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Adobe Photoshop Digital Photography

Adobe Photoshop Digital Photography

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Published by zelda89195

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: zelda89195 on Apr 24, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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There are many photos where one would like to darken the highlights and
get more shadow detail.

"Contrast Masking" is a well known technique in the physical darkroom to
do just that. Of course in the digital darkroom Photoshop is the tool of

This was the original file as we got it directly from Nikon Capture 2. Ok it
was a hazy day but still the sky has to little color, the trees are too dark and
also the cliff plateau.

Here are the first initial steps

Select the layers palette and perform "Duplicate Layer"

Set the blending mode to "Overlay"

Select the newly created duplicate layer and do "Image->Adjust-
>Desaturate" (this layer is now an grayscale image)

Then create a negative from this layer by using "Image->Adjust->Invert".
Don't bother that the result looks pretty strange.

© 2002-4 Bettina and Uwe Steinmueller


Now set the "Opacity" to about 80% (you can fine-tune this later).

And last not least use "Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur" to blur the negative
layer. You can then control the effect by choosing a radius between 20-100.
Most of the operations are quite fix but the two parameters "Opacity" and
"Radius" are crucial to your success and you have to experiment to find the
optimum for each photo. In our case we ended with 80% opacity and a
radius of about 96.

© 2002-4 Bettina and Uwe Steinmueller


For me "Contrast Masking" is from now on part of my usual tool box.
Variation Initially the article was finished here. But then I tried an other
photo and came up with some nice improvement.

Even with curves this photo seems just too dark. If we apply the above
technique we get the following result.

© 2002-4 Bettina and Uwe Steinmueller


Some improvement but still too dark in the cliff. The solution is an extra
curves adjustment layer

Add an adjustment layer with "Curves"

Now we get this final result.

© 2002-4 Bettina and Uwe Steinmueller


There are probably many other useful variations.

Note: In our own work we use the contrast masking that is part of the
PhotoKit toolkit (see our chapter on “Useful Photoshop Tools”).

© 2002-4 Bettina and Uwe Steinmueller


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