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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 Saturated shadows.psd found inside the 16_smooth folder. In this exercise, we are going to take some of that saturation out of those shadows. We're quite zoomed-in on the image right now. Notice that we have some very purplish details in the head and inside of those compound eyes where the butterfly is concerned and then we have these strange warmish colors down below here at the bottom of the Image window and I'd like to neutralize those colors to a certain extent without harming the bright vivid colors that we want to keep because this is naturally a very colorful creature.
So here's what we're going to do. We're going to start things off by making sure that we're working on that top layer and I'll go ahead and widen the Layers panel just a bit so that we can see that name, and I want that lum noise layer to be active so that we can constrain the effects of this next adjustment layer to just that layer and nothing more and this new adjustment layer will also be bound by the same layer mask and here is how it works. Go ahead and bring up the Adjustments panel which I can access from my column of icons.
You might need to go to the Window menu and choose the Adjustments command or if you've loaded dekeKeys, you can press F10. The next thing I am going to do is Alt+Click or Option+Click on this Vibrance icon which is the first icon in the second row, and by virtue of the fact I Alt+Clicked or Option+Clicked on the icon. I bring up the New layer dialog box. I will go ahead and call this guy shadows down because I am going to bring down the saturation levels of the shadows and I am also going to turn on Use Previous layer to Create Clipping Mask, that way, I'll relegate my modifications to the Luminance Noise layer and nothing more, because I don't want to affect all of the other colors inside the image.
Click OK, and now I am going to reduce that Vibrance value. Now you can reduce the Saturation value if you want to, you'll get a bigger effect out of it essentially. However, where this image is concerned I think Vibrance works really well, because it's something of an equal opportunity, Saturation modifier meaning that it's going to reduce the saturation levels and keeping with how high they are in the first place. So if we're working with very intense saturation levels, it'll reduce them more than lower levels, and that way we keep the colors that probably or naturally it work inside of this scene.
All right, so -50 for Vibrance, 0 for Saturation, go ahead and close that Adjustments panel for now. Now, that does end up affecting if I zoom out here, and sort of scroll the Image window a little bit. You can see that this option where I had to turn it off, and then turn it back on, it is affecting more than just the purple head and the eye and those warm colors down here in this rock thing whatever it is. We're also affecting the colors inside of the wings.
So again, this is what the wings looked like before, they were more saturated, and this is what they look like now, and that's because some of these reds and blues fall inside the shadow range I've defined using this layer mask. So my suggestion is to go down here to color noise to this layer, click on it, and to add another Vibrance Adjustment layer. So I will bring up my Adjustments panel and I will Alt+Click or Option+Click on the Vibrance icon right there, and I'll call this guy highlights up because after all we're trying to make sure that the highlights and the midtones for that matter have elevated saturation levels in order to compensate for the shadows down layer there.
I don't need to turn on Use Previous layer to Create Clipping Mask, because I'm affecting the composite view of the image from this point downward. So I will click OK, and now I'll change the Vibrance value to 50. So just the positive version of the negative value I applied a moment ago, and that's it. Again, if you want to mess around with the Saturation value, you can; this is all I am going to do. Go ahead and close that Adjustments panel and just to give you a sense of what we've accomplished in this exercise, I am going to zoom-in a little bit, so that we can see, there are fairly wide range of colors here.
If I press the F12 key in order to revert the image, these are the saturation levels we started with. So we have some very obvious purple colors going on inside the shadows in the bug's head, and these oranges down here in this rock thing, as well as some good colors inside the wing and then if I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac, we still have some decent wