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Old Oct 11, 2002, 5:51 AM   #1
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Default Simulating gray grad filters in PE

I'm playing around with Photoshop Elements, trying to achieve an effect that mimics a gray grad filter.

So far, the best way I've found is to create a new layer, use the gradient tool to create a gray gradient effect - gray to white, top to one/two thirds down (depending on the scene). I can then change the mixing between the layers to either Darken or Color Burn.

This seems to work well, but I was wondering if there was any other (better)way to do this, or whether anybody had any good recommendations for the starting gray value/best mix mode.

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Old Oct 11, 2002, 9:20 AM   #2
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Try to get NIK filters. There's several of colormanipulation there.

Don't know if it works with PE - in PS it works fine though.
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Old Oct 30, 2002, 9:48 PM   #3
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The problem with mimicing a grey grad is that kind of filter is usually used to capture detail in an overexposed sky area. So, if you expose a shot properly for dark ground, the sky will burn out to white or near-white, and there simply won't be any retrievable information, no matter how much you saturate in Photoshop. Better, in this situation, to take two shots, one exposed for sky, one for ground (you can even take a third exposed for the average of the two). Then, blend them together into the same image.

I've found that Photoshop can be very effective at adding *color* filters, though, especially grad filters. There are a couple of different techniques for doing this, depending on the effect you want you can choose between them. You have discovered one way--simply use color burn or darken and a layer gradient. Incidentally, you can also use the Difference blending mode, too--instead of white and a light gray, though, use black for the bottom and the *complement* of the result color. So, if you want to warm the sky with yellow, you'd grad from black to a very dark blue. If you want to add a magenta cast, you'd grad from black to dark cyan.

I was unhappy with these solutions, though, because I'd often find myself shooting a water scene into the sun. This leaves a bright white band of reflection leading to the bottom of the frame, and gradients always look fake when they cut this kind of reflection in half. So I discovered a better way.

Use the rectangular marquee to select the area you'll be filtering. Then hit Select -> Feather... and enter an appropriate value. I find about 20% of the total height of the image works pretty well. Now the selection is feathered. Use the lasso tool to grab any additional areas you want included (the reflection in the water). Once those areas are selected, go back to Select -> Feather... and choose a feather value that's appropriate for the added areas (the original feathered boundary will be unaffected by this). Now, at the bottom of the layers dialogue, select the contrast wheel (half black/half white) and choose Hue/Saturation. Make sure Preview is clicked so you can see the effect of your choices on the image, and slide the hue selector back and forth to choose the color of filter you want to apply. You can also play with Saturation and Lightness.

Now, to select something like a reflection band in water, you'll have to do a bit more work than just sweeping around it with the lasso...the better you can conform to its shape, the better the effect will be. So to pick this, drag a lasso roughly around the area of the reflection in the water. Then, hit Select -> Color Range, and use the additive eyedropper to pick the brightest parts of the reflection. Make sure that you control the fuzziness as well. Once you hit ok, your selected area will show up and you can hit Select -> Feather... to blend the effects a bit. Try somewhere between 2 and 7 pixels. Once you have the area of interest selected, we're finally ready to hit Hue/Saturation and play with it.

Whichever of these methods you choose, always remember to store the original image untampered in the bottom-most layer. This gives you the ability to set opacity on your effect layers, giving you far more control.

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