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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
Hi there, welcome back to Creative Quick Tips. My name is Justin Seely, and this week we're going to be taking a look at how to use Adobe's Camera Raw as a smart filter inside of Adobe Photoshop. Using Camera Raw is one of the best ways to edit photos in Photoshop in my opinion anyway, but the ability to actually use it while I'm still inside of Photoshop as a smart filter makes it even better. So let's take a look at exactly how to do this. First things first, what I'm going to do is I'm going to convert the background layer here into a smart object.
So I'm just going to right-click and choose Convert to Smart Object. And so what I'm going to do is I'm going to make some adjustments to it. I'm might adjust the noise a little bit, punch up the clarity, change the exposure a little bit, just whatever I want to do to it, I can do it right here inside the Photoshop using Camera Raw. So I'm going to go to the Filter menu. And right there, is the Camera Raw filter. And once I do that, it's going to actually launch Camera RAW inside of Photoshop and allow me to make adjustments the same way I would if I had launched this in Camera RAW to begin with. So I can do things like, adjust the exposure.
I can change the contrast level. So maybe punch that up a little bit. I can change the highlights. See I can bring back some detail there in the sky. I can bump up the shadows or darken those up a little bit if I want to. I'm going to actually open up the highlights just a little bit more. There we go. Can adjust the white or the black point, anything you want to do inside of Camera Raw you can do on this photo. So in this case, I want to add some clarity to it. Needs some more texture on those rocks. And we are also going to increase the vibrance. Now you notice I get some noise right up there, and that's okay, I can get rid of that a little bit later.
And so now we can go over here, we can work on the tone curve if we want to. We can go in and work on the sharpening. Here we go, here's the Noise Reduction. And check out if I drag this over to about 50. Check out the noise. Here's before, and here's after. Really smooths it out. Now it does give some smoothing to the rocks as well so you gotta be careful with that so I might dial that back something like 35. But in any case, makes the photo look a lot better in my opinion. I can also go in here and I can easily convert it to black and white and have full control over the tonality of the black and white photo.
Just like that. Let's darken up the blues a little bit, maybe. Adjust the purples. There we go. I can easily turn that off if I want to. And then when I'm finished, the best part about this is I just hit OK. And it processes that really quickly, by the way. And puts it right back into Photoshop. Anytime I want to make changes to that or let's say that I wanted to just have a selected adjustment with it I have the Smart Filter mask. I can come in here and I can actually mask out different areas that i don't want to be affected by this. So I can do that with my brush tool. Switch over to the brush, increase the size quite a bit.
Make sure it's a soft edge brush and then make sure I'm painting with black and then I can just come in here and Sort of erase the effects of the smart filter. So I can add in a little bit more darkness back here in the back. Get back some of the texture as well, where I was losing that because of some of the noise reduction that I did. So I can just brush them back in. You can see that there. And so here is before, after. So you see we just get a nice little pop, in the highlights, in the shadows and some nice texture happening in those rocks. And the best part about this, I think, is the fact that anytime I want, I can double-click right there on those little slider icons and I can go in and I can change even the blend mode of this.
I can change the opacity of the adjustment or if I want to make changes to the actual Camera Raw settings just double click Camera Raw Filter. That's going to launch camera raw backup again and I can actually make adjustments to the photo again. Maybe even go over and change that Noise Reduction setting. Hit OK and everything is applied instantly once I exit out. The next time you have a photo loaded up inside of Photoshop and you chose to bypass Camera Raw for whatever reason, there's no reason for you not to use it now as a filter because you can just convert your background layer to a smart object, run it as a smart filter, and then have total control over your image, using Camera Raw inside of Photoshop.
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