Okay, let’s talk about the relationship between light and distance in a landscape scene. So, you know, before we get started, just, you know, just keep in the back your mind that these are examples that are based on the typical landscape scene, there’s always going to be situations where the rules don’t necessarily apply, or at least apply in the same way. Because you know, things like the variability of the sun and the conditions, the weather, and everything can always, always change things. So, you know, these are the typical rules of how light interacts with the landscape across distances. And we can use this to either enhance or create depth in our landscapes, so stuffs not stuff isn’t standing out and the image just looks completely flat, then you can call upon these rules. To help guide the way you edit an image to make sure you make the most of those, these rules that we’re going to be talking about. So the very first thing that we’re going to take a look at is how light and distance kind of interact with each other. So to do that, we’re going to use this example image. And first of all, we’re going to turn it into a black and white. So I’ll do that with hue saturation layer, and I’ll just desaturate the colors. Now, just one quick, important note is to change the blend mode of this hue saturation layer to color. So just watch what happens. As I hover over and then click on the Color Blend mode, you’ll see that the image just changes a little bit. So that’s telling us that even a completely D saturated adjustment layer still isn’t giving us a purely light based black and white version of the shot. So I’m just going to move over to color now. And now you can see it’s actually changed. So this is with all the colors D saturated. And this D saturation is now only affecting the color, it’s not affecting the brightness at all. So we can see here, you know, there’s a lot of lots of middle gray around here. And you can get a general sense that maybe the front part here is a bit darker, and you can see over in the background, it’s a bit lighter. The sky, obviously full of bright cloud, we won’t really be considering that right now. Because, you know, like I said, the, the conditions are going to change how stuff behaves, and with the sun, basically creating a massive softbox in the sky, you know, this is always going to be the brightest part of the shot. And if the shot was framed, so there’s pointing slightly higher, you’d still see that same really bright sky, no matter if it’s in the distance or close to. So we’re looking at the land here in this example. So how we’re going to actually compare and test the actual values, because you know, we can generally see that, you know, we’ve got darker stuff at the front and then lighter at the back, what we’ll do is create some samples here. So I’m just going to sample or create a selection around like a big chunk of what’s probably the closest part of the scene to the camera. And we’re gonna go to the filter menu, choose Blur, and then average. And that’s going to basically take every pixel within this within this selection, and give us the average pixel, if we were doing this in color, it would give us the average color. But in this case, because it’s black and white, it’s going to give us the average brightness. So let’s do another another selection over here in the middle of foreground slash middle ground, choose the average filter again. And then we’ll do another one a bit further away, filter average, and then over here and then again, right off in the distance on those furthest mountains.
And already you can see that that basically confirms what we suspected, when we just looked at the image. But we have proof now that essentially, the average brightness of the image is getting lighter as you go further into the distance. So that is essentially rule one of atmospheric perspective and creating depth in an image. So the reason this happens is to do with the particles in the air, essentially, the further you’re looking into the distance the more air particles you’re having to look through before you actually see the object in the background, for example, a mountain. And all of those particles are reflecting sunlight. And so therefore, the more particles the more reflection and the brighter it gets. So let’s just see, if we pick the or if we open the Color Picker, then we just sampled each of these colors. Let’s go to the brightness, toggle here. So we can see in the foreground here 26% brightness. In the near middle distance, we have 31% 4156 and 69. And so yeah, like I said, that just confirms the the theory. Now we’ll get on to examples of how you can actually use this in your in your editing later. But hopefully, this already gives you some ideas about how you know, if you want something to appear closer, you can make it darker, if you want something to appear further away, you can make it lighter. And you know, creating that contrast in that way, is one of the things you can do to add to enhance enhanced depth in your in your landscapes. So let’s just undo all of these things that I’ve just done here to come back to the original. And yeah, let’s talk about contrast. Now, because not only does a scene get lighter, as you go off into the distance, it also becomes lower contrast. So the difference in brightness between the shadows, and the highlights in the foreground is going to be more than the difference between the highlights and the shadows in the background. Okay, so using our same rectangular marquee tool, let’s take another rough selection in the foreground here. And this time, we’ll add a Curves Adjustment Layer. And so because we that selection is loaded now into the layer mask is giving us in the curves Properties panel, a view of the histogram, within that selected parts. So, you know, this is all of the brightness values in in the within that square. So if we do the same thing over here, making sure to sample some of the darker and some of the brighter pixels will add, again, we’ll add another curves adjustment layer. So you can see here, just comparing the two histograms, so this is the foreground one, this is the background, the fact that the data within the histogram has shifted to the right in the further the further example that confirms that it’s getting lighter, as you go further into the distance, but also in the foreground, the the actual amount of coverage of the histogram. That is, yeah, that is within this sampled area is a lot wider than here. So notice how this histogram goes from pretty much almost the almost a black point here to up sort of midway into the fourth quadrant here. I compare this, the entire histogram falls within the middle two quadrants there. So that’s like a really narrow histogram, which indicates that that is a lower contrast section compared to this. And you know, also the fact that the darkest dark area is all the way up here above. Like what was that 25% of the of the histogram so so the blackest black in that area that we’ve sampled is all the way up here. The Blackest Black in this foreground is all the way down here. Yeah, as you can see the brightest highlight is almost in the same area. So you know that’s another factor the fact that contrast is reduced into the distance
