How to Use Light and Shadow to Create a Dramatic Photo Effect with Photoshop

How to Use Light and Shadow to Create a Dramatic Photo Effect with Photoshop

Step 5 - Channels

Women's face is still darker because of the Multiply mode and if you look carefully you'll see that upper part of trees is bit darker because of that too. You need to create mask of which sky should be hidden.. To do that you'll use Channels. First make the layer SKY invisible. To do that click on the eye icon left to the Layer thumbnail.
If you don't see this palette go to Window > Channels and it will appear. On the palette you can see four different lines - RGB, Red, Green and Blue. If you let visible only one of the Channels you'll see only values from that Channel. Let's make visible the one where is the biggest contrast between sky and trees. In this case the biggest contrast is on the Blue Channel.
Right click on that Channel and select the option Duplicate Channel... . Make the original Blue Channel invisible. Let's adjust the Blue Channel copy to create good mask from it. Click on that channel and go to Image > Adjustments > Levels or press Ctrl + L on your keyboard. Set the Input Levels on 50; 0,55; 233 and press OK.
Make visible rest of the channels again and the one you've worked on invisible. Also make visible SKY layer on Layers palette. Click on the layer SKY and then go to Select > Load Selection and as Channel choose Blue Copy. Press OK.
Mask based on the Blue copy Channel appears. Go to Select > Inverse or press Ctrl + Shift + I on your keyboard to invert it. Click on the layer mask of the SKY, grab the Brush Tool (B) and pick black color. Now paint over women's face and upper parts of trees. After you're done press Ctrl + D to deselect it. On the following picture you can see how your picture should look like so far.

Step 6 - Adjusting the Sky

Blending of the sky is done, now you need to adjust it a little to better fits to the rest of the picture. You'll do two things - increase the contrast and desaturate it. Let's start with desaturation. Add new adjustment layer Hue/Saturation. You can find the button Add new fill or adjustment layer on the bottom part of Layers palette next to the button Add new layer mask you've used in previous steps.
Using adjustment layers instead of direct adjustments has the same advantage as using layer masks instead of the Eraser Tool (E) I mentioned earlier - everything is reversible for the whole time. You don't need to count on your History, you can change the adjustments whenever you want. As I said add new adjustment layer Hue/Saturation and set the value Saturation on -100.
You want to this adjustment affects only one layer below = SKY and not the rest of the picture. To achieve that right click on the adjustment layer and select the option Create Clipping Mask.
Second thing which should be done is to increase contrast a little. Add new adjustment layer Levels and set the Input Levels on 43; 1,38; 240.
Create clipping mask from this adjustment layer too. On the following picture you can see how your picture should look like.

Step 7 - Adding Face

To add this picture little supernatural look you'll add some faces into the clouds in this step. Click on the BACKGROUND layer and select the Marquee Tool (M). Select women's face with it. Go to Edit > Copy or press Ctrl + C on your keyboard to copy it.

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9 comments on “How to Use Light and Shadow to Create a Dramatic Photo Effect with Photoshop”

  1. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I've read many tutorials about all of the tools you mentioned in this article, but I was never able to really grasp or truly understand the concept behind the tool. You have explained them in a way that really make sense to me!! And that is very much appreciated!

  2. Woow! I am very very impressed about your tutorial. With all your stuffs, i have no doubt am gonna be a pro in photoshop!

  3. What a fantastic tutorial, covering so many aspects of photoshop. I'm now even more excited to learn the program. . Thank you! thank you! thank you!

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