Lost in the anals of time where this one came from – although we do know not until CS3, because that is when Smart Objects came into being 🙂

Sorry to those who have an earlier version 🙁

I was showing someone how to bring out a bit of detail from the shadows in an image and thought it would make a good tutorial. It creates a kind of pseudo hdr effect, and it will make your image pop. The only thing is that it can’t be guaranteed to work on every image. It is extremely quick and easy to do, so spending hours to find out that it won’t work on your image isn’t going to happen. You can make a nice Black & White conversion using this method as well.

You can use my image to practise on – copyright is mine etc., Click through for larger version.

Open the image in Camera RAW. I usually do this by going through Bridge – highlight the image, then Ctrl + R to open it in RAW. You are not going to do any edits on this image, you are going to open it straight into Photoshop but as a Smart Object. At the bottom right hand side of RAW you will see the Open Image tab – hold down the Shift Key before clicking on this and it will open in Photoshop as an Object Once open in Photoshop you need to duplicate the layer, but do it in a way where you can edit the two layers independently of each other. Right click on the layer and choose New Smart Object via Copy Double click on the copy (top layer) and it will open in Camera RAW. You can punch in the same settings that I have – these settings will be different for every image, so experiment a little. You can also go back and alter them at any time, so don’t panic if you don’t get it right the first time.

Change the blend mode of the layer to Luminosity. Now is the time to consider if the blacks need to be a little darker or not. I thought they did, so I double clicked on the layer and went back to CameraRAW and I upped the blacks to 40. Open a Selective Colour adjustment layer and choose Reds from the drop down menu – Check the Absolute radio button at the bottom of the dialogue box, then make Magentas, Yellows and Blacks +20, Change the blend mode of the layer to Multiply and take the layer opacity down to 60%. You should have something similar to the image below.

The b/ground is quite light, so click on the Selective Colour adjustment layer to make it active and then add a new blank layer above it. Fill this layer with black and change the blend mode to Soft Light. I left the layer opacity at 100%, you might like to change that. Add a layer mask (White) to this layer and with a soft edged black brush over the car.

And there you have it. Probably the best thing about the process is that every layer is still editable 🙂

Nearly forgot the black and white version. Click on the b/ground layer and then add a hue/sat adjustment layer and desaturate. Fiddle around with the settings on each layer till you are happy with the end result.

Here is another one that I did, it really brings out the detail on jeans.

Jeans image link