and brightness is increased that yeah, that’s two factors that can influence how far away things something actually look. So I know that you know for myself when I when I when I was editing images in the past, wanting to increase contrast Yeah, make make the entire scene absolutely pop. You know, increasing the contrast throughout the scene. Just felt like a natural thing to do. However, potentially and in many cases, which I’ll come on to later, in the various videos, I’ll give you some examples. That also, in effect, flatten the image because by increasing the contrast and making the background and the foreground similar in contrast, and brightness and everything, you know, that that essentially squashes the scene. And you know, when you’re trying to create depth, what you want to do is create the separation between foreground, middle and background. So you know, taking into account these factors of contrast and light being different. Further, the further you go from the camera. Now, just before we finish this video, a couple of quick caveats to these rules. And they are that, like I mentioned at the start conditions, and everything can can throw a spanner in the works of these particular rules. But also something like just the color of an object, obviously, if if something in the photo is actually of a dark color, then that’s something you’re going to have to consider as well. And just take into account when working out how dark or light it should be in your scene. And also, typically, vertical objects appear darker than horizontal objects, just because of the fact that, you know the sun is shining down, suddenly, or in most situations, the sun’s shining from above, even if it’s just above the horizon, shining above, shining down onto an object is going to create more shadows on that object and make things appear darker. So like a large tree, for example, is going to have a lot of shadows between all the leaves and the branches. Because the sun can’t reach those areas, it’s going to appear darker, then, you know, like a field of grass, for example. So again, that’s something that can potentially throw a spanner in the works. If you’re following the basic rule that closer objects should be darker, and further objects should be brighter. Yeah, that’s just something to consider as well. So the color of objects and the positioning and how much shadow something is actually in is going to be a factor. But as a general rule, and something that can help you add in create depth. The darker you make something or the darker something is the closer it’s going to appear in the foreground. And as you go off into the distance, things become lighter, you can essentially push things back into the distance by making them lighter and lower contrast you can bring them closer to the camera by making them darker and higher contrast. So that’s an intro to these kind of concepts. And yeah, let’s let’s move on to the next video.
So let’s take a look at how the warmth of colors in an image actually reduces the further you go into the distance. Now, on certain images in certain conditions like this one, for example, you can see already before really doing any testing, that the distant mountains look more blue than what’s in the foreground. And you know, mountain shots are kind of synonymous with this, things look more blue as you go into the distance. So, yeah, let’s just have a quick look and analyze a couple of images just to prove to ourselves that this is the case. And yeah, we’ll look at another couple of interesting factors as well. So what I’m going to do now is take the Rectangular Marquee Tool, and I’m going to sample three or four points in the image, which are roughly containing the same subject but just a different distances. So these trees right here in the foreground is sample a big patch of these trees. And now going to use the average blur filter. And that’s going to essentially blur it to become the average of all those pixels in that area. So that’s creating a solid color, which basically saying it’s the average color for this area. And we’ll just do this at a couple of other locations. So just a little bit further off into the distance down here. Let’s do that same thing, filter. Because it’s the last filter around, I can just click average straight there. And let’s go a bit further into distance here. Do the same thing, filter average. And let’s go right off into the distance over here. Go filter average. Now, you can probably already see the blue inning of this, these these sample areas. So this first patch here right in the foreground, is it’s like a sort of a dark greeny brownie color. getting lighter. We’re actually getting lighter and getting more blue as we go off into the distance. So there’s two things going on here. One is the lightness and one is the color. And like I said, The warmth is what we lose the further we go into the distance. And you know, that’s because as we look off into the distance, the atmosphere is filtering the rays of the sun. And the warmer colors are the first to be filtered out. So you’ve got reds or yellows, but filtered out first. And what you’re left with when you get right into the distance is the blues. So we’ll grab or actually, we can just open the Color Sampler here, the color picker. And I’ll click this first color to sample this patch. And we can see here, let’s take a look. So let’s look at the RGB values. Now. When comparing these, the values are going to change when I sample each color. So we’re looking specifically at the reds, the Reds are going to drop off, but only in relation to the rest of the you know the other colors, the green and the blue. So you’ll see what I mean as I go through. So clicking here, we can see there’s a red value of 48. Click here is actually red value of 56. So it’s actually more red, but in relation to the blue is actually you know that there’s less distance between them. And then as we go further off over here, there’s about the same amount of red and blue. And then as we get right off into the distance, blue takes over and is like a way higher number. Now if I go to the hue slider here, so if I click H, you’ll see the color getting cooler, as we sample these different colors. So here we’re very dark yellow. Now, the you know sort of nudged a little bit upwards. So because the blues are up there with we can say that we’re moving to a cooler yellow. And then here it’s up closer to the blue still in the mid greens. Very, very low saturation of the green.
