Snowdonia (tutorial)

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    If you like this one I have written 3 other tutorials which you can find >> here <<
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    This is an old photo (found here) that I have rejigged using a few of the techniques I have learnt recently.

    I also thought it was about time that I had a go at writing a tutorial, so please read on below if you want to find out how I treated the image.

    I am sure that a lot of you will know these techniques already, but if you have anything to add (or could suggest a better way of doing things) please chip in. Also if anyone wants me to elaborate on anything please say, as, like I said, it's my first attempt at writing a tutorial so it may go over some people's heads.

    If you like this one then I may have a go at writing some more later on and putting them in a set together.

    ron.richardson, SimonButlerPhotography, and 36 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Jon Block ages ago | reply

      Before I start, here are the before and after images:

      The first of the two stages is to boost the contrast in separate areas of the image. I did this using a combination of "Curves" adjustment layers and selective masks, one layer for each distinct area of the image: the lake, the land and the sky.

      The image below shows the three sets of curves: the curve for the lake is on the left, in the middle is the curve for the land and on the right is the curve for the sky.

      The exact curves that you want will always depend on the photo you are editing, but a good starting point is to click on the area of the image you are trying to enhance (whilst the curves window is up) and this will produce a small circle on the curve as a guideline to where it is (as demonstrated in the above screenshot). You should generally be aiming to make this bit of the curve steeper if you want to increase contrast in that area.

      Remember that you can tinker with the effect after creating it by changing the opacity of the three adjustment layers you are making. For that reason it can be a good idea to make a stronger effect and then you can always make it more opaque later.

      The image below shows what your layers should look like once you have created the adjustment layers and added the masks. The area to the right is the selective mask, and you can see that the black portions are the areas of the adjustment layer that are masked out.

      It is really very quick making selective masks in landscape photos like this - remember it is easiest to invert the mask as soon as you have created the adjustment layer (ctrl + i) and then after that you'll just be painting white areas onto where you want the adjustment layer to take effect.

      Always use a fairly soft brush (see the shortcuts below). If you want a more gentle transition from the adjusted area to the non-adjusted area, I would suggest using a 30-50% opacity brush and painting over the areas several times.

      Most importantly though, it becomes even easier when you get the hang of using the keyboard shortcuts. The most important ones are:

      Ctrl + i - inverts the mask (when you have the mask selected)
      b - select paint brush
      d - set your foreground and background colour to black and white
      x - swap your foreground and background colour
      ] - increase brush size
      [ - decrease brush size
      shift + ] - increase brush hardness
      shift + [ - decrease brush hardness
      \ - switch to and from mask view

      Here is the image before and after adding the curves.

      The second of the two stages is to boost the colours. I think it is often worth trying this out even if you don't think the colours need boosting as it is only afterwards on comparison that you can see that the extra colour does a lot of good.

      The method I use for boosting colours involves the usage of the "Lab Color" colourspace. I am not sure whether this option is available on earlier version of Photoshop than the one I am using.

      The first step is to make a duplication of the image you are working on by going to Image --> Duplicate. Firstly you will need to flatten the duplicate image: Layer --> Flatten Image. Then change the colourspace by going to Image --> Mode --> Lab Color.

      Now goto the Channels window. You will see that Lab Color has three channels, one for "Lightness" and two for colour: "a" represents the red/green colour axis and "b" represents the yellow/blue colour axis (Read about it here if you want to know more)

      The image below shows what you will see when you select one of the colour channels:

      Now in order to boost the channels select channel "a", and then go to Image --> Apply Image. Change the blending drop down to "Soft Light" (I think this looks more natural) and click Ok. Then select channel "b" and do exactly the same thing. Then finally click back on the "Lab" channel to see what effect this has had.

      The next step is to change the image back to the RGB Color colourspace by going to Image --> Mode --> RGB Color. Select all (ctrl+ a), copy and then go to your original image and paste. You will then be able to change the opacity of this top "colour-boosted" layer. For this example I used an opacity of about 55%.

      Here is the image before and after boosting the colour:

    2. Andy Sum ages ago | reply

      Nice tutorial Jon. The techniques shown certainly make a huge difference to the image.

      Seen in my contacts' photos.

    3. Enigma Photos ages ago | reply

      Great tutorial Jon. I'll have to give it a try and see how it compares to the other techique I currently use.

      Dean (aka Wabbitt - AVForums)

    4. Steve Green ages ago | reply

      Nice one Jon, I'll have a closer look when i'm gazing into my laptop later on. The sky particularly looks a lot better post processed.

    5. s3enu ages ago | reply

      Well done Easy to read and apply and make a signinficant difference to the image
      Might mean Ill put off buying than polarising filter for now!

    6. Leonski ages ago | reply

      Nice One, so that's how you do it.

      Improvements? I would put the masking first, as it's the first step.

      More please

    7. ron.richardson ages ago | reply

      thanks for the tutorial... i'll definitely be playing with this later.

    8. SimonButlerPhotography ages ago | reply

      Cool tutorial Jon, I will have to give it a go. The before and after shots show what a huge difference you've made.

      Simon (electrolyte on AVF)

      -- (?)

    9. Jon Block ages ago | reply

      Thanks for all the encouraging comments everyone!

      @Leonski - I know what you mean about putting the masking first, but when you add the Adjustment layer it pops up the Curves window before you get to paint on the mask, so I thought I should cover the Curves first.

    10. hybridvigour ages ago | reply

      Thanks Jon.

    11. hegarty_david ages ago | reply

      The best way to download brushes and actions is to click on that little arrow at the top right and go to load brushes/ load action. You can click and drag your downloaded file directly into the window that pops up. that way it goes into the correct folder and you just click load in that window.

      great tutorial

    12. Jon Block ages ago | reply

      Thanks David, I'll check that out!

    13. tryingtimes ages ago | reply

      Thanks Jon - that lab colour trick is completely new to me - I'm going to pick a photo to try it on now.

    14. empty mint [deleted] ages ago | reply

      Jon - great image and very nice treatment. Nice to see no overkill involved in the post prod. process.

    15. MyLovenArt ages ago | reply

      Thanks for the "toot-oriole." I haven't used masks yet. I know that's pretty basic stuff, but I have done a lot in photoshop without ever using masks. I may have to learn a few mask basics before I can try out your lesson.

    16. swift knife [deleted] ages ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Layman's Photography, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.

    17. jsansb ages ago | reply

      Jon, your tutorials are amazing!

      I am only a beginner in the retouching world and I find that in many tutorials the different steps are not fully explained so I end up with unexpected results. However your tutorials are very easy to follow even for me.

      Now I am looking forward to buying new camera RAW-capable to take maximum advantages of your lectures!

      Thank you!

    18. Metal~Axiz™ ages ago | reply

      this is GooD Jon! Many thanks and keep em up!

    19. Metal~Axiz™ ages ago | reply

      OMG! Jon U deserve a Crown for this. That color boosting technique is so Unique/Priceless. Thanks a Trillion! It really helped me out.........

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