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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week, I've got a really special one for you. We're going to take this photograph of a hawksbill sea turtle, which I was lucky to get because these darn things are endangered. And we're going to turn it into this final effect right here. Now, just so you have a sense of what's going on. When you're shooting under water, the colors get filtered away. So if you're relying on natural sunlight for example, you lose your reds very close to the surface and then the oranges and yellows, and pretty soon all you're left with is green's and blue's as you see here.
Now you correct for this by bringing a strobe, and it's very important that you have some sort of strobe with you, that way the light only has to go through so much water to get to the subject and then to bounce back to the lens. I did have a strobe. I had this camera, by the way, right here. This point and shoot Panasonic Lumix, that I got for my birthday. And it's got a built-in flash, and I had the flash turned on. Very, very important, by the way, that you do as well. And I still achieved this effect. Why is that? Well, I wasn't scuba diving, in my defense, I was free-diving.
Meaning, you take a bunch of breaths and you dive underwater. I used to be really good, but I'm out of shape. So I got down to about 25 feet. Unfortunately, the turtle's at 35 feet. Meaning that the strobe has to go 10 feet to the turtle and 10 feet back to the lens. So we end up with this. And yet, because of the flash, I do have enough information in order to achieve this final effect. And it's easy peasy as well. Here. Let me show you exactly how it works. Just so you can see the images onscreen, here's my original photograph, and here's the final version thanks to the many abilities of Photoshop. I'm going to switch back to my original image here. And before we do anything to it, I want you to get a sense of whether or not this technique is going to work for your own photographs because it'll work for some and not for others.
You've got to have some good information in there in the first place and you can check that out by switching to the Channels panel and then what you want to do is take a look at the red channel and make sure there is something there. If the channel appears basically entirely black, then, there's really not a lot of hope for your photograph, but if it looks like this, if there is some image data there, however dark then, you're in good shape because, notice, I'm going to go ahead and turn on the RGB composite even though just the red channel is active.
You can't gauge the photograph just by looking at it. Notice that my fore ground color is black, so I'll press Alt + Backspace or Opt + Delete to fill that entire red channel with black. Notice it is now entirely black. You can see that here inside the channels panel and yet the image did not appear to change on screen, our eyes just aren't sensitive enough in order to see that red data when it gets that dark. I'm going to press Ctrl + Z, Cmd + Z on the map, because I want to bring back the good data inside that red channel. And then I'll switch back to the RGB composite, and return to the layers panel. Before we set in correcting the image, that's just to make sure that your image is correctable.
But before we do that, I want to change the angle, of this animal. I actually want to crop it, and scale it, and rotate it as well. So the best way to approach this process is with the smart object, so I will double click on the flat background here inside the Layers panel and name this new layer Turtle. And then I will right click inside the image window with my rectangle marquee tool and choose convert to smart object, now I am going to crop the image and I am going to do so using the Canvas Size command here in the Image menu Obviously, I had to play around with the settings to figure out exactly what was going to work, but for this image, you want the relative check box to be turned off.
Notice that I'm working in pixels. Very important. And I'm going to change the width value to 2800. And then tab down to the height value, and change it to 2,000. That center square should be selected there. Then click okay. Photoshop will warn you that some clipping is going to occur. Actually, that's a big lie. So just go ahead and click the proceed button. And the reason it's a lie, by the way, is because we're working with a smart object. And it basically can't be harmed. Now, I'm going to zoom in on my turtle, and I'm obviously going to need to rotate him.
So, I'll go up to the edit menu and choose the free transform command. And I'm going to dial in some values at the options bar. I'm going to change that rotate value to 58 degrees and then, I'll link the width and height values with each other and change either one of them to 95%. And then I'll press the enter key once or the return key on a Mac, and I'll press Shift Down Arrow 6 times in a row. 1 2 3 4 5 6 like so. And the idea is that I just want to scoot him down, then I'll press the Enter key or Return key on a Mac in order to apply that change.
