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Shape the Image in Photoshop with the Print in Mind

Lesson 16 from: From Capture to Print

Rocco Ancora

Shape the Image in Photoshop with the Print in Mind

Lesson 16 from: From Capture to Print

Rocco Ancora

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Lesson Info

16. Shape the Image in Photoshop with the Print in Mind


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Advantages & Pitfalls of Printing


Demystifying Color Management


Understanding Bit Depth


Best Color Space to Work In


Importance of Image Capture


Live Shoot: Natural Light


Live Shoot: Studio Lights


Lesson Info

Shape the Image in Photoshop with the Print in Mind

Another thing we need to understand. Another technique. Is using the blend if modes in Photoshop. Okay, so here I've got just a gradient running from, a pure black right through to a midtone, right through to the highlight. And I've got two layers, one on top of each other. I've got a gray layer on top of a red layer. Okay, now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna blend this again, these two layers, based on a luminance value. And the way we do that, we don't do that through channels, we don't do that to anything too complex. Okay, we go into layer and we're gonna go into layer style, blending options, okay. And this dialog will come up. Many of you have seen this dialog. Accidentally maybe come up because you double clicked unto the end and that comes up and you go I don't really know what to do with that so I'm just gonna hit okay. I hope I haven't touched the file in any way, shape or form. But this actually is a good dialog to bring up. Because down this end we have the blend if modes. S...

