I use a nifty trick to quickly select the highlights of an image so I can put them on a separate layer and then use different blending modes to get amazing effects. This tutorial can only be used in Photoshop, but Photoshop Elements users, don't fret! I wrote an action that does the exact same steps that runs perfectly in PSE. You can download it below at Step 3.
CoffeeShop Boost Instructions (PSE users start reading at Step 3.):
1. Steps 1-2 only work in Photoshop, so PSE users can skip down to Step 3 and download the action. Open your image. Click on the Channels tab next to your Layers tab. Go to the bottom of the pane and click on the first little button on the left that looks like a dotted circle. This loads the highlights of your image as a selection.
2. Click back on Layers and your highlights are all selected. Once you see the selection, simply Ctrl-J to put the highlights on their own layer and play with the blending modes. You can then Shift-Ctrl-I (Select, Inverse) and select the shadows if you want, but I use the highlights selection 99% of the time.
3. Now the fun part! If you have Photoshop and want to save some time or have Photoshop Elements, you can download the CoffeeShop Boost Action that automatically selects the highlight and puts them in a new layer in screen blending mode. Download the CoffeeShop Boost action here.
4. Here is my original image.
5. I ran the CoffeeShop Boost action. Highlights are selected and put on a new layer in screen mode. This brightens the image. Adjust the opacity or paint on the layer mask (not seen in this image, but included in the action) if needed.
6. Try other blending modes because you never know which one might look the best. Here is multiply.
This is soft light.
Here is overlay blending mode. Both soft light and overlay give a really nice contrast boost.
Try other blending modes for fun, you might be surprise at the results. You can also Ctrl-J the Boost layer to make a copy if you want more dramatic enhancements.
One of the reasons I wrote this tutorial and action was to prepare you for the release of my newest free action and tutorial that uses this Boost method. You can see the after image below. This fun new B&W action and tutorial is coming out this week. :-)
Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file 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.