The Paintshop Darkroom is an easy place to work - for sure it's far
easier than it was way back when real chemicals and photographic papers
were the norm.
Anyone who ever enjoyed working in a wet darkroom knows just how
onerous it could be to fix an under exposed or an over exposed image -
but darn -
it sure was fun at the same time
darkroom career fixing an over or under exposed image was pretty much
guess work but with more experience
it became much easier to make an educated guess.
Luckily, this is one of the photo challenges that's really quite easy
resolve in thePaintshop
Early on in my Paintshop
darkroom days I typically tried to fix an exposure problem using what
seemed to be the all powerful adjustment - Brightness/Contrast.
While this adjustment seems to be the answer it really doesn't work
Now I've learned many different and effective techniques to deal with
problems in my Paintshop darkroom including ...
Dodging and Burning with a
Soft Light Layer and a Wacom
If you look around the site you will find most of these topics have
been covered in detail, however let's look at two Blend Modes that do a
fabulous job fixing exposure problems in your Paintshop darkroom plus
they are very easy to use, quick and really effective.
In truth - you will rarely find one technique that will resolve all of
the problems that may show up in an image. While this tutorial
concentrates on two specific Blend Modes you will find that some other
techniques will be needed after the initial changes are made.
Typically this will include the Soft Light dodge and burn layer after
changing the Blend Modes.
Using blend modes to fix exposure problems is a good plan when the
shot is either under exposed or over exposed.
If only one portion of a shot is too light or too dark then there are
better and more effective methods than using the blend modes - with the
best being dodging and burning.
For an uniformly over or underexposed image here's the recipe ...
exposure (overall the
picture is too dark) - change the blend mode to Screen
Over exposure (overall the picture is too light) - change the blend
mode to Multiply
There are only three simple steps to follow ...
Duplicate the Background Layer.
Change the Blend Mode of the new layer to Multiply (if the
image is too light) or Screen (if the image is too dark).
Duplicate the new layer if more adjustment is needed and
then modify the Opacity to taste.
Starting with an over exposed image - here's one to start with ...
Following the recipe above ...
Palette Blend Mode Changed to
The change in Blend Mode certainly made a difference - perhaps a bit
more than what is desired. That is easy to remedy by lowering the
opacity of the top layer and here is the result.
The only area that may need some additional work is the platform that
is way too light. This is easy to remedy by dodging and burning
with a soft light layer - here's the image with the platform burned in
with a soft light layer and my Wacom pen.
Much better, don't you think?
Now this shot of a BMW driver busted by two bike cops (for making an
illegal turn - they didn't have to chase him down) is opposite to the
previous picture - it's underexposed.
The Screen Blend Mode will lighten an image that is under exposed (aka
- too dark) and by following the recipe the overall picture is better
but it can be better.
Palette Blend Mode Changed to
Perhaps one additional layer set to Screen Blend Mode would do the
Palette Background Layer Copied
Blend Mode Duplicate
The second duplicate of the Background Copy certainly lightens up the
car and the officer writing the ticket but the background may be a bit
too light now and the windshield of the BMW is just way to bright.
So - let's fix these two problems ...
I highlighted the top layer and then added a new Raster Layer and
changed it's Blend Mode to Soft Light (which made no immediate
difference). This layer needs to be painted with black to darken
or with white to lighten (also known as dodging and burning).
I set the foreground color to Black, set my Wacom Intuos pen to change
Opacity with pressure (in the Brush Variance palette) and very lightly
painted over the light parts of the background (store fronts, sidewalk,
street and signs).
Then I changed the foreground color to white and painted over the two
little Christmas trees to bring out some detail.
The windshield is now way too bright and overpowering. It could
be fixed, to some degree with the dodge and burn technique used in the
previous step but it wasn't enough.
Ideally, an earlier version of the windshield is a much better choice
and this is what I decided to to.
You can use the eraser to eliminate the windshield on the Copy of
Background Layer but that is so permanent - a Mask Layer is a much
Summary of Under Exposure
What all of this shows is that more than one Paintshop darkroom
adjustment is generally needed to get a picture where you want it to be.
In this example a copy of the Background layer was
made and the Blend Mode was changed to Screen.
This wasn't quite enough so a copy of the new layer
which seemed to lighten up the important parts of the image.
Unfortunately, the background and windshield suffered - they are now
much too light.
To darken up the background a Soft Light Layer was
added and black
was painted (with a Wacom pen) to darken up the lightest parts of the
image. The foreground color was then switched to white and the
Christmas trees were lightened up to bring out a bit of detail.
The final problem was that the windshield was far too
this was fixed with a Mask Layer (which essentially punches a hole
through the top layer so an underlying layer can be seen).
There you go - an effective method in your Paintshop Darkroom to
resolve an exposure problem with your images.