o the blend if modes are basically two layers as you see them there. Pretty much mimicking what I've got here except one's red and one isn't. Okay, with a tonal range from zero to and the bottom tonal range, once again being from zero to 255. Now these little flags that you see on either side. They're not set in stone. In other words we can move those, okay? So in the top layer, if I move that from left to right as I start moving it. What am I doing? I'm revealing, what's underneath. On the right hand side. I start to bring it in from the left. What am I doing? I'm revealing what's underneath. So now I've just, actually from the top layer all I'm using is this middle section. So if you had two layers and of different exposures and you wanted the midtones from one and the shadows from another. We could blend the two layers using this technique. Now, so far so good except that the straight line that you see on either side of that gradient means that the transition is quite hard. Okay, so what we need to do we need to soften that transition. So how do we do that? Pretty simply, on the keyboard we hit the Alt key and we click unto the flag. The shadow flag. Okay, and as I click on that and I move it to the right I get a feather. Okay? And I'll do the same with the highlight. And now you have a beautiful feathered selection that just selects your midtones. Isn't that awesome? I get excited about stuff like this. (audience chuckles) So, just assuming now I just wanted shadows for my particular image. There it is. There's my shadows. Okay? I just wanted highlights. I just wanted tones that were roughly about there. Yeah? And it's nice beautiful feathered selection. So imagine like you have an image. And we try to tone it, but we only wanna apply a tone to a certain area of the image. This is how we would do it. So let's see that in the real world. Let's see how we can make this work for us. Okay, I'm gonna open up a, an image. Let's have a look, let's go back to the clouds. We'll go back to the cloud image. And we'll open that up as a file, as an image, not as a smart object. Okay. And what I'm gonna do with this, we're gonna go and apply one of my actions which does the color and the luminosity, or the luminosity split, which is another action that's included as part of the course download. Which is really, really cool. So, color luminance separation, there it is. It's what we did earlier. Okay. So I'm gonna' get rid of the color now. And I'm gonna apply a contrast curve. Here. And the way we apply the contrast curve is very simple. It's an S curve. Okay? Any time that we want contrast it becomes an S curve. And if we wanna darken the image, it's the middle point down, okay? And if we wanna brighten the image, it's the middle point up, okay? If we wanna reduce contrast we bring that bottom toe of the curve up and the top down. We've totally got a reduction in contrast, okay? So, for this shot here. I'm going to create a toned black and white of this beautiful sky. And this is how we're going to do it. So here is the sky itself. So now I wanna apply a nice beautiful warm tone to a highlight. How do I do that? I'm gonna go very simply down here into hue and saturation, okay? And I'm gonna hit colorize. Okay? And I'm gonna pick, I'm gonna pick a really nasty color so that you can see how this is working for us. Now a quick way to get to blend if modes is just double clicking outside where it says hue saturation out, out there but just double click. It will bring up this, okay? So now what I do is I move those black points across. Now, you'll notice that it says this layer, an underlying layer, so if I did the add an underlying layer it works the exactly the same way as this layer. But, there are ways, there are times in which you use one and not the other. Okay? If I've got two images one being a darker image and the other being a lighter image and I want to blend them. In other words I wanna take away what the shadows are doing in one and blend it with what the shadows are doing in another. Then I would use this layer. Because what you're telling Photoshop is that this is the layer I want to manipulate, okay? However, if the layer that you're working on is an adjustment layer. Then you gotta tell Photoshop that you want this to happen to underlying layers. So anything that's below. So, this being an adjustment layer of hue and saturation. I gonna take the black point and I'm gonna bring it across. And you can see as I do that it comes away from the black. I'm gonna hit the Alt key and I'm going to feather that right out to 255. And at the moment we've got this apocalyptic sky with green and the zombies are coming out. (mock wail) So, double click again on the hue saturation to bring up the adjustment. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna add a sensible color to the highlight. There it is. Okay, so now I've got a nice beautiful toned sky, right? With, no color coming in the shadows, okay? And, just some highlights colored in the wispy clouds based on the tonal range. Now, let's switch that off, let's color the shadows. Let's go into hue and saturation, okay. And we're gonna hit colorize. And we're gonna make it do a sepia tone with this one. Okay, and we're gonna colorize it. Now, contrary to the belief, sepia tones in the real photographic sense, weren't toned all over. The way that the sepia toner used to work is that it used to attach itself to areas where there was high silver contents. In other words, the shadows. So you always used to get these nice beautiful clean highlights and the shadows were rich with these brown tones, okay? So that's what we're gonna do. That's how we're gonna create the sepia here. So we've created the tone that we want for the overall. But we're gonna take that away from the highlights areas. And the way we do that is really simple. Again, we employ the use of layer style and blending, blend if options. And from the underlying layer we take away that toning of the browness away from the highlights. And we blend that through the shadows. And then we adjust saturation to suit, okay? You see now, it looks very different than just smearing color all over. Now I could make this even more sophisticated by creating another hue and saturation layer on top affecting only highlights. And colorizing that with a lower saturation tone of the same color. Okay, so you're getting a rich tone through the shadow. Same tone through the highlights. Yeah? We're good? Okay, so let's go back to this one here. Okay now, assuming, and let's bring the color information just above the curves layer. Okay, assuming now this is the black and white version. But what happens if we wanna work with color and this type of technique. Well, we can. All I need to do now, because of the technique that I have employed in separating color from luminance which is all pretty cool. I hit on the color, okay. And now I've turned the color image and brought that beautiful warm tone through to those clouds. And now, in fact that color could be more accentuated so, accentuating the colors even more of the sunset and bringing those orange hues in through the highlights. So, there's an incredible amount of control and flexibility working this way, okay? The third method that you can also employ for separating luminance. Is to go into select, color range, okay? And basically go into highlights to select your highlights, okay? And you can pick your range, and your blending of those, okay? It's kinda good if you need to do a quick tone, okay? You can go into midtones and select just midtones. And you can specify where the midtones come in and where they come out. And then, of course, the fuzziness deals with the blending of those. And, then of course, we go into shadows and just being able to select shadows. And this is a good technique as well. It's quick, it's easy. You know, if we wanna apply just a quick selection, it's done. The problem with doing it this way is that a selection is a selection. It's set in stone. Once I've done the selection it's done. The way that I did it earlier with blend if it's a dynamic adjustment. Because what I can do is come back and alter those sliders to bring more shadows, less shadows, bring in highlights, adjust midtones. So you've got these beautiful dynamic play of color that happens. It's not set in stone. For me, working non-destructively is the key. I wanna be able to have a file that I can go down in history and look at it and go, okay, I need to change that, that needs to be altered. I never want to merge down. I never wanna keep it all together. It's not what non-destructive editing is about. When I'm happy with it and I'm finished, all layers get saved. I then flatten to go to print and the like, okay? But the layer master file has all the possible adjustments that you could possibly want to get your luminance done. So, any questions on this part? Yes, Janek, cause I know you. When you create those luminosity mask and so, basically it creates like 20 layers, I think, altogether, right? Yeah. Specially if you edit in 16 bit mode that the files is gonna-- Huge. Get pretty big right? Yeah. Once you're done. Do you keep those layers? No. Or do you just remove them and you can always recreate them? Yeah. Because of the action. And you just click unto the luminance layer. Just recreate them. The action is there, you know. And it's part of the course download, you'll just use it and, you know, when you're done. You know, the action will also, if I just run through the action again. The action will give you the full tonal scale. It will only select midtones for you, okay? It will also delete the zones for you. So if I click that now. All the zones will delete once I've created them. It will just do a broad selection of light areas. And it will do a broad selection of dark areas as well. So all of this is part of the course download, which is pretty awesome, yeah? So you'll be able to control and manipulate tones in a very, very different way. And allow you to interact with the image you know, very, very differently. For me it's always about dynamic editing. Yeah? Nothing set in stone. You can come back, you can change. You can evolve. You know, specially when I'm doing my fine arts stuff. Specially in some of the landscape images that I do. I wanna be able to come back. Think about things differently, change, tweak, you know, and evolve that way. Even in some of my award images, the same process. I will work on something, maybe today, come back to it next week. Maybe change it, maybe tweak it. Different options. You know, rather than just do it set it stone and then I have to come back and spend four hours trying to recreate, you know, forming the layers because, you know, that's what happened, which is not a good thing to do, okay? Working non-destructively is key. Yes? I have a question. This is, kind of a basic question. So I noticed, were you opening your photo from camera RAW into Photoshop? Yeah, yeah. Do you ever open it from Lightroom to Photoshop? Yeah, yeah. And what's your process for doing that? From Lightroom, so if we go back into Lightroom, okay? So, let's go back up here and let's do that. And let's go into Lightroom. In Lightroom there's a couple of different ways of getting to Photoshop, okay? The simplest way, is once you've adjusted a file and you've corrected it. So here's your file. I'm just assuming that we've worked it. I can export it. And I can export it as a TIFF or a PSD in a particular color space. I'll export it and then I'll go to the folder and I'll open it in Photoshop. That's one way. The other way, is assuming now, let's make some changes to this. Let's go into develop module and, the spinning wheel of death on the Mac has come up, which is great. And I'm just gonna quickly, warm it up. Bring up the shadows a bit more, there we go. Cool. Okay, the other way is, right click unto it, edit in, Adobe Photoshop. It will tell you render using Lightroom, which is what we wanna do. It's because I haven't updated camera RAW on this yet, that's why. Using beta profile instead of working space. And there it is with the adjustments I've made to the file. Cool. Another way, let's have a look at another way, okay? So, another way is to just take an image and drag it into the Photoshop icon. In which case it will open in camera RAW. Okay? Another way again. Too many options Adobe, what are you doing to me? I need to stick to one but I can't. Okay? So there are all the different ways of getting to Photoshop. Now, why I prefer sometimes camera RAW as opposed to Lightroom? If I'm doing one-offs, in other words, If I'm working on an art piece and I need to open it as a smart object because I'm blending different tonal ranges and I'm gonna get really funky with it. I will go camera RAW. Because I can create that relationship with the smart object. In Lightroom you can't quite do that. Once you come into Lightroom it's a one way street for that RAW file. You can come into Photoshop, but you can't go back as a smart object. At least I don't think you can. No, you can't. You can't come back that way. You can go this way. But you can't go back the other way. Okay? Cool? So that's how you get to open all these amazing files.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Rocco's Photoshop Actions
Rocco's Printer Evaluation Files
Color & Luminosity Seperation Action

