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Thread: Using Layers, masks and multiple exposures to avoid blown highlights

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    Using Layers, masks and multiple exposures to avoid blown highlights

    One of the most heartbreaking things is to discover that the shot you thought you had nailed was spoiled overexposed elements such as in this image:


    However, with a bit of forward planning you can ensure you come home with something worthy of your talent.


    The solution involves a little forward planning by taking two differently exposed shots as shown below.

    IMAGE1: exposed for the subject


    IMAGE2: exposed for the highlights



    Now, let's get to work.
    I use Paintshop Pro. Adobe users, you will have similar features, just slightly different.


    STEP 1. Starting with IMAGE2, paste in a copy of IMAGE1 as a new layer


    STEP 2. Right-click IMAGE1 and select 'New mask layer'.


    What you'll end up with is something like this:


    STEP 3: Click on the mask layer to select it.
    Now, everywhere we paint black on the mask, effectivley cuts a hole in IMAGE1, allowing the darker IMAGE2 to show through.

    Choose the paint brush and paint the top of that first big rock.


    Looking at the layers on the right, you should see where we've painted onto the mask.


    Now, continue to paint all those overexposed areas. You may need to change your brush size to get into smaller spaces. Also, try painting different shades of grey onto the mask to create semi-transparent sections.

    After a bit of painting and a bit of fiddling, you should end up with something that looks pretty good.


    STEP 4: Merge the layers down to a single layer.


    Viola! This is your final image.



    I hope that hasn't totally confused everyone. At any rate, there are plenty of other turorials out there if you want to learn more. This tutorial just scratches the surface of what you can do with layers and masks and the more you play with them, the more control you'll have over your images.
    Last edited by Darvidanoar; 09-02-2009 at 11:22pm.

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    Great tutorial David, thanks for taking the time to prepare and post it all.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Very well put together and easily followed tutorial David , I have never looked into the Corel products but that one appears to have an excellent feature set.
    Andrew
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    Well done David excellent presentation and easily followed
    Cheers David.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbax View Post
    Well done David excellent presentation and easily followed
    I agree, and whats more, a much better result than HDR (in my opinion). Thanks for putting in the time to prepare this David.

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    Awesome Tutorial! Thanks for posting this! I usually use HDR when this happens, but this seems like a far better way to do it
    Cheers, Brad




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    Thanks David, that sounds very cool mate.
    Michael.

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    thanks you. I have to learn this as well as a lot more things.

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    Great tutorial indeed. I'll use this for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mercho View Post
    Awesome Tutorial! Thanks for posting this! I usually use HDR when this happens, but this seems like a far better way to do it
    Yeah, I know HDR is supposed to be good for high contrast scenes, but I haven't had much luck with them. I generally get more natural results using this method.

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    Thanks for that David. Just wondering if I can do the same thing with Corel PhotoPaint X4? I have a pretty limited knowledge of the program but seems to be a bit different than the Paint Shop Pro.

    Cheers
    Leigh
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEITZY View Post
    Thanks for that David. Just wondering if I can do the same thing with Corel PhotoPaint X4? I have a pretty limited knowledge of the program but seems to be a bit different than the Paint Shop Pro.

    Cheers
    Leigh
    hmmm, just had a look on the Corel web site and don't see any product called Photopaint X4. As far as I'm aware, PSP PhotoX2 is Corel's only serious competitor with Adobe Photoshop.

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    Awesome tut. I'll head out and take some shots to test with this on my next day off!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darvidanoar View Post
    hmmm, just had a look on the Corel web site and don't see any product called Photopaint X4. As far as I'm aware, PSP PhotoX2 is Corel's only serious competitor with Adobe Photoshop.
    Corel PhotoPaint is part of the CorelDraw Graphics Suite, from which the current version is X4. Now, it has been quite a while since I checked the Graphics Suite, but if I remember correctly PhotoPaint is not comparable to PSP and/or PhotoShop at all when it comes to processing photo's. It is very, very limited for the purpose of photo editing.

    @TEITZY: you're much better of using PaintShop Pro than Corel PhotoPaint. No, PSP is not up to par with PhotoShop, but than again the pricetag is a lot smaller too.
    Ciao, Joost

    All feedback is highly appreciated!

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    Thanks jev. I will try and have play with it when I get a chance but it is certainly different to PSP going off David's tutorial. I use CorelDraw for doing ads and brochures for work but probably don't even use 1% of its features. I just use PhotoPaint for cloning and frames which it does pretty well.

    Cheers
    Leigh

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    Thanks David,
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    Thanks David. HDR, to me, look un-natural and so I haven't tried it out. But this method look great and I will sure try it out. Thanks for a great, and easy to understand for us dummies, tutorial.
    Carmen

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    an awesome tutorial, as you know i struggle with these shots, thank you
    I've done so many things I'm not proud of...and the things I am proud of are disgusting. ~Moe, The Simpsons

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    I have photoshop ....so will try it out for myself the tools are indeed similiar...

    thank you David great tutorial ...I must admit to having limited use of the mask tool.

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    Thanks for the kind comments, folks. I use layers a lot and I don't think I make any secret of it when talking about my techniques at the meets.

    Any time I want to apply an effect to part of an image, say the sky or a foreground element, I'll use layers and masks rather than the selection tool as I find I can get the most natural looking end result. Once you get the hang of it, you start to see all sorts of possibilities.

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