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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 McClellan. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week, I'm going to show you how to take this nondescript snap shot, I mean, he's a good looking kid and all. I just turned him into a dark elf a couple months ago. We're going to develop him into the perfect portrait shot with these luminous eyes that follow you everywhere. Just the thing you need for the holiday season. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Here's the final version of the portrait shot, just so you have a chance to see it on screen.
We're going to be working from a raw dng file, which you can get to by going up to the file menu and choosing open as smart object. If you have access to the exercise files, then it's this one right here, exterior portrait shot.dng, at which point you can click on the open button in order to open the image in camera raw. You can see that we've got a few problems here. The image is pretty darn blown out, the eyes are too dark, and worst of all possibly is the color balance. This image is too cool.
To warm it up, we need to increase the temperature value and we need to take the tint value down a little bit as well. The easiest way to get things just right is to select the white balance tool, third in up here in the horizontal tool bar. Then I'm going to scroll down a little bit, and you want to click in some light neutral portion of the image. The most obvious area is this white collar. Go ahead and click in it someplace and see what you end up with. In my case, I happen to now have a temperature value of 7700 degrees and a tint of negative 19.
I'm going to take that tint value down to a round number just so you can follow along, of negative 20. I'm going to take the temperature value up by pressing the up arrow key to 7850 degrees Kelvin. What we're doing is we're dialing in a cool light source so that camera raw compensates by warming up the image. Now I want to address these blown out highlights by taking the exposure value down. I'll click in exposure and click shift down arrow to take that value down to 0.5.
I'm also going to take the highlights value way down. You can see that that does a great job of recovering those highlights. Where as before, they look like this. We've got some really blown out details on the left half of the face. Yet because the image was captured is a raw image file, there is tons of detail that's hidden from view. We can get it back by taking this highlights value down. In the end, I arrived at a highlights value of negative 77 and then to bring up the shadows as well, I took that shadows value up to plus 50.
You can see, if you press the Alt key, or the options key on the Mac, and click and hold on the slider triangle for the whites value, we really don't have any blown highlights at this point. If I were to increase the value, we would eventually see blown highlights inside of the preview. As long as we keep this value as zero, we're fine. We do, however, want to take the blacks value down just a little bit to sync those shadows. I'm going to press the Alt key or the option key on the Mac once again as I drag the slider handle, and that way I can see exactly which details are getting clipped.
I eventually took this value down to negative 20. Anywhere where we can see color, that means clipping is occurring in at least one channel. Anywhere where you see black, we're clipping in all three channels. In my case, it's happening on the shadows down here, but that's okay. We'll smooth some of those shadows away in just a minute. Now I'm going to tab down to the clarity value. I'm going to take it down. Because this is a portrait shot, we don't want a massive amount of edge detail like so.
That end up bringing down too much skin detail. Even though this is a very handsome young man right here, he can be made to look pretty cruddy if we do enough work with clarity. Where as, if you back that value off, you're going to smooth things over quite nicely. This is a clarity value of zero. This is a clarity value right here of negative 50. Basically an anti sharpening effect. Now I'm going to tab down to the vibrant value. I take it up to plus 10.
We don't need much more saturation, which is also why I leave the saturation value entirely alone. Now we want to go ahead and fix any lens distortion that may be going on. Click on the lens correction icon. Here inside the profile tab, go ahead and turn on enable lens profile corrections. It's not going to to all that much where this image is concerned, but it does make a slight difference. Then you want to click on the color tab and turn on remove chromatic abortion. You always want to do that for each and every photograph you capture.
Now we want to sharpen things up a bit. I'll click on the detail tab right there. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in by pressing control plus, or command plus, a couple of times, here, and I'm going to pan to the subject's eyes. I'm going to take the amount value up to 100, let's say. Then, I'll leave the radius value set to 1.0 and I'll take the detail value down to zero. Always remember,when you're applying sharpening inside of camera raw or a light room for that matter, you're not sharpening for output, you're not sharpening for the final print.
We'll do that in just a moment. What you're doing instead is you're just trying to sharpen up the detail ever so slightly to account for the transition process from the raw image to what is essentially the real world. Now I'm going to take the luminescence value because we do have some noise going on. I'm going to take the luminescence value up to 50. I'll leave the luminescence detail value set to 50, luminescence contrast is best left set to zero. Now, we'll take the color value here up to 50 in order to compensate for any color noise we may have.
Color detail's fine at 50 as well and I'm going to take the color smoothness value up to 100. You can see, as a result, we end up with some very smooth detail. That's going to permit us to sharpen the portrait in Photoshop as I say in just a moment. Now we want to heal some of the skin stuff. I'm going to do that by switching over to the spot removal tool. I did that because after all, this isn't necessarily the most fun part of the process, and it's pretty manual.
You have to determine exactly what you want to get rid of and what you want to keep. We do have this item right here, which is pretty good on the chin. You can either click with this tool in order to create a circular correction or you can drag with it to create a custom correction like so. In any case, you want to make sure that you allow some margin around the thing that you're trying to heal away. Notice that my type is set to heal over here on the right hand side of the screen. The feather value is set to 100 and I've got my size set to nine pixels.
That's of course up to you. I'm going to paint right about here as well. If you're not satisfied with what camera raw automatically determines to be the source for the clone, which I'm not. This is terrible, then you can go ahead and drag this green thing into a different location like so. If you want to be able to see what you've done without all this interface stuff on screen, then you can turn off the show overlay check box down here or you can just press the keyboard short cut V.
V turns off the overlay, all of the interface that is, and then pressing the V key again brings it all back. We have just this one more item right here. I'm not sure if it's a little bit of a hair or if it's just kind of a flesh like color back there in the foliage, but I want to get rid of it. I'm going to drag over this region after, of course, zooming way in on it. I'm viewing the image at 100 percent. I want to make sure that we are sourcing the right area. This actually looks pretty darn good.