But still, technically, a yellow that’s having blue put into it. And then as we get right off into the distance that’s right in the middle of the blues. So yeah, essentially you can see See, it’s moving along that scale from warm to call as we go off into the distance. Now, this is typical for like a daytime shot daylight photos. As with everything that we’re talking about in this in this month’s videos, this is what you would say typical. Because all these factors can change depending on time of day. And the conditions like if it’s a colorful sunrise or sunset. However, the fact that the colors are changing as you go off into the distance, that doesn’t change. So we’ve talked about the fact that the color itself is fading out, or fading from warm to cool as you go off into the distance. What you actually find as well is that the saturation, the general overall saturation of images, is stronger near the front of an image than it is near the back. So here, let’s have a look at the saturation slider. We’ll look here at the percentage 42% saturated, here 33% saturated, so that’s less saturation of a very similar color, you can see here, the hue isn’t changing very much. So it’s basically a very similar color, but lower saturation, and a little bit brighter. This one here might be a bit different. So yeah, this is really, really low saturation, because of the fact that it’s changed, like the primary color has changed from being a warm color to a green or a sort of bluey cool color. So yeah, that’s this is this is a bit of a anomaly here. But then, as we go off into the distance, and when once we get into the blues again, you know, let’s, let’s create another couple of areas to sample. So let’s sample Well, actually, we haven’t really got much to work with, let’s create a small one over here. Average that, maybe here, maybe that’s going to be big enough difference. So we’ve got three, I’ll just draw a square around that one, so we can see it again. Let’s grab this Color Sampler again. So let’s compare these blues. So this blue here 32%, saturated 3128. So yeah, that is getting less saturated as we go off into the distance in those blues. And also getting lighter, you’ll notice the brightness here the be 44 on this front, 151 and 55. So that’s basically saying it’s getting lighter and less saturated, the further we go into the distance. So like I said, we’ll come on to how you can actually use these use this information, in practical terms, to actually edit your images. So but at the moment, this is all just good background info. So let’s cancel this. So have another look at a couple of different examples. This one, you can really see how those mountains in the background or the hills in the background. They just look more blue than these trees here. I mean, I’m guessing they’re the same type of trees. But you know, that’s, I mean, I’m not gonna compare this, because this is a different color bush and it’s got sunlight on it. So that looks a lot warmer. But let’s, let’s just sample an area here. Change that color, or check that blow that color. Now let’s do the same thing over here filter average. And you can see the Yeah, we’ve gone from a warm, warm color down here to a cooler color in the background. And yeah, the brightness as well. You can also see it’s gone from 21% to 33% brightness and also saturation. So the saturation, that law of diminishing saturation as you go into the distance there’s actually maintained across the two different colors this time. I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure the technical reasons why it would be this way for this short and not the other one. But yeah, what from what I’ve learned so far, it will usually nearly always work when comparing the same colors that go off into the distance.
But anyway, like I said, maybe these colors are just close enough together. On in there. Whew, that rock actually that might not be canceled that that last statement. Yeah, I don’t think that’s a I think the closeness of the colors really affect it. But anyway. Yeah, that’s just one more example just showing the difference between the blue. That is what gives it that, that distant look and feel. Whatever images we’ve got here got the same thing probably won’t show this, he has no need to go through those same steps. Again, this one here is actually a stock image I downloaded just because it’s got it’s an amazing example. And you can really, really see the saturation just completely disappearing into the distance. So let’s sample a big chunk from down here.
It’s a bit in the middle. It’s almost looks gray already. So those gray and then always don’t need to do this is just pretty much solid colors.
Before I even blur, so let’s grab the Color Sampler. So here we’ve got very, very dark green, almost into the yellows. Now here, we can see it’s getting cooler, Cooler still and Cooler still. And as for the saturation, here, let’s check the saturation. So this is very, very dark. So we’re working with a very low saturation values here actually 23% less saturated, but because it’s lighter, it it might be a trick of the eye. But you might think that actually looks like it’s a bit more colorful because this just looks so dark and almost black. But technically this is less saturated. And then back in the middle ground here 7% saturation and then 5% Right up in the background there. If I was to sample up here, that’s going to be even less well that has gone to the warm it’s gone back to the warms because we’re in the sky now. But anyway, yeah, here’s the cool mountains again. So hue, saturation, brightness. That’s the relationship as you go off into the distance. So you might already be thinking about how you can use this in your editing. But like I said, we will have some practical examples coming up shortly. But for now that wraps this this video up
