3-Step Formula for Colorful Landscapes in Photoshop!


Today I’m going to share with you a 3 step
formula to add color to your landscapes in Photoshop. The first step is adding color to the highlights
and the shadows. And this is how you do it. First of all, create a Solid Color Adjustment
layer for the highlights. Click on the Adjustment layer icon, and then
choose Solid Color. The next thing you do is choose a color for
the highlights. So in this case, I’m going to choose a yellow
color, bright yellow color and hit OK. Now, we only want to do the highlights and
to be able to limit that we’re going to use the Blend If. So, double click on the right hand side of
the layer. Now take the slider of the underlying layer
from left to right. That way you limit it to the bright areas
of the underlying layer or the layer which is lying under it, right. So we’re going to take the slider of the left
to the right. We only want to limit it to the sky and maybe
a little bit of the water. It’s fine, a little bit of highlights here
and there is fine too. Now, hold the Alt key or the Option key, click
on the slider to be break it apart and take it further so that it is smoother. Now this looks okay. All you have to do now is to hit OK once you’re
satisfied with the area that it’s affecting, not the effect. The effect looks garbage. But once you’re satisfied with the area that
it’s targeting, just hit OK. Now all you gotta do is change the Blend Mode
from Normal to Soft Light. Have a look at this. Here’s the before, here’s the after. Just a little mild color to the highlights. If you want to control that later, if you
want to control the range of colors or the range of areas that it’s affecting, you can
always double click on the right hand side of the layer again and get back to the Layer
Style dialog box and take it further or closer. That’s absolutely upon your personal preference. Hit OK again. Now, we can create one more for the highlights
as well. I want to add a little bit of magenta to the
sky. So I’m going to click on the Adjustment layer
icon again and choose Solid Color again. And this time let’s choose a magenta, bright
magenta shade. This looks okay. Maybe make it a little darker and hit OK. Change the Blend Mode again to Soft Light. We have a magenta shade on the sky, but it
doesn’t look quite nice over here. So, let’s paint it away. So, select the mask, take the brush and then,
with a big brush, make sure it’s a soft brush, paint black. Press X to toggle between the foreground and
the background. With the foreground color black, just paint
away the areas where you don’t want it to be, just like this. And it looks okay. Again, do not forget to apply Blend If to
this one as well. So I’m just going to erase this side just
a little bit. Now, double click on the right hand side of
the layer and take this away from the dark areas. So, take the slider to the right just like
this. Hold the Alt or Option, click on the slider,
take it all the way to the right. Just a touch of magenta. Hit OK. Have a look. So here’s the before, here is the after. Now we need to add some color to the shadows
as well. So, click on the Adjustment layer icon and
choose Solid Color and we’re going to add blue or maybe a little purplish color. Let’s try purplish. So we’re going to take this color and make
it a little darker, hit OK. Now change the Blend Mode to Soft Light and
then double click on the right hand side of layer, right there. And this time we want to do just the opposite. We want to take this away from the highlights. So take the slider of the underlying layer
from right to left, just like this. Hold the Alt or Option, click on the slider
to break it apart and adjust it accordingly. This looks okay. Now, you can always change the color after
the effect. So, I’m going to go here. I’m going to try different shades of blue,
see which one looks good for the image. In my opinion, this blue looks okay. Now, let’s have a look at the before and after. So here’s the before, here’s the after. You can also try increasing or decreasing
the Saturation of the same. So we’re going to go with this and let’s try
making it brighter or darker. I think this was a good shade. Hit OK. Interesting. So we added color to the highlights by using
these two Solid Color Adjustment layers and also the shadows by using blue. Now, you can group all of them, select all
of them, select the first one, hold the Shift key, select the last one in the row and then
press Ctrl or Command + G and you can name this Color. The next step, which is step number two, is
applying the Camera Raw Filter. It makes a massive amount of difference to
our image. So, before we apply Camera Raw, we have to
merge them all. And the way to do that is by pressing Ctrl
+ Alt + Shift + E on a Windows or Command + Option + Shift + E on a Mac. It creates a Stamp Visible layer at the top. We want the ability to change the values of
Camera Raw after the effect. So, let’s convert this into a Smart Object
by going to Filter and then Convert for Smart Filters. Hit OK. Now, when you apply Camera Raw, it will be
applied as a Smart Filter. So let’s go to Filter – Camera Raw Filter. Now inside of Camera Raw, Exposure is the
one which creates the real drama. So I’m going to just decrease the Exposure
