Week 4 – Light and Shade

Improving shadow and highlight detail

Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight

Shadow and highlight adjustment is useful for correcting silhouetted and slightly washed out subject, as well as brightening areas of shade in an otherwise well exposed image. This command does not purely lighten or darken the image, It does so based on the surrounding pixels. In addition to this it also has a Midtone Contrast slider, Black Clip option, and White Clip option for adjusting the overall contrast of the image, and a Color Correction slider for adjusting saturation.

Here is the original image I will be making adjustments to, my main intentions are to try and gain greater detail in the shadowed areas whilst maintaining a fair representation of the fire.

CMD+J – This command opens a duplicate image, which is useful to refer to in order to check your adjustments.

Amount – Controls how much of the image is affected.

Tonal Width – Dictates how much if the tonal range is affected. A low percentage will only affect the darkest of shadows. A higer percentage will affect more mid tones.

Radius – Determines how adjusted areas blend into the rest of the image. A value above 0px is adviseable, otherwise the image will be left looking a little washed out or grey. Values from 3-15px add crispness/harshness to the image which can be attractive. Around 20px+ blends or blurs much more discreetly.

Midtone Contrast – Is effective for increasing or decreasing the midtone contrast.

Colour Correction – This slider solely increases or decreases saturation.

Here is a screenshot after I had experimented with shadows until I gained the results I desired. As you can see I have managed to achieve a little more detail in the shadows without altering the lighter tones in the background.

This is the final image I decided upon after alterations were made using the highlight and shadow command.

Camera RAW

Camera RAW is also a very useful tool for making tonal alterations to images. I will be using the same image again to demonstrate  the benefits of this technique.

When opening a RAW file in photoshop the file will immediately be opened with the Camera RAW utility. The sliders here are generally quite self explanatory and the amount used will be dependant on what you intend to achieve.

Here are the settings I decided upon after some experimentation with Camera RAW. I increased the exposure in conjunction with recovery in order to brighten the foreground whilst recovering the fire in the background. I also experimented with contrast brightness and fill light in order to further enhance the image.

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