advanced photoshop

Photoshop Tutorial: Pro Photo Editing Part 1

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Tips & Tutorials, by Anna-lisa Saywell

Find out how to stylise architectural images using commercial techniques in Raw and Photoshop

Download some of the tutorial files here

Thanks go out to Nicholas Edmonds for this tutorial. See more of his work at http://nickedmonds.com/

Step 1

Open ‘Original’ in Camera RAW. Increase Contrast to 18, Shadows to 61, Clarity to 32 and Vibrance to 24. Save this image as a PSD file. Next, create exposure that emphasises the orange glow of the building’s lights, saving as another PSD file. Finally, increase the contrast of the street’s lights and save as a third PSD.

Step 2

Open the three PSD files and layer them above one another in Photoshop. Duplicate your base image and place it at the top, renaming it ‘Roadmap’. With the Brush tool and a bright colour, mark everything that needs to change; sections to get rid of, areas to enhance and elements to include. This will be our constant reference.

Step 3

Opt/Alt-click the ‘Add layer mask’ icon, adding an inverted layer mask to each layer above your base image. On your building lights layer and paint to the layer mask over balconies and windows. This lets glow effects show. On the street lights layer, apply a soft brush and the drop the layer’s opacity until you like the result. Flatten your image.

Step 4

Due to the size of the building and the angle at which the shot was taken, it looks wider at the base than it does at the top. Let’s rectify this perspective by selecting Filter>Lens Correction. You can amend by eye, but be aware that if you get this wrong now then cloning later will become very complicated. Use the grid feature to highlight distortion instead. We want the upright edges of the building to be parallel with the grid lines, so increase Vertical Perspective to 29 and click OK.

Step 5

The Vanishing Point tool is an architectural retoucher’s best friend. It lets you clone in perspective. Select Filter>Vanishing Point, zoom in to the top of the building and press C to select the Create Plane tool. Click on a pointed edge of a balcony, then move down a few balconies and click to create a straight line. Follow the line of the balcony along to where it begins and click again. Move up to the balcony you started with and find a corresponding place to click and complete the plane.

Step 6

Now that we have our perspective plane, we must extend it downwards, covering the whole right side of the building. Refine the points by zooming in and adjusting their positions, mapping the building’s edges. Press C then click and drag the middle control point on the left of the perspective plane, creating a new perspective plane for the left-hand side of the building. Let go and refine the control points. Extend this perspective plane like the other one, so the entire building is covered in a 3D plane.

Step 7

In the Vanishing Point filter, activate the Stamp tool by hitting S. Now we need to remove the marketing banners at the top of the building. Choose a sampling point by holding down Opt/Alt and then clicking just a few balconies down, at a corresponding position somewhere just below the banners. Once you’ve hit that sweet spot, you can start cloning up. You will find that the top balcony cannot be cloned, as it is different to the rest of them, so stop there.

Step 8

Still inside the Vanishing Point filter, we need to turn on all of the lights in the building. Choose a sample point (Opt/Alt-click) and clone the lights in; try to find an illuminated window of the same style and as close as possible to your cloning location, as this will improve results. Keep the brush size relatively small and be precise when applying. Once all of your cloning is complete, click Done. Add a layer mask to your cloned layer and paint out what you don’t want to keep.

Step 9

The balcony doors disrupt perspective noticeably. They are too flat, so activate Vanishing Point and create a new perspective plane for them. Replace all the lights that are switched off with ones that are on, using Vanishing Point filter cloning and by copying and pasting balconies with the lights on over the top of those with the lights off.

To be continued…