Alright, in this video, we’re just going to take some of what we’ve learned so far. And tie it back to the original inspiration for me creating this month’s content. And going going as far back to when I created my next level composite landscapes course, the sorts of things that I’ve been learning that inspired me to create that course and to go deeper into, into these ideas for regular landscape photography, not just for composites. And yeah, basically all kind of came from having a look at how artists actually paint landscapes. And you have been looking at a lot of a lot of videos and tutorials on painting. And, obviously, being inspired by a lot of actual artwork from various famous artists, of past and present. And yeah, so basically taking into account everything that we’ve talked about so far, I’m just going to go through a handful of examples of actual, you know, some quite famous landscape painters, and just see how they line up with the things that we’ve talked about so far. And so really, from this point forward, in the videos and in what we’re going to be going into, it’s all about how to take these these concepts and ideas that I’ve been learning about, from a perspective of landscape painting, and taking them and applying them to digital photography and in our editing. So yeah, just got a Google image search for a couple of painters here, Caspar David Friedrich, Thomas Cole and John Constable. Unfortunately, John Constable, I mean, I grew up in and around, well, not in but nearby to the constable country and never really appreciated it. It was a big thing at school, I remember growing up, but I wish I’d paid more attention back then. But we can only do what we can do now with the benefit of hindsight. So anyway, taking a look. Yeah, this this image, here is a great example here from Caspar David Friedrich, where, you know, taking in, too, you know, taking into account those, those lessons about depth, and how things are more saturated and darker towards the front of the scene. And then those elements becoming lighter and lower contrast, as you go off into the distance. And, you know, that’s how painters are able to create that atmospheric perspective and create depth by following those those rules and adding more atmospheric perspective to make something appear further away. So in this case, obviously, the the mountains over here, you can tell that’s the same mountain range, the textures and whatnot, are very similar. But as those mountains go back into the distance, you know, sort of loses a bit of color, loses a bit of warmth, you know, there’s more blue towards the back, which we talked about as well. And then right at the front here, the very foreground. Yeah, we’ve got the most saturated and darkest colors in the in the scene. So yeah, just click on another couple of examples. I mean, this is a very extreme example of your foreground object appearing much darker. But yeah, it’s a great example. Let’s have a look through there was this one here as well, which is, uh, yeah, absolutely. Perfect example of creating that depth, and how, you know, the darkest shadows are definitely this, it’s not quite silhouetted, it’s not really silhouette, it’s just very dark colors. And that tells our brain that this is the closest thing to the well, not the camera, but to the point of view. And then often to the distance, you know, getting very, very faded. And right there in in the very distance, you know, the mountain is basically just a suggestion, really, there’s no detail at all, in that it’s just a slight suggestion of a mountain, very, very similar colors and in contrast to the sky itself. And, yeah, I mean, you can feel free to kind of go through and do similar searches for yourself and compare these kinds of these images. This is another one here, creating great depth and separation by having this tall tree dark in the middle, at the front, obviously the very, you know, the closest item or the closest object to the viewer. Going off into the distance there in you have got the element of
you know, the fact that it’s a cloudy sky that’s been painted here. So you know, you’ve got those breaks in the clouds which are highlighting the grass In the middle, so that’s something else to think about. You know, you can, you can use that, you know those ideas to make things lighter where the sun is shining directly on them. And, of course, clouds are going to allow sun through in some places and block it in others. So in this case, we have an element of that just to create that extra separation because the foreground so dark, then you’ve got the middle distance, which is to the eye kind of looks as if it might be the brightest part. But I suspect, if we actually compared it in Photoshop, the background here is still actually lighter, even though the colors maybe appear darker. But yeah, and then another one here as well. You’ve got the mountains fading as you go into the distance, and then the highlight in the foreground here where the artist is, has wanted us to spend some time looking. By painting that sunlight in, I have a feeling that whatever this image was scanned from, or however the original was captured, isn’t quite the same as yours was one that I saw a while ago, because down here. Yeah, that’s the thing with painting and looking at paintings online, especially old paintings is that the colors might not be rendered quite as accurately as they could be. Because this version of this version of the same shot, you actually see that the colors are slightly different, and it’s fading slightly differently as you go into the distance. Yeah, but anyway, let’s move on Thomas Cole is another another one, which is great set of examples for these ideas of creating depth. I mean, let’s have a look at any of these really, yeah, and they’ll, they’ll pretty much follow those, those rules that we’ve talked about, I won’t spend too much time going through here. But this is a great one here, the foreground just perfectly framing that mountain in the distance, but also to tell us that this is the foreground, this is the darkest, most saturated area of the of the picture. And then to make that distant mountain seem so distant, it’s very low detail. And, you know, it’s just just hints of shapes using the colors. The, you know, have a lot of atmospheric perspective in there. You know, the colors are almost the same as the sky. But yeah, even even like these, I mean, these ones here, you’ve got the sort of the frame with the darker objects in the front to create that depth. And, yeah, likewise, you can carry on looking through all these images, and you’ll find that most of them follow these same ideas. And then finally, just on to John Constable. Yeah, again, similar story, creating depth by having those those darker, larger objects in the foreground, and then to show the distance and to express that distance. The things in the background are just just lighter, lower contrast. And yeah, I mean, I think I’m probably at this point just pretty much repeating myself now. So you know, hopefully you get the idea. And yeah, hopefully this kind of just just gives you a little insight into some of the inspiration and the ideas and you know, where where they came from. You know, I haven’t really learned any of this in terms of photography, but that’s what I’m trying to do here is take take what I’m learning about painting even though I’m not painting myself and and translate it into something us photographers can use to, to you know, just add that little, that little advantage you know, another feather to our bow. For for our photography,
