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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'm going to show you how to clean up a crummy product shot. So, by way of back story, and just indulge me for a moment if you will. I live in Boulder, Colorado, and there are bike paths all over the place. So, what I've taken to doing, I've been biking a lot lately. And if only for motivational purposes, I decided. That I would record a few of my bike adventures using my GoPro. So, the GoPro comes with a ton of mounts and I wanted to use these mounts in order to basically record from every angle possible.
So. One of the angles was this rear wheel angle right here, sort of looking up, as I bike. But it was so difficult to figure this out, because these screws right here, these little twist things. They have to be on the inside next to the spokes. So I have like this much clearance. Anyway ultimately I was successful, but it took me so long, took me like an hour. To figure this out, but I decided I was going to document the pieces I use. I just threw them on a table and took some photographs using a Panasonic Lumix which is a great little camera, but it's just a consumer camera.
And as a result, it's a terrible photograph. You're about to see it's so noisy. It's got all kinds of glitches in it and stuff. And so I cleaned it up. Using a combination of the Camera RAW filter in Photoshop CC so you're going to need the most recent version of the software, reduced noise and the magic wand. I've developed new respect for the old Magic Wand tool I tell you and it looks great and there are so many uses. For this technique because, if you wanted to document your stuff for insurance purposes.
We just got flooded here in Boulder, Colorado you might have heard, and, everybody lost so much stuff. Or, you're trying to sell stuff on eBay you want it to look as good as possible. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Alright so I've gone ahead and zoomed in on the camera so you can see just how garbagy this image is. There's a ton of color noise there's all sorts of regular old luminous noise as well. And then we've got this, ditritus in the in the background including this kind of speck up here and these weird lines, whatever they are.
So with that in mind I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+0. Or Cmd+0 on a Mac, in order to center the image, and I'll press Ctrl+Alt+J or Cmd+Option+J on the Mac in order to jump the image to a new layer, and I'll go ahead and call this new layer Bicycle Optics and click OK. Now you want to right click inside the image window with the Rectangular Marquee tool and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now, go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise, and choose Reduce Noise. And these are the values that I came up with.
The Strength of 10 which is the maximum setting. Preserve Details cranked way down to 5%. Reduce Color Noise cranked way up to 75%. And Sharpen Details set to 0%. You may as well also select Remove JPEG Artifact. Although between you and me it doesn't really do much but we do want to get rid of as many JPEG artifacts as possible. I also clicked on the little hard drive icon. In order to save up my settings under the name Big Noise and then you need to actually choose Big Noise from the pop-up menu unless you want to overwrite the default settings, now click OK.
So that's a good first step now I'm going to run out of room in my Layers panel so I'll right-click on this white filter mass thumbnail and choose Delete Filter Mass and next you want to return to the Filter menu and choose Camera Raw Filter. Which, again, as I said in the outset, is available only in PhotoShop CC. Once the Camera Raw dialogue box comes up on screen, go ahead and set the Exposure value to 1. I took the Contrast value up to 50, I took Highlights down to negative 30 and I took Shadows down to negative 30 as well.
That still leaves pale shadows, so I took the Blacks value down to 20. And if you Alt or Option+click and hold on that slider triangle there, you'll see where all the clip shadows are. And normally, I wouldn't go this far, but this image really needs it. That takes care of the Basic panel. Now, I'll go ahead and switch over to the Detail panel, and we want to apply still more noise reduction. Because if you zoom in on the camera, for example. You'll see that we still have a lot of noise. In particular, color noise going on.
So, I'll take that Luminance value up to 50 lets's say. And, then I'll take the Luminance Detail value all the way up to 100. So, we're keeping as much detail as possible. You can leave Luminance Contrast set to 0. Then take the Color Noise value up to a 100 and you can leave the Color Detail value set to 50. Then click OK, in order to apply those changes. Now at this point I want to expand my canvas in order to fill the screen. So I'll go up to the Image menu and choose the Canvas Size command. And make sure Relative is turned off and that you're working in Pixels.
And, I found just through trial and error, that a width value of 3,020 pixels works best. You can leave the Anchor set to its default, which is the center, so that we're expanding the width of the canvas in both directions. And the click OK. Now, I'll press Ctrl+0, or Cmd+0 on the Mac in order to reset my zoom, so we're seeing this effect here. Problem is, we still have a bunch of garbage in the background. And I really want to get rid of it, and the best way to do so, believe it or not, is to use the Magic Wand. I'll go up here to the Quick Selection tool, click and hold, and choose the Magic Wand tool, and just to make sure that you and I are on the same page.
