Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

In this article, you will learn how to properly set the settings when using the Light / Shadow command.

In the “Description of tools” section there is a lesson affecting the use of the Shadows / Highlights command. This article will look at the process of choosing the right settings, as well as familiarizing you with some of the nuances of using the Shadows / Highlights command.

It may seem strange to many, but the selection of optimal values ​​for this team does not begin with their gradual increase, but with the installation of extreme values. This process is similar to the application of the HIRALOAM method, which is described in the lesson “Correction at the Lab”. So, consider the entire algorithm in order.

Step 1. Open our photo. Make a copy of the layer by pressing CTRL + J.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Step 2. Go to the menu Image – Correction – Light / Shadows (Image – Adjustment – Shadows / Highlights). Using the material of this lesson, get this type of settings window. I specifically set zero values ​​for all parameters and saved them as default values ​​so that the image is not affected. Now we proceed to the selection of the optimal settings for a particular image. I will not bore you with a presentation of the theoretical foundations of the team’s work, I will describe only the methodology. Those who want to learn more about the process can refer to the relevant literature.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Step 3. Set the parameters for lightening shadows. Set the maximum value of the parameters amount (Amount) and Pitch Width (Tonal Widht). Set the radius closer to the minimum, about 3 pixels.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

This is what our image has become.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Now we select the value of the parameter. Pitch Width. Since we have set the minimum blur radius of the details, we will lighten the entire image evenly in the selected tonal range. Select the desired range of clarification of the shadows, but not excessive, otherwise the color and brightness noise will greatly increase and the image will lose contrast.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

This is how the image looks at this stage.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Next, select the value of the parameter Radius. The larger the radius, the more small details and transitions are excluded from the scope of the team. The smaller it is, the more uniform the brightening, the smaller the contrast, and the weaker the tone transitions. Here be guided by the cut-off pattern of the image. Try to reach a compromise between the appearance of hidden details in the shadows and the weakening of the contrast.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Here is the image after setting the optimal radius value.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Now it remains to adjust the force of the impact of the command with the Number slider.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

We receive the image with the shown details in shadows.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

But I suggest not to stop there, and to darken the light areas a little.

Step 4. Setting the dimming parameters of the lights. We act in the same sequence.
Set parameters to maximum amount and Pitch Width. Radius we put on a minimum.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

The image is approximately of this type.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

We select the optimal value tone range to dim the lights. Here, too, it is important not to overdo it and not darken too much. Act within reasonable limits.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Here is the image after setting the optimal value of the tonal range.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Next, select the value of the parameter Radius. The larger the radius, the more small details and transitions are excluded from the scope of the team. The smaller it is, the darker the uniform, the smaller the contrast and the weaker the tone transitions. Here be guided by the cut-off pattern of the image. Try to reach a compromise between the appearance of hidden details in the highlights and the weakening of the contrast.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Image after setting the optimal radius value.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Now it remains to adjust the impact force in the field of light with a slider amount.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Learning to set up Light / Shadows correctly.

Using the Color Correction and Mid-Tone Contrast settings is not recommended, as they work very roughly. Further correction is better to make other tools, such as Curves (Curves).

Now let’s talk about some of the nuances of using the Light / Shadow command.
Usually, when drawing out parts from the shadows, the color and brightness noise increases significantly. The appearance of color noise can be avoided by using the command as follows:

1. Translate the image into Lab mode. This is done through the menu Image – Mode – Lab (Image – Mode – Lab).

2. Select the channel Brightness (Lightness). This can be done in the Channels palette. But I prefer to use keyboard shortcuts. For CS3, press CTRL + 1, then ~. For CS4, press CTRL + 3, then ~.

3. Apply the Light / Shadow command as described above. Since the Brightness channel does not contain color information, the color noise will not increase.

4. Further color correction and processing can be done at your discretion. To save the image in JPEG format, remember to switch to RGB mode. This is done as well as switching to Lab mode.

I wish you all creative success!
Author: Evgeny Kartashov.

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