Photoshop tutorials for professionals and beginners
High Key portrait effect Photoshop tutorial

High Key Effect + Free Photoshop Action

In this short video I will show you how to recreate the high key in Photoshop without using any adjustment layer.

In order to create this photo effect we will use a Photoshop tool that is hidden inside the menus. I’m talking about the Calculations tool which is inside the Image menu in Photoshop. This tool works with channels and is very powerful because it allows you to blend the Red Green and Blue channels of an image and create new alpha channels which you can use as masks or regular layers.

In this video I will make a brief explanation about how the Calculations tool work and how I created the High Key effect in Photoshop using this tool and no adjustment layers.


high-key-photoshop-before high-key-photoshop-after

What is the high key effect?

To make it quick and without any technicals, the high key effect is a type of photography which very bright and with soft shadows. If you want to know more about this photographic technique, read this article.

Create the high key effect in Photoshop

In order to create this photo effect in Photoshop I used the Calculations tool to blend the Red, Green and Blue channels using blend modes and get different combinations and get different levels of luminosity and create new alpha channels. With the action above you can create the whole process with just one click.

The blend modes on the Calculations tool work exactly the same as on the layers palette (there two new blend modes on the Calculations tool: Add and Subtract). To get more light when blending the channels you can use the Screen or Lighten blend modes, for more contrast between blacks and whites use Soft Light or Overlay and to get a darker blend use the Multiply mode.

High Key effect - Calculations panel in Photoshop

If you use instagram use the hashtag #psdbox to tag your photos and make them appear on our social wall.

Andrei Oprinca

I've been creating Photoshop tutorials since 2009 for beginners and advanced users. I'm a self-taught Photoshop artist and like teaching other how to improve their skills. I love design and graphic communication.

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