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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Photoshop: Selecting Highlights/Shadows/Midtones
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09/01/2007 11:29:34 AM · #1
A while back ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' bear_music posted a photoshop shortcut to select highlights. And I use it a lot. It goes like this, hope I have it correct.

1. while on the background layer press and hold ctl+alt+ ~. It will select the highlights.
2. Now press ctr + j to create a new layer containing the selective highlights.
3. Go back to the background layer and repeat.
4. Now you have two new layers. Set one to screen and the other to multiply then adjust to liking.

My question is there a similar shortcut to select shadows or midtones?

Thanks in advance.
SDW
09/01/2007 11:37:40 AM · #2
Originally posted by swhiddon:

A while back ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' bear_music posted a photoshop shortcut to select highlights. And I use it a lot. It goes like this, hope I have it correct.

1. while on the background layer press and hold ctl+alt+ ~. It will select the highlights.
2. Now press ctr + j to create a new layer containing the selective highlights.
3. Go back to the background layer and repeat.
4. Now you have two new layers. Set one to screen and the other to multiply then adjust to liking.

My question is there a similar shortcut to select shadows or midtones?

Thanks in advance.
SDW


You're missing a step: after the selection in #3, press cntrl-shift-i to invert the selection (it becomes a shadow selection) and then cntrl-j to make the new layer. Set shadow layer to "screen" and highlight layer to "multiply" and adjust relative opacities.

This method produces feathered selections that include all the tones between them, with less emphasis on the midtones. I'm not aware of any analogous commands to select only midtones though.

R.
09/01/2007 11:40:02 AM · #3
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

This method produces feathered selections that include all the tones between them, with less emphasis on the midtones. I'm not aware of any analogous commands to select only midtones though.

R.

Save both selections as alpha channels. Loading both channels at once and inverting the resultant selection should give you the mid-tones.
09/01/2007 11:48:06 AM · #4
Thanks bear_music and GeneralE. I trying to edit some old photos that I have not got around to editing. Thanks for the clarification Robert on the missed step and thank GeneralE for the alpha channel option.

SDW
09/01/2007 11:56:46 AM · #5
Let me know if it works -- I just figured that out, but have never actually tried it ... ;-)

BTW: Can I re-title this thread so it provides more useful info?

Photoshop: Selecting Highlights/Shadows/Midtones

Message edited by author 2007-09-01 11:58:58.
09/01/2007 12:02:05 PM · #6
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Let me know if it works -- I just figured that out, but have never actually tried it ... ;-)

BTW: Can I re-title this thread so it provides more useful info?

Photoshop: Selecting Highlights/Shadows/Midtones


Why not? You have my blessings for what they are worth.

R.
09/01/2007 12:03:50 PM · #7
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

This method produces feathered selections that include all the tones between them, with less emphasis on the midtones. I'm not aware of any analogous commands to select only midtones though.

R.

Save both selections as alpha channels. Loading both channels at once and inverting the resultant selection should give you the mid-tones.


I'm not sure that would work. The cntrl-alt-tilde selections are feathered selections, and together they cover the entire tonal range. Loading both of them as alpha channels ought to give 100% selection to everything in the image, I'd think.

R.
09/01/2007 12:56:14 PM · #8
Instead of using the shortcut key combo for select highlight in the first step, just replace with

Select->Color Range, then pick either Highlights, Midtones, or Shadows from the colour range drop-down box. Go on from there to create appropriately feathered selections.
09/01/2007 01:00:59 PM · #9
At the risk of sounding dumb:

Is this a way of bringing back blown highlights from overexposed photos? And also resurrecting detail from over contrasty shadows?

If it is, i tend to use the shadow/highlight option, but this makes everything a bit grey...
09/01/2007 01:29:17 PM · #10
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Let me know if it works -- I just figured that out, but have never actually tried it ... ;-)

BTW: Can I re-title this thread so it provides more useful info?

Photoshop: Selecting Highlights/Shadows/Midtones


Yes retitling the thread would be good for the community. Do it!
09/01/2007 02:19:40 PM · #11
Originally posted by Tez:

At the risk of sounding dumb:

Is this a way of bringing back blown highlights from overexposed photos? And also resurrecting detail from over contrasty shadows?

If it is, i tend to use the shadow/highlight option, but this makes everything a bit grey...


Yes. It is the precursor to shadow/highlight, it was available from 6.0 on. It behaves a little differently from s/h, and you can vary effect dramatically using different blending modes/opacities. You can also use it in "reverse" to increase mid-tone contrast on flat shots, by screening or lightening the highlights layer and multiplying or darkening the shadows layer.

R.
09/01/2007 02:20:05 PM · #12
Originally posted by Gordon:

Instead of using the shortcut key combo for select highlight in the first step, just replace with

Select->Color Range, then pick either Highlights, Midtones, or Shadows from the colour range drop-down box. Go on from there to create appropriately feathered selections.


In my experience, this doesn't produce as smooth a transition.

R.
09/03/2007 07:53:02 PM · #13
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Gordon:

Instead of using the shortcut key combo for select highlight in the first step, just replace with

Select->Color Range, then pick either Highlights, Midtones, or Shadows from the colour range drop-down box. Go on from there to create appropriately feathered selections.


In my experience, this doesn't produce as smooth a transition.

R.


