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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, 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 CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
In this exercise I explained how to use the four adjust edge options inside the refine edge dialog box. I'm working inside Masked sunny.psd. Notice that there is no selection outline active inside the image, if there is inside your image, make sure to press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac. I have the sunny layer active, and the layer mask is active here inside the Layers panel. So I'll go up to the Select menu and choose the command right after Color Range, which this time around is called Refine Mask, because I'm operating on the layer mask. And it has a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+R, Command+Option+R on the Mac.
I am viewing my modifications against the white background. If you're saying something else like a black background, for example, all you have to do is press the W key, and that will switch you to white. We're going to skip Edge Detection for now, those are those artificial intelligence features that allow you to seep the selection into the hair detail, because more rudimentary and more important in that function are these guys right here, the four Adjust Edge values. And I want to show you how those work upfront. So for starters here we can go ahead and round off any corners inside the selection, and, for example, if I take that value up to what say 60, I'm going to round the corners as you're seeing right here.
So we're going to get smushier corners around the hair details, but we're also going to get smoother contours around the knuckles of her hand and around the sweater as well. So any place where we have smooth edges, then the Smooth value is really going to help us out. Where we need sharp edges; however, it's going to ultimately defeat our purposes. So we have to discover a nice compromise between the two. If you don't have any smooth details or if you just working on hair and other fibrous edges, then go ahead and leave the Smooth option set to zero.
However, in our case it gives us these chunky sort of jagged edges around the knuckles and the edges of the sweater, so we do need to increase the Smooth value to some extent. I'm going to take it up to 20. That is also by the way going to smooth over the corners, which ultimately we'll have to retrieve later. Anyway, next is Feather, which is going to blur that selection edge. So if I increase this value to say 20, then I'm going to get a quite blurry selection outline indeed, which is a way of kind of disguising a bad selection outline inside a Photoshop.
That said, the Feather option can have it's uses, first of all it allows you to preview feathering, which is something the feather command does not allow you to do. Secondly, you can adjust your Contrast and Shift Edges values inside of that Feather range, so both contrast and Shift Edges require soft selection outlines to work inside of. So notice here, if I increase the Contrast value, I'm going to sharpen up that doled edge right there. So what was formerly a blurry edge is now going to get sharper, thanks to this Contrast value.
In other ways, you can now shift the edges in and out. So if you apply a positive Shift Edge value, you're going to move the selection out into that Feathered region. If you apply a negative Shift Edge value, you're going to move the edge inward, again, inside of that Feather range. So notice, if I get rid of the Feather option then we really have much less to work with where Shift Edge is concerned. So this is, for example, -100, notice what we're seeing here inside of the preview, and this is the difference between +100.
So we do move the edges in and out slightly, but it's all happening within the gray region of that layer mask. So in other words, white and black don't shift. We're just changing the Edge inside of the gray values and if we add some Feather then we are magnifying the gray range, because we're adding a bunch of blur. All right, for our purposes of this layer mask, I am going to go ahead and leave my Smooth value 20 and otherwise I'm going to 0 these values out for now. Because I want to see how Feather in particular which works inside of a pixel radius, how that compares with this Radius value, which once again, has the pixel radius associated with it, but produces very different effects as we'll see in the next exercise.
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