Okay, so in this video, I’m going to give you a quick little example that I first kind of showed in my next level landscape composites course, now, you know, you’re not probably going to want to start doing this in creating just painting images, painting landscapes. But what I’m going to show is just a quick demo, to give you another example of how the relationship between light values and distance works. And yeah, so what I’m going to do is just create light. So we’ve got this, this basically this scene here, there’s nothing in it yet. It’s just a light gray. And I’ll just draw a horizon straight if possible. And then I’ll brush in the foreground here with this middle gray. So I’ve just created three grays up here that I’m going to sample from. So this is like a middle gray. Now already, you know, if you let your imagination wander This already looks like it could be a flat, featureless landscape, because you know, we have a foreground, and we have a sky. And the reason why they look like a foreground in the sky is because the top half is lighter, this this bottom half is is darker. Now, what we’ll do next is draw essentially three, roughly similar shapes, let’s call them pyramids. And I’m going to draw one in each shade of gray. And show how you know, just using that different shade of gray can make them look either closer or further away. Now, okay, let’s start with this middle gray. And I’ll just draw a real basic triangle, and then fill it in. Okay, so there’s our first triangle sitting on the horizon. Now, let’s sample this middle, this this light gray, and try to create one, roughly the same size. Fill that in. And, you know, if you just kind of maybe squint a little bit with your eyes, and just let the the light values do the work and kind of manipulating your mind into thinking you’re seeing something, then already, you know, the fact that this is lighter, it kind of looks like it’s in the distance, right? Compared to this, this, this slightly darker one. And if I now do the same thing with this darker gray, create another, hopefully I can make it a similar size. Fill that in. Now because that’s darker. To our mind, it looks as if it’s closer than these other two. So this one’s closer, this is further away. And this is somewhere in the middle. And, you know, just using this as a sort of basic premise. You can actually, if you want to have fun, you can you can you can create, you can just draw really basic landscapes just using these three shades of grey. So knowing about depth and how color or how light values help to create depth. Let’s, let’s just create like a really rough landscape scene. So maybe some some sort of mountains where you’ve got dark for, it’s not a very good shape. We’ve got dark foreground here, fill that in. Actually, I’m kind of doing this wrong way round, maybe it’s a good idea to start from the back. But anyway, let’s grab the middle ground and then add something in here
it will come we’ll come in and redo the foreground in a minute to some really rough shapes. Now let’s sample that foreground again. And now let’s do something with the lighter color. What should we do? Let’s have like a really distant
mountain over here. Okay, probably overlapping a bit too much, but okay, well, that’s not too bad. You know, just with those real basic shapes. You can kind of see how this could be One of those layered Yeah, one of those sort of layered mountain scapes where, you know, the foreground is you know, it’s pretty dark. And then you know, the further you go into the distance, the lighter the mountains become. And yeah, like I said, the point of this isn’t to get you drawing these kinds of things, but if you want to just have a mess around and you know, have a bit of fun just working with some rough shapes and, and shades of grey then feel free. Like I said, this, this is a big part of my my next level comes at landscapes course, if you want to go a bit deeper on actually creating this and using this as a foundation to completely fabricate landscapes from scratch, cutting and pasting from various source images into something that you’ve created, just with these few shades of grey. But yeah, anyway, this little crossover was just just to sort of, again, help reinforce the rules of distance and light values. And also, it’s going to be a good preparation for what I’m going to show you in the next video. Which is going to be a way to use a similar looking image or similar looking version of your images to gauge the depth. So you know, as you’re edit, editing an image, you can you can run this process, have a look and see if you know if the depth is working for you. Using something that looks a little bit like this will make a lot more sense when actually show it to you. So yeah, let’s move
Okay, leading on from the previous video where we were looking at those really crude black and white drawings of landscapes, which show how the actual light values in a scene can dictate how close or how far away something looks, I came up with an action and I’ll make this action available to download probably just beneath this video. That gives you a quick way that you can convert your image to something that looks somewhat like that previous kind of funny drawing that I was showing you. But it’s gonna help you judge exactly where your images at in terms of depth based on very crude, you know, blacks, whites and grays. So you know, sometimes it can be difficult to see when you’ve got the color in an image. And when you’re looking at all the detail, it’s, it’s easy to get caught up in that detail. So just reducing everything down to basic shapes. Basic Gray’s really helps you get a sense of how how much depth you’re getting across in your in your edited image. So what I’ve got open at the moment is just a raw file. You may recognize this from my luminosity masking mastery course. But we’re just using this as an example. We’re not actually going to edit this right now. But this is just a raw file. And you can see we’ve got some very, very, very dark black rocks in the foreground here. Now, the reason this is a good example is because this, this large