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This course 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. Now, I recently recorded a course I'm totally stoked about. It's called "Enhancing Underwater Photographs in Photoshop." I've been diving and shooting for about the last 20 years, but all these images come from a recent trip I took to Roatan, which is an island off Honduras, and they include among others this moon jelly, and we've got this giant grouper, this thing's like six feet long. We have this hawksbill turtle, they are so fun to swim with. We have a moray eel that almost ate the camera, and this Caribbean reef shark that was just sailing above me so really, really super fun stuff.
All kinds of other images as well, great tips and tricks, it's a lot of fun so I hope you get to check the course out, but I did save an image back. It's this guy right here, this angelfish in motion, as you can see, and I captured this image using this GoPro Hero 4 Black, which is a great little camera, obviously it was inside of a waterproof housing at the end of a stick so I could get close to the action. Thing costs about $400 bucks alone by itself, but couple of things to note about it, first of all, it does not have a built-in view finder.
The Hero 4 Silver does, but it's not quite as good of a camera. This one's better. And also, by the way, you've got a fixed lens here so no out of focus, no zoom either, and, by the way, the thing shoots JPEGs not raw, but it does have this thing, this feature called Protune, and if you turn it on, you prevent the camera from autocorrecting or autosharpening the images, which is a really great thing. Now at first it doesn't seem so great because the images come out pretty awful. This is what the angelfish looks like at the outset, but we actually have everything we need in order to enhance the shot and get this effect here, and we're gonna be doing so in Camera Raw, or if you prefer, you can use Lightroom.
Either way, here, let me show you exactly how it works. All right just so you have a chance to see things on screen, here's the final effect in which this dramatic, French angelfish is captured in motion, and here's the shockingly awful frame from that GoPro Hero 4 movie. But even though it doesn't look good to start with, obviously there's a lot of good information here just waiting for us to bring it out. So the first thing that we're gonna do is convert this image to a Smart Object by double-clicking on the background item here inside the Layers Panel, and I'll go ahead and call this guy "french angelfish." You have to spell 'em right so they're not anglefish, and then click OK.
And next, right-click on the image with the Rectangular Marquee tool and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now you want to go up to the Filter Menu and choose the Camera Raw Filter, which is available exclusively inside Photoshop CC. If you're working with older versions of the software, then you're gonna need to open this JPEG image in Camera Raw from Adobe Bridge, but I'm gonna show things off in CC, so I'll go ahead and choose the Camera Raw Filter. Then I might as well zoom in a little bit so that we can focus on the subject of our photograph, which is the fish itself.
Now, one of the things about these movies is that it came out a little bit too bright, so I'm gonna take the Exposure value down to -0.75, and then I'm gonna take the Contrast value up to 77, like so. Now at this point, our biggest problem is White Balance. So we've got this image that is captured under water, without a light, without a special lens, without anything, and as a result, we've got a lot of blues and greens to contend with that aren't really there.
It's all caused by the light being filtered through the water. To restore the real colors, we need to adjust the Temperature and Tint values, and the easiest way to do that is to use the White Balance tool, which you can select, third tool in, up here on the horizontal tool bar, and then you want to click on some detail that looks like it oughta be a neutral gray, like, let's go ahead and try this little bit of light coral right there and see if that works, and it turns out that's way too red, as you can see, so maybe I'll click inside of his mouth or even inside of his face, which is technically gray.
Now that's actually closer to what I want than you might think. In fact, I came up with a Temperature value of +28, so just two off of what I got with the tool, and then I took the Tint value up to +57. Again, two off of what I came up with automatically using the White Balance tool. Next, I'm gonna make some pretty dramatic modifications down here in the bottom right region of the window. I'm gonna start by cranking the Vibrance value all the way up to +100, which I know seems wrong and garish, but it's actually exactly what we want.
This is the scene as it naturally occurred, albeit, of course, the fish was less noisy than this in real life. Now, I'm gonna leave the Saturation value alone, but I am gonna take the Clarity value up to 77 just 'cause it's high and it's easy to enter, and then I'll mess around with the Highlights and Shadows values. So, I ended up taking the Highlights values down to -40 in order to temper the brightest colors in the image and bring them back into the visual range, and then I expanded the Shadows by taking that Shadows value up to +100.
Now, I didn't need to adjust the Whites value, but if I Alt drag or Option drag the triangle for the Blacks value, you can see that we've got all kinds of room to make these Blacks darker, and so, we're not really clipping until we get down to -50, as indicated by those small patches of yellow and cyan. Can you see them on screen? Anything that's white is not clipping at all, and the yellow and cyan details are only clipping in the blue and red channels respectively because we're looking for complimentary colors at this point.
So again, -50 was the value I came up with. Now, the biggest problem with the image at this point is it is just horrendously noisy, and that's in part a function of bringing that Shadows value up so high because noise always resides in the shadows, but it's also a function of cranking the heck out of the Vibrance value. Now, of course, I'm not gonna change my wicked ways here by reducing Vibrance, instead, I'm gonna switch over to the Detail tab, which is the third icon in, and I'm gonna crank the Luminance value up to 88, which is pretty darn high, and is gonna do a good job of getting rid of most of the Luminance noise.
We'll come back to that in a second, but first we need to deal with the Color noise, which is still rampant, by taking the Color value up to 50, like so, and you can see that the Color noise just drops out like crazy. So much better. Now, I've oversmoothed the image just a little bit, so what I want to do is take the Luminance Contrast value up to 50, like so, just because it's a round number, and then I ended up taking the Luminance Detail value down to 25 in order to produce this effect here.
Now, obviously, we want to take that detail there and sharpen it, and so I'm gonna crank the Amount value up to its absolute maximum, which is 150. That ends up sharpening the details pretty nicely, but it also leaves us with these weird choppy details, which is a function of this Detail slider. Go ahead and reduce it to 0, and you generally want to leave it set to 0 when you're working on JPEG images like this one unless they happen to be absolutely noise free. Now the final thing I'm gonna do just 'cause we have a little bit of chromatic aberration.
You can see that around his mouth. We're stuck with that mostly, but we can temper it a bit by switching to the Lens Correction tab, which is the sixth icon in, and then here in the Color subpanel, go ahead and turn on Remove Chromatic Aberration, and that will make things ever so slightly better. You can play with the Defringe settings too, if you like, but I didn't find any combinations that worked well at all. So, what I'm gonna do is click OK in order to accept that modification, and we have a much better looking image, and so what I'll do now is press the "f" key a couple of times in order to switch to the full screen mode, and then I might as well zoom in on my fish as well, and now, just to give you a sense of the amazing progress we've made, I'll go ahead and press the F12 key to revert the image.
This is that original, murky JPEG image that was captured as a frame from a very short underwater movie, and this is the final effect thanks to the outrageous color balancing and enhancing power of Camera Raw. All right, if you're a member of the Lynda.com Online Training Library, then I have a follow-up movie in which I warm up the fish using an Adjustment Layer, and we're also gonna up-sample and crop the image in order to create this more perfect composition here.
If you're waiting for next week's movie, I'm gonna show you how to take a very colorful, photographic logo, with all these photographic elements from the Hubble Space Telescope, and we're going to reduce it to nothing but spot colors, and so the idea is that if we're going to pre-press, this thing isn't gonna reproduce very well with CMYK, whereas, if we distill it down to just three inks, as we're seeing here, it's gonna look absolutely great. Deke's Techniques each and every week. Keep watching.
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