Step 4: Darken Image And Increase Color Saturation

At this point, we want to darken the image and increase color saturation. While you are correct in thinking that we can do this with Levels or Curves and Hue/Saturation, we use a technique that gives us more control over the changes we make.

■ As we want to make adjustments to the entire image except the selected areas, choose Select ^ Inverse (Shift+Ctrl+I) to invert the selection.

■ Choose Layer ^ New Adjustment Layer >-Curves to get the New Layer dialog box shown in Figure 9.8. Click in the Mode box to select Multiply and then click OK to get the Curves

dialog box. The image is considerably darker, but closer to what we want.

Setting Mode to Multiply builds density in the image, which results in a much darker image. The mathematics behind the Multiply blend mode is simple. It takes corresponding pixels from each image and multiplies them by each other and then divides the results by 255. Such math always results in every point being darker than either source — in this case, both sources are the same image and they are multiplied together.

■ We have now lost all detail in the tree on the left one-third of the image, so drag you cursor around that area and watch the corresponding point slide up and down the Curves window. You'll notice that we need to lighten and maybe increase contrast in the bottom one-third of the image. Click once on the line to set a point and drag it down toward the bottom. When Input is about 29 and Output is 32, we can once again see detail in the bark. To increase contrast in this area, click the line in the Curves dialog box again and set another point. Drag this point up and to the left or type 64 and 114 in the Input and Output boxes.

■ In making this curve, we have also brightened the blue area more than desired, so set one more point. Click the top part of the line in the Curves dialog box and pull the top down and to the right until Input is 156 and Output is 219. The Curves dialog box now looks like the one shown in Figure 9.9.

We now have the overall richness of color that we want — well, almost. How about if we try to make

the blue mist brighter and more misty? In particular, see if we can make the blue in the left side of the image more pronounced.

■ Click in the Channel box in the Curves dialog box and select Blue (Ctrl+3).

■ Drag your cursor over the lighter blue mist areas as you watch where the corresponding points occur in the line in the Curves dialog box. You'll notice that the points are in the top one-third of the line, so that is where you need to make the adjustments. Click once in the line and drag it up to make the blue brighter. A good setting for this point is 179 and 195 for Input and Output respectively. The Curves dialog box now looks like the one shown in Figure 9.10.

■ To further increase the richness of the colors and to bring out the green colors, click the Channel box in the Curves dialog box and select Green. Set one point at 62 and 82 for Input and Output respectively. The Curves dialog box looks like the one shown in Figure 9.11.

9.10

9.10

As you saved the selection of the leaves and as you used an adjustment layer for the all of the Curves settings, you can go back at any time and make small changes to fine tune the image without suffering from any needless image degradation.

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