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As Ansel Adams once said, "The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance." Now, with Photoshop CS4 for Photographers: Desktop Printing Techniques, creating breathtaking prints is within reach. In this course, photographer and instructor Chris Orwig teaches techniques and workflows for crafting powerful and enduring images that bring the photographer's vision to life. From producing a business card to visiting a working press, Chris covers everything photographers need to know to achieve unique, compelling results from the printing process. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this movie, we are going to talk about another scenario for using the High Pass sharpening effect. What I want to do here is just begin to think about how we can add a little bit of texture with this effect. Before I do that, we have to talk a little bit about sharpening in regards to contrast. I click on the Curves adjustment layer icon and I decrease the Contrast here, well, the image doesn't feel as sharp. On the other hand, if I increase the Contrast, the image feels much more sharp. So let's delete that layer, we don't really need that. I just wanted to pull that up to illustrate this idea that sharpness and contrast go hand in hand.
So let's say that with this particular photograph, we will double-click on the Zoom tool and with this photograph, we want to bring in some texture to this sculpture here. We don't obviously want to add any sharpening to the background but we want to have this be a little bit more tactile. We want to bring out these little tiny details. So here is what we are going to do. We are going to go ahead and copy the Background layer, Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC. We will name this high pass. Next, we will navigate to our Filter pulldown menu > Other and High Pass. Now we are looking to bring in some texture here and it doesn't really matter how the edges look. More important that it matters how the detail on the sculpture looks. Click OK to apply that. We have some color fringing. I can see that. All different kinds of color problems.
You know how to fix that, right? It's Command+U on a Mac, Ctrl+U on a PC, remove the color and click OK. Next, we are going to take this to a blend mode of Overlay or Soft Light. I'm going to choose Overlay because I want to make this real intense. So here is my before, here is my after. Nice texture there, except I obviously wrecked the sky. So how do I fix that? Well, we will turn that layer off and click back into the Background layer. I'll close my Adjustments panel for a moment by double-clicking on the Adjustments tab, so that we can really focus in on the Background layer.
Next, we are going to grab the good old Quick Select tool and all that we need to do here is quickly click-and-drag across the image. If there is an area of the image we don't want to have to selected, as I have here, hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC and just click-and-drag to paint that away. Then we will go ahead and add this area back in and just looking to try to get it pretty close to the edge. It doesn't need to be perfect. I'll make my brush a little bit smaller and again, just remove that, a little bit of an edge there. Again, the edge doesn't need to be perfect. Actually, having a little bit of a problem area there will help us out because we will be able to see how we can fix that later. Next, click in the high pass layer. Now this high pass layer, we are going to then add a layer mask. So we click on the Add Layer Mask icon, so that the sharpening is only affecting the sculpture. So here is my before and after.
Well, so far so good, except my edges are a little bit too sharp. I'll go into the Mask panel. And when I go into the Mask panel, I can choose Mask Edge. Now this is really interesting. Here we can see that I'm in the mask and I'm going to bring back some of these adjustments, bring them back to normalize them a little bit. Then I'll zoom out, so I can see my image here. I'm going to view this with this red rubylith overlay and there you can see a little bit of my problem area. Now I can contract this edge, so that that becomes a little bit smaller there.
It comes in. Feather it. We can see that it's softening those edges; the red is spilling over into the sculpture. I can also smooth that out. Again, that's going to take off that hard edge that I have there and I can dial this in until I see that it looks pretty good. Click OK to apply that and now I have a new edge on that mask. When I zoom in, it's going to be a much more friendly, much softer edge than it was before. Now I have a pretty intense amount of sharpening, yet I'm okay with that because I'm going for this kind of a special effect. Okay, so I have all that texture. Now I want to work with the color. Again, we are just beginning to combine sharpening with other techniques here. We will click on the Adjustment Layer icon and choose Hue/Saturation. Next, we are going to choose Colorize and we are going to add quite a bit of blue here. Then we will take the blend mode of this layer to good old Soft Light.
Now I really like doing things like this because what it will do is it will add contrast and kind of bleach the image out a little bit, removing a lot of the color and adding in a little bit of blue. Now if I don't like that amount of blue, I can swing it one way or another, but again, I think that looks kind of fun there. Lower the Saturation perhaps to remove even more of the blue. Here is my before and after. Again, I'm going for a little bit more of a gritty, tactile feel. Almost looks a little bit surreal in my opinion. That image looks like it's almost two separate things. I'll click on our before and after, so we can zoom in to see what kind of texture we are bringing into this area of the photograph.
All right, well, it's a little bit too strong, so we will lower the Opacity and/or try a different blend mode like Soft Light. Again, we just want to add a little bit of contrast there, a little bit of boost. We will find the sweet spot. That looks good. Zoom out a touch to look at our overall before and after. Here is before. Now when we look at the before, this looks like it's not even in focus and there is the after. We added quite a bit of a tactile nature to that particular object in this photograph. It feels like it has much more texture in a kind of a unique and creative way.
So all that I'm trying to do here is to just get you to begin to think about how when you are sharpening your photographs, sometimes you are just sharpening for a typical print. It's a normal workflow. Other times, you need to get a little bit more creative with your sharpening perhaps, in order to fulfill your desired intent with a particular photograph. Whatever your goal is, my hope is that these different sharpening techniques will ultimately lead you to creating engaging and compelling final prints.
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