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Using Big Blue and Green With Envy

Video Tutorial

Big Blue

Big Blue is meant to give you a fast and easy way to enhance skies.  It will deepen the blues, and add contrast and separation between clouds and open sky.  Using Big Blue requires a little layer masking.  You’ll notice that immediately after the action is run, there is no change to the photo.  This is perfectly normal.  To use Big Blue:

  1. Run the Big Blue action
  2. Select the Gradient Tool
  3. Change your foreground color to white and your background color to black.  (pressing “d” then “X” is a quick way to accomplish this
  4. Click on a point about halfway between the top of the photo and the horizon line, drag downward to the horizon and release the mouse button.  The line you draw should be roughly perpendicular to the horizon.
  5. If there are any features sticking above the horizon that you don’t want the action to affect (i.e. people, trees, or buildings), use the brush tool with black as the foreground color to subtract them from the action.

A couple other notes:

  • Big Blue won’t create beautiful blue skies from photos of overcast days.  It can only enhance what’s already there.  It can do great things with hazy skies, but gray skies will still be gray.
  • Green With Envy and Yin/Yang operate in very similar ways, and they can all be used together to either further enhance skies, or to highlight other areas of the photo.

Green With Envy

Green With Envy livens up stuff that grows.  Trees, foliage, flowers – it’s all fair game.  Green With Envy requires some layer mask work to produce its result.  Immediately after the action is run, there will be no visible change.  To use Green With Envy:

  1. Run the Green With Envy action
  2. Select the brush tool
  3. Change your foreground color to white (hit “d” then “x”)
  4. Brush over areas in the photo that you want to liven up

Some other random tips:

  • Green With Envy works on anything that needs some more “pop,” though it was written primarily for vegetation.  Skies are fair game, shiny things… experiment!
  • You can exercise some more fine control over the results by expanding the resulting layer set, and adjusting the opacity of the layers inside.  You can control the saturation (green bump) and the contrast (green contrast) added in the action independently.  For instance, if shadows are blocking up where the action is applied, you can pull back the opacity of the contrast layer.  You can get even crazier by using the layer mask to control the effect locally, instead of using opacity.