Next, we are going to use the "curves" adjustment layer to brighten up the scene a bit.
Add the "curves" adjustment layer by clicking on the ""create new fill or adjustment layer" button.
Choose the "curves" from the popup list.
Add and move points so the brighter areas of the image are increased considerable; and the darker areas slightly.
Use the "brush" (B) tool, to mask out over overexposed areas such as the directly lit and overblown areas by the bed side.
The mask layer works best with black and white colors(X). Black= to omit pixels(X); White= to bring pixels to prominence(X). (Fig.38)
Next, we are going to colour grade the image with the "Color balance" and "hue and saturation" adjustment layers.
To capture the true essence of this particular time of the day, we will first add a mix of red and green tones to the image.
Add the "color balance" adjustment layer.
Increase the red midtone to about +29; and the green to about +12. You may change these values, if desired. (Fig.39)
The "hue and saturation" adjustment layer will help balance the overall tone of the image.
Add the "hue and saturation" adjustment layer. Decrease the overall colour (i.e. master) saturation to about -33.
The next stage is to tweak with specific colors. The first color to concentrate on is red.
Choose the red colour from the palette list.
Increase its "saturation" to about +35. This parameter will only affect the red colors/tones of the image.
Increase the yellows "saturation" to about +49, to accentuate the yellow tones/colors.
Finally, increase the blues to about +56 and its brightness to +100.
Note that these values can be changed, if desired. (Fig.40a, Fig.40b, Fig.40c and Fig.40d)
The "sunset" "feel" of the overall image is now more prominent because it had been color graded.
Now is the time to add the AO pass for additional depth.
Select the AO document and duplicate it.
In the "duplicate layer" dialog; under the "destination" group, choose the relevant document (i.e. "Final render.sunset.tga") destination, and name the layer as AO.
This will paste this duplicated layer in the chosen document, with the appropriate name.
In the "Final render.sunset.tga" document, move down the AO layer to be placed on top of the "render" layer.
The next step is to blend the AO layer and edit its appearance.
Set the AO layer blending mode to "multiply" type. Create a mask for the AO layer, by clicking on the "add vector mask" button. This will help edit this layer with the brush tool (B).
While the AO layer mask is selected, enable the brush tool (B) and begin brushing around the areas of the image that you desire to omit or have less prominence. The mask layer works best with black and white colors(X). Black= to omit pixels(X); White= to bring pixels to prominence(X).
Moreover, the opacity function on the main toolbar helps to set the visibility of the brush strokes.
Finally, one can duplicate the AO layer to accentuate its appearance. (Fig.41)
Sun glare is often associated with the sunsets.
When used appropriately, it can add a lot to an image.
Open the PSD file under the name of "Sun Glare.psd" and drop it at a lower/mid level of the window, on right hand side of the image.
The window on the right hand side was chosen, because it matches with the original position of the sunlight's position in the Max scene.
Ensure that, it's on top of all layers of the document.
Use the "linear dodge (add)" blending mode to help blend it; and edit "transform" it to occupy a small portion of the window.
The final result should be a nice sun glare bursting through the window.
Once satisfied with the image, save it as TIFF, if desired.
Tiff file formats are highly recommended by the reprographics, as these file types retain the original quality of the render. JPEGs should only be used for email and web purposes. (Fig.42)