rock over in the distance is actually from what I can make out, it’s basically made of the same stuff. However, the rocks in the foreground appear darker than this larger version of it over here in the distance. Now that is because of the atmospheric perspective and all the particles in the air that are reflecting light, making it basically look lighter in the distance. Now, we can kind of see that pretty well in this image, because if you actually zoom in, you can see more detail over there in the distance than we can see in the foreground. But let’s run through this process to show you exactly what I’ve been talking about this, this last couple of minutes. So if you want to see the actual manual way of doing this, if you want to create the action yourself, for example, I’ll just quickly do that. Now basically, what you have to do is go to Image, duplicate. So whatever stage your images that you can just do this image duplicate, and then flatten image edit, where I usually just do it over here, right click, flatten image. And then the important thing to do is change it to eight bits, or it already is eight bits for some reason. Okay, so eight bits. Because otherwise the filter won’t work. And then we d saturate the image. So Image Adjustments Desaturate. And then filter gallery here. And then under artistic, you’re going to select cut out. Now these are the settings that I like this filter on. So a number of levels for edge simplicity seven, fidelity too. You can play around with these if you want a bit more detail if you want a bit less detail. But essentially, that’s how you get to what the action is, is about to do. So I’ll cancel that. I’ll close this. And I’ll just run the action. So I’ve called it values check for because it’s using four values. So we just run this. And
it will give us in a new document up here called values check, it will show us what you just saw in the filter preview. But essentially, looking at this, you can see now the darker objects are in the foreground. You got this darker object but not as dark as these dark rocks over here in the background. And then you obviously go to the brightest part, which is the sky and around the sun. And this light parts in here. Like I said in the first video about light and contrast, different surfaces, different objects are going to reflect different amounts of light. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything in the foreground needs to be black and everything in the background needs to be white. Because obviously, a reflective surface like the water here in this middle section is going to be brighter than this dark black rock over here. So that’s okay. You kind of have to exercise exercise your own judgment on what objects should be brighter or darker based on what they are, what they’re made of, whether there’s light or shade on them. So anyway, this, this gives us a pretty good idea of where the image is in terms of depth, we can see that this big rock in the distance is, is pushed into the distance, based on its brightness, you know, this, this foreground rocks are very, very dark compared to it. And yeah, so comparing this to typical editing mistakes that people may make, which, when working on an image, such as this, in an effort to bring out as much detail and beauty and all these rocks in the foreground, we might end up doing something like this. Now, this is an exaggerated version of a wrong way of editing, just to kind of prove the point really. But yeah, essentially, what what people may tend to do is brighten the shadows in all these dark areas, bring out the detail Make, make various contrast and light adjustments here. But, you know, I know, I’ve always said it in all of my videos, you don’t want to make stuff that should be dark, to bright, and you don’t want the sun to be darker than stuff that is lighting. And, yeah, so there’s kind of one of those things that I’ve done in the past, just naturally, I’ve always tried to, even though, you know, even when bringing out detail in dark areas, to still keep that relationship between the dark areas and the bright areas, you know, in the right proportions, you know, so we’re not over blending, I’ve caught it in the past. But you know, this is, like I said, an exaggerated version. So let’s see what this looks like. When we run this values, check, action. Now zoom out a bit, just because it helps me see. So we can see there’s a lot more middle gray, the shadows on this rock in the distance are actually they look like they’re the same gray that’s down here in the foreground. And, you know, if you make this really small and squint your eyes, and you want to know what this really is a picture of, then this, this rock over here in the distance kind of looks like it could be in the foreground, you know, there’s nothing in the light values that suggests this is a background object, you know, like the fact that it’s connected by this dark line over here is this something that’s coming in from the edge of the frame and is actually in the foreground, you can you can picture that being the case. But comparing that to the original over here,
it you can just see that it’s in the in the distance, these dark rocks in the foreground are much, much closer. Even you know, when you’re squinting, you can kind of get that, that sense of what this is, you know, you’re looking into the distance you’re looking into a landscape scene. Whereas this flatter, more shallow version just doesn’t have that depth. So, you know, this is something that you can run at multiple steps along the way in your in your editing, just to see if if you’re on the right track. And if you notice, some shadows or highlights are appearing, where they shouldn’t be, you know, if you’ve got something really, really, really dark in the background, that’s darker than something in the foreground. And it should be something that’s, you know, a long, long way away. Just remember that you know what that’s helping you to remember that even if it’s a completely jet black object off in the distance, it’s not going to appear jet black. Once you’re looking at it through all of the mist that might be in the atmosphere or just any of the light particle or the air particles in the in the air that the lights reflecting off, you know, something that’s 500 meters away, that’s Jet Black isn’t going to appear jet black, in a photo. But what we’ll do in some subsequent videos is actually run through some examples to show how this can help us with enhancing depth in our landscapes.