Right-click on the wand on the far left side of the Options bar and choose Reset tool. Because we are going to work with the default settings. So believe it or not. Every once in a while the default settings for the Magic Wand tool actually come through. Now go ahead and click somewhere inside the background like so. And notice in addition to. Selecting the background itself, we are selecting some of the lighter shadows. But we are leaving the dark shadows behind. Now you want to Shift+click right there at the bottom edge of this little shadow detail right there, and that should take care of it.
That should select the entire background now. But we still need to select inside a few objects. Shift+click inside both of the lenses, Shift+click between the temple and its shadow, over here in the right side, and then Shift+click below the temple, which is the part that goes over the nose. And then finally, Shift+click inside this frame right here. Now I want you to go up to the Select menu and choose Modify and then choose Contract. And I'm going to set this Contract By value to 12 pixels and click OK.
Now zoom out, if you're working along with me. Press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool, and Shift+drag around this left edge and right edge like so. Now zoom back in, and we also want some softness here so go up to the Select menu, choose Modify, and choose Feather, so I'm using some very old school commands as you can see. I'll set the Feather Radius value to 12 pixels and click OK. Now, press Ctrl+Shift+N, or Cmd+Shift+N on a Mac, to create a new layer. And I'll call this layer, Uniform Gray, like so, and then click OK.
And now we need to match the background, so press the I key to select the Eyedropper, and click somewhere inside that background. In my case, I've got the Color panel open, and I've selected HSB sliders from the Color Panel fly out menu. And, I can see then I've got just a teeny bit of saturation there. So, I don't really care what the Hue value is but i definitely want the Saturation value down to 0 and I'm going to take the Brightness value down to 65% because I think it looks a little better. And, now I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac in order to fill the background with gray.
And now you can press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on a Mac in order to de-select the image. Alright, so at this point we've lost a little bit of mid tone data. To bring it back, drop down to the little black and white circle at the bottom of the Layers Panel, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac and choose the Levels command. And because you have Alt or Option down, you'll see the New Layer dialog box. Go ahead and call this guy Brighten and click OK. And then I'll click inside this middle gamma value, and I'll press Shift+up arrow twice in order to change that value to 1.2.
And as you can see, we now have brighter midtones such as the gray along the bottom of the glasses. Alright, now we want to sharpen the image and we could just pile everything inside of a single Smart Object and then apply Smart Sharpen as a Smart Filter, but I think the better way to work is to merge everything onto a single layer and the only way to do that is to press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E or Cmd+Shift+Option+E on the Mac and you've got a flat layer that contains everything we've been seeing so far. Now I'll go ahead and change its name to Everything and then press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac.
And I'll press the M key to switch back to the rectangular marquis tool. Right-click inside the image and choose Convert to Smart Object. So even though we're working with a flat image, we still want to apply a dynamic smart filter. Then, go up to the Filter menu, choose Sharpen, and choose Smart Sharpen and I came up with these values. An Amount of 200%, a Radius of 3 pixels, Remove set to Lens Blur, Reduce Noise set to 0%. Then, click OK, and then finally even though this image doesn't have that much color associated with it.
We do want to ensure that we're just sharpening the details. So go ahead and double-click on the little slider icon to the right of the words smart sharpen and change the mode to Luminosity. It's not absolutely necessary. It is the best practice. And now click OK in order to accept that change. All right and that takes care of it folks. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on the camera there, and you can see things are in much better shape already. But just so you can see a before and after I'll Alt+click or Option+click in the eye in front of the background image.
This is the original version of the image complete with speck. And, weird bright things right there and if I Alt or Option+click again, this is the after version of the image thanks to our ability to clean up crummy product shots here inside Photoshop. Alright. So our product shot is looking better. But compositionally, I think it's still really lame. But the good news is that we've got this uniform grey background. Which means that we can select each one of the objects independently.
Which is why if you're a member of the lynda.com online training library. I have a follow up movie in which I show you how to scale and rotate and move every single object independently in order to create these perfect proportions right here. Much better composition as you can see. If you're waiting for next week's free movie. I show you how to take this whimsical pencil sketch and then automatically trace it inside of Adobe Illustrator with these uniform strokes in order to create this professional quality vector-based artwork.
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