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Archive 2013 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)

  
 
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)



I have been asked to demonstrate how to darken selected parts of an image using Photoshop. There are various ways in which to do this. One is to select a brush, set the brush to Linear Burn, set the Flow and Opacity of the brush and have at it. That works fine but is limited in many ways, the next better way to do the same thing is to use a new layer set to Linear Burn. Iíll explain later why this is a better way to do the same thing. Iíll also demonstrate how to create an action that creates the new burn layer so that we can re-use this technique very quickly and easily. For those that donít know what a Photoshop action is they are a simple program that you create within PS in order to save yourself lots of clicking around.
I am creating this tutorial on a computer running Windows, all keyboard shortcuts I may mention are Windows oriented, similar shortcuts exist in the Mac world they are just subtly different. Such as in Windows CTRL-J would be Option-J on a Mac machine.
I am not suggesting this is the best way to accomplish what we are doing here, I am using this as a demonstration of certain techniques.
Iím sure I may have missed a step or something along the way, I apologize if I have. I also assume the reader has a smidgeon of PS knowledge but still I have tried to include all the steps necessary.
Letís get started

1 Open an image in PS.







Edited on Jan 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM · View previous versions



Jan 26, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


2 If you donít already have the Actions window/palette open go to the top of PS, select Window-Actions







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


3 This is a shot of my Actions palette. It may be worth looking at, it is divided into sections, in this case the top section are the default PS actions, the next section is ImagePop, the actions I use (that Dave Cornish developed) to process most of my shots, under that are My Actions, actions I have created and under that is Chadís Hot Cool Action. Take a closer look on the right side of this palette, you will notice keyboard shortcuts. Such as under My Actions the Linear Burn action has the shortcut of F3. That means if I press the F3 key the action will run. That is very powerful. One keystroke can accomplish what would take many clicks, perhaps hundreds, if we didnít have the action programmed. The action I will program here will be far simpler but the only difference between this action and a more complicated one are how many steps I program into it.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


4 So now letís create the action. On the bottom of the Action palette select the Create New Action button (highlighted below)







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


5 A dialogue box will open, name your action something descriptive, in this case I have named it Linear Burn 2 (since I already have a Linear Burn action). I then selected My Actions for the set within this action will appear in the Actions palette. I also chose a keyboard shortcut of Shift-F2.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


6 From here on we are programming the action. Anything I click on or do will be recorded/programmed into the action.

We want to darken certain parts of the image using a new layer so I pressed CTRL-J to create a new layer that is a copy of the existing layer. Look on the right side of the image at the Layers Palette, it shows the new layer named Layer 1. A side note, if you donít see the Layers Pallete go to Window-Layers and the palette will appear.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


7 With Layer 1 selected(highlighted) go to the dropdown menu, it is defaulted to ďNormalĒ, click on that and the dropdown appears, select Linear Burn.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


8 The image now shows a 100% Linear Burn applied to the whole image.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


9 We now want to hide the Linear Burn using a layer mask. Go to the Layers menu and select Layer Mask- Hide All. Now the image looks like when we opened it. We ďmaskedĒ the Linear Burn. In other words we hid the Linear Burn beneath a mask. This is an important concept. This applies to all sorts of layer types and is an extremely common technique within PS. What we will do next is use a brush to erase bits of the mask to reveal darkened (Linear Burned) areas.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


10 The image fully masked.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


11 Press B to select a brush, once you have done that right click on the image and one of the brush dialogue will open. Go to the top of the brush types and select a soft brush as indicated in this image. That will reveal a round curser, that is your brush. You can increase the diameter of the brush by pressing the ď]Ē key, make it smaller by pressing ď[ď.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


11b We are now done recording the action. Go to the action palette and click on the Stop playing/recording button as shown below. This will stop our recording/programming. From this point on we can accomplish steps 6-10 above by pressing the keyboard shortcut we have assigned this action, in this case Shift-F2.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


12 Now we are going to use the brush we have selected. Look at the top of PS, under the menu is the Brush settings menu. Notice that the Opacity is set to 100% and the Flow is set to 100%. Think of Flow as water coming out of a hose. 100% is like having your hose full open. In this case I set it to 25%, think of your hose turned down to 25%. You can still get things just as wet as 100%,it just takes longer but gives you more control. In the image below I have used the brush to paint (remove the mask) the right side of the image. You may be thinking it looks way too dark. It may, weíll now fix that.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


13 Looking at the previous image is too dark on the right so letís address that. Go over to the Layers menu, select the Opacity slider, it is defaulted to 100%, I have slid that down to 50% and the background is now looking more like something we may want. You may want it a bit darker so select 70% or so. This is important to grasp. We now have FULL CONTROL of the burn we did. We can adjust up or down. It is worth noting here how the Linear Burn has ruined the whites on the Owls wing, they look tanned. What to do? Here is where a Linear Burn action can offer you a LOT of flexibility.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


14 Highlight the Background Layer in the layer palette. Now run the action again, press Shift-F2 or highlight the action in the Action palette as shown. Now paint just the bird with the brush and back off the opacity to 20% or some other lower value. You now have full control of darkening the bird completely separate from the background. You can open as many layers as you would like using this method and control different parts of the image on each layer. Since we created an action to open the layer, select Linear Burn, apply a mask, open a brush, all we need to do is press a shortcut to open each layer, a real time saver.







Jan 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


Once done making adjustments we can save as is saving the layers by saving as a PSD file or we can collapse the layers by going to Layer-Flatten and then save as a jpg.
You can use this technique for all sorts of layers, the main types being Linear Burn, Linear Dodge and Screen but of course not limited to these types. Play around with the different layer types and creating different actions. Once you become accustomed to these techniques they become second nature. Feel free to PM for help or too add to this post.

Tim



Jan 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM
harshaj1
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


Thank you so much Tim for taking the trouble/effort to post this. Sharing/teaching like this is what make this forum so great.
Awesome work.
Harsha



Jan 26, 2013 at 12:23 PM
eyelaser
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


This is brilliant! But I thought you were supposed to get it perfect in the camera
You do explain it rather simply and elegantly.
Eric



Jan 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM
harshaj1
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


eyelaser wrote:
This is brilliant! But I thought you were supposed to get it perfect in the camera
You do explain it rather simply and elegantly.
Eric

Tim does it in the camera. The tutorial is for rest of us.
Harsha



Jan 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Creating actions/darkening images selectively (large post)


harshaj1 wrote:
Tim does it in the camera. The tutorial is for rest of us.
Harsha


Harsha you are my hero! Take that Eric!

Tim



Jan 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM
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