and have a look at this, Isn’t that amazing? Now also, White Balance creates some really
moody colors. So let’s try increasing the warmth. Wow. Let’s try increasing the magenta as well to
the entire image. There you go. Have a look at the image right now. It looks amazing, doesn’t it? So now, I’m going to go with a little lower
temperature because I don’t want to blow out the color in the grass. And this magenta looks good for the image. Now, let’s try increasing or decreasing the
Contrast. Of course, increased Contrast looks wonderful. What about the highlights? If we take it down, have a look at how dramatic
it makes the image. If you take it too low, there might be some
halos around the edge, just a little bit. But, we want to avoid that. Just a minute decrease in highlights. What about the shadows? It creates drama when we decrease it. So, let’s decrease it just a bit. What about the Whites? All you have to do here is just play with
it and see what looks good in your image. Now, when it comes to Whites, we don’t want
to lose the details except for the sun. So hold the Alt key or the Option key, decrease
it and slowly and gradually increase it to the point where you begin to see the artifacts. So if I take it beyond this number, you begin
to see artifacts on the sun. That’s fine, bright sun is not a problem,
but we don’t want other areas of the sky to lose details. All right, this is okay. What about blacks? Similarly, hold the Alt key or the Option
key. If we take it too much to the left, have a
look, some areas are losing details. So I’m going to keep it just at about -2 or
something like that. That works. Now, Texture and Clarity also play a major
role in adding some drama to the image. So first of all, let’s try with Texture. Now, Texture something which you will find
only in the latest versions of Camera Raw. So, let’s add a little bit of texture. If you add too much, it doesn’t look right. But, have a look at the grass. If you want it to stand out, just a touch
of texture, right. And then comes the Clarity. Not too much. We don’t want to make it like a vomiting HDR,
but, just a touch of it as well. So I’m going to go for about 16. All right. Now, here comes the magic. If you want to add some additional color,
Vibrance is the thing. Now, I never go beyond 50 in Vibrance, or
mostly it’s 40. So I’m going to try doing 40 and let’s see
how that looks. It looks too saturated at this moment. But, I’m going to go for about 20. All right, there you have it. Now let’s decrease the magenta. I think it’s too much. Once you’re satisfied with all of this, just
hit OK. Coming to the third step, this is if you want
to make your image more dramatic and appealing, the third step is adding Curves. So, let’s create a Curves Adjustment layer. Click on the Adjustment layer icon and then
choose Curves. You know, none of our tutorials are finished
without using a Curve, right. So all you got to do is to click in the middle
and just drag it down to take down the midtones. Now, you can try brightening up the shadows
just a bit. But, this makes the whole image look very,
very dramatic. Have a look, here’s the before, here’s the
after. Look at the drama. You can also try making the highlights little
brighter, just like that. And there you have it. Here’s the before, here’s the after. Look at the drama right there. If you don’t like it that much, you can always
decrease the Opacity and slowly and gradually increase it to your liking. I’m going to go with 75. I think the Exposure is very low. And that was the advantage of converting the
Camera Raw layer into a Smart Object. So you can always go back to that, double
click on Camera Raw Filter, and you can change any setting, right here. So, I’m going to go ahead and increase the
Exposure or maybe try increasing the Shadows because the shadows are too dark, or the blacks. All right, once you happy with the values
just hit OK. See how this looks. That looks better. Now, using Curves, you can also add a little
bit of Dodging & Burning. So, select the top most layer, create one
more Curves Adjustment layer by clicking on the Adjustment layer icon and then choose
Curves again. And this time, let’s make the highlights brighter. Create a point on the right hand side and
take it up like this. Make the shadows a little darker. Now we only want to apply to the highlights. Double click on the right hand side of the
layer. This opens up the Layer Style dialogue box. Take the slider of the underlying layer from
left to right, just like this. Now hold the Alt or Option, click on the slider
to break it apart, and then make the transition smoother. That looks fine. Once you’re happy, hit OK. Have a look. Here’s the before, here’s the after. Just a little bit of highlights here and there. Now you can increase the highlights, if you
want to. I want to add a little bit of yellow to the
highlights as well. So, let’s go to the blue channel. If we decrease the blue, it will be yellow
because blue is the opposite of yellow. Alright, that looks nice as well. Now, we only wanted to apply it in some areas
not all throughout the image. So select the mask and press Ctrl or Command
+ I. Now you can take the brush, white as the foreground
