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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
In this movie, we are going to learn a couple of techniques that we can use in order to improve this image. So, let's go ahead and open this one up. It's titled corwig_sisters. Double-click that to open up it up in Photoshop. Press F to go to Full Screen View mode and then let's reposition the image, just a little bit. Now the first thing that I want to do is make this image just a little bit more flattering. So I'm going to copy the background layer, and I'll do that by clicking and dragging that to the New Layer icon or press Command J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC. I'm going to name this layer height. Next, I'll press Command+T on a Mac/ Ctrl+T on a PC and all that I'm interested in doing is increasing the height just a little bit here. So I'll go ahead and click and drag that up. And then I'll press the arrow key to move that back down. I don't want to change the composition too much; I'm just looking to give this one a little bit more height.
Again I have a pretty short focal length lens, and so there is a little bit of distortion, I want to bring back a little bit of the height. I'll press Enter or Return to apply that, here is our before and after, pretty subtle. It is just adding a little bit of height and making this image a little bit more interesting. All right, well the next thing that I want to do is work on the eyes. So I'll zoom in a tad bit on the eyes or zoom in on this image, so we can see the eyes, I should say. I'll zoom in even further, so we can really analyze what's happening. Now we have an overcast day, which is nice because the lights are relatively soft except it's really bright out, the overcast clouds are probably going to break pretty soon.
So, we have these highlights and then we have a lot of trapped shadows in the eyes. I just want to look at how we can begin to work with these wrinkles under the eyes, as well as, just the light around the eye. So I'll create a new layer and I'm going to create layer by way of a shortcut Shift+Command+N on a Mac/Shift+Ctrl+ N on a PC, and we will call this layer eye1 for our first work on the eye. I'm going to then grab one of my tools. In this case, I'm going to grab my Clone Stamp tool and I'll take blend mode to Lighten. I have Opacity of about 25%, I'm going to zoom in and I'm just going to look to brighten up this area a little bit. I'll Option click right underneath the corner of the eye and then I'm just going to bring in a little bit of brightening here, of course, you need to make sure a Clone Stamp tool is on All Layers, right. So we want to have that on All Layers. We have talked about that a bit before. I'll just look to brighten that up little by little here.
Again I'm just painting across those wrinkles and the shadows in those wrinkles and then I'll go over to this area. Again Option-click to get a good portion of the eye. I want to make sure I don't make any mistakes on this; it's just been real delicate. Nice thing about what we are doing here is it's on a separate layer and so we can control this as far it's over all Opacity. Okay, let's move over this side. Same thing, Option-click on a Mac/Alt- click on PC. Sample a good source area and just go back and forth lightening up those wrinkles and keep in mind that what you want to do a lot of times when you are retouching is you want start off by making some retouching and it's a little bit perhaps too strong and then slowly you will bring that back in and we will build it up.
Okay, well let's zoom out and see how we are doing so far. Here is our before and after. Again, just bring in a little bit more lightness to that area. Let's create one more layer. Shift+Command+N on a Mac/Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC. We will name this one eye2. Now, we are going to grab the Healing brush. We will do the same exact thing that we did before, Option click on a Mac, Alt click on a PC. This time we are just going to paint over those wrinkles in their entirety. That one wasn't too good I need to make my brush a little bit bigger and sample a little bit lower here, like I can get over that wrinkle. I'm not really liking that too much.
So I'm going to zoom in, so I can get better approach there. Option-click and just get on that wrinkle, right there. Okay, that looks good and work on that side and then same thing over here. It's looking to bring out some of those shadows that we have there and then next work on this side over here. Now the trick with using these tools is that again, you want to apply them and then you need to blend them back. So what we are doing here is just a lot of removal, right especially on this, press it right here. In these wrinkles, the character is completely gone, it looks unnatural, it looks strange. I don't like it, but just stick with me for a moment. Okay, again, I'm just trying to get my Healing here, looking good, I'm sampling different areas look at our before and after.
Okay, well so far so good. We have a little bit of healing; we have a little bit of lightening. I would then want to group those two layers. I'll clicking the Top layer, hold down the Shift key, click on the Bottom layer and press Command+G on a Mac/Ctrl+G on a PC. We will name this eye. Now if I turn this on and off, I have my overall eye retouching. What I can do here is lower my Opacity to find the sweet spot because a lot of times what we want to do is not remove wrinkles. We just want to diminish intensity of them. So here I have my before and then after. I'll zoom out a little. So I can see how that looks and there is my before and after pretty subtle. Again, just getting away those real deep shadows and of course, depending on the genre of the photography or the type of image or the eye, you could make that stronger or you can back it off a little bit.
Now, the last thing that I want to do here is bring a little bit of light into the eye. So I'll click on my Adjustment Layer icon and choose Curves, bring in some light. All right, that looks good; I'll go then go down and close that. Go down my mask here. You want to invert it. Press Command+I on a Mac/Ctrl+I on a Property Changer. Grab your Brush tool. With your brush tool we are going to paint at about 40% of Opacity. We are going paint with white, keep your brush relatively small and again we are just going to look to brighten up some of these darker shadows that we are seeing around the eye. You might want to change your Opacity depending on where you are bringing in the light.
So up here I'm going to go to a larger brush size and just look to brighten up larger area of the eye. Same thing over here on this side, but a shadow on that side I want to deal with. Build this up, nice thing about this is, it's non destructive. We are doing this on a separate layer. So we can always undo this and we can change our opacity of the brush or the layer. Now we will zoom out a tad bit. I know, it's a little bit too strong but stick with me, here is my before and after. Now if I'm not using a Wacom tablet, as I'm not doing in a lot of this training title, because I'm probably assuming you may not have one just yet.
What I can do is go to that mask and navigate to my Filter pulldown menu and choose Blur > Gaussian Blur and then blur out that mask, that I have created to smooth out those transitions and again the amount of smoothing will really depend on the image and I saw the black and white view of the mask by holding on the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC and clicking on that. And now here we have that final bit of lighting eyes before and after. Here is our work on the wrinkles underneath the eyes. Here is that nice bit of brightening overall, here is our before and then after. Now are those drastic improvements? No but a lot of times you want to keep it simple.
There is just a few more things that I want to do here. I'm going to go ahead and click in this Eye Layer and crank this up because one of the things I'm noticing is I want the bride's eyes to look a little bit better. So I'm going to be really focusing on the bride's eyes and say you know right about there it looks good. But her eyes look a little bit too retouched. So I'm going to click on the Add Layer Mask icon to the entire group. So this is to all the adjustments in this group. Grab my Brush tool, paint with black, 100% black, no, not at all. I just want to back it off a little bit. So I'll go ahead and paint maybe about 40%, 30% black and grab a brush size, right bracket key it's a little bit bigger and I'll bring back in some of the characters in the face there.
Now we are looking at our overall before and after. So I worked a little bit harder on these wrinkles a little bit less on those. Now I can lower the opacity altogether. Again to find the sweet spot. So we are just diminishing that, we are not making it look unnatural, here is our before and after. Now well, wow! We covered quite a bit of territory in this movie, yet I hope that what we covered was helpful and I hope that you have begun to see or begun to catch a vision for what's possible and how when you are retouching or working on your images. There is going to be a lot of give and take. You are going to do a little bit back it off, do a little bit more of back it off and slowly build up the adjustments and sometimes the best looking photographs are result of taking those incremental steps and slowly building up your retouching
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