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Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image editing application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements 8, along with its companion program, Bridge CS4, to organize and edit photos, build projects like web galleries and photo collages, and share photos with family and friends. Jan dives deep into the application's editing tools, which rival those of the full product, Photoshop, in their ability to take snapshots and turn them into great photos. Exercise files accompany the course.
The Quick Fix workspace offers several controls to help you quickly adjust color in your photos. The simplest of the color controls in Quick Fix is the Auto button here on the Color panel. Clicking the Auto button can sometimes reduce what's called a Color Cast, an unwanted predominance of a particular color across a photo. For example, in this photo taken in a museum, the color of the artificial light in the environment created an overall orange colorcast. To try to reduce or eliminate that colorcast, I am going to click on the Auto button in the Color panel of Quick Fix, and that did a pretty good job with just one click.
Quick Fix tried to neutralize the color in the dark areas, in the bright areas, and in the mid-tones of the photo. But the trouble with the Auto button on the Color panel is first, that it doesn't give you much control over the result, and second, it doesn't always create a result you are going to like. So for example, I have another image open in the Project Bin and I am going to bring that image into the Document window by clicking its thumbnail down here, the thumbnail of the Book Cliffs. This image has both lighting and color problems. I am going to try to click the Auto Color button and see if that fixes at least the color and I actually think it makes it worse, but in fact, it takes the color in just the opposite direction.
It's no longer flat and colorless. Now the color is oversaturated. So Auto Color didn't work in this case, and I offer you that just as an example that you can't always just rely on the Auto Color button. But fortunately there are some other color controls here in Quick Fix. There are the balance controls here in the Balance panel. To try those out I'm going to double- click another thumbnail in the Project Bin, this thumbnail of the horse statue. Now this image has a subtle blue colorcast across the whole image.
I can try to use the Temperature and Tint controls in the Balance panel to compensate for the color of the light in which this photo was shot, trying to shift the overall color from cool blue toward a warmer gold. I'll start with the Temperature slider and I am going to click the grid to the left of the Temperature slider and then I am going to scroll down, so that I can see how the image will look at various color temperatures. I move my mouse over each one of these thumbnails without clicking or pressing down to get a preview of the image in the document window with different color temperatures.
So here is the default. If I move to the right just a bit, I get a warmer overall color to the entire image, and I think that's a little bit too warm. So I will select that thumbnail and then I want to actually lower the temperature making it a little more blue than it currently is. So as you can see in the Temperature slider, this thumbnail has set the temperature to a level of 63. If I click, hold and drag to the left on top of that thumbnail, I can fine-tune that amount, bringing it down just a little more toward the cool side of things. And there's another slider here, the Tint slider, which adjusts overall color on another axis from Green to Magenta.
I could use the thumbnails or I can just click on the slider and I am going to move it slightly toward Magenta, and if I am satisfied with the result, I'll click the check mark on the Balance panel here. To compare before and after view of this image, I am going to go to the View menu, and I will choose Before and After Horizontal, and I can see the original image with its blue cast, and the image that I have warmed up with the Temperature and Tint sliders. Another property of color is its saturation or its intensity, and in a Color panel there is a Saturation slider that I can use to make the color in an image more or less intense.
I am going to click on the grid to the left of the Saturation slider, and I'll move my mouse over the first of the thumbnails, and as you can see, that takes all of the color out of the image, essentially making it a black and white. Although this isn't the way that I would recommend that you convert a color image to black and white. I'll show you better ways later in the course. And then I'll just move my mouse over some of these other thumbnails. I am not clicking. I am just hovering my mouse over a couple of the thumbnails. So there's the original, and I can increase the saturation slightly by trying one of these other thumbnails.
I think I'll go with 25, so I am going to click on this thumbnail, and if I like the result I'll click the checkmark at the top of the Color panel. Now I want to remind you that changes that you make to the Saturation or the Hue or the Temperature or Tint of an image don't have to affect the entire image. So let's say that I like the way that the wall and the horse look, but I would like the sky to be a little bluer. I can go over to the Quick Fix toolbar and choose the Quick Selection tool. I'll move the Quick Selection tool over the image.
If the brush size is bigger than this, I use the Left Bracket key on my keyboard to make the brush a little smaller, and then I am going to start clicking and dragging across the sky, trying not to include much of the horse in the selection that I am making. If I do get part of the horse in the selection I can go to the Options bar for the Quick Selection tool, and choose this Subtract from Selection icon, and then I will come into the image, I'll make my brush a little smaller by pressing the Left Bracket key, and I'll click and drag over the horse's ear, which was inadvertently included in the selection to remove that part of the photo from the selection, and I'll do the same down here at the back of the horse.
I see a little more sky that I want to include in the selection, so I'll go back up to the Options bar, and I'll switch back to the Add to Selection button here, and then I'll click and drag over those areas to include them in this selection. Now that I have that area selected, I can shift the color, and only that area will be affected. So I am going to try coming over to the Hue slider and dragging that toward blue, and then I'll take the Saturation slider, and I'll reduce the saturation of the blue in the sky a bit to make it more realistic looking.
And when I am done I can click the checkmark at the top of the color panel, and then I'll eliminate the selection by going up to the Select menu and choosing Deselect or pressing the keyboard shortcut Command+D. So that's a look at how to use the controls in Quick Fix that affect color in an image, those in the Color panel and Balance panel, and how to limit your color changes to just a selected portion of the image in Quick Fix. The controls in Quick Fix offer an alternative to try to adjust color in the full edit workspace. The upside of the controls in Quick Fix is that they are somewhat easier to find and to use than the equivalent controls in the full edit workspace.
But the downside of using the Quick Fix color buttons and sliders is that they offer less control over the results than equivalent adjustments in the full edit workspace, which I'll cover later in the course.
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