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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to the Black and White adjustment layer, which also is available as a Static Color Adjustment, if you like to apply things as Static Adjustments, but why would you? Really, honestly, after all I have shown you. Why would you work Static, if you didn't have to? Because in addition to all the other wonderful things I have shown you about adjustment layers, if you decide against them, if you decide this is not the effect you are looking for. You can just turn it off. You don't have to back step. You don't have to undo. You don't have to permanently lose those explorations that you had tried out inside of an image. You can just turn them off. And then you can throw them in a group or what have you, in order to organize them independently with the rest of the layered composition.
And what's really great about them? You might think, well, then you are just junking up your file. Well, you are kind of are, I mean, you are junking up your Layers palette a little bit. But as I say, you can organize that. And I'll show you organizational techniques in the future chapter, but you are not making the image much larger. Notice down here in the lower left corner of the Image Window that we are seeing Doc: ( colon) and a couple of things about the Doc right there. Some numbers, and if you're not seeing that, then click this right pointing your hand and choose document sizes. Those values right there, the value before the slash indicates the size of the file, flat. And the value after the slash, 5.93 MB, indicates the size of the image with layers.
Notice with layers it's not much bigger, just slightly bigger, and that's totally attributable to the layer mask right there. If I grab that layer mask and then I Alt+Click or Option+Click on the Trash Can to get rid of it, that way I bypass the warning that otherwise comes up and irritates me. Then you will see, its 5.16, without layers, and 5.16 MB with layers. So in other words the layers don't take up any room, which is a lie. They take up a few K, but not enough to register in Mega Bytes. So they are very small, very efficient.
And even the layer mask doesn't take up much room. I'll go ahead and undo the deletion of that layer mask. My goodness, I don't want that to happen. Now, I'm going to change this Channel Mixture layer back to Normal, because I want you to see something. What happens if I change all the values to 0, like so? Then I have a black image with two floating irises, and that's it. I just want you to see you get a totally black image, because you are not making any contribution. There is no contribution from red, none from green, none from blue. Nothing happened in then the constant department. So of course we are getting a black image. There is no luminance, hence blackness.
All right, I just wanted you to see that, because let's go ahead and reset to the previous state, like so, by clicking on that little half-an-arrow button, if you click on the full-arrow button, that's going to take you back to the defaults. See you don't want that. Then we would press Ctrl+C, actually I would press Ctrl+Alt+C, Ctrl+Alt+C, a couple of times. That's Command+Option+C, oh no! Look at that, that takes be back to Soft Light. I just want you to see the difference in that icon right there. Notice that the half of an arrow, or that is that the arrow goes half way around the circle. That indicates that you are going to go back to the previous state. All the way round the circle. That indicates you are going to go back to defaults. I just wanted you to know that.
All right, we went back to Soft Light. It doesn't matter. I'm going to turn off the eyeball. Now, we are going to add a black and white layer, like so. We are in the Adjustments palette. Click on the left-pointing green arrowhead, and I want you to click on this icon that is half black and half white. It is mysteriously the icon for black and white. Go figure, something makes sense in Photoshop. A joke, because I love. All right, let's go ahead and Alt+click on it, or Option+click, and let's call it B&W, because I like short layer names, because that way I can see them, and they don't get abbreviated over there.
Now, I'll click OK. And we are making a new black and white adjustment layer. Now notice there is no Monochrome check box, because it's always making the assumption, we want black and white. And there is no sum value underneath the sliders. Believe they happen to add up to 300, altogether, 300%. Because there are more many of them. So, we have reds, greens and blues. But we also have yellows, cyans and magentas. And it's not necessary that they add up to any specific value, even though reds, greens and blues do happen to add up to 100% by default. It doesn't really matter. You have an Auto button. If you want to try it out, it's intelligent, it tries to make determinations about an image based on the luminance that it finds inside of the red, green and blue channels.
And then it mixes something that it thinks you'll like. It doesn't know that this is a portrait shot, and it should make a portrait modification. But it does know what's in there already. You can't choose a preset too. You could say, hey! Let's go with an infrared effect, like so. That's terrible in the case of this image. But you can try things out if you want to, just to get a sense of what things might look like. You can try a red filter, for example, which looks pretty darn nice. You can try a blue filter. So, that doesn't look good at all. Anyway, here's what I want you to see. If I set all these values to 0, we don't get a black image. We still have a lot of luminance information left over. And I'm going to ho ahead and bring up my histogram, and you can see that it has got some pretty decent highlight detail right there. It doesn't go all the way to white; it doesn't extend all the way to the far right side of the histogram, the luminance values don't. But they do creep along into this department.
We've got plenty of midtones, and obviously we have lots of shadows. But it's not strictly a black image. Which is pretty amazing, even if we take these values down to their absolute minimum here. Notice that I'm just going to keep taking these guys down to the minimum values. We still have mid-tones inside their image. We still have midtones inside the image. I'll go ahead and update the histogram. We have midtones. We have just a sliver of highlights. Go figure, right there in the bridge of the nose, it's still visible. We can still see the whites of her eyes. All right, so I think that's pretty amazing. So what kind of vales do we want to apply? Well, I'll tell you. Let's start with Auto, its good place to start, and then I'll show you how to apply some adjustment? How to get a really black and white mix in the next exercise.
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