The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3, Pt. 2. | 3 | WebReference

The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3, Pt. 2. | 3

The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 3, Pt. 2.

Adjust the Contrast and Darken the Image

1. Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer by choosing Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Click OK on the New Layer dialog box. This opens the Gradient Map dialog box.

2. Open the Gradient Editor by clicking the gradient bar in the Gradient Used For Grayscale Mapping preview section.

3. Double-click the 0 percent color stop (at the bottom left) to open the Color Picker dialog box, and change the color to black (R = 0, G = 0, B = 0). (In this example image, it should already default to black.) Click OK to close the Color Picker.

4. Add a color stop to the gradient by clicking below the gradient preview bar. Set the position of the stop to 40 percent by typing 40 in the Location field.

5. Double-click the new color stop to open the Color Picker dialog box. Change the color of the stop to H = 0, S = 0, B = 33 (33 percent bright). (HSB is an alternative color scheme representing hue, saturation, and brightness.) Making this change will darken the tones at the 40 percent position from 40 percent to 33 percent bright. Click OK to accept the changes and close the Color Picker.

6. Add another color stop to the gradient by clicking below the gradient preview bar. Set the position of the stop to 60 percent by typing 60 in the Location field.

7. Double-click the new color stop to open the Color Picker. Change the color of the stop to H = 0, S = 0, B = 55 to change the tone 5 percent darker at this point, from 60 percent to 55 percent. Click OK to accept the changes and close the Color Picker.

8. Double-click the 100 percent color stop (at the bottom right) to activate it and open the Color Picker.

9. Change the color of the stop if necessary to white R = 255, G = 255, B = 255 or H = 0, S = 0, B = 100 (your stop may already be set to these settings). Click OK to close the Color Picker. At this point the Gradient Editor should look something like Figure 2.10.

Figure 2.10 The change in the gradient increases the influence of the darker tones.

10. Click OK on the Gradient Editor to close it and accept the changes to the gradient.

11. Click OK on the Gradient Map dialog box to close it and accept the changes for the new layer.

At this point, the image should be notably darker, and it will change visibly from color to black-and-white. The result should resemble Figure 2.11. The selected settings will darken and convert any image to black-and-white, but they are used specifically in this image to change the tone. The goal here was specifically to darken the midtones. Toggle the visibility for the Gradient Map layer to see before and after.

Figure 2.11 The gradient mapping has adjusted the tones according to the stops placed in the gradient.

Recolor the Altered Tone

12. Create another Gradient Map adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map).

13. Click OK in the New Layer dialog box to open the Gradient Map dialog box.

14. Click OK in the Gradient Map dialog box to close it and create the new layer.

15. Change the layer opacity to 50 percent by using the Opacity slider on the Layers palette. This enables you to intentionally apply strong colors rather than muted ones to achieve your result. You can adjust the opacity again later to make the color stronger or weaker, as desired.

16. Change the layer mode to Color by using the Mode drop-down list. This will apply the color in the gradient rather than forcing adjustment of tone and color.which may be much harder to control.

17. Double-click the layer thumbnail for the active layer on the Layers palette. This opens the Gradient Map dialog box.

18. Open the Gradient Editor by clicking the gradient bar in the Gradient Used For Grayscale Mapping preview.

19. Double-click the 0 percent color stop (at bottom left) and change the color to dark gray (R = 40, G = 40, B = 40). Click OK to close the Color Picker. The color can be changed in the Color Picker by typing the values into the RGB boxes after opening the picker by using any of the methods described earlier.

20. Add a color stop to the gradient by clicking below the gradient preview bar. Set the position of the stop to 25 percent by typing 25 in the Location field.

21. Double-click the stop and change its color to R = 25, G = 30, B = 90. This is a deep blue that will be used to keep a bluish tone in the water and in the darkest parts of the clouds. Click OK to close the Color Picker.

22. Add a color stop to the gradient by clicking below the gradient preview bar. Set the position of the stop to 40 percent by typing 40 in the Location field.

23. Double-click the stop and change its color to R = 145, G = 115, B = 120. This is a muted red that helps serve as a transition between blue and orange. Click OK to close the Color Picker.

24. Add a color stop to the gradient by clicking below the gradient preview bar. Set the position of the stop to 60 percent by typing 60 in the Location field.

25. Double-click the stop and change its color to R = 255, G = 90, B = 0. This color begins the more dramatic color highlighting by saturating the brighter portions of the image in orange. Click OK to close the Color Picker.

26. Add a color stop to the gradient by clicking below the gradient preview bar. Set the position of the stop to 85 percent by typing 85 in the Location field.

27. Double-click the stop and change its color to R = 250, G = 250, B = 20. Yellow will be used to add some spark to the somewhat drab highlights in the original. Click OK to close the Color Picker.

28. Double-click on the 100% (white) stop and change its color to R = 245, G = 245, B = 200. This is not quite white, and can stop the sun from looking too burned in and bright in the image. Click OK to close the Color Picker to activate it. At this point the Gradient Editor should look something like Figure 2.12.

Figure 2.12 Positioning of the stops should look like this after you have completed step 28.

29. Click OK on the Gradient Editor to accept the changes to the gradient.

30. Click OK on the Gradient Map dialog box to close it and accept the changes for the new layer.

31. Adjust the opacity for the Gradient Map 2 layer on the Layers palette to make the effect pleasing on-screen.

The result of the changes made in steps 12 through 31 can be seen in the color section. Your result should show a golden-orange sunrise, with quite a bit more color than the original. The changes you made here reflect the idea of making changes in separated components of the image: The first gradient map changes tone, affecting the luminosity of the image; the second gradient map targets the color. Although you haven't specifically made a luminosity and color separation, the function of the correction is the same as if you had.

One of the great advantages of using layered corrections is not only the ability to separate the components of the image that you are adjusting, but the ability to adjust after the fact. Setting color markers is obviously the most involved step in the process—and easily the most arbitrary. It will be useful to go back and experiment by adjusting the color and position of the gradient stops to see the effect each adjustment has on the image. You may want to use additional stops to create changes you may prefer and experiment with Gradient Map opacity. Leave this image open for now; you'll need it for the next procedure.

To add more control, you might want to experiment with separating control of the sky and sea. In the example, you can control the effects in the sky separately from the effects in the sea. A simple masking of image areas can enable you to adjust the colors in each with different gradients to improve the realism of the result. Because the horizon is flat, selecting one image area can be done quickly by using the Polygonal Lasso.

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: December 27, 2004

URL: http://webreference.com/graphics/elements3/2