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Touching up photos with the Smart Brush tools

From: Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training

Video: Touching up photos with the Smart Brush tools

If you want to enhance just part of a photo, you could do that by manually creating a selection or a layer mask, as I've shown you in other chapters, and then working on that selected area. Or you could shortcut the process by using the Smart Brush tools, which are located here in the toolbox. The Detail Smart Brush tool is useful for painting and enhancement into small areas. We'll get to that in a minute. Let's start with the plain Smart Brush tool. I'd like to use the tool to darken the area around the subject.

Touching up photos with the Smart Brush tools

If you want to enhance just part of a photo, you could do that by manually creating a selection or a layer mask, as I've shown you in other chapters, and then working on that selected area. Or you could shortcut the process by using the Smart Brush tools, which are located here in the toolbox. The Detail Smart Brush tool is useful for painting and enhancement into small areas. We'll get to that in a minute. Let's start with the plain Smart Brush tool. I'd like to use the tool to darken the area around the subject.

So I'll go up to the Options Bar for the tool and there is the Smart Brush Picker. I'll click the arrow to the right of the Smart Brush Picker to open it. Here I can see just a couple of the many enhancements that are available from the Smart Brush Picker. They're organized into categories, which I can see by clicking the Category menu here. There are Artistic enhancements, Black and White enhancements, Color, Lighting, Special Effects, and more. I'm going to choose the category of Lighting enhancements. And then I'll scroll down to find the Darker lighting enhancement, I'll select that, and then I'll close the Smart Brush Picker by clicking this X.

Now I'll move into the image. I want to make sure that my brush is just about this size. You may remember from other movies that you can make your brush smaller by pressing the Left Bracket key on the keyboard or larger by pressing the Right Bracket key. I'm going to click and drag over the background of this image. And what Elements does is select the background and at the same time applies the Darken adjustment. Now it didn't get all the background, but that's okay, because by default this tool is set to Add To the selection.

You can see that here in the small Options Bar that appeared on top of the image. So if I click and drag in this area, that will add that part to the selection and immediately apply the darkening adjustment there too. I'd like to remove this area from the selection, so I'll go up to that little Options Bar and I'll click the Subtract from Selection icon on the right. Then I'll come into the image, I'll make my Brush tool a little smaller pressing the Left Bracket key a couple of times, and I'll click and drag over her hair and her ear to remove it from the selection.

I'm not being too precise here, because in this image the edge of the subject is rather soft anyway. If I want to see the results without looking at the marching ants, I can go to the colored pin that appears each time you add a new Brush tool adjustment. I'll right-click the colored pin and from the menu that appears, I'll choose Hide Selection. I think things look pretty good, so I'll turn my selection back on the same way. If you take a look over at the Layers panel, you can see what the Smart Brush tool did.

It added a new layer above the Background layer called the Darker 1 layer. This is a special kind of layer called an Adjustment layer, which I'll be covering later in the course. This particular Adjustment layer is set to darken the image, and it contains a layer thumbnail that the Smart Brush tool filled with black and white pixels. Where the layer mask is white, we can see the darkening effect on the photo, and where the layer mask is filled with black pixels, the darkening effect is hidden on the photo. You can have more than one Smart Brush adjustment on the same photo.

So let's say that I'd like to lighten the subject's face. The first thing I'll do is go up to this Options Bar and click the first icon, the New Smart Brush icon, so that I'm set up to make a second adjustment. Then I'll go up to the Options Bar, I'll open the Smart Brush Picker, and I'm going to go to another category of Smart Brush adjustments, the Portrait category. One of the adjustments here is for Lightening Skin Tones. If you don't see that, use the scrollbar on the right to scroll to the Lighten Skin Tones enhancement and click on it to select it.

I'll close the Smart Brush Picker by clicking the X. Then I'll go into the image and I'm going to make my brush tip just about that big, and then I'll click and drag on the subject's skin. And that creates a brand- new selection over her skin. It's okay if I get a little bit of her hair in there too. This Smart Brush has not only made a selection, it's also lightened the selected area. I see that I've selected a little too much over here, so I'll go up to the Options Bar and I'll choose the Subtract from Selection icon, and click and drag over that area of the background to remove it from this selection and this enhancement.

And over in the Layers panel, you can see that there's yet another Adjustment layer, the Lighten Skin Tones layer with its own layer mask. Some Smart Brush adjustments can be fine-tuned. Let's see if we can do that with this one. There's a second pin down here that represents the second adjustment. I'm going to right-click that and choose Change Adjustment Settings. Keep your eye on the panel on the right as I do that. That opens the Adjustments panel with the brightness/contrast adjustments. And that's what this particular Adjustment layer is using to lighten the selected area.

