The object of this exercise is to enhance the subject by dulling or fading the background of the image.
This image was “enriched” by using the “Clarity”, “Vibrance” and “Shadows” sliders in Adobe’s Camera Raw post processing software which is included with Photoshop Elements. I wanted our puppy Crispin to have richer fur colours and bring out they eyes more by reducing the dark portion of the histogram. The problem is that this affects the leaves surrounding Crispin as well. The object of this exercise is to dull the leaves down while leaving Crispin’s colours rich and vibrant.
In this image I took the same original and dulled it down by desaturating the image. This can of course be done selectively for just the leaves, but for the purpose for this layer mask demonstration I desaturated the entire image.
Here both images are loaded into Photoshop Elements. The dulled image stacked on top of the rich image. You do this by “Opening” the first image and then “Placing” the second image by using the “File” menu. The object is to cut a hole through the top layer to reveal the desired portion of the rich layer below it.
This is achieved by adding a layer mask to the top layer and painting with black over the portion you want to remove from the top layer in order to reveal the layer below it.
The final Result Of course the same result can be achieved by using a desaturation brush to dull the leaves. This would be a lot quicker. Have a look at the full demonstration by clicking the embedded video below.