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Library: Creative Design

 

Right subject, wrong time of day? Shift time with a Gradient Layer Map

Added on Saturday 4th of July 2009 09:23 am EST

 
Application > Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2
Operating Systems >Macintosh, Microsoft Windows
 

 

When shooting a photo, not only is the choice of subject important to the composition, but the time of day you shoot plays an important role as well. A photo taken at 8:00 a.m. doesn't quite convey the same early morning quality of the same subject taken even an hour or two later. Many factors contribute to this, such as angle of the sun, temperature of the air, and color temperature of the lighting source. Though many times you may have the option of photographing at the time of day you want, there are times when you can't. While perhaps nothing but some serious photo editing can change the angle of the sun, you can easily change a more dominant factor - the time of day, as we did in Figure A. To do so, we'll use a Photoshop feature that might surprise you-gradient maps.

A gradient map is a gradient that Photoshop applies, i.e., maps, to an image based on the image's tonality, i.e., its highlights, mid tones, and shadow areas. Photoshop maps the colors in a gradient from right to left, highlight to shadows. If, for example, you were to apply a gradient map that progresses from red to green, as shown in Figure B, the image highlights would appear green, the shadows would be red, and the mid tones would be the shades in between, as shown in Figure C.

Photoshop enables you to apply a gradient map to an image in one of two ways. You can apply it directly to the image itself, or you can apply it to an adjustment layer. When applied to an adjustment layer, you can edit the gradient map as well ...