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This chapter is from the book

Darkening a Part Line

Since the human eye is drawn to the brightest part of an image, you don’t want your viewer’s eye drawn to the part in your subject’s hair. Sometimes that’s the case, but luckily for us, it’s a pretty quick fix. This is one of those retouches that you may not have to do to every portrait, but when you need it—it makes a big difference.

  • Step One: Here’s the image we’re working on, and if you look at the part in her hair, it’s just wide enough, and the light is positioned in just such a way, that it accentuates the part line and draws your attention up there. So, we’re going to darken that area to make it appear thinner and less noticeable. Start by pressing Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to duplicate the Background layer.
  • Step Two: Change the duplicate layer’s blend mode to Multiply. Notice how much darker her part looks compared to Step One. Of course, the rest of the image is way too dark, but we’ll fix that in a minute.
  • Step Three: Since we only want the part area darker, press-and-hold the Option (PC: Alt) key, and click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (it’s circled in red here). This adds a black layer mask, hiding the darkened layer.
  • Step Four: Now, get the Brush tool (B), choose a medium-sized, soft-edged brush, and make sure your Foreground color is set to white. Start painting over the part area to darken it. If you think it looks too dark, you can always lower the layer’s Opacity, although I didn’t do that here. You can see before and after images on the next page.
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