Friday, September 4, 2009
As you know I love Photoshop Elements. Most photographers don't need to invest in its big expensive sister Photoshop CS4 unless they have extra money burning a hole in their pocket or have to process a large amount of images professionally. But PSE unfortunately does have a few things missing that I love to use, such as Layer Masks (download my free PSE layer mask action HERE) and the original Photoshop Curves. However, you can still use PSE curves to get a nice "pop" in your images.
For example, you might have heard people talk about applying a small S-Curve adjustment layer to their image to give it a slight "pop", or contrast enhancement. You can see in the image below the settings for a slight S-Curve.
If you want a nice subtle contrast boost, this is a great setting. Photoshop users, add a Curves adjustment layer and make your RGB look similar to the one above. And even though PSE users can't access the real Photoshop Curves, you can use your version. Go to Enhance, Adjust color, Adjust color curves and make your curve look similar to the image above.
I have written an action that applies it on a copy of your image (Photoshop users can also use this) if you want to save some time. Just run the action and adjust the opacity of the S-Curve Pop layer to taste and flatten your image. I even added a layer mask on the S-Curve Pop layer (great for PSE users as you can't mask out your PSE curves because it is not an adjustment layer, unless you download my free layer mask action and make a duplicate of your image) so you can mask out the effect where needed (skin?) by using a soft low opacity black brush in the mask.
I love subtle ways to pop my color and B&W images, and using a simple S-Curve is one of the best I know.
Download the CoffeeShop S-Curve Pop PS/PSE Action HERE!
Want all of my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one simple download AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures. For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.