color and then just simply paint on the areas where you wanted the highlights. I would suggest just dabbing here and there. There, a little bit right there and maybe
a little right there. No, that doesn’t look right. A little right here. Let’s have a look, before – after, before
– after. Interesting. I would want to erase it from this area, press
X. Black is now the foreground color. And let’s erase it from the skyline right
there. And zoom out and have a look. Here’s the before, here’s the after. I’m just going to zoom in and erase it from
the water because it looks like too much. Okay, before – after. Interesting. With white here, just a touch. Now, while we have done all of this, to make
the sun even more realistic, because the sun is just not looking right, we can create a
Gradient. Now these steps are optional. The original three step formula is already
right there. The first one was adding color to the highlights
and the shadows. The second one was Camera Raw and the third
one was using Curves. So you can actually make a group of all of
these Curves, press Ctrl or Command + G with all of them selected and we can name this
Curves. Okay. Now, to make the sun look realistic, all we
have to do is to create a Gradient. Click on the Adjustment layer icon and then
choose Gradient right there. Single click on the Gradient bar and let’s
reset the Gradient. If your Gradient doesn’t look right, click
on the Gear and reset the Gradient. Make sure you save the ones if you had created
some. Hit OK. Now, all you want to do here is to select
the Gradient from Color to Transparent. This one, the second one, is Foreground to
Transparent. So, I want to make the left hand side color,
double click on it to open up the color picker, you can also click here, and let’s set it
to bright yellow, bright yellow color of the sun, like that. Hit OK. Now, as it fades away, you can turn this red. So, click on this slider right there, single
click here and I’m going to set it to Red. You can also set it to a little bit of Magenta,
that’s upon you. Hit OK. Hit OK again. Now, change the style from Linear to Radial. Now you can place the sun wherever you want. So I’m just going to drag it and drop it right
there. Hit OK. You can always change these settings later. Now, change the Blend Mode from Normal to
Screen because Screen is the Blend Mode which brightens stuff. So, let’s choose Screen, and it looks fine,
but, it looks too big. Let’s double click on it to open up the Properties
of the Gradient Fill and decrease the scale. 67 or 65 would look great. Let’s go for 65. Yeah, it looks fine. Let’s move it a little bit to the middle. There you have it. Now, you can also add some Lens Flare to it
to make it even more realistic. Now, to add the lens flare, first of all,
let’s create a Stamp Visible layer at the top by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E / Command
+ Option + Shift + E on a Mac. So let’s go to Filter – Render and then Lens
Flare. Now, we want to move this point over the sun
and we can try different looks right here. We can try 50-300mm, we can try 35mm, 105. So I’m going to go with 35. Move it just over the sun and then you can
also set the brightness as well, how bright you want them to be. So in my opinion, I’m going to keep it at
about 100%. Okay, and then hit OK. Now it burns this to the image. What if you want to keep it separate? Let’s go back by pressing Ctrl or Command
+ Z. You can turn off or actually delete this layer. With this layer selected, press the Delete
key. Now, create a new layer and fill it with black. So once you have black as the foreground color,
press Option + Delete or Alt + Backspace. There you have it. Now again, let’s go to Filter – Lens Flare. It will have the last effect done, see, at
the same position. Now all we got to do is change the Blend Mode
from Normal to Screen because Screen is the Blend Mode which hides everything that is
100% black and brightens stuff. Let’s choose Screen and there you have it
separately. Now you can blur these lens flare, if you
want to. But, I’m going to leave it at that. If you want to blur, you can. And there you go. So that’s how to use beautiful color to your
landscapes in Photoshop using the three step formula. All you gotta do first is add color to the
highlights and the shadows by using Blend If and Soft Light Blend Mode, and then using
Camera Raw, play the sliders, play with Exposure, play with Temperature. Go crazy to create some dramatic results. After that, we need to use some Curves. We added the Curves to create the drama. The first one, we just had to take it down. So, I missed it actually. I’m just going to take it down to create some
drama. The second one was simply brightening and
darkening different areas of the image. So we bright in the shadow just a little bit,
darken the mid tones. We did a similar thing right here but, it’s
a plane thing. All right, and this one was just for adding
some highlights using Blend If. And after that, to make this sun even more
realistic, we added a gradient with Screen Blend Mode and a Lens Flare to go with it. I hope this video helped you. Thank you so much for watching. I’ll see you guys in my next one. Till then stay tuned and make sure that you
keep creating.

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