2 Minute Tricks # 12 – Vivid

November 2nd, 2005

This week we are going to look at how to make dull photos incredibly vivid and even kind of dream like.

The show’s step by step guide is available here and here.

Note: If you are downloading directly from the web page click here to download.


Step by Step Guide

Step 1: First open up and image in Photoshop and duplicated the background layer by dragging the layer in the layer pallet to the button on the layer pallet that looks like a sticky note.

Step 2: Change the blending mode of duplicate layer from normal to multiply by selecting little popup menu at the top of the layers pallet that says normal, and then selecting the multiply option. You image should get a whole lot darker.

Step 3: Create a new levels adjustment layer by clicking the button on the layers pallet that looks like a circle that is half white and half black and select the levels option from the list that pops up.

Step 4: A new level dialog box will pop open. You should see a graph with three little arrows underneath it. Move the white arrow on the right side of the graph left to lighten your image back up. You might also have to move the middle grey arrow the left also. The amount you need to lighten depends on your image. Just keep an eye on your image as you make the adjustments and get something that looks good to you. Since this is an adjustment layer, you can always come back to this dialog later to fine-tune the settings by double clicking on the left half of the layer in the layers pallet. I like to keep it just a tiny tiny bit on the dark side so the colors are a little richer. When you have settings your happy with click ok.

Step 5: Now select your copy of your background layer by clicking on it in the layers pallet. Then go to the filter menu and select blur then Gaussian blur. A new blur dialog box will pop open. Enter 25 in to the radius box. This will blur your image, but because of the blending mode of the layer you will still have a lot of sharp detail. Depending on the size of your image you might need more or less blur, but 25 seems to be an excellent starting place. Click OK.

Step 6: To add some more vividness to the image create a new saturation adjustment layer by going to the half black half white circle button on the tools pallet and selecting the hue saturation option. A new dialog box will pop open. Drag the saturation slider to the right while keeping an eye on your image. I used about +26 on the saturation slider, but again, the amount you use will depend on your image. You want to accentuate the colors but not make them so over the top that that it looks ultra fake.

Step 7: If your happy with your image just save a copy of it and enjoy. If not, try adjusting your levels and hue saturation adjustment layers to get setting that you do like. Also you can use layer masks to block these adjustments on parts of you image. On my example I masked the sky in the hue saturation adjustment layer so that it didn’t look quite so over the top.

Entry Filed under: Podcast

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jkimberling  |  November 20th, 2005 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I had some images from my Italy trip that were seriously lacking due to ugly overcast day & now they are so much better!

  • 2. Michael  |  December 2nd, 2005 at 8:17 pm

    I already had ways to digitally duplicate every one of my film camera filters except for one — my pastel filter. Lo and behold, this 2 minute trick pretty much gives me the effect I was searching for… never would have thought of going at it in this manner. Thanks!

  • 3. Howard Chalkley  |  January 30th, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Even simpler: duplicate image onto a second layer; set blend to soft light, and blur

  • 4. Sam  |  August 23rd, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    Sweet! Thanks a ton! I think this just became a staple.

  • 5. Mohsen  |  September 7th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks a lot! blurring a multiplied layer causes really amazing effect!

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