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4.3 Filters and Adjustments

The raw forms of the images do not match in visible attributes. There are mismatched colors, lighting, and detail granularity. In order for the scene to appear realistic, these things need to match up. In this lesson we will use various filters and adjustments to get all the layers to play nice with each other.

4.3 Filters and Adjustments

Hello everybody, welcome back to Advanced Photoshop Techniques. We find ourselves now on lesson 4.3 where we begin adding some filters and adjustment layers to our overall scene. So here's where we last left our project last lesson, where we added some selections and masks and we composited things in a little more seamlessly. In this lesson we're going to use things like adjustment layers and filters to help things seem a little bit more cohesive. There's a couple of issues that I want to directly address with these. And those issues all stem from the elements coming from various different photos. We've got different characteristics like focal elements or amount of detail that you can see, or even a general level of color cast. And that's really what I want to address mostly here. We'll start with the city area. Now, fortunately we've created this in a way that makes it really, really flexible and really, really easy to edit because we are using these smart objects. To begin with, the city is looking like it has a little too much warm tones in it. I know ultimately, towards the final stages of the project we're going to add some warmth coming from that sunrise. But to begin with I want this to match the cool bluish look that's present in the rest of the scene. So let's double click on the city smart object and open this up. And in here I'm going to add an adjustment layer of a hue saturation. And I'm gonna click the Colorize box and keep that saturation at about 25 and pull it over into the bluish areas. Now that's an extremely intense effect on that city. So let's change the blending mode of this adjustment layer to Screen and then pull down the opacity of it, maybe down to about 40% or so. That goes a long way towards counteracting those warm hues and adds a cold city blueish tint to it. But I don't like the way it looks down here on this vegetation. So I'm gonna grab my brush, and find that grunge brush setup that we created last time, and use this to very softly remove the effect from the vegetation area. And then I did also add a secondary hue saturation adjustment layer, and this was mostly just to target those green areas. So I used the on screen adjustment tool to target and pull down the saturation of what I perceived as the greens, but Photoshop reads it as yellows. And that's fine I just wanted to pull down on that saturation there a little bit. So then we close and save the smart object and it's updated here in our main project and one of the other things that I'm concerned with is that there seems to be a whole lot more visible detail in the city than there does seem to be in the shell. And we'll work on solving that a little bit more in the next lesson when we start talking about textures, where we can actually add visual detail to certain elements. But let's address it from this side as well by adding a slight blur to the city because it is at a distance. We don't see it up close, and it will help unify these two elements together if they have the same type of visual granularity and blur detail. So with the city selected, we'll just go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. And I'm gonna use just a radius of 1. Because it doesn't need to be very much, just a little bit to help make it match up. And then the primary workflow is just to go through each element and see what you can do with adjustment layers, and any type of filters, like the blur or maybe the sharpen filter, to help unify a lot of these elements together. That can be rather time consuming and somewhat repetitive, so I'm gonna pause the recording here and then show you on the other side the different elements that I addressed and the decisions that I made. So, I've made some adjustments here, and I know they're not readily apparent because I've hidden the adjustment layers and the smart filters are the ones I've made, so I can walk through them. First, let's start with the city object again. Now, I know I added some hue saturation adjustment layers within the object, and I did the Gaussian blur. But here, on this side of it as well, I added another hue saturation adjustment layer where I just pulled down that saturation and hue just a very little bit, and I also added a curves adjustment layer, to help brighten it up. And in the curves, I took both the top right corner, and the bottom left, and moved them a little bit closer to the top left corner, and adjusted that center point also. So it does have a very distant fog, almost washed out appearance to it. Then over on the turtle's head, I added a curves adjustment layer to brighten him up quite a bit. And you can see the curve that I created there and how that really adds a lot more brightness to that element. And also, he was way too sharp, so I added a Gaussian blur to him as well, and that's at 1.5 pixels for the head portion. And then this turtle that's way in the back here, I added a hue/saturation adjustment layer on him just to help brighten it up a little bit. Pulled down the saturation, increased the lightness. And, as expected, another Gaussian blur. I added one pixel for him in the background there cuz he was way too sharp. Ultimately, it's not like there's a right and wrong formula for how to approach this so that you can absolutely know what you're doing is right. There's a lot of artistic feeling to this and it comes with some experience. You just have to be able to read the composition, identify the elements that need work, and then know what to do to them to make them work together into the final piece. It helps knowing how light works as far as creating the sense of distance or depth. Whereas objects that are in the background will appear lighter and they will also appear blurrier, and the colors will be a little bit more washed out. And you can use that to your advantage to create the sense of depth and distance within the image. So next lesson is where things really start to come alive. We go through and we add a bunch of different textures to this scene and things really begin to come together then.

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