This image was taken back in February when I was in LA walking my dog along The Strand. Luckily, I had a foldable diffuser in my bag to block out some of the harsh light.
Kind thoughts and comments are welcome!
Go find out what everyone else did this week for AB Friday Forum here.
Every Friday Stacy showcases after/before photos we’ve submitted. Then, if we choose, we can tell how we did it on our own blogs.
You will need:
- A photo editor, I used GIMP*
- Your imagination
Tutorial – Quick Glance:
*** The order of the layers does matter, keep this in mind as you create the new layers. ***
Image after RAW edits in UFRaw
I made my initial edits in UFRaw (see my UFRaw tutorials here)…
I adjusted the levels, by duplicating the layer , then going to Colors->Levels… then adjusting the black to 5 and the white to 245 (these numbers will vary depending upon your image)…
Giving me this, which is subtle, rename this layer to levels…
Split-Tone base for highlights
I’ve been playing around with split-tones with information that I got from this GIMP tutorial from Pat David. And I also need to give credit to Ben Rowe for his Lightroom tutorial, which showed me various uses for split-toning.
I felt that the flower was a bit yellow, so I decided to add some blue to tone it down a bit. Following Pat’s tutorial, I first had to make the base that would serve as a mask.
Duplicate the layer , then go to Colors->Desaturate… choose Luminosity…
Giving me this, name this layer highlights…Duplicate this layer , rename it to shadows, and set it aside for use in step-4. (Turn the shadows layer’s visibility off).
With the highlights layer selected… go to Colors->Levels… and set the Black to 128 (this removes the mid-tones from our base mask)…
Giving me this (note how only the highlights are white now, which is what we want for our base mask)… Set this layer aside, we will use it again in step 5. (Turn the highlights layer’s visibility off).
Split-Tone base for shadows
With the shadows layer selected, go to Colors->Invert, which gives us this…
Again, go to Colors->Levels and set the blacks to 128 (on the shadows layer)…Giving us this (note how only the shadows are white)… Set this layer aside, we will use it again in step 6. (Turn this layer’s visibility off).
Colorize, then mask with split-tone for highlights
*** Since I thought the yellow of the flower was a bit too much, I needed to figure out what color blue would be it’s opposite. So I created a new transparency layer , then I took the color picker tool and picked one of the yellows in the flower, then I filled the transparent layer with that yellow (Edit->Fill with FG Color). To get the blue, we invert the yellow (Colors->Invert), and then using the color picker tool pick the blue. Looking at the color block we get the Hue…
which we will use in the Colorize layer. Once you have the blue’s hue value you can delete the blue layer.***
Duplicate the levels layer (from step 2) and rename it blue highlights. Then go to Colors->Colorize. Set the Hue value…Giving you this (don’t worry, this is an intermediate step)…Remember that highlights base mask you made in step 3? Well we’ll need that now.
With the blue highlights layer selected, add a white mask (Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask)…Then click on the highlights layer and go to Edit->Copy. Click on the mask you just created and go to Edit->Paste… there will be a floating layer created . Right click on that floating layer and select Anchor Layer. Your mask should now look like a thumbnail of the highlights layer .
And now your image will have duller yellows…It’s a little too much so I reduced my opacity to 40% (much better)…6.
Colorize, then mask with split-tone for shadows
Next I wanted to put more oomph into the green leaves. So repeating the steps to pick the hue value, I used the color picker on one of the leaves and found the green hue value. For mine it is 104.
Duplicate the levels layer (from step 2) and rename it green shadows. Then go to Colors->Colorize. Set the Hue value…Giving us the intermediate layer…
Remember that shadows base mask you made in step 4? Well we’ll need that now.
With the green shadows layer selected, add a white mask (Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask)…Then click on the highlights layer and go to Edit->Copy. Click on the mask you just created and go to Edit->Paste… there will be a floating layer created . Right click on that floating layer and select Anchor Layer. Your mask should now look like a thumbnail of the shadows layer .
And now your image will have more intense greens…Again, it’s too intense, so I reduced my opacity to 34%…
New from Visible
With only the levels layer, and the two colorized layers visible and the top colorized layer selected (the new layer will go on top of the selected layer)…
go to Layer->New from Visible, which will give you a new layer that is a combination of all the visible layers…
Duplicate the visible layer (from step 7) and then go to Colors->Brightness-Contrast…I set the contrast to 5, a subtle change…9.
Gaussian blur with mask
I wanted the flower to standout from the background so I decided to create a depth of field effect with Gaussian blur.
Vignette with radial gradient
And there you have it, the After photo! 😀
I tried something new with this tutorial, in steps 9 & 10 I referred you to my new series, Building Blocks. These topics were long enough that adding them to this tutorial was quickly getting out of hand. Please let me know if this is a viable solution. Thanks. 😀
If you try out this tutorial (or a part of it), I’d love to hear about it!
Until next time…
* GIMP is Open Source software that is available for all platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), it is a photo editor that does many (if not all) of the things you can do in Photoshop. You can download it for free here. The GIMP online manual can be found here.
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