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FREELessons: 18Length: 1.3 hours

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4.4 Color Photo Evaluation

Hello everybody, welcome back to Basic Design Concepts for Photographers. This is Lesson 4.4, where we review the photographs for the color assignment. The first photo of the assignment was to create a shot that relies predominantly on cool tones. Here's the shot that I'm submitting for that idea. Now clearly this is a sunset shot that does have some complimentary colors working in here, but the primary tone of this photograph is mostly cool tones. I just wanna show you a few tricks that I like to use to help make a shot like this really look a lot better. First of all, these elements down here in the water really don't need to be there. So, I'm gonna go with the patch tool, create a quick selection around them and just drag them to the side, so Photoshop samples a new area of pixels to remove those. That leaves a selection there, which we then cancel with select, Deselect, which is also control or command D. Now, we can add our regular curves adjustment layer to make sure that we get some decent contrast in there. But I want to show you another trick that I feel works really well for a shot like this. I'm going to start with a new layer here, and this is going to be for my neutral densities. Because if we go to the gradient tool and open up the gradient editor, under the presets you can open up this little flower looking icon here and load the neutral density gradients. Append those to your gradient library, and you'll see them toward the bottom. It might be easier to change this view to large list. Then you can see what their names actually are. I'm gonna go with the neutral density heavy two. Make sure it's on a linear gradient. And add one at the top, where I start at the top and hold down the Shift key to keep things straight. And add one at the bottom as well, also holding down the Shift key to keep it straight. And then I want to change the blending mode to overlay. Look at the difference that makes. It's a little bit too strong, so I'll pull back on that opacity just a little bit. So that helps accentuate the cool tones while still giving a little bit of punch to those warm sunset colors too. The second photo in the list is to create a shot relying primarily on warm tones. Here's the shot that I'm submitting for that idea. I really like the way this photo works. I don't traditionally put the subject of my photos in the dead center. But I really loved the way this one leaf was framed, so I made sure my focal point was directly on that, a nice wide aperture, so I get some good depth of field in here and it had these beautiful fall colors behind that leaf. But let's see if we can make this even stronger still. First of all, let's change this background to a smart object by right clicking on it, saying convert to smart object. Then I'm going to go back to the filter menu, and select the lens correction. And in here, go over to the custom tab and just add some vignette by pulling this vignette amount to darken. So it's gonna shade in those outside corners. Then from there, we'll add our traditional curves adjustment layer to give it a little bit of punch in the contrast. Adding that S-shape. Then let's enhance the warm feel of this photo with another adjustment layer. But this time, let's use the photo filter. Now, photo filters come in a lot of different presets. I'm gonna go with the warming filter LBA for this one. And you can adjust the density as you want. I'm gonna put mine right at about 30%. So we still get some nice warmness in here, but we retain some of those blues to keep some contrast also. The next photo on the list was for complementary or contrasting colors. Here's the shot that I'm presenting for that. I really, really like the way this red sign plays off the blue of the sky. And overall, I love the design of this sign, and I think these colors work really well in contrasting with each other. We don't traditionally put these type of colors next to each other because they can tend to clash sometimes, but in this case I think it actually works really well. It's very eye catching. Both of these colors came out really rich. And the saturation is at the point where they don't actually good bad against each other. They work together. But of course, there's some room for improvement. First of all, let's crop this so that we don't see that side of that building, and let's straighten it up a little bit too. It looks a little bit uneven. Pull it in a little bit so that side of the building is not there. The other side too. Any little slivers we get there we can take care of, again, with the patch tool. Just to make sure there's nothing there. Here's another great tip. Using our curves adjustment layer again you don't always have to dial in this S shape that you want. Sometimes it's helpful just to hit that auto button. And in some images that auto button can do a remarkably good job. I think this is one example of that. I also wanted to quickly mention that the same image I used for the cool towns can be used to show some great contrast and color too. If you create a selection of these balloons using the quick selection tool, and use that selection to generate a huge saturation adjustment layer, you can adjust the saturation to the tones within the balloons also have a complementary feel with that background sky. The last shot in the assignment was to create a shot where the lack of color Is actually a benefit to the photo, and I'm going to submit this one for that idea. Traditionally, I find elements of architecture or even close ups of metallic images work best for black and white shots. I really think this is a good candidate for that mostly because there's not a lot of color here to work with anyway. It's already kind of drab and dull, and the exposure on the sky isn't really great. I don't really care much for that. And so this is a somewhat just blah photo that I think could be made much better by using black and white on it. So, first of all, let's add our curves adjustment layer. We can try the auto on this. But I think I like my regular s curve better, just to make sure I've got some good contrast in there. Now, Photoshop's got a great method for creating black and white photos using the black and white adjustment layer. And what's great about this is you've got this little onscreen adjustment tool. So you can click directly in the photo and drag left and right, and it captures that tone and makes it darker or lighter as far as its grayscale values. So you can really dial in very specifically which elements you want darker and which elements you want brighter. And it's a great way to have a lot of control over exactly where your gray tones are and how much contrast you can have in a black and white image. I also find that adding a layer of sharpening on top of the photo works really well in black and white too. One of my favorite ways of doing that is with something called the high pass filter. First I create a merge layer at the top by holding on the ALT or the option key are going to layer merge visible and on this top layer here this is my merged layer. Go to filter, other, high pass. Now I like to crank this up, to about say 9 pixels or so. Now I know that looks really weird but watch what happens when we turn this to overlay. That gray area disappears, and it just adds some sharpening to that. I know it's hard to see there. Let's zoom in a little bit on some of this detail, and watch as I turn it off. See, a lot of those crisp details just disappeared. This is a nice way to pull out some very small details of an image, and just add a little bit more crispness to it. Overall, I think the black and white works really well on this image, and it's a much stronger photograph than it was originally. So that completes our chapter on color theory in both design and photography. Next chapter is chapter number five, where we talk about this concept of visual weight.

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