Nighttime Digital Photography with Adobe Photoshop CS3

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Did you try to take the same kind of pictures, but they came out too dark or overexposed where there were lights and underexposed where there were shadows? Nighttime Digital Photography With Adobe Photoshop CS3 was written with the intent of showing you how to take nighttime photos and how to do it effectively. What you will need to work with this book is of course a camera. While using a Digital SLR camera is recommended to take nighttime photos, a less expensive point and shoot model will work as well if it either has a nighttime mode or slow shutter speed capability.

If you register your book, you can download the images used in the lessons. CS3 is the version of Photoshop used in the book, but older versions can be used for most of the techniques. Nighttime Digital Photography is pages long contained in 12 chapters and three parts each four chapters long.

The computer options are explained with regard to hardware, following up with two chapters on Adobe Photoshop. The first is an overview of the basics of Photoshop and the second is about working with Layers within Photoshop and why this is important. This part begins with a discussion on how to compose night images and nighttime perspectives.

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The use of shadows, reflections, and color can bring out amazing shots. Carucci makes it simple with this book by explaining all of the conditions that influence the night photograph. It's one of the few night photography books that I've seen, and certainly the most applicable in the digital age. Carucci addresses various available light situations by explaining both the photography and Photoshop aspects.

I found this approach unique -- since it seems that most books out there concentrate on one or the other - yet both are necessary to be successful. Carucci's writing style is clear and concise, and his examples are stellar. Not only do you learn how to take a night photograph and enhance it in Photoshop, but he also provides lessons at the end of each chapter that reiterate what was discussed while at the same time introducing new techniques.

One project on perspective control takes you on a step-by-step lesson to fixing a tilted building, but then it includes a simple effect to intensify the twilight sky.

Nighttime Digital Photography with Adobe Photoshop CS3

It's those little touches that separate this book from the others. While the book doesn't come with any extras CD, DVD the project images are downloadable over the web. If I have one criticism for this book, it's that some of the pictures could be bigger. But being that this is a technique book, and not a monograph, it's something I could live with. See all 3 reviews. There's a problem loading this menu right now.

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The noise in the document window will look a little bit softer. We've done everything we need to do on the Stars layer for the time being. At this point, we need to see our original photo again. Problem is, our original photo is being blocked from view by the Stars layer above it, so we need a way to temporarily hide the Stars layer. We can do that by clicking on its layer visibility icon, which looks like a little eyeball on the left side of the layer in the Layers panel.

Once you've clicked on it, the eyeball will disappear, leaving only an empty square icon, indicating that the layer is now turned off. The original photo will once again be visible in the document:. With the noise temporarily hidden, use the selection tool of your choice to draw a selection around the sky so that only the sky the area where we want the stars to appear is selected, while everything below the sky the area where we don't want the stars to appear is not selected.

Depending on your image, you may be able to get away with simply clicking inside the sky area with the Magic Wand , or you may need to use a different selection tool, like Photoshop's Lasso Tool , Quick Selection Tool or the Pen Tool. In my case, since everything below the sky is a building or tower made up mostly of straight lines, I'll use the Polygonal Lasso Tool.

Here's my image with the sky selected:. With the sky now selected, click once again on the layer visibility icon for the Stars layer in the Layers panel to turn the noise back on in the document:.

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This adds a layer mask to the Stars layer, and a layer mask thumbnail appears in the Layers panel. Photoshop fills the selected sky area with white on the layer mask, while the unselected area below the sky is filled with black:. With layer masks , white-filled areas of the layer remain visible in the document while black areas are hidden from view, and we can see with my image that the noise now appears only in the sky:.

You're right, we're not quite done yet. Let's turn all that noise into some stars using a Levels adjustment layer, which we'll do next! We're going to turn all that ugly noise into some stars, and we'll do that using a Levels adjustment.

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Now we could use a regular Levels image adjustment by going up to the Image menu at the top of the screen, choosing Adjustments , and then choosing Levels, but we don't want to do that. In fact, we almost never want to do that. And when I say "almost", I mean never, as in we never, ever want to do that. The reason is because we would be making permanent changes to our image, and why make something permanent when you don't have to?

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Why not give yourself the freedom to go back anytime and make changes, without having to worry about harming the image in any way? You can give yourself that freedom in Photoshop by using adjustment layers , which are special layers that do the exact same thing as regular image adjustments, but without making any permanent changes to the image! In this case, we're going to use a Levels adjustment layer. This time though, we're not going to bother naming the layer. We want to select one of the other options in the dialog box. By selecting this option, any adjustments we make in the Levels dialog box will affect only the layer directly below it our Stars layer.

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The original image on the Background layer will not be affected. Click inside the checkbox to select the option, then click OK to close out of it:. In CS3 and earlier, a separate Levels dialog box will appear. The most prominent feature in Levels is the histogram , a black graph resembling a mountain range which shows us the current tonal range of the image, or in our case, of the layer directly below the adjustment layer the Stars layer.

Below the histogram are three small sliders - a black one on the left, a white one on the right and a gray one in the middle. Normally, we use these sliders to adjust the contrast in an image, but in this case, we're simply going to use them to reduce the amount of noise we're seeing on our Stars layer so that what we're left with looks more like, well, stars!

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First, click on the white slider and drag it a little towards the left. As you drag, you'll see the noise in the image becoming brighter. You won't need to drag this slider very far.