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Lay-Out Artist Contest become a Studio CT! 4-weeks of freebies & layout fun. 4-weeks of contest & prizes. Plus 1 Grand Prize winner of a Silhouette Portrait. Details inside!

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  #1  
Old 04-14-2013, 01:05 PM
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Default Brighten & Pop Tutorial

I love this picture of my daughter. I think it captures her fun spirit beautifully. However, I don't care for how dark it is. Because this is a Summer photo, I want it to reflect the brightness of Summer and change the overall mood of the photo to reflect her happiness. This is a really quick & easy way to brighten up your photos, without losing contrast, that I stumbled upon while playing and I now use it all the time!


First, you want to open your photo in your program. I generally crop my photos to cut out any extra background or people that are not the main focus of my photo. Next, you want to make a duplicate of your photo. To do this, right-click your photo layer and choose "Duplicate Layer" from the drop-down box. Another box will pop up, it will give you the option of naming your duplicate layer. I, personally, just skip this step and hit OK when the box comes up. This will put an exact duplicate above your original photo layer.



While on your duplicate layer, go up to Blend Modes & choose "Screen" from the drop down menu.


You can instantly see the photo become brighter without washing out the details. Here are the Before & After so you can see the difference! For this particular photo, I do not need to make anymore adjustments to the Screen Mode. Head to the next part of the tutorial if the Screen Mode has brightened too much, there is a quick fix for that
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Last edited by kimberkatt; 04-14-2013 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 04-14-2013, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: LOA Tutorial

So, we've learned how to use the Screen Blend Mode to brighten up our pictures. What do we do if this method results in too much brightness? for this example, I'm using a photo of my dog, Soka, which was taken the same day as the one of my daughter. As you can see, it's the same dark, dreary type of photo. We were under the shade of the tree, what can I say?



So, I want to brighten this up. I duplicate my layer & change
the blend mode to Screen, just like the last photo.



EEK! The highlights (white areas) are way too overexposed now! It has taken a lot of contrast away from the highlights and washed out her face too much. Some do love this washed out look, but for this photo, it wasn't the effect I was looking for. So I need to make a small adjustment. Go up to "Opacity" and turn it down until you like what you see.



Here, I only turned the opacity down slightly, but it made a big improvement in bringing back some contrast in her facial markings.


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Old 04-14-2013, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: LOA Tutorial

Okay, we've brightened up our photos! Yay! Now I want to add a bit more "pop" to them. This is something I use on all of my photos, I very rarely use photos straight from the camera. And I'm all about quick and easy If you haven't already done so, merge your two photo layers into a single layer. Simplest way to achieve this is to hold ctrl while clicking on both layers to highlight them, then holding ctrl+E to merge them together. Here are the photo's again for reference:



While on your photo layer, go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.
NOTE: If using PSE, go to Enhance > Unsharp Mask (it's at the bottom of the drop down menu )



A new box will pop up for you to make your adjustments. Change the "Amount" to 30 and the "Radius" to 60. Leave "Threshold" at zero.



Hit OK and there you have it! While it is not a dramatic change, you can clearly see how the Unsharp Mask Filter has enhanced the colors and contrast of the photo.




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Last edited by kimberkatt; 04-15-2013 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: Brighten & Pop Tutorial

3 simple steps makes all the difference! It took me longer to write the tutorial than it did to apply these steps! lol I hope you enjoy and can use it!!
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Brighten & Pop Tutorial

Kim, what program are you using? I don't have "SHARPEN" in my filters.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:56 AM
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Default Re: Brighten & Pop Tutorial

ohhhh, sorry about that Nancy! In PSE it's under Enhance > Unsharp Mask - I'll go fix that in the instructions! Thanks for letting me know!
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:05 AM
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Default Re: Brighten & Pop Tutorial

Just did a whole lesson on sharpening photos including the Unsharp Tool on PSE. LOVE it!!!!!! Have had PSE for over 3 years and never knew that was there! DUHHHHHH!!!!! Love playing with the blending modes, too. Thanks for the great tutorial!! Off to read some more.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:10 AM
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Default Re: Brighten & Pop Tutorial

woohooo! Isn't is awesome to learn new things about your program? It's like getting a new toy all over again!! So glad this worked for you Nancy!
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: Brighten & Pop Tutorial

I've been using the screen filter to lighten my photos for a while now and have salvaged quite a few photos, but did not know about the unsharp mask. Thanks so much.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: Brighten & Pop Tutorial

Got a ton of pics from vacation and needed to lighten some. Thanks for this tutorial!
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: Brighten & Pop Tutorial

wow great tutorial! I have been playing with levels, but this seems easier!
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