In this excerpt of a CreativeLive class, Jack Davis shows you that the lighting that you captured in your images is not carved in stone. He shows you an interesting HDR workflow where he blends three exposures from an interior scene. Instead of simply merging them and letting the tone mapping decide what the final look will be, he takes control by blending them manually. By doing so, you can create light where you want it and give a scene a whole new mood.
Working completely non-destructive
The first thing that Jack does is to load all the files into a single Photoshop document and use layer masks to hide and reveal the parts that he wants in the final image.
Then he uses the Blend If Layer Style (one of the little secrets in Photoshop that not many people know) to automatically hide the dark parts of an underexposed exposure and blend the lighter parts very smoothly with the remaining exposures.
The final trick that Jack uses in this class and that you will learn from this video is that you can merge the exposures that you are blending via a Smart Object and work on this object (effectively the merged image) as it if was a single layer.
Jack exploits this feature to use Adobe Camera Raw filter and take advantage of its unique features.
By creating a single smart object from a whole set of layers, you can work entirely non-destructive all the way through in your manual blending workflow. That is, you can revert any changes that you do in ACR to the Smart Object, but you can also open the Smart Object at any time and access all the layers again to change the way they are blended.
I am always looking for new ways to keep things non-destructive, and that is the ultimate trick to me. Check out the video and try it yourself.
Watch the full video