Landscape Photography: Dynamic Contrast in Photoshop

9/16/2016 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

One of Blake Rudis´ favourite features in ON1 Effects 10 and Topaz Clarity is Dynamic Contrast. Both Plugins allow you to increase the contrast in your images in ways you could only dream of in Photoshop. Or is there a way in achieve the Dynamic Contrast look in Photoshop?

Blake Rudis explains on YouTube and on his blog, how to create Dynamic Contrast in Photoshop:

After putting a few minutes of thought into it, I remembered an old technique I used in the past of applying an Unsharp Mask to a High Pass filter. At the time I didn't really know what I had stumbled upon, but apparently, that was the start of achieving Dynamic Contrast in Photoshop.

The idea is based on the rule of the Soft Light Blend Mode. Whatever is Neutral Grey will remain unharmed, whatever is Black will get darker and white will get lighter, but never pure black or white. A High Pass Sharpen gets you on the right track, but it needs the boost of the Unsharp Mask to make the contrast more prominent.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to get the Dynamic Contrast look on your images and also share with you 3 Actions that will do the heavy lifting for you. Here is the basic rundown:

1. Duplicate the Background Layer

2. Make a High Pass on the Background layer set to something rather high anywhere from 8-25 (depending on the resolution of your photo, higher for high-resolution images)

3. Desaturate the HighPass Layer by pressing Command or Ctrl+SHIFT+U

4.Run an Unsharp Mask on the High Pass Layer

5.Adjust the Threshold, Radius, and Amount to Taste

6. Using Blend Modes, Opacity and Blend If to adjust the effect.

7. Use a clipping mask Curves Adjustment Layer to modify the effect even further.

About Blake Rudis : is a High Dynamic Range photography blog dedicated to being a 100% free HDR resource. There are a plethora of tutorials, tips, and great photos to stroll through. After checking out this Youtube channel, why don't you head on over to!

Text, image and video via f64 Academy

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