Now, if you're observing very closely, you might notice that I've got some wedges in the upper right and lower left corners of my image. Need to fill those in. And the best way to do that, is with the help of a new layer. So I'll press Ctrl + Shift + N or Cmd + Shift + N on a Mac and I'll call this layer Filler. The best tool, in order to fill in these regions, happens to be, this guy right there. The Spot Healing Brush. So go ahead and select it. And then make sure up here in options bar that Content Aware is selected and you also want to sample all layers so go ahead and turn on that check box and if I right click inside the image window you can see that the size of my cursor is 250 pixels and the hardness is a 100% that hardness value is very important by the way I'll go ahead and press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac to dismiss that panel, and then I'll paint like so. So you can see then I've got a little bit of overlap going into the image. And then I'll release.
And, Photoshop does actually a pretty darn good job of filling in that region. Now, I'll do the same thing, down here and I need a bit of an overlap.You need to make sure you got that overlap, otherwise it's not going to work properly. And then, go ahead and release again, and I end up with this effect. Now your results are going to vary slightly But, you should see something more or less like what we have here. I'm going to press the m key to switch back to my rectangular marquee tool. Just as an aside here, I'm going to bring up the histogram panel. Here's another way to gauge the image.
You can switch to the all channels view like so, and notice that we don't have any clipping in any of these channels. Let's make sure by updating things. So I'll click on this uncached refresh button there and there's just no clipping going on in any one of the channels. So we've got great information in the red channels that's just not showing up well, and we've got really good information in the green and blue channels, it's just that everything is too bright. We don't have shadows. So we need to bring in the highlights in the red channel and the shadows in the green and blue channels.
I will go ahead and hide the Histogram panel and I am going to scoot this guy over a little bit so we have some room, press the Alt key or the Opt key on the Mac and click the little black white circle at the bottom of the Layers panel and then choose Levels. And I'll go ahead and name this layer, Restore Color and click OK and now what you want to do, this is by far the best approach for this kind of image, is click on the Auto button. And notice, as soon as I click on Auto, the image looks really kind of worse than it did before. So obviously, that's the wrong approach.
Well, here's what you really need to do. You press and hold the Alt key. Or the option key on the map, and click auto. And that will bring up these color corrections options, right here. You can experiment with these different algorithms, for example, find dark and light colors is going to do a better job where this image is concerned. But let's just kind of blow things out of the water, just make this image so good is enhance per channel contrast. Go ahead and turn that guy on. And that really does what we need to this particular image.
So if you have an image like this with a really pronounced color caste, which is really what this is all about. Then this radio button right there is the way to go. And we might as well snap the neutral midtones as well. That's going to help this image out although the effects are a little more subtle. And now you want to click OK in order to accept that effect. From this point on, you can make whatever modifications you want. I'm going to switch from RGB here to the Green channel, and I'm going to go ahead and click into gamma value which is this center one - and press Shift+down arrow in order to darken the midtones slightly. And then I will switch to the Red channel which I want to boost a little bit and I will click in its gamma value and I will press Shift + Up Arrow twice so we ultimately have a value of 1.23 then I will switch back to the RGB image and I am going to increase the black point value, the first one there to 10 And then I'm going to tab over to the gamma value and take it down to 0.9. And that looks pretty darn good to me.
Now of course, he didn't look, really, this color. He wasn't bright red, so we need to take some of the saturation out of him. By once again pressing the alt key, or the option key on a mac, clicking on the black light circle, and then go ahead and choose fibers I'll call this guy Downsat and then click OK because we're reducing the saturation. Then I'll click in a vibrance value and press Shift+down arrow twice in order to reduce the saturation of those extremely saturated colors in the shell.
And now I will go ahead and hide the properties panel and I will go ahead and press the F keys a couple of times in order to switch to the false screen mode and I will zoom in as well that for instance is how you restore the natural colour to an underwater snap shot here inside Photoshop If you are a member of the library I have a followup movie in which I show you how to filter, that turtles would appear porcelain smooth, so smooth a sea urchin would slip on it. If you're waiting for next week's free movie I'll show you how to take a good looking photo of a good looking woman shot underground in low light with an exceedingly high ISO, which means we've got noise.
And we're going to compensate for that noise entirely. Inside Adobe Camera Raw. Deke's Techniques, each and every week. Keep watching.
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