Deke’s Techniques #12: Creating a high key, high contrast effect

Published by | Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

In this week’s free video technique, Deke shares his recipe for taking an ordinary portrait and turning it into something visually striking by adding a high key, high contrast effect. The tools are reasonably simple: a color adjustment layer, a few passes with the dodge and burn tools, a convenient roughly drawn layer mask, and a gradient to finish the effect off. But the result is sophisticated and compelling. I’ve seen plenty of high key treatments that render images flat and jarring, but with Deke’s thoughtful approach, you can crank up the highlights, increase the contrast, and yet still maintain volume in the detail. Take a look at the before and after effects:


Every week, Deke shares a new free technique with everyone here on the blog. Meanwhile, members have access to exclusive Deke’s Techniques videos inside the Online Training Library®. In about ten minutes, Deke shares his particular approach to Photoshop and Illustrator effects that you put to use in your own projects. Deke’s techniques is a quick way to add to your graphics repertoire, and if you need more in-depth training, you can rely on Deke’s One-on-One courses to provide the background and deep-dive information you need.

And we’ll see you here next week for another free technique from Deke.

Related links:
Deke’s Techniques
courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®
courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®

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