I'll, once again, press the V key in order to hide that over lay. Actually, you know what? I don't like it so much. I can still see something there. I'll press V to bring things back. Because I dragged with the tool, I can't really modify it. If I want to change it, I need to press the backspace key or the delete key on the Mac in order to get rid of it. Now, I'll paint something bigger. That's really going to cover up that spot with no ambiguity what so ever. Then I'll release to see what camera raw has come up with. It looks like I need to scoot this in a little more or perhaps I'm wrong and I need to scoot it out because I was getting a little bit of a blob right there.
I might move it up as well so that the two are slightly over lapping each other. Then I'll press the V key to hide that over lay. It looks like I'm still messing up a little bit. I'll press V to bring it back and I'll drag this guy out. This can be pretty tricky work in order to get this exactly right, which I think I did. Press the V key and that looks pretty darn good, especially if I zoom out just a little bit like so. The final thing we need to do is brighten up the eyes. They're just so shrouded in darkness right here.
I want them to shine a little more. I'm going to select my adjustment brush. Notice, I've entered some values in advance here. I've set the exposure to plus 0.75 and I've raised the shadows to plus 33. That's it. Those are the only changes I'm going to make here. I've turned auto mask off. That's very important because notice if I turn auto mask on, and I go ahead and select the mask check box and then I start painting in the eyes, notice how noisy that mask is right there. That also will result if I turn the mask check box off, that will result in a very noisy modification, which is not what we want.
I'll go ahead and press control Z, or command Z on the Mac, to undo that change and I'll turn off auto mask. Then I'll paint inside of the right eye like so. Notice that my feather value is set to 50. I don't want too much feather and I don't want too little eye there. I want just the right amount. Now I'll go ahead and paint the left eye. You may look at this and say, "Well gosh, obviously I've gone "too far with this modification." I want to erase and I want to do so just by pressing the Alt key, or the option key on the Mac, as I drag. I'm going to go up here to this fly out menu icon and make sure separate eraser size is turned off.
That's very important. If you see a check box, go ahead and turn it off. Then, I'll press the Alt key, or the option key on the Mac, and brush along the bottom eye lid like so. That will introduce a little bit of shadow to the bottom of the iris right there. Can you see that? We want to do the same thing on the top eye lid so that we have a little bit of a shadow projecting onto the iris. Maybe not that much though, so I'll press control Z or command Z on the Mac to undo that and I'll try again.
Alt, or option, paint along the top eyelid. I'll do the same over here on the top of the right eye and the bottom of the right eye as well. I'm painting in separate passes, but each and every time, I'm pressing the Alt key, or the option key on the Mac. Then I'll zoom out a little bit. that pin looks a little bit painful right there, so in order to hide it, I'll just switch back to the zoom tool. That looks pretty darn great to me. I'll go ahead and click okay in order to accept those changes.
Two things are going to happen here. First of all, I went ahead and applied my modifications to the original dng file. These are all temporary modifications of course. I can change my mind any time I want. It's just a bunch of numerical parameters that are saved along with the file's meta data. Not a single pixel is harmed. Meanwhile, I've opened the file as a smart object here inside of Photoshop so that I can make changes to it at any time I'd like. For example, I can rename the layer, of course. I just want to call it, let's say, portrait.
If I want to modify the camera raw settings any old time, if I decide I made a mistake, then I can just double click on the thumbnail for this portrait layer in order to open up camera raw along with all of the modifications I just got done upon. I'm pretty happy with what I did. I'm going to cancel out of here. The only other change I want to make is to sharpen the portrait. Because I have made it so soft thus far, we have a lot of room for sharpening. This is going to be the way that you sharpen your portrait for output.
The best way to sharpen a portrait is not to go to the filter menu, choose sharpen, and choose smart sharpen because the problem with smart sharpen is that it can bring out details that you don't want it to often times, especially in portrait shots, and you can end up clipping highlights and shadows along the edges of your art. That's not something that we want, in the case of this portrait especially because it has these near blown highlights. the better command, the one that's a kinder, gentler sharpening function and does not result in any highlight or shadow clipping, it's under the other sub menu and it goes by the name high pass.
If this is the first time you've ever seen it, it doesn't look like a sharpening filter because after all, everything seems to go gray. If you look very closely, you can see that the eyes there are just barely not gray. The edges, the areas of rapid tonal transition, those are going to remain ever so slightly dark and bright and everything that is not an edge is going to turn gray. We're going to go with the radius value of five pixels, which defines the size of our final halos.
Then click okay. Now you want to mix this weird murky layer of high pass with the original by double clicking on the slider icon to the right of the words high pass inside the layers panel. That'll bring up the blending options dialog box. Then you want to select a contrast mode. For a slight amount of sharpening, you'd go with overlay. You'll see that you do lose the gray and you mix those highlights and shadows along with the original image. We're not getting that much sharpening. You can't increase the opacity value beyond 100 percent, so what you need to do instead is increase the blend mode.
The highest impact contrast blend mode is linear light. Notice, as soon as you choose that mode, you're going to see more edge contrast on screen, at which point, go ahead and click okay in order to apply that change. Now, I'll go ahead and press the F key a couple of times and back out just a little bit. That, friends, if how you use a combination of camera raw and Photoshop to develop the perfect holiday portrait. Alright gang, we're taking next week off for the holidays to be with our friends and family around the wood burning fire place that we don't actually own, which means, this is officially the end of the fourth consecutive year of Deke's Techniques.
We started things off at the beginning of 2011 and we're going to continue things at the beginning of 2015 with episode 377. Can you believe it? Deke's Techniques each and every week, except next week. Keep watching.
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