True. If you feathered that type of selection it would bleed into whatever is around it and make no distinction between highlights, midtones and shadows. That's not what you want. Whether you are selecting highlights or shadows you want the selection to bleed into only the midtones so the transition is smooth and this method doesn't do that. Basically, it's like cutting butter with a machete. Cntrl-Alt-Tilde would be the butter knife.

Message edited by author 2007-09-03 19:53:54.
09/03/2007 08:06:43 PM · #14
Through my bad keyboard skills I have found that Ctrl-Alt-1 and Ctrl-Alt-2 select a wider range of tones, for cases where Ctrl-Alt-Tilde is too subtle. Ive also made 2 Ctrl-Alt-Tilde layers when I'm feeling heavy handed (or really blew the exposure)

Message edited by author 2007-09-03 20:07:19.
09/03/2007 08:17:50 PM · #15
' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Yanko or ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Bear_Music, (or anyone) have you tried the "Contrast Mask" tool in Light Craft's "LightZone"?. If so, how do you think it compares? I was considering doing a trial version install of LightZone to play with the contrast mask feature but won't bother if it isn't an improvement. Thx.
09/03/2007 08:40:34 PM · #16
Originally posted by BlueZamia:

Through my bad keyboard skills I have found that Ctrl-Alt-1 and Ctrl-Alt-2 select a wider range of tones, for cases where Ctrl-Alt-Tilde is too subtle. Ive also made 2 Ctrl-Alt-Tilde layers when I'm feeling heavy handed (or really blew the exposure)


Also, simply hitting the keys more than once gives you a greater selection as well.
09/03/2007 08:41:59 PM · #17
Originally posted by pointandshoot:

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Yanko or ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Bear_Music, (or anyone) have you tried the "Contrast Mask" tool in Light Craft's "LightZone"?. If so, how do you think it compares? I was considering doing a trial version install of LightZone to play with the contrast mask feature but won't bother if it isn't an improvement. Thx.


I've not tried it. Is that a photoshop add on?
09/03/2007 08:44:20 PM · #18
www.photo-plugins.com has same/similar.
09/03/2007 09:05:01 PM · #19
Originally posted by yanko:


I've not tried it. Is that a photoshop add on?


It's a standalone editing program but I don't know how much fat comes with the filter. One of the software developers seems to say the right things
here so it might be worth a try. The lightzone site is here.
09/03/2007 09:12:30 PM · #20
It's good to remember that the best plugin you'll ever use is yourself once you've learn how to really use photoshop. Try not to depend so much on these add-ons. They really should just be used for low level work such as batching and proofing. You don't let someone else compose your shot or set your lighting so why would you want someone else doing your editing?

Message edited by author 2007-09-03 21:13:54.
09/03/2007 09:21:54 PM · #21
Originally posted by Brad:

www.photo-plugins.com has same/similar.


yes, that looks like the traditional darkroom approach to contrast masking://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/u-contrast-masking.shtml
09/03/2007 09:22:48 PM · #22
Ah. Lightbulb just went on. Ctrl-Alt-~ doesn't really select the highlights at all. It turns the current image in to a greyscale mask on the current image and makes it an active selection.

So that certainly has the effect of selecting the highlights but it also selects the midtones and shadows to a relatively sliding degree. All makes sense now - that's why there isn't an equivalent menu item / straight keyboard shortcut for midtones or shadows - it isn't distinguishing them at all, other than by their luminosity anyway.

The shadow equivalent would be an inverted version of the image - but a mid-tone equivalent would be an appropriate upside down 50% U curve I think - pull the highlights down to a mid tone, pull the shadows down to a mid-tone, boost the midtones to a highlight in the mask.
09/03/2007 09:29:09 PM · #23
Originally posted by Gordon:

Ah. Lightbulb just went on. Ctrl-Alt-~ doesn't really select the highlights at all. It turns the current image in to a greyscale mask on the current image and makes it an active selection.

So that certainly has the effect of selecting the highlights but it also selects the midtones and shadows to a relatively sliding degree. All makes sense now - that's why there isn't an equivalent menu item / straight keyboard shortcut for midtones or shadows - it isn't distinguishing them at all, other than by their luminosity anyway.

The shadow equivalent would be an inverted version of the image - but a mid-tone equivalent would be an appropriate upside down 50% U curve I think - pull the highlights down to a mid tone, pull the shadows down to a mid-tone, boost the midtones to a highlight in the mask.


Interesting realization. Seems to make sense. Makes one wonder about the viability of producing a contrasty version of the image, doing cntrl-alt-tilde on that, then exporting the mask to the original version...

R.
09/03/2007 09:29:39 PM · #24
Originally posted by pointandshoot:

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Yanko or ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Bear_Music, (or anyone) have you tried the "Contrast Mask" tool in Light Craft's "LightZone"?. If so, how do you think it compares? I was considering doing a trial version install of LightZone to play with the contrast mask feature but won't bother if it isn't an improvement. Thx.


I'm not familiar with this, sorry.

R.
09/03/2007 09:30:14 PM · #25
Originally posted by BlueZamia:

Through my bad keyboard skills I have found that Ctrl-Alt-1 and Ctrl-Alt-2 select a wider range of tones, for cases where Ctrl-Alt-Tilde is too subtle. Ive also made 2 Ctrl-Alt-Tilde layers when I'm feeling heavy handed (or really blew the exposure)


This I was not aware of, I'll give it a stab.

R.
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