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Preparing the DocumentIn this page, we'll create the two contrast adjustment layers. One will be for the highlights of the image and the other for the shadows.
Step 1Open a photo you would like to edit. Or, you may use the photo used in this tutorial (from iStockPhoto).
Step 2Duplicate the layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer or Ctrl+J) and add a layer mask to the new layer (Layer> Add Layer Mask> Reveal All).
Step 3Make sure the layer mask is activated. The thumbnail of the layer mask in the layers window should have a white border around it. If it doesn't, click on the thumbnail to activate the layer mask.
Step 4With the layer mask selected, open the Apply Image tool (Image> Apply Image). The default settings should be fine so you may simply click OK if the settings are default: Layer: Merged Channel: RGB Invert: Unchecked Blending: Multiply Opacity: 100%
Step 5Duplicate the current layer (Layer> Duplicate Layer or Ctrl+J).
Step 6Activate the layer mask of the top layer. Make sure the layer mask is activated. The thumbnail of the layer mask in the layers window should have a white border around it. If it doesn't, click on the thumbnail to activate the layer mask.
Step 7With the layer mask activated, Invert (Image> Adjustments> Invert or Ctrl+I).
Adjusting the Contrast LayersNow that we have the contrast layers created, the rest is very simple. Simply follow these steps to achieve your desired effect.
Step 8Change the blending mode of the layers to the following:
- For a high contrast effect:Top Layer: Screen Middle Layer: Multiply
- For a low contrast effect:Top Layer: Multiply Middle Layer: Screen