I can tweak this adjustment by dragging these sliders, so I might make her skin a little bit brighter, and to make it a little softer I'll drag the contrast slider to the left. So that's the plain Smart Brush tool. Let's take a look at the Detail Smart Brush tool. I find that the Detail Smart Brush tool is easier to use when I need to make an adjustment to a very small area, for example, to a subject's eyes. First, I'm going to zoom in on this photo by getting the Zoom tool and clicking. Then I'll go over to the toolbar and from the flyout menu I'm going to choose Detail Smart Brush tool.

It's important that I begin a new adjustment, because I already had made a couple of adjustments to this photo. So in the small Options Bar in the image, I'll click the New Smart Brush icon, and then I'll go up to the Options Bar for the Detail Smart Brush tool, and there I'll find a Smart Brush Picker that's just like the Smart Brush Picker for the regular Smart Brush tool. It has the same enhancements and the same categories. In the Portrait category of enhancements, I'm going to scroll up to find the Bright Eyes enhancement. I'll select that, and then I'll click the X to close the Smart Brush Picker.

I'll move into the image and I'll make my brush a little bit bigger. I want it almost as big as the pupil of her eye. So I'll use the Right Bracket key, and then I'm going to click in the center of her eye. That adds another one of these pins. The pin is obscuring her eyes, so I'm going to click right on that pin and drag to move it away. And now you can see that her right eye is lighter than the left eye, because only the right eye has the adjustment right now. By default, the options are set to Add To. So if I move over to her left eye and I click, that will add the same adjustment over on this eye.

I can fine-tune this adjustment by right- clicking on the pin that corresponds to this adjustment and choosing to change my adjustment settings. And in the Adjustments panel I can now see the settings that are controlling the brightening of her eyes. This happens to be a Levels Adjustment. We'll talk more about levels in later movies. For now, I'm just going to go in here and take the black slider and move it slightly to the right to add a little black to her pupils and make the adjustment look more natural. So as you can see, the Smart Brush tools, both the regular Smart Brush tool and the Detail Smart Brush tool, can be real time savers when you want to apply an adjustment to a limited area.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training

