participate in my relocation program:
DSC_0877 Compare.jpg
DSC_0877 Compare.jpg (135.78 KiB) Viewed 2014 times

See how this improved shadow detail.

This is not a Go To treatment for every image. If you have a normal exposure range to start with, this is going to make your image look worse than what you started with.

Rusty
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness" - Dave Barry

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

www.prestophoto.com/photos/gallery/19932
Here's my try. We were at this location yesterday. Shooting conditions were really tough - a lot of contrast. SOOC is on the left. The contrast mask helped quite a lot. And, as Russ says, the full sized pic looks a lot better.

Image
Here's a play where the gaussian blur (on the right) makes a lot of difference. Notice the improved texture in the water and improved color in the trees in the top third of the pic.

Image
Irv,

That is clearly an example of where the Gaus Blur step improved the image.

I was at the zoo today and tried some underwater shots of the polar bear swimming ... they have a viewing window. They were pretty bad; real bad. I didn't have my Big Boy Camera with me, just a pocket P&S. I don't think a different camera would have made much difference. I tried this Contrast Mask on my shots, along with a few other things. No magic bullets. I deleted all the shots.

Rusty
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness" - Dave Barry

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

www.prestophoto.com/photos/gallery/19932
Rusty,
Thanks for reminding us of the contrast mask method.
sorry we won't be seeing your polar bear shots --
Betty
Win 8.1, PS CC, Canon bridge P&S
This newbie has only just started working with masks and I was thrilled to find this tutorial. Can't wait to try it!
Hi Amy,
Once you get accustomed to using masks, you will wonder how you ever managed without them. They open a whole world of editing possibilities. You will love using them.
Betty
Betty
Win 8.1, PS CC, Canon bridge P&S
Rusty thanks for starting this thread. You and Irv got us off to a great start. Amy jump in and show us your results. I hope to try this weekend.
Rusty,

You can take this technique a significant step further and use the inverted layer created in step 4 as a layer mask itself to have an impact on highlights areas and a version from step 3 as a layer mask for the shadows.

Once generated, do a Select All, then Edit, Copy. Create an adjustment layer - say for Levels and once created, Alt+Click on the Layer Mask, Edit Paste.

This will make the originally white layer mask contain the B&W version of the image and Black conceals, White Reveals. Tweak your levels and you are selectively adjusting shadow areas (original version from step 4) or highlights (inverted version of step 4).

I find this useful as you can do it with Hue and Saturation layers, Brightness/Contrast. Photo Filter, etc.

So an alternate version would be

1. Open an image that has plugged shadows and/or blown out highlights
2. Duplicate that layer (Command + J)
3a. Desaturate the duplicated layer (Shift + Command + U)
3b. Label as Highlights
3c. Duplicate the layer (Command/Ctrl + J)
3d. Command/Ctrl + I (Invert)
3e. Label as Shadows
4. Select the Highlight or Shadow Layer, Select All (marching ants around the outer edges)
5. Edit, Copy - now the B&W version is or is going to be the layer mask
6. Create an Adjustment Layer
7. Alt + Left Mouse click on layer mask (screen will show a totally white area)
8. Edit, Paste - now the B&W version is the layer mask for the adjustment layer.

I know this sounds complicated, but if you can wrap your head around it, is is very quick. In actial practive, I do not create 2 B&W layers - just one and then copy it into the Adjustment layer mask. And if it is wrong, Alt + Left Click on the layer mask, Command/Ctrl + I to invert.

The Gaussian blur thing can be used also and it is particularly effective with trees and leaves etc to soften the impact of what you are doing.

The contrast mask opens a doorway, this technique takes off the roof!

Attachments

John
John, that is an interesting way to create a mask. btw - did you intend the mode of the layer labeled hue/saturation to be soft light or overlay?
Betty
Win 8.1, PS CC, Canon bridge P&S
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