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Here's a way to quickly perk up a sunset, using just blend modes.

Let's start with a basic sunset picture. This is a view over Madrid a couple of weeks ago.

sunset1.thumb.jpg.24f2746620f17dce1d6901bdcb45fbc7.jpg

Now duplicate this layer twice (Ctrl-J, Ctrl-J), then turn off the top layer (check mark on right in layers panel).

Select the middle layer. Invert it (Ctrl-I). Change Blend mode to Luminosity (drop-down box at top of layers panel that says 'Normal').

sunset2.thumb.jpg.7e58e6ae1f2524f4a4f37bd30b267c66.jpg

Hmm. A bit strong. Turn Opacity (top of layers panel) down to 50%.

sunset3.thumb.jpg.a94e134f47ee88defeaf5730d64eeef3.jpg

Now we have (a) interesting colours in sky and, notably, (b) grey elsewhere (the invert turns darks into lights which turned down are grey). So we can use a contrast mode blend which ignores greys. So turn on the top layer (box at right of layer) and set blend mode to Hard Light.

sunset4.thumb.jpg.496ad209a092e06cea3d2b4686cee5b5.jpg

Ole. A perkier sunset. You can play with the blend modes of layers. The middle layer, for example, is also good with Colour Dodge.

If the result is a bit too colourful for you, you can always add a HSL layer above and turn down the saturation. So it looks something like this.

sunset5.thumb.jpg.0a6cd1dcd33df62988a89ee010363527.jpg

This shows something of the joys of using blend modes. To get something similar could take a lot of twiddling, while this was a few seconds (well, actually a bit longer first time as I was just playing around to see what happens).


Dave Straker

Cameras: Sony A7R2, RX100V

Computers: Win10: Chillblast i9 Custom + Philips 40in 4K & Benq 23in; Surface Pro 4 i5; iPad Pro 11"

Favourite word: Aha. For me and for others.

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