140 video lessons · 9583 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 23m 48s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Getting around Elements
      6m 9s
    3. Exploring the differences in Mac versions of Elements
      5m 41s
    4. Working with Organizer catalogs
      6m 16s
    5. Using the exercise files
      4m 44s
  2. 21m 39s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      5m 35s
    2. Importing photos from a camera
      4m 44s
    3. Importing photos from a computer
      3m 1s
    4. Importing photos from an iPhoto library
      5m 27s
    5. Importing photos from external drives
      2m 52s
  3. 31m 24s
    1. Working in Thumbnail view
      4m 10s
    2. Working in Folder Location view
      4m 33s
    3. Reviewing photos in Full Screen view
      4m 55s
    4. Editing and organizing in Full Screen view
      7m 20s
    5. Comparing photos in Side by Side view
      4m 10s
    6. Displaying photos in Date view
      2m 40s
    7. Viewing photo information
      3m 36s
  4. 47m 47s
    1. Using keyword tags to categorize photos
      6m 42s
    2. Organizing keyword tags
      4m 25s
    3. Finding photos by keyword tag
      3m 39s
    4. Automatically tagging people
      8m 21s
    5. Using automatic smart tagging
      5m 36s
    6. Assigning ratings to photos
      4m 9s
    7. Creating albums to organize photos
      5m 7s
    8. Creating smart albums
      5m 52s
    9. Stacking photos to reduce thumbnail clutter
      3m 56s
  5. 24m 35s
    1. Finding photos that are visually similar to each other
      4m 3s
    2. Searching for an object in a photo
      3m 45s
    3. Finding duplicate photos
      4m 50s
    4. Searching by text
      5m 59s
    5. Exploring the Find menu
      4m 27s
    6. Finding photos in the Timeline
      1m 31s
  6. 22m 41s
    1. Deleting photos
      4m 30s
    2. Renaming photos
      2m 24s
    3. Moving photos
      3m 58s
    4. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 37s
    5. Changing photo dates
      4m 29s
    6. Backing up
      2m 43s
  7. 16m 14s
    1. Choosing an editing workspace
      4m 37s
    2. Autocorrecting with the Organizer's Photo Fix options
      3m 47s
    3. Photo finishing with the Organizer's Photo Fix options
      4m 2s
    4. Changing a Photo Fix adjustment
      3m 48s
  8. 22m 10s
    1. Editing with assistance: the Guided Edit workspace
      6m 27s
    2. Retouching a photo the step-by-step way
      7m 55s
    3. Creating a dreamlike Orton effect
      1m 8s
    4. Simulating shallow depth of field
      4m 11s
    5. Creating a collage using Picture Stack
      2m 29s
  9. 29m 26s
    1. Quick improvements: introducing the Quick Edit workspace
      3m 28s
    2. Applying Quick Edit corrections
      4m 8s
    3. Adjusting lighting
      4m 0s
    4. Correcting color
      4m 20s
    5. Fixing red-eye, improving skies, and touching up photos
      6m 28s
    6. Sharpening images
      3m 10s
    7. Saving in Quick Edit
      3m 52s
  10. 41m 16s
    1. Full control: introducing the Full Edit workspace
      5m 19s
    2. Tips for using the editing tools
      3m 50s
    3. Customizing panels
      5m 10s
    4. Undoing your work
      6m 22s
    5. Zooming and navigating
      4m 41s
    6. Saving images and examining file formats
      4m 50s
    7. Working with multiple documents
      4m 0s
    8. Creating a file from scratch
      2m 57s
    9. Customizing Editor preferences
      4m 7s
  11. 25m 42s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 3s
    2. Managing layers in the Layers panel
      7m 19s
    3. Tips for working with layers
      4m 25s
    4. Understanding layer masks
      6m 55s
  12. 29m 59s
    1. Understanding selections
      6m 49s
    2. Using manual selection tools
      4m 42s
    3. Modifying selections
      4m 20s
    4. Using the automatic selection tools
      7m 11s
    5. Refining selections
      4m 50s
    6. Saving selections
      2m 7s
  13. 23m 52s
    1. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Healing Brush tool
      2m 50s
    2. Retouching skin with the Healing Brush tool
      6m 7s
    3. Retouching with the Clone Stamp tool
      1m 58s
    4. Using the Content-Aware option in the Spot Healing Brush to remove content
      3m 13s
    5. Touching up photos with the Smart Brush tools
      7m 22s
    6. Using the Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools
      2m 22s
  14. 1h 0m
    1. Understanding color management
      7m 23s
    2. Understanding adjustment layers
      6m 49s
    3. Adjusting part of a photo
      6m 16s
    4. Correcting contrast and brightness using Levels controls
      5m 6s
    5. Enhancing color with Hue/Saturation
      4m 32s
    6. Improving shadow and highlights using Shadow/Highlight
      2m 36s
    7. Adjusting lighting and color using Color Curves
      3m 53s
    8. Removing a color cast
      2m 11s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
    10. Reducing noise
      3m 53s
    11. Sharpening images
      6m 43s
    12. Processing multiple photos
      8m 19s
  15. 23m 6s
    1. Resizing and changing photo resolution
      7m 1s
    2. Cropping photos
      5m 35s
    3. Straightening photos
      2m 35s
    4. Adding canvas around photos
      2m 43s
    5. Changing a photos orientation using the Recompose tool
      5m 12s
  16. 23m 50s
    1. Combining photos using the Place command
      5m 21s
    2. Using a layer mask to hide a background
      6m 26s
    3. Blending images using a gradient
      8m 18s
    4. Blending images using Blend modes
      3m 45s
  17. 24m 2s
    1. Creating text
      6m 22s
    2. Editing text
      3m 49s
    3. Creating text on a selection
      6m 1s
    4. Creating text around a shape
      3m 51s
    5. Creating text on a custom path
      3m 59s
  18. 22m 43s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 24s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 6s
    3. Adding layer styles
      7m 38s
    4. Making shapes
      5m 17s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 18s
  19. 42m 14s
    1. Understanding Camera Raw
      3m 35s
    2. The Camera Raw interface
      5m 16s
    3. Adjusting color using the white balance controls
      4m 41s
    4. Controlling lighting and contrast
      6m 26s
    5. Enhancing photos with the Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation controls
      2m 39s
    6. Cropping and straightening
      2m 12s
    7. Reducing Noise
      2m 24s
    8. Sharpening
      6m 46s
    9. Outputting from Camera Raw
      4m 43s
    10. Processing multiple photos in Camera Raw
      3m 32s
  20. 56m 43s
    1. Creating a photo book
      6m 50s
    2. Completing the photo book
      10m 5s
    3. Creating a photo calendar
      8m 19s
    4. Creating a photo greeting card
      5m 17s
    5. Making other photo creations in the Create workspace
      2m 8s
    6. Outputting photo creations from the Create workspace
      2m 50s
    7. Creating a photo slideshow in Windows
      8m 45s
    8. Completing the photo slideshow
      3m 31s
    9. Making a scrapbook page from scratch in Full Edit
      8m 58s
  21. 41m 34s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 30s
    2. Printing contact sheets and picture packages in Windows
      5m 23s
    3. Printing contact sheets and picture packages on a Mac
      8m 33s
    4. Ordering prints from the Organizer
      4m 22s
    5. Sharing photos by email from the Organizer
      3m 46s
    6. Sharing photos with Photo Mail in Windows
      5m 3s
    7. Sharing photos on Facebook from the Organizer
      3m 42s
    8. Sharing photos on Flickr from the Organizer
      2m 15s
  22. 7m 34s
    1. Signing up for an Adobe ID
      2m 20s
    2. Sharing online albums from the Organizer to Photoshop.com
      5m 14s
  23. 40s
    1. Goodbye
      40s

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