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In Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features, author Chris Orwig explores the enhancements in Photoshop CS5 and Bridge CS5 from a photographer's perspective. This course introduces the Mini Bridge, a brand new panel to browse and open images without leaving Photoshop, expanded layer functionality, improved sharpening and noise reduction in Adobe Camera Raw, cleaning up and enhancing photographs with the new Bristle Brush and content-aware tools, and working with the new High Dynamic Range (HDR) toning controls. Exercise files are included with the course.
A large majority photographers are actually doing most of their image post-production work in Adobe Camera Raw. Rightly so, Adobe Camera Raw is a great way to process your images. The good thing about the new version of Adobe Camera Raw is that what they've done is taken something that was good and made it better. Here in this movie, I simply want to introduce you to a couple of things that they've improved. In particular, I simply want to talk about how they've improved the way that images are rendered or created. I want to focus in on a little bit on contrast and also just demo how we can sharpen our images in this new version of Adobe Camera Raw.
For starters, let's go ahead and double-click the Zoom tool. That will take this image to 100%. Here we can see that this image was shot with a shallow depth of field. It's really nice and sharp and we have some good details. Well, the first thing that I want to highlight is that if we click on our tab for our Basic panel, what we can do is focus in on contrast. Now if we click and drag Contrast to the left, the image will be a little bit more flat and also lose a little bit of color and seem a little bit less sharp. On the other hand, click and increase Contrast, the image is going to feel a little bit sharper and also increases color saturation.
Now I want to point this out, just to say that what's happening in the background is that there is a complete new engine or a new algorithm, which then creates and displays our images. In other words, what they've done is they've rewritten how these images are actually displayed in regards to Tone, Contrast and Sharpening. In the past, what would happen with Contrast and Sharpening is it was a little bit too painterly for most people. Well, that's been much improved. All right! Well, let's go ahead and double-click this triangle icon to reset the Contrast.
I also wanted to start here just to illustrate this idea that your Contrast directly affects your Sharpening amount. So, typically, you want to dial in a little bit of Contrast, a little bit of Clarity if needed, and then navigate to the panel for Sharpening. All right. Well, if we navigate to this panel, you'll notice that this is where we can deal with Details. Let's take a look at how we can use these sliders in order to sharpen our images. Well, for starters, what we're going to do is increase the overall Amount. Now as I increase the Amount, what I'm looking to do is to find a sweet spot so I don't have a lot of haloing.
Increase this too far. We can see the image just looks unnatural. Now a great way to find that sweet spot is to hold down the Option or Alt key and then click and drag, so you can view this in this Grayscale view. Next, we want to set the Radius. In this case, again, Option+Click or drag and we can see the Radius, a low Radius amount or a really high Radius amount. So, in this case, you can see that typically you're going to want a low radius. For most images, your Radius is going to be somewhere less than three. Now, what about this Detail slider? Option+Click and drag or Alt+Click and drag that one to the left.
Very small details aren't sharpen. Click-and-drag to the right. Very small details are sharpened. So, typically for people, you want a zero amount for your Detail slider. The next slider is Masking. Now Masking is really interesting. Option+Click and drag or Alt+Click and drag this one and click to the right. You can see that we now have a mask, which is Black or White. How this mask is working is the same way that masks worked in Photoshop. Black conceals or white reveals. So, here we can limit the Sharpening to particular areas of our photograph.
Now, of course, once we've made our way through these sliders from the top down, we then are probably going to have to go back and work on our Amount and then Radius just a little bit. Well, now to see the before and after, you can either click on this icon here or you can press the P key. Here is before, and then there is after. I'll go ahead and increase this a little bit more so that you can see it, because it gets kind of tricky to see Sharpening in these movies, once they become smaller. Again, here we have our before and after, subtle yet simple, Input Sharpening.
How then does this compare to the type of Sharpening that we did in the previous version of Camera Raw? Well, in the previous version, especially when you cranked up your Amount, what would have happened is it wouldn't really hold the image integrity. In other words, the image would look a little bit too painterly, yet here in comparison as a crank up this Amount, and as I over-sharpen the image, we can see that even at this high amount, this image looks really good. The eye detail is really nice and in the transition areas in the hair, the detail looks really good as well.
One of the reasons why this is nice and helpful is because one, of course, it's improved sharpening. But two, typically when we sharpen in Adobe Camera Raw, we're doing what's called Input Sharpening. In other words, we're sharpening our original file. Then eventually, we'll do a little bit of Output Sharpening. What we want to do typically is get the image to look good here. A lot of times what that means is adding some nice sharpening to our RAW files so that they just snap, and they really come to life. The nice thing about this now as we have a little bit more flexibility in regards to pushing the envelope or correcting images that perhaps are a little bit too soft, because these Sharpening controls are much stronger.
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