Last week, I started a technical series of how to post process photos of stained glass windows. In Part 1, I went over taking and selecting which photo to use, making adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, and moving the picture to Adobe Photoshop for more complex work.
Part 2 showed how to correct for distortion (i.e., keystone effect) and adding in a hue / saturation layer.
Now that a hue / saturation layer is in place, it’s time to create a mask. The mask blocks out what part of the picture I don’t want adjusted with the next step. In this case, I will block out the background, then invert the mask (i.e., turn it inside out) so that any changes I make will adjust the background only and leave the stained glass alone.
On the hue / saturation layer, click the white box (see where the down arrow is pointing). Another box will open up to the left, which I’ve put a big circle around.
To the far left are two boxes that should be black and white. When I hover the mouse over them, they are called the foreground and background color. Make sure the black is on top as shown here. If it isn’t, click the tiny double arrow (shown with the tiny circle around it) to reverse the boxes. If the black box isn’t on top, this won’t work right. If my boxes have different colors in them, I click the itty bitty boxes next to the tiny double arrow. That will restore the default colors of black and white. I will have to click the double arrow to put the black box back on top.
Yes, itty bitty is a technical term, although I don’t think Adobe has it copyrighted :)
Now it’s time to brush in a mask and cover up the background.
Use the brush tool shown at the far left. When it’s clicked, you should see it on the toolbar on top, with the brush showing. If the brush isn’t showing, click the tiny downward arrow shown in the circle to get back to a regular brush. The brush will show up as a white circle, looking like what the down arrow is pointing at. Make it bigger or smaller by clicking on the left and right bracket keys – i.e., “[” or “]”. Hold down the left mouse key and start moving the circle back and forth until you’ve covered the background but not the stained glass. The arrow facing right shows how the mask looks when I’m done.
Now invert the mask. The mask on the hue / saturation layer should still be clicked. If it isn’t, click it again. On the pop-up box, click “invert”, shown by the arrow facing right. The mask changes and the background now shows in white (circled area). If you look at the right pointing arrow in the picture above, you’ll see that the background was black before inverting the mask.
Now it’s time to adjust the hue / saturation. On the hue / saturation layer, now click the box next to left of the mask, as shown by the downward facing arrow. The pop-up box changes, which is seen with the large circle. Move the saturation and lightness sliders all the way to the left. This will desaturate the color and remove the brightness as well. See the two left facing arrows for where the sliders are and how they look after darkening up the background.
The small circle is a double arrow facing right. That will make the box go away when I’m done with this adjustment.
Did you notice in the picture that there’s a tiny stripe of maroon at the bottom edge of the picture? My mask wasn’t quite high enough to darken the background immediately under the picture.
To improve this, I click again on the mask (downward arrow), select the brush, and draw a line across the bottom of the stained glass to bring the mask up closer to the picture, as demonstrated with the left facing arrow and circle around the white brush.
It looks good!! I click the double arrows to make the pop-up box go away.
I decide to make the background even darker by right clicking on the hue / saturation layer and duplicating it. So now there are two hue / saturation layers with the same mask.
At this point, I’m satisfied with my picture. I save it as a .psd (Photoshop format) and go back to Adobe Lightroom to create the final photo for my blog.
In Lightroom, I crop the picture one last time to cut away more of the dark background. I then export it for my blog, which puts my watermark on the picture and also lowers the resolution so that I’m not filling up my photo space on WordPress too quickly.
So here’s what I started with:
On the left is how it looked after I cropped it but did nothing else. On the right, I’ve adjusted the colors and dark areas, which unfortunately left the background grainy and too light. It also bothers me that the photo is leaning to the right.
And finally, after all this work, this is the final picture:
By the way, this is not the same picture as shown in the post where I originally shared the stained glass photo.
I set out to duplicate my process when I took all these print screens and redid it all from scratch. I actually think the second one turned out better!
To see the original photo plus other stained glass photos from that day, click here.
Thanks for hanging in here with me as I explained my process. It’s not pretty, but it got the job done and I was happy with how it turned out. I hope you enjoyed seeing how I improved this photos and try it for yourself!