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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.
I have saved my progress as Big Sky defaults.psd and we are working on a black-and-white layer inside of this Big Sky ski resort panorama. So far all I have got are the default settings here inside the Adjustments panel. Now you can work in one of two ways, you can either begin dragging the sliders around or adjusting the numerical values or scrubbing even on the option name if you like. Or you can take advantage of the Target Adjustment tool. This is the third function inside a Photoshop that provides a Target Adjustment tool.
You may recall you have got one with the Hue Saturation adjustment, you also have one with the Curves adjustment and now we have one here, and notice that the little finger icon scrubs back and forth, so that's something to remember. You can click on the tool to select it and then you drag inside of a feature of the image. For example, if I start dragging in the sky, let's say, I could either drag to the left to make the sky darker or I could drag to the right to make the sky lighter. Now as I drag, what I want you to notice is this Blues value which is changing for me.
So if I drag to the right the Blues value is getting bigger, if I drag to the left the Blues value is getting smaller. What that's telling me is I must be dragging on a region that Photoshop is identifying as being Blues inside the image, and frankly where this image is concerned it's difficult to find anything else. If I start dragging inside the mountains for example, inside these trees why then I am still manipulating Blues. If I start dragging inside these trees let's see what happens they are still Blues, and so far as Photoshop is concerned, in my case anyway you maybe able to locate a different color.
It is basically going to be whatever specific pixel you begin clicking on. Now I know that these items over here on the far left-hand side notice there is some ties around this wood pole, I know that they are kind of orangish, so if I drag on them, yeah, I identified a different color this time. Reds now is changing in the upper right corner of the screen there and so I could make those bands very, very bright indeed if I take that Reds value up to 300 which is the maximum setting effect.
Now the pole is absolutely alight or I could drag over to the left to make these items very dark. I have to say of all the various Target Adjustment tools that are available to you inside of Photoshop, this is the one that I think is the least successful. Partially because you end up spending a lot of time snagging the same color over-and-over again despite your best efforts. The other thing is once you are in the black-and-white mode it's difficult to remember what colors were what. I mean, what color was the scene before I converted it to black-and-white, where are the yellows, I don't know, I can't see them.
Well, what you can do if you want to you can turn Off the eyeball for the black-and-white layer there and then you will see the original image. Leave black-and-white selected, you still have your Black & White controls here inside the Adjustments panel and you can continue to drag if you want to, and now notice as I drag in the sky, I am changing the Blues so I am brightening my blues value there in the Adjustments panel. Of course I have no idea what that's going to look like until I turn the Black & White adjustment back On. So that's kind of what you are dealing with, but you may find it helpful to turn Off the effect for a moment, identify some colors, for example I will drag inside these little pieces of wood over here on the right side of the image and I am changing my Reds again.
Or you might do what I end up doing on a fairly regular basis which is turn Black & White back On and just manually adjust the settings. So I am going to switch away from the Target Adjustment tool just by pressing the M key to switch back to the standard Rectangular Marquee tool, and I am going to modify some settings manually. First of all I am going to start with these blues by the way because they are the most important ingredients inside the image. What I really want to do is make that sky nice and dark because that way we are going to have a lot of contrast. I don't necessarily, well, I kind of do want to invoke the mood but it's not really all about making this dark sky mood.
I just want to create a lot of contrast between a dark sky and light bluey clouds something along those lines, and also the white of the snow here in the foreground. So I will go ahead and reduce that blues value until I think I am getting something that is fairly decent, and you know what, in order to really see what's going on inside this image I am going to have to zoom in because notice -- here I will zoom in even farther. Notice how much Noise I am bringing out in that sky, and so bear in mind I shot this with a point-and-shoot camera, and even though the ISO was 100 for these images, so it wasn't super-high, it's still not an SLR and I wasn't shooting RAW, I was just shooting JPEG so there's bound to be a lot of gunk inside of these images, and sure enough for bringing it out as we make this really big modification here.
Why I say it's a really big modification, not so much because we are going way negative with this value but because all the neighboring values are positive. So if you are going to make a big change to blues for example on take it way negative, then you want to bring down your Cyans and your Magentas as well because they very potentially represent neighboring colors that are going to help soften the transitions. Anyway, I am going to change this Blues value what I came up with was -50 and that still results in a lot of Noise in that sky.
So let's go ahead and scroll things over here a little bit. But notice as soon as I start taking this Cyan value down, like so, I end up darkening the sky additionally and it helps with the Noise transition just a little bit. So I am going to take the Cyans value down to 10 is what I ended up blocking in on, and then let's go ahead and zoom back out because in order to see some of these other colors we are going to have to be looking at the entire image right here. Now we basically just start investigating what portions of the image are affected by certain sliders.
For example, Magentas, I have no idea if there are any Magentas inside this image, so I will take this value all the way down to negative 200 and then I will take it all the way back up to 300, and the only thing I am seeing is a little bit of brightness inside the trees, so nothing is happening in the sky a little bit of action in the trees. I have never really thought of trees as being Magenta, but in this case that's where this color is resonating. So I will go ahead and change this color to 130 and you may ask where did you come out with that value Deke? Well, it was just by playing around ended up thinking that 130 worked pretty well for this image.
100 is probably just as good frankly. Anyway I am going to tab back around to the Reds value here. Reds ends up being pretty important because not only do we have these bands of color over here on the far left-hand side of the image but we also have the sticks over here on the right-hand side to keep people from going on certain slopes because the snow is a little low at this point. Anyway, I will go ahead and try adjusting reds all the way down that makes all those red details which are basically all these little warning details inside the image here, makes it very dark, and then if I drag this value up makes it very light, the trees are changing as well once again all the colors seem to resonate inside those trees I am going to take this value down to 10 again just as setting that I ended up thinking worked out pretty nicely.
In case you are wondering why am I always going with these whole number values, why not I just leave it at 13 or something like that, I am just trying to come up with values that are easy to follow. So you are not really going to see much of a difference between 10 and 13. Anyway, I am going to go ahead and tab then to Yellows and it's the same thing again, brighten it all the way to see what's changing darken all the way as well. The yellows are resonating inside the trees, that's not a surprise. You are going to find that foliage is yellow, so Photoshop thinks of foliage as being yellow in general.
So grass for example, it looks green inside the image to us but to Photoshop it's actually more yellow than it is green. Because green is really an emerald color, it's really Shamrock Green, whereas your grasses and your trees, your deciduous elements, your pine trees, all that stuff are going to be identified at least where Photoshop is concerned as yellow. So I am going to go and take this value up to let's say 110, works well for it, and then tab to green, I am not sure that much resonates as green inside the image, I think we get a little action nowhere, nothing, there is nothing green inside this image, I am not seeing anything change.
So I am just going to kind of split the difference between what I have got for Yellows and what I have got for Cyans, which is typically what I do, and you don't have to do the math, you could just move this slider triangle, so it looks like you have a straight line right there. And that's just going to help soften the transitions in the event that you are just not seeing everything that's going on inside the image, and this is pretty much the modification I am looking for. So just to get a sense of what we have been able to accomplish here, let's switch to the Full Screen mode, I am going to do that directly by pressing Shift+F, and for the sake of comparison, here is the original full-color version of the image which looks pretty good but far less dramatic than what we have now and here is the high drama black-and-white version of the image created using a black-and-white adjustment layer.
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