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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, 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 CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
Again I have saved my changes. This time the file is called Baseline gradient.psd, after the fact that we have a baseline gradient map in place here, that's called sepiatone, it's the sepiatone adjustment layer anyway. If we want to modify a gradient after we have assigned it, then we click in that color ramp, gradient bar if you prefer, whatever, and notice that it's called Wooden boy. That's just fine. As soon as we start modifying it though, it will change to Custom because it's no longer the Wooden boy gradient. And so notice I can use these color stops.
Each one of these squares indicates a color stop, a significant color, a key color in the gradient. So we have got a total of five colors here, black, brown sort of dirt color, and a light peachy color right there, and then finally white. And you can change any of those colors if you want to, either by clicking in this color swatch, or double clicking on the color stop and that will bring up a Color Picker dialog box. Notice yet another different name for that dialog box. All right, I'm going to cancel out, because what I really want to show you is that when you move these color stops, you affect the brightness of the image.
So assuming you are going from dark to light as we are here, then if you move the color stop to the right, it's going to make the image darker, and if you move a color stop to the left, it's going to make the image lighter. So it's much as if you are working inside of the Levels dialog box, you can change the luminance on the fly. It's just amazing. And so I could darken up the midtones, using this slider, it becomes a midtone slider for me, because it just happens to be in the middle there. This guy becomes a three quarter tone slider, and this one is a quartertone slider. Nice. So gives you a lot of control over every little thing here.
Now I'm going to go ahead and move this first one to 25% like so, and you can see the location down here at the bottom. And I'm going to grab the second color stop and I'm going to move it to a location of 60% like so, and then finally I'm going to take this last guy here, and I'm going to move it to a location of 90%. Then just for laughs, I'm going to bring up my Histogram palette, so I can track what's going on and I should be able to get to the Histogram palette, yes, now I can, and I'll click on the Caution icon just to update my Histogram, and I can see that I'm blowing some highlights. So I have some clipping going on in the highlight department. So let's see if we can work on that a little bit.
What I'm going to do is I'm going to change the color that's associated with these last two color stops. So I'm going to double click on this second to last color stop right there, move it off to the side so that I can see just about nothing inside the image anymore, but a lot of interface items. All right, so here are the values that I'm going to enter for R, G and B. I'm going to go with a Red value or 235, so I'm darkening that Red value. I'm taking the Green value down to 228, and I'm taking the Blue value up to 218, so that's neutralizing the color a little bit. It's making the color less saturated as you can see by the new Saturation value right there of 7%.
Click OK in order to accept that modification. We now have eliminated the highlight clipping, so great. But now we have a got a gap at the end there, so we need to increase the brightness of the last color stop. So I'll double click on it, and notice that it's kind of dark, bearing in mind of course that absolute white is 255 for RGB, and we are down at 250 for the brightest contribution. So let's take the Red value up to 255, take the Green value to 252, and we'll take the Blue value to 250. So we are now saying that this the brightest color achievable inside of this image, a Saturation of 2% and a Hue value of 24 degrees.
Click OK, so we have a little bit of colorization associated with the highlights, and update the Histogram again, we have a nicely filled out histogram right there, very robust. Wondrous, and if I wanted to I could go ahead and name my new gradient. So I'll go ahead and call this one Real girl, because she is not wooden. She has been transformed. And I'll click on New in order to create that new swatch right there. That is called Real girl. So it's very important, you got to name it before you knew it. So it goes Name, and then New. Kind of crazy, but that's the way it works, and then you just click OK. Load and Save for loading gradients into this dialog box, and for saving all of the colors out. So I'll go ahead and click OK, because I don't want to do either of those. And that is my effect my friends. I'm going to go ahead and turn off the sepiatone layer, and then turn it back on. So you can see the contribution it made.
Now that may very well inspire you to change your black and white settings. You may then go to black and white and say maybe I want to rebalance things a little, maybe I want to take my reds for example down a little bit. I'll go ahead and grab my Target Adjust tool, and I'll drag inside the lips over to the left a little bit, until I change the value to 75, that's the Reds value to 75, so I've reduced it. And then I'll drag inside of her eyes, and I'll drag also to the left until I reduce the Yellow value down to 60, and that looks pretty darn nice I'm thinking. I like it quite a bit.
All right, so just to give you a sense, this is what the original image looks like, this is what it looks like when we convert it to black and white, and this is the final sepia effect achieved using gradient map and different colors. We have got a different color associated with the shadows, then we do with the midtones, and we do with the highlights. So a nice distribution of colors, they are not wildly different, but they add a lot of nice rounding and volumetric form to this image. All right, so just basic look at some very things you can do with adjustment layers inside of Photoshop, and we have managed to see a few different color adjustments that we hadn't seen before. Channel Mixer, Black and White, and of course Gradient Map.
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