How to make an Ansel Adams landscape in Photoshop: steps 10-18
10 Lighten the water
Click New in the Adjustment Brush settings to the top-right, then click to set a second pin in the patch of water at the front. We can use another adjustment to lighten the reflection. Paint over the water, reset the previous settings, then set Exposure to +1.45, Contrast to +18 and Clarity to +33.
11 Burn the rocks
The rocks look a little too bright. Set a new pin on them then paint over the area. Try ticking Auto-Mask to snap onto the edges of the rocks as you paint. Set Exposure to -1.25. Next, set a fourth pin and paint over the right side of the mountain, then set Exposure to +0.80 and Contrast to +25.
12 Add a vignette
Press N for one more pin and set it in the bottom-left corner. Paint over the lower left and right sides left then set Exposure to -0.50 to darken down the areas. This kind of subtle vignette helps to draw the eye into the image. Paint over the clouds on the left too.
13 Fix the noise
Go to the Detail panel and double-click the Zoom tool for 100% view. Tackle grainy noise by setting the Luminance slider to 45. Next, apply sharpening. Set Amount to 48 and Radius to 0.8. Double-click the Hand tool to zoom out, then hold Alt and drag the Masking slider to 31 to mask the sharpening.
14 Open in Photoshop
Click the blue text below the image window to access the workflow options. Set Depth to 16 Bits/Channel for the highest possible quality, then click OK. Next, click the Open Image button to the bottom-right to render the changes made in Camera Raw and open the image into Photoshop.
15 Make a ‘dodge-burn’ layer
Hold Alt and click the New Layer icon to access the New Layer box. Name it ‘Dodge Burn’. Set the blending mode to Overlay, tick ‘Fill with Overlay-neutral colour’ and click OK. Grab the Brush tool, press D then X to set to white. Press 1 for 10% Opacity, then paint over the smaller clouds to lighten them slightly.
16 Merge a copy
Press X to flip the colour to black, then paint to burn in any areas that look a little too bright, such as the small patch of grass at centre bottom. When you’re happy, press Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+Alt+E to merge a copy of both layers, then right-click the layer and choose Convert to Smart Object.
17 Apply High Pass sharpening
Go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Set Radius to 2.3 and click OK, then go to the blending mode drop-down at the top of the Layers panel and choose Overlay. This creates a nice sharpening effect. If you think the sharpening is too strong or weak, double-click the smart filter and tweak.
18 Correct the banding
The gradient applied to the sky has led to some noticeable banding. To fix this, press Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+Alt+E again, then go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Set Amount to 2 and Distribution to Gaussian, and tick Monochromatic. Don’t worry if the grain looks strong: it’s less so when printed.
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