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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you yet another option that allows you to avoid the effects of distortion along with Content-Aware Scale. The thing is it comes at the expense of the greatness of Content-Aware Scale. You end up stretching details more than you otherwise would and along the way, we are going to see how you can create an insane panorama from in otherwise horizontal shot. So we are going to stretch this thing, so it fills the entire width of this canvas and the canvas I'm talking about is available to you inside this image called Venice Beach.psd which comes to us once again from photographer S.
Greg Panosian of istockphoto.com and it features a series of palm trees. Now anytime you see an image like this and if you start working with Content-Aware Scale, you will start recognizing images that are going to work along with the command. And that would be images that have lots of detail, with lots of gaps. So these palm trees are perfect, right. We have got a cluster of palm trees here with a gap, another cluster, a little bit of gap, another cluster and then big gap between this cluster and this guy. So I have got an independent layer of course going, I'll press Shift+Tab to get rid of the Layers palette, so I can see what I'm doing. And then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose Content-Aware Scale and then I'll just go ahead and I'll drag one of these side handles all the way out to the far extreme edge of this canvas and I'm stretching the heck out of it, there I was telling you it's going to work out beautifully. You know why it's not working out so beautifully, I'm going to press the Escape key and I'm going to press the Enter key, so that we'll see the Options bar by itself without the toolbar, at the right side of palette.
I will go up to the Edit menu and choose Content-Aware Scale and I'll re-perform like a trained monkey that exact same thing I did just a moment ago. I'll Alt+Drag or Option+Drag the side handle to the extreme edge of the canvas. Look at these stretched palm trees. They look terrible. What in the world am I trying to show you? Obviously this doesn't work the way I thought it would. Yes it does actually. We go up here. I have got Protect skin tones turned on. So this is what I was telling you. You need to watch it. Where Protect skin tones is concerned. It will protect sunsets like crazy. So you don't want that.
Go ahead and turn it off though and notice what happens, it's miraculous. Look at that, would you please? It is awesome. It's just outstanding that it's able to peel apart these palm trees. If you recall, the gap between these guys wasn't that big and yet Photoshop is able to make the most of it. We had very little room to work with over here on the left hand side and yet Photoshop has gone ahead and stretch things quite admirably. The thing you may notice though is the strange swirling cloud patterns that are suddenly appearing. It's a very crazy day here on Laguna Beach or wherever this is.
But whatever beach it is, it probably doesn't suffer from this cloud patterns. Maybe the kind of thing that ends up belying that you have been inside of this image or maybe the kind of thing no body even notices. But if you want to address it, you have this Amount value up here and notice if you hover it says Set threshold for content -aware scaling to minimize distortion and it's set to 100%. So what that means wherever it sees any details, it's going to go for it. This is the absolute threshold, it's going to protect those details at 100% of its capability and it's going to let the non -detail stretch like crazy. Now if you want to let the detail stretch a little bit, so that the non-details don't have to do so much work, then you go up here and you reduce this value. So go ahead and click in the percentage there and I'll press Shift+Down arrow and notice by reducing the Amount value to 90%, I allow the trees to stretch a little bit, especially these middle guys and then if I Shift+Down arrow to 80%, they are stretching some more, and some more, and some more, and some more.
Then it becomes your decision to determine while at what point do I not want them to stretch anymore. If you take the amount value all the way down to 0% my friends, then you will get the exact same effect as stretching the image with the Free Transform command. Even though it looks like it's going to be all choppy now. As soon as you press the Enter or Return key, then you are going to get nice smooth transitions. But you are going to get really wide trees as well. You are going to get a straight stretch of the image. So you don't want to use an Amount value of 0%. What you do want to do is just take it down slightly and what I would say is you start with that at 100% and then you press Shift+Down arrow until you feel uncomfortable and then you take it back up is really what you do. And I go down to 50%, say "No, that's too much," then back up to 60% and say " Yeah, you know what, this looks pretty good" and then press the Enter key a couple of times in order to apply that modification. So this is what we are able to do folks.
This is before and this is after. So we have this extreme panorama, thanks to Content-Aware Scaling. Now of course, it's no miracle, right. We still do have the strange dips and the clouds going on and they just happen to occur radically right in back of the palm trees. And that's the kind of thing once again, somebody who knows the software is going to see that and go, "That looks like Content-Aware Scaling." But they are going to look at this tree and they are going to think nothing, "This guy looks gorgeous" and these cloud patters right there. They are not appearing in back of details. So they could be any old thing and then over here we have some suspicious stuff going on right at this location as well.
So just something to bear in mind. Sometimes the image works out beautifully, sometimes it doesn't. That's the world of Content-Aware Scale. After all it's an automated function. Is it not? In the next exercise and how you go about scaling the image manually.
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