Advanced Filters using Layer Mask

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Introduction

Have you ever wished to do advanced color grading for your photos in Clip Studio?
The only problem is that Clip Studio doesn't have some functions that other software have such as controlling the Vibrance- Exposure- Whites balance- Shadow balance etc...
Or is that really the case?
In this tutorial I will show you that by using Layer Mask and other functions in Clip paint studio, you could create your own personalized tools, that can actually be comparable to any other program.
I will demonstrate that by showing you how can you make your own personalized vibrance correction layer and download a customizable shadow recovery correction layer!

Before we start

Before we start, it is important that you know how to use the Auto Action Palette. the Auto Action palette is a palette that allows you to record multiple operations and run these operations in one go. Essentially, it allows you to record almost every action you make in the program, and reuse them later, to avoid wasting your time repeating the same steps. I will explain briefly how to set it up and how to use it so that we are all on the same page.

[1] Go to Window tab and make sure the Auto Action is checked.

[2] It should appear somewhere in your work space, once you locate it, press on the little icon shown in the picture above. Make sure that Button mode is NOT checked.

[3] Click on create new auto action set . And choose a proper name. Don't worry much about as you can easily change the name later. (A set can contain multiple Auto Actions Think of it as a container).

[4] You can also name your Auto Action, so name it however you like.

In the above picture are some important functions that you should be familiar with:

[a] Start to record Auto Action. This is self explanatory, when you decide that you want totart recording, this is where to click.

[b] Start to play Auto Action. When you are done recording and want to play the Auto Action you click it.

[c] Add a new Auto Action to current Auto Action set.

[d] Delete selected Auto Action.

If you want to further enrich your knowledge about Auto Actions, I recommend you read the user guide (link below)

https://www.clip-studio.com/site/gd_en/csp/userguide/csp_userguide/605_action_plt/605_action_plt_0.htm

A small word about Layer Mask

Masking is a function that hides portions of a layer. Think about when someone wears a mask, he/she essentially "hid" their faces.
Layer Mask is a very valuable composting tool. With masks you are able to apply an effect to certain parts of an image only.

To learn more about Masks I recommend you read the excellent Clip Studio Paint User guide:

https://www.clip-studio.com/site/gd_en/csp/userguide/csp_userguide/500_menu/500_menu_layer_mask.htm

Vibrance Filter

What is vibrance? Vibrance is a function that intensifies colors like the saturation function, however it also protects the flesh tones from over saturation.
This is an extremely useful function which we will be implementing following these steps:

[1] Open any picture you want to apply this effect on.

[2] Find the auto action panel and start recording.
Note: All of your actions are recorded, so make sure not to do extra unnecessary steps .(If that happens, you will have to redo the recording, or adjust it manually) .

[3] Let’s start by copying our layer using the shortcut (ctrl+c) and paste it twice (ctrl+v)

[4] Go to edit->Convert brightness to opacity.
“Convert brightness to opacity” function basically turns our image into a range of transparency pixels (from white areas (100% transparent) to black areas (opaque)).

[5] Right click on the current layer and choose selection -> create selection. This creates a selection around areas that have more than about 50% opacity value.

[6] Now delete the layer as it is not very important to us, the important thing is the selection that we created, which remains even after deleting the layer.

[7] Now it is time for using Layer masks choose mask selection, so essentially the only parts that will be visible are the ones with opacity value of above 50% (the darker shades).

[8] Next we apply a saturation correction layer and we increase the saturation to 100 then we set the layer to clipping layer.

[9] We combine the correction with the layer below it (our masked layer), so we applied the saturation to pixels that have opacity level of above 50% only.

[10] Now You can stop the Auto Action, adjusting our layer opacity will control the vibrance effect intensity.

Shadow Recovery Filter

In our next example, I will show you how to get a Filter I made (using the same techniques above) called shadow recovery.
To explain it briefly, Shadow recovery is a filter which recovers shadow from dark pictures taken by a camera. You might be thinking that you can use Brightness/contrast or Tone curve to lighten up such pictures. It not always the case though. Below is an example illustrating the difference between the Shadow recovery correction layer and other ones built in.
(Notice how shadow recovery preserves colors)

Here are the steps to obtain this Filter:

[1] Click on the link below (it is a link to the Shadow Recovery Filter I created and shared on ASSETS)

https://assets.clip-studio.com/en-us/detail?id=1756233

[2] Click on the Download button.

[3] A prompt will appear, click on Allow or Open link (it depends on what web browser you are using) .

[4] You download will start and you should see it inside Clip Studio Paint material tab once its done.
Hint you can use the search field to find it.

[5] Drag and drop the material to the Auto Action palette

[6] Open you picture and click on Start to play auto action button.

[7] Adjust the two tone curves that appear to the best values you like.

[8] Here is our Shadow recovered new picture. (Notice how it is created on a new layer so it is non destructive filter)

Optional [9] You can check the process happening in the Auto action palette, you can even adjust it!

Last words

I hope you liked this tutorial and learned something new from it. Don't be afraid to experiment more with Layer Mask and Auto Action.

Here are some channels where you can find me:

https://www.deviantart.com/anasofoz
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV8c5uJ1vE-2p6jIGGZn49A

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