James Pater­son

Digital Camera World - - RAW WAR -

This shot has all the in­gre­di­ents for a lovely land­scape, but the tones ini­tially look a lit­tle flat. It’s of­ten the case with raw files, as cam­era mak­ers ex­pect raw shoot­ers to make their own en­hance­ments. So my ap­proach here is sim­ply to en­hance the tones, colours and de­tails.

As with many land­scapes, there’s an im­bal­ance be­tween land and sky. So I’ve pro­cessed the im­age in Cam­era Raw twice – once for the land, once for the sky – us­ing a sim­ple back-and­forth trick be­tween Cam­era Raw and Pho­to­shop that gives us the best of both worlds: the power of raw edit­ing in Adobe Cam­era Raw com­bined with Pho­to­shop’s su­pe­rior se­lect­ing and mask­ing tools.


1. Bal­ance the land and sky

2. En­hance the colours

and de­tails

3. Em­pha­sise the rise and

fall of the hills

1 Boost the land

To be­gin with, I’m not in­ter­ested in the sky, only the land. After open­ing the im­age into Adobe Cam­era Raw, my first port of call is the Pro­file Browser. I’ve se­lected Adobe’s ded­i­cated Land­scape Pro­file, which boosts de­tail and en­hances the blues and greens. I’ve tweaked the white bal­ance set­tings, in­creased De­haze and Con­trast, and added a touch of Vi­brance to boost the weaker colours. Once done, I want to open the im­age into Pho­to­shop. But I don’t just click Open Im­age: in­stead, I hold Shift and the but­ton changes to Open Ob­ject.

2 Blend two treat­ments

Once open in Pho­to­shop I go to the Lay­ers panel, right-click the layer and choose ‘New Smart Ob­ject Via Copy’ then dou­ble-click the new layer’s thumb­nail. This hand­ily sends the Smart Ob­ject layer back into Cam­era Raw. I process it again, but this time to en­hance the sky by dark­en­ing the ex­po­sure, boost­ing con­trast and in­creas­ing De­haze. Click­ing OK brings me back to Pho­to­shop, where I need to com­bine my two ver­sions. This is best done with Se­lect > Se­lect And Mask. I paint over the sky with the Quick Se­lec­tion tool, boost the Ra­dius slightly, then set Out­put to Layer Mask and click OK.

3 Dodge and burn tricks

I like to dodge and burn land­scapes, to draw the eye to cer­tain ar­eas and away from oth­ers. Here’s one of my favourite tricks for this. Go to the Lay­ers panel (Win­dow > Lay­ers), then hold Alt and click the New Layer icon. Set the Blend­ing Mode to Over­lay and tick the Fill With box. The re­sult is an in­vis­i­ble grey layer. You can paint over this with the Brush tool set to white or black, to lighten and darken ar­eas. It’s best to use the Brush tool at a low opac­ity of about 10%. You can see in the grey im­age where I’ve painted to lift the crests and darken the dips in the hills, giv­ing them ex­tra depth.


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