Alright, so given what we’ve learned about how landscapes are more saturated towards the front of the scene, compared to the back, and how, as you get further into the distance, saturation tend to drop off, here’s a technique you can use to kind of enhance that effect. So you know, creating depth in natural way, that’s a little bit more subtle than, you know, simply lightening and darkening. And you know, you’ll probably want to use this in conjunction with the other techniques that we have or are about to mention, regarding light and contrast, and everything. So this is basically just another tool to add to your toolkit. So looking at this image, we can see this is another classic example of how the light drops off as you get towards, you know, into the distance. And also you can see it without even analyzing, you know, you can see the fact that the warm sunlight hitting these trees in the foreground is a lot more saturated. And a lot more, you know, this tree is a much higher contrast, then basically what the equivalent is in the background here, because you know, this is the same sun hitting the same kind of trees off in the distance. The only real difference is that there’s a lot more of them in the background. But the reason why these ones in the foreground, stand out already, is because they are closer. So you know, seem like this, we’ve kind of got that natural layering effect anyway. But to kind of add a little bit more depth and just, you know, really tweak that, you know, that perfect finished image, we can just take what’s already here and enhance it a little bit. So what I’m going to do is show you a technique for saturating the colors that are already the most saturated in the foreground here. You can also use this in the in the opposite, you know, if they’ve created a situation where you want to D saturate the most saturated colors, then you can use this kind of in reverse. But either way, what we’re going to be looking at is essentially creating a saturation mask. Now the first step in that is using a selective color adjustment layer. Now we need to go through each of these colors here. So from red down to magenta, we’re going to do the same thing. So selecting red, we’re going to slide the black slider all the way to zero, will go through do that, yellows would go down to minus 100, or I think I said zero a second ago minus 100. From zero to minus 100, on greens, science, blues magentas. Now with whites, we’re going to go to 100 neutrals, we’re going to go to 100. Blacks, we’re going to go to 100. And just make sure that you’ve got the absolute radio option ticked, they’re not relative. And essentially, what we’ve got now is in the main image window is a black and white version of the image with the brighter parts are the most saturated areas in the image. And this kind of also confirms what we talked about a minute ago with the fact that it’s more saturated in the foreground than in the distance. Now, what you can do at this point, so you don’t have to go and go through all these steps every time is click this little thing here and save the Selective Color preset. So when you do that, you’ll get a chance just to pop up the default folder in Photoshops options or Photoshops folder somewhere. And you can just rename it, I’ve already done that called saturation mask, so I don’t need to save it again. But once you’ve saved it, what that allows you to do if I just delete this one is when you add a selective color, you can just select it from the presets here. So now got a saturation mask. So how can we use this? Well, all we need to do is come over into the Channels panel. Command or Control on the keyboard and click the RGB channel. Very similar to luminosity masking, but this time working with saturation, come back over into layers. And now you can add this as a mask to any adjustment layer you want. But in this instance we’re going to be adding it to a hue saturation adjustment layer
and then we can just turn this one off here. Now I have tried a few times to create a an action to do this whole thing. rather than just using the preset here in selective color, and then manually creating the hue saturation with the mask, I tried creating an action and I don’t know why at the moment, but the the whites keep reverting to, to zero. As soon as I do this in an action, so yeah, it was creating the wrong result. So yeah, for now, we’ll just use the preset and then add the mask this manual way. So yeah, now you’ve got this, anyway, we’ve got this hue saturation adjustment layer, all we can do is increase the saturation, slider, move it towards the right. And you’ll see that it’s these colors in the foreground that are becoming more saturated. Also the background a little bit because they are saturated also. But yeah, none of this middle ground. And the background to a lesser degree is, is being affected by this increase in saturation. So you know, you, you won’t want to go all the way to 100. But just to show the effect taking place. That’s what it looks like. And so the the benefit of doing it this way, is that, you know, like I said, you can control where the saturation is being added when you want it to be added to the already saturated colors. And it’s probably a bit easier than trying to mask in via any other method into those saturated areas. Because when you create a luminosity mask, for example, it’s looking at the for the light values, not the saturation alone. So you know, you’ll be able to create a mask that can increase the saturation in the bright areas or the dark areas or the mid tones, but not necessarily the most saturated colors. So with that done, or you know, with that mask created, you can you can do whatever you want in this in this hue saturation adjustment layer, you know, if you wanted to, you could just, you know, pick the one individual color that you want to saturate. So for example, the reds, you could do that. If you want it to be a little bit more subtle, rather than just cranking up the master saturation, but it’s an option, wherever you want to do. Whatever looks good, then whatever works is all good with me. So yeah, just to show you that in reverse, let’s say we did want to de saturate. So say for example, we’ve done some editing created a bunch of contrast. And that contrast has brought with it a lot of saturation. And you can create this saturation mask, add it to a hue saturation layer, and then you know just desaturate and that’s going to D saturate the most saturated colors. So not necessarily what we’re kind of on topic with this month. But just a useful tip to keep in your back pocket for when it might come in handy. Yeah, so I think that wraps this video up just showing you that saturation mask and how using this possibly not using it alone, but you know, maybe in conjunction with some of the other techniques for creating depth and enhancing depth. This is a really good natural way to how to do that. And like I said, it’s a good, good tool to have in your toolkit.
