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In Photoshop CS5: Landscape Photography, Ben Long outlines a full, shooting-to-output workflow geared specifically toward the needs of landscape photographers, with a special emphasis on composition, exposure enhancement, and retouching. This course also covers converting to black and white, using high-dynamic range (HDR) imaging techniques to capture an image that’s closer to what your eye sees, and preparing images for large-format printing. Learn to bring back the impact of the original scene with some simple post-processing in Photoshop. Exercise files are included with the course.
Earlier, we talked about how the photographer's job, when composing a shot, is to help guide the viewer's eye. We looked at tonal control as a way to lead the viewer through your image. But there are many other options, and one of the most effective is vignetting. Of course, earlier we viewed vignetting as a problem, and we looked at ways to remove it. But there will be times when adding a vignette might be exactly what you need to guide the viewer's eye through your image. Now, we could have added a vignette in Camera Raw, but honestly I didn't think of it at the time because I didn't know the image needed it.
It wasn't until I got here to Photoshop and made some other corrections that I started to realize well, it's kind of just grass going out both sides of the image here. My eye doesn't really know what to do; it just wonders off. Maybe if there was a vignetting, because I can see a little bit of it here, maybe if there was all the way around the image, that would keep the viewer's eye here in the center. Fortunately, we can add a vignette here in Photoshop, and not have to go back to Camera Raw and start over. The Photoshop Vignetting tool is a destructive edit. It goes in and darkens the corners of the current layer.
I would like to implement it in a way that is nondestructive, in case vignetting turns up actually to be a really bad idea. So what I am going to do is go over here to my Layers palette where I have my Background layer, which contains my image, and I have these two adjustment layers. I am going to duplicate the Background layer. I can do that by clicking and dragging it down to the Add New layer button. Now, I have two copies of exactly the same image. I basically made a backup of the image data within the file itself. With my copy selected, I am going to go up here to Filter, and choose Lens Correction.
That takes me to Photoshop's mighty Lens Correction plug-in here, which has a few different things in it. In this tab, I've got Auto Correction, which will automatically try to identify what lens and camera I was using. To tell you the truth, it got it wrong. I've got the lens correct, but it didn't get the camera. It's going to, based on what it knows of that lens, try to automatically fix geometric distortion, which means barrel, and pin cushion distortion, which looks like an image that's being blown outwards or blown inwards.
It's going to try and correct Chromatic Aberration and Vignetting, all of things that we saw in Camera Raw. I am going to turn all this off, and there you see my image just went back to where it was, as I liked the way the image looked before. I am going to switch over here to the Custom tab where I get a lot of manual controls, manual controls of Distortion, Chromatic Aberration, Vignetting, and Perspective. This can be really nice when you are shooting architecture. You can correct perspective and vanishing point. But what I would like to do is darken the corners of the image, so I am going to just drag this to the left, and right away I've got a pretty nice vignette.
Just as in Camera Raw, I control how wide the vignette is with this slider, and I am liking that a lot more. It's almost turned the image into kind of a circular thing. I am going to click OK to accept this edit, and make the change, and there we go. I now have an upper layer that has a vignette on it. I can hide that, and you can see the un-vignetted layer below. If it turns out I don't like this vignette, I cannot go back and adjust its parameters the way that I can in Raw, but I could, if I so chose, drag it to the Trash, and now I am back to just my normal un-vignetted image.
So this is a way of taking a normally destructive edit and making it non-destructive. More importantly, it's a way of adding a vignette to my image to try to bring focus back to the center.
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