Saturday, February 10, 2007

Contrast Masking

Last time I said I'd get into something a little more in depth, but I couldn't resist posting this simple technique. It's so easy and so amazing, I think you will love it. I found the original tutorial on nyfalls.com. I don't know if "masking" is really the proper term for what we're about to do, but I don't have a better one, so that's what we'll call it.

Let's get started.


I'm using another CC licensed photograph found on flickr's site. The original photo was posted by flickr user Keith1999


  1. Open your photograph and duplicate the background layer. Rename the layer "Contrast".

  2. Set the layer mode to "Overlay" and reduce the opacity to 80
    crop

  3. Click Layer>Colors>Desaturate

  4. Click Layer>Colors>Invert
    At this point, your image will not look very good. Don't worry the final step will bring back some detail and make it look fantastic.

  5. Click Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Set the method to RLE and the horizontal and vertical radius to some high number. I used 35 for this image. Images with higher resolution will need a higher blur radius.

  6. Play with the blur radius and the opacity of the Contrast layer until you are satisfied with the effect.


Here's the before and after:
river.beach.bna

Check out my flickr page for larger versions of the images. Thank you for following along.

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