Ratings and Reviews

Roberto Valenzuela

I honestly consider many courses to be great, but optional. However, this course by Rocco Ancora is a MUST! It helps the photographer complete the circle of being a photographic artist. Our job doesn't end at the edit, it ends with the print. When your clients can hold and enjoy your creative vision physically, that is when the magic of being a photographer happens. I have been so fortunate to travel the world teaching and meeting some of the best photographers in the world. That being said, I can say with confidence that nobody can teach this combination of Photoshop retouching / fine-art printing better than Rocco Ancora. I believe in this class so much, I traveled to Seattle to attend this course to be part of the live studio audience. I have never done that before. But that's how important I consider this material to be. I am so happy I took the time to go and learn from the man himself. Now, I will get this course to watch it, dissect it, study it, and practice it. Very excited to see how the knowledge in this course will propel my career further. --Roberto Valenzuela

a Creativelive Student

I was fortunate enough to attend this class in person and got to experience Rocco's prints in person. The quality is absolutely breathtaking and a game changer, Learning these skills will really help my business in a number of ways. In the past, I have had a difficult time convincing clients to purchase typical lab prints through my studio, as opposed to buying them through Walmart or Costco where the quality was "close enough." Rocco's method that he shared in this class creates three dimensional images of unmatched quality and images that just jump off the page. The knowledge from this course will empower me to help run a sustainable business and thrive as a photographer. You would be foolish to not learn these methods and incorporate them into your business. Highly Recommend!!

April S.

I have invested time into learning Lightroom and Photoshop, my own gear, and my particular photographic style, but the one thing I am really lacking is a solid understanding about preparing an image for print, and the various print options (e.g., paper types). When I saw this course come up on the CL schedule it caught my eye immediately so I RSVP'd for the live broadcast. I was at work when it started and couldn't watch at that time. I do listen in from work sometimes, but after 2 minutes of listening to this course I realized it was one I really needed to watch closely and focus on. So, I stopped the stream after a couple minutes and bought the course. I have never done that before. I always wait and watch as much as I can in the initial broadcast (or rebroadcast) to decide if a course is one that I really should spend for. I knew right away though that Rocco was presenting the very information I was lacking and needed, and I wanted it! In addition, it was clear to me after looking him up online that he's a consummate professional with lots of experience and his delivery style even in just the couple of minutes that I listened reflected that. I already have X-rite ColorMunki Display and Colorchecker, a good monitor, and I have a photo printer (Canon Pixma Pro-100) but I'm lacking that technical understanding of color and know I'm not using my resources to their fullest. I use my Canon Pixma to test-print images before uploading to the print service I use. My method isn't ideal since the service uses different printers and ink, and paper depending on what I choose, but at least I have a much better idea of what my image file will give me in print form. After Rocco's course I believe I will be much better equipped to prepare my images and choose the options best suited to each image. I'll still test print if only because it's fun to see something on paper, but I expect the results I get from the print service to be much better once I really know how to put this knowledge to work for me.

Student Work