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layers help!?
I have been taking photos on my GX100 for a couple of weeks now and the camera is really growing on me and teaching me a few things about taking photos. The problem I am having at the moment is with the post production. What I am trying to do mainly is produce nice looking B&W photos. I am getting some okay results but the photos need another level and that's where I'm struggling. Let's take a pebbly beach scene as an example. The beach looks nice quite brightly lit but the sky could benefit from darkening.

Trouble is I cannot get to grips with the method. I have tried with Gimp and a trial edition of Elements 6. I am hopeless with written instructions and with both Gimp and Elements I am having to read the instructions, then reduce the instructions on the computer as I try to do the changes as well. I have a book devoted soley to digital B&W but it is too advanced for me and uses CS3 in all it's examples. Is 'layering' the way to achieve what I'm looking for and short of buying an Elements 6 guide book where can I find help?.

TALLY..

Comments (5)

Http://www.photoshopelementsuser.com/learningcenter/#elements3.

Here's a nifty little video for Elements 6 to create B&W images. Also some other cool videos with tips and tricks for other post processing adventures..

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Comment #1

Thanks Mike. I can convert colour to B&W in a number of ways including the way shown in the video. The trouble is that the changes shown affect the whole photo. For instance reducing red to darken the sky also darkens other areas in the photo. These could be areas where you don't want any more darkening. I need to be able to effect isolated areas in the photo, that's where I thought layering would be helpful..

TALLY..

Comment #2

I can't give you blow-by-blow instructions as I only have CS3, but the basic idea is to do one of these:.

- Make a duplicate layer so you have the whole image twice; on the new layer, select everything except the sky that you want to edit and delete the selection; make your changes on this layer, and the layer below remains unaffected..

- OR, add an adjustment layer, and mask off the parts you don't want to alter with a layer mask. This is a more sophisticated approach which I strongly recommend you to learn..

There are other methods such as making a duplicate layer, carrying out the adjustments on the new layer, then erasing* the parts you don't want. This sounds a lot like the first method but doing the editing first and the selection last suits some processes better (selective sharpening is one)..

(* Does the latest Elements support Layer Masks like full Photoshop? Masking the parts you don't want is often better.).

You can also combine the above techniques in various ways..

There is a lot to learn if you are going to use Photoshop really well, but the investment will be repaid many times over...

Comment #3

... and draw a rough line around the chunk of picture you want to change (e.g. a sky which is too bright). Doesn't have to be accurate, just a crude outline..

Then under 'select' menu, choose 'feather', and enter a number like 200 pixels. This will fade in the correction around the edges of your selection and make it gradual..

Then make the correction you want on your selected area: darken highlights, lighten shadows, change the colour, whatever. It will apply the change only to your selected area, fading it in gradually ('feathering') around the edges so it looks unobtrusive. Simple and effective..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #4

The replies you got are good, but there may be a simpler way?.

First, it would be really good if you could provide a link to your original pic..

Second, the best place to get PS advice and assistance is the Retouching Forum..

Now, with PSE6, try using the Shadows/Highlights tool...it's on the Enhance tab then click on Adjust Lighting. Try setting everything to zero, then move the "Darken Highlights" slider to the right..

If that is not what you want, then you'll have to select the sky and/or use a second layer..

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Comment #5

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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