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Darkening effects

I have a question concerning techniques used to darken images before editing them (i.e., for icons/graphics). Most tutorials I use involve processes that brighten the image, and while skipping those steps is usually the easiest way to solve this problem, it doesn't always work. And sometimes, if the brightness isn't addressed, the desired effect for the icon doesn't come across :/

I've rarely found tutorials that involve darkening too bright images (and no, I am not asking for links to tutorials, mods).

What I'm asking for is techniques/explanations/recommendations on steps to help darken images that are too bright for some tutorials. I would like to learn how to do this. Do you use a Levels layer? A Curves layer? I don't need explanations on how to use Levels/Curves, but my problem is, I usually use those Adjustment layers to brighten the image, and it's hard (for me, personally) to take that knowledge and flip it to make an image darker. Not all images are the same, too.

I've been making icons for six years, but I'm still learning every time I put out a batch. I hate skipping images because I can't find a way to make them dark enough to look good using my coloring effects. I'd appreciate any advice/explanations you can offer on how to make images darker.

I use Photoshop CS2, by the way.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
coldintheinside
Jan. 5th, 2011 06:57 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if this helps, but I will use the brightness/ contrast layer first. I personally think that the brightness/ contrast layer allows less drastic changes.

I don't really like using the levels layer. But it is possible.
The curves layer makes drastic changes (to me) but it works too.

Good luck!

PS. Actually I don't really change the brightness of the image when it's too bright, I'll change the settings of the tutorial a little so that it fits.
minimoy
Jan. 5th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
What exactly do you change on the B/C layer? Lower the brightness and up the contrast?


I usually do that, but at some point, that just gets to be tedious. It'd be easier if I could just darken the original image to fit the tutorial colorings better.

Thank you!
coldintheinside
Jan. 5th, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
I lower the brightness until it's dark enough, but I won't really touch the contrast layer. You might want to lower it too, but not as much as the brightness one.

Haha, IKR, I was editing my photos from a holiday trip (over thousands) and I has to change a little settings in every photo because the coloring just doesn't suit some of them. It's tiring; and I didn't finish them.
minimoy
Jan. 5th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, really? Alright, then, I'll try that :)

Yeah D: I know it. I mean, that's usually what I do, is try to change settings on layers and what not, to fit each image, but I just get so tired of it. I usually spend more time trying to make the original image darker because that's usually what the issue is. If I change too much in my coloring, I lose the desired effect at some point D:

Thanks again :)
coldintheinside
Jan. 5th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
Haha yeah I get what you mean (:

Good luck!
jaxart
Jan. 5th, 2011 08:02 am (UTC)
I thought your request was interesting because normally we always want to brighten the image...so I played around with this over exposed photo: http://www.fotothing.com/photos/a97/a976b44fa229ffef95c4da830db98703.jpg

I experimented with Brightness/Contrast, Levels, and Curves.
I got the best result from Curves but it took the most manipulation.

I also tried just a blank black fill layer and set it to "overlay" @ 100% and got almost the exact same result.
minimoy
Jan. 5th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
I know it, I agree. I mean, most images ARE too dark, but I have plenty that are either at a decent lighting where brightening them ruins the image in the tutorial, or they're too bright (i.e, Lady Gaga pictures).

Thank you, I'll try that.
fromyourashes
Jan. 5th, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC)
I tend to mess around with variations and darken it that way a little bit, then add an exclusion layer or two, then try a light orange/red set to multiply. Sometimes duplicating the original image and setting to multiply 25% (depending on the image) can help, but I usually spent an inordinate amount of time trying to balance it all out so it's got some contrast. Levels works for me, too, so just do the opposite of what you'd normally do. Mess around a little. If worse comes to worse, duplicate the original and see what you can achieve with the burn tool. Very carefully go over the prominent facial features (or whatever part you're trying to highlight) with it set to 1pt and see if that helps. Eyebrows, lips, cheekbones, when they're darker, can help hide the brightness of other features.
minimoy
Jan. 5th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
I'll try that, thank you. I've tried multiply, but it doesn't ALWAYS help. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. But thank you :)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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