Amazing Landscapes using Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Photoshop

Amazing Landscapes using Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Photoshop
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Step 25 - Review

Nadaaa! No we are not done yet. But let's review all the steps done until now. We obviousely have a version of the image that looks much more alive, kept most the pro's of an HDR treatement but none of the cons. The last image is a would be hdr treatment of the original.
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Step 26 - HDR Comparison

Here is an HDR version of the original image. HDR treatment actually did nothing for the colors of this image, only tried to bring a unified luminocity to the whole image with a good mid tone contrast. The clouds are far inferior to our treatment, but it provided us with a little more ground detail, thing that we could use in our image, but nothing some Sharpness and Midtone contrast could not achieve for our image as well. Also, the method used by ACR, Curves and Channel Light Masks, brought the original colors of the image to show, only by treating it's exposure dynamics properly.
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Step 27 - Color Enhancing - Hills

It's time to start enhancing the colors of this image. Open a Color Balance Adjustment and set the Midtone and Shadows Greens to +25 and +10 accordingly. Adding Green looks good for this Hill. Select the Color Balance 1 Mask, press ctrl+I (PC) or cmd+I (Mac) to invert the mask, pick the brush tool, select a round brush (size depends on the use, use "]" and "[" to change the size) white color, in a medium opacity (40%) and 0 Hardness and start painting the mountains along with other green details on the ground. Finally apply a Gaussian Filter on the Mask (80 to 100 radius on a 22 mpixel image, less in smaller images) to even the edges out. If this is too Green then set the layer opacity a bit lower, 50% or 75%. I set mine to 56%.
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Step 28 - Color Enhancing - Clouds

Because it was a sunset we will add some Red and Orange to the Clouds to give an even more dramatic look to them. Open a second Color Balance tool, set the Shadows to -12R, -8G, +1B, Midtones to +30R, 0G, -17B, and highlights to +24R, 0G, -61B (!!). Intense values are used to present the effect even better. Since none of the methods used is destructive to the image, everything can be undone simply by erasing the adjustment layer. Similarly to the previous step, select the same brush as before and paint over the clouds in the inverted mask. Finally apply a Gaussian Blur to the Mask.
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Step 29 - Color Enhancing - Ground

Choosing to bring more life to the ground as well, we open a third Color Balance Adjustment and set the values Midotes R+15 G+5 B-17 and Highlights R+12 G0 B-65. We invert the mask and use the same brush to paint over the ground area, appy Gaussian blur and adjust opacity of the Layer.
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Step 30 - Color Review

This image got a significant amount of life in it! It now showcases a great ground and sky combination of colors and warm casts, with the middle area separating them and keeping a good balance between. Actually it is far closer to what I saw in real when I was taking this picture. The sky warm/cold contrast from right to left significantly creates an astonishing picture, a photograph painting. One final step for this image would be some sharpening of the ground details to get a little bit of crispy clarity down there, like in the HDR comparison.

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10 comments on “Amazing Landscapes using Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Photoshop”

  1. I am having the same problem as Josh in step 20. Can this be achieved without shortcuts? Perhaps they have changed with new versions (I am using CS6 on Windows)

    1. The selection must be active when you press the backspace, otherwise the fill button appear. (I've cc 2014 and work great)

    2. ........also you must work on a new\copy layer, and not with the background layer.

  2. On step 20, when I hit the backspace button, I get the fill menu. It does not darken the greyscale. What exactly should the backspace button do in this instance. Is this function somewhere else in PS that backspace is just a shortcut to?

  3. I'v gotten lost on the masking process, i followed your steps meticulously, but achieved a big fail. I need a more dumbed-down instruction for the masking, something is missing here.`

  4. Up until step 21 I was going great, I'm using Photoshop CS5 and every time I try to "select Channel Alpha 2 to create a levels 2" i get "Warning: No pixels are more than 50% selected. The selection edges will not be visible."

    1. I was having this problem too, but I FINALLY figured it out. The key is in Step 20: "With the selection still loaded, select Channel Alpha 2 and press
      Backspace once. Select Channel Alpha 3 and press Backspace twice then
      select Channel Alpha 4 and press Backspace 3 times. When you are done,
      your created Alpha channels should look like this, every next one a
      little bit lighter that the previous one."

      Once I read that and noticed my Alpha channels were getting DARKER with each deletion, I double-checked my foreground and background color. You'll want black as foreground and white as background. Hope this helps!

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