Monday, August 20, 2012

Landscape Layers

Today on the Scottish Photography Community Facebook page there was some chat about how to fix an image where the sky was too dark after a grad had been overly used on the sky. There are several ways to do this and one of the topics that came up was layers and layer masks. Someone wanted to know how to do this so here goes (bare in mind this was a rush job that I only spent 10 mins on!)

This is the original shot out of camera. It was taken last month in the Glen Coe valley looking west towards Glen Coe Village. As you can see the sky is a bit too bright and the foreground is a bit dark. Although the previous paragraph was about a sky that was too dark, the principles here can be applied to that also.

So what I've done here is open up the RAW file and ignored the sky and processed it just paying attention to the grass and the rocks. You can see that lightening them has really screwed up the sky and there is blown highlights all over the place. Not to worry, as I'm not interested in the sky in this shot. The file was then saved like this.

Next, I opened the original shot again and processed it specifically to get a sky that I was happy with. This is the result and the image again saved as a new file.

This is the final image and it was crated using a "layer mask" in Photoshop. Basically you open the "sky" image and the "foreground" image then copy and paste one on top of the other. Then you create a layer mask on the top image. To do this make sure the top image is the one highlighted on the panel on the right and goto Layer --> Layer Mask --> Reveal All. You will see that a white panel has appeared next to the photo in the panel on the bottom right. Select a black paintbrush and start to paint over the parts of the picture that you want to "rub out".

Unlike an eraser, the picture is still there and if you make a mistake you can paint it back in by using a white paint brush. As they say "white reveals, black conceals". It takes a bit of time to get decent at this and also figuring out which layers need to be on top etc. Just play about with it and soon you will see that you can have all kinds of layers and layer masks in a single picture which really makes for some interesting results. Good luck. Z

1 comment:

  1. That is NOT as easy as you make it look/sound!

    Been trying and failing miserably for about 3 hours on different shots!