Okay, let’s talk a little bit about separation. And in this video, I’m going to show you something that you can use to to create separation and separate elements within your image so that you can either move things forward or move them back within the composition, either creating or eliminating depth. Now, the image that I’m going to show you this example on is, it’s kind of made for this specific example, you know, there’s not going to really be that many more clear cut examples of using this technique. But you can, it’s worth keeping it in mind for all kinds of shot, you know, where there’s any element of depth, and you want to create separation between a foreground and a background. So yeah, watch through this. And, you know, keep in mind that even though this is like a typical or like a, an ideal example, you can use this to a less obvious degree in your editing as well. So the crux of this technique is to basically divide up your image into kind of almost like planes. So where you’re creating a selection around things that are a certain distance away. So the main elements within this particular shot, are this bottom right corner here, which is the closest part of the mountain to us. And then you have this in the middle, you’ve got this big ridge, and then way behind that, you’ve got the actual peak of the mountain. Now, as we’ve been talking about depth for, for this, the whole of this month, so content, the reason that we know that this peak is far away, is because it’s lower contrast, you can see it you know, it’s lower contrast, it’s more faded, it’s a bit brighter, well, actually, maybe it’s not actually brighter, because it’s got cloud in the way. But it’s definitely lower contrast, and more faded. So when we think about everything, all the lessons we’ve learned so far, let’s say hypothetically, we wanted to make the mountain peak appear closer, well, what we could do is create a selection around it, and make it so that the shadows and highlights match something in the foreground. So let’s do that. Now, I’ve already created and saved a few selections, just as alpha channels. This isn’t really a lesson about creating selections. So you know, I’ll just quickly show you what I’ve done if this is new to you, but you know, just using the quick selection tool, I just literally because these are quite nice edges, I just drew a selection around each object that I wanted to create a selection for. And then with that selection, I just came to the Channels panel and then hit the button here save selection as channel. So you know, that’s given us basically three separate sections that we can, that we can mask. So actually, this one, I just need to invert so that it isolates the sky, and then we’ve got the foreground and then we’ve got the middle middle mountain. Okay, so what do we want to do here, we want to, in this example, bring that back mountain forwards. So let’s load the selection, Command or Control click on this alpha channel, come over into layers and add a Curves Adjustment. Now that channel has been loaded into the mask, which means anything we do here is only going to affect what happens in that masked off area. Now while I do this, just be aware that this bit down here is probably a bit too dark. I didn’t select around that. So that would be Yeah, it’s gonna be a little bit off putting for us right now but doesn’t change what we’re doing up here. So we’ll just run with it. And so you know, if we want to make this back mountain match what the foreground looks like, or the middle, the middle section, what we can do is sample some black and white points from the middle mountain, and then apply those to the back mountain. So let’s okay clicking on the on the Curves Adjustment Layer, not the mask, double click the Black Point sampler.
And let’s pick a sort of a dark black from the middle ground here and we can see there That’s, it’s more like a medium dark blue. So, okay, say no to that. Now let’s zoom in and have a look what probably what would be the darkest shadow on this back mountain here, probably something in here changes to three by three, just because quite a small area. Okay, so that’s that. Now let’s do the same for the white point. So double click the white eyedropper, click down here on a sort of a bright white. Okay, okay. And then click on what’s going to be the brightest white here. And, yeah, there we go. So that’s basically dark and the image, it’s compressed or not compressed, it’s, it’s made more contrast the the histogram in that masked off section. And so that looks essentially it looks less hazy. Now, obviously, all the cloud and everything has been affected too. So depending on what you want to achieve that may or may not suit. But yeah, essentially, we’ve got this selection here, now we can probably almost make it like if we blended this edge away, you could almost make it look as if it’s actually the same physical mountain there, just by matching those black and white points in the in the background. So that’s, that’s one aspect. Now if you wanted to sort of send it further back into the distance, we could reset this. And instead of making more contrast and matching the foreground, we can actually shift the black point further away, by just lifting up the black point here in the curves adjustment. So we’re really reducing the contrast is getting brighter. And you can see they’re sort of getting all faded out. So you know, based on everything we’ve learned, so far, the more faded and the lower contrast, the more atmospheric perspective is in between us and the object. So potentially, the further away it looks. Right. So that covers basically moving things forward and backwards in the composition, you know, essentially just isolating the object with a selection, loading that selection into a curves adjustment, and then either darkening or lightening or shifting the back point, or matching the black and white points with a point in the foreground. Yeah, that’s, that’s what you can get. You can get stuck into into experimenting with that. Now, another great way to create separation if you don’t mind getting a bit creative. And again, it’s gonna depend on the shot like this is a good example, for what I’m about to show you. But we can use these selections that we created here. Let me load this one command or control, click on alpha two. Now let’s add a regular empty layer and then add a mask to that. Now I actually want the inverse. So we want to select everything but this foreground. So like so, invert that command or control line. And then we’ll do the same thing again with the background. So yeah, let’s start Yeah, with this, this selection here. So Command click, or control, click on that. Coming here, New Layer, New Layer Mask. And now what we’ve got is essentially two layers that we can brush. Effectively, we were able to brush in between these mountains. So let me select the Brush Tool B on the keyboard. Now I have downloaded some folk brushes. These are just free online. So let’s have a look what this might look like. Okay, so selecting or clicking on this layer here if I want to add some fog in between here I can just brush like so. And then same thing here in between the middle mountain in the background.
And this is a game that’s an extreme example but it’s while also being one that is ideal for for this creative effect. But you know that’s that’s another way To create separation and depth between elements of you know, that are at different distances. And essentially to basically paint fog, or atmospheric perspective, you know, it doesn’t have to be with a fog brush like this, you know, here’s the before and here’s the after, you know, they’re well separated. Now those elements
doesn’t have to be a fog brush. Or it can just be around brush with you know, essentially a painting painting just light. Let’s erase that. And let’s erase this one. Back to the brush tool, so you can use just a regular
just a regular white brush there. If you want to brush, just white, as probably wouldn’t want to do that on 100% Brush Opacity. But, you know, that just adds a bit of haze in there. And you could could easily believe that that is just the atmospheric or the atmosphere in between these elements here. So, yeah, basically, this is the concept, which is to divide your image up into intersections that are areas that you can essentially brush in between, and you can mask separately to move them backwards and forwards. So yeah, that’s that’s one that I think you can have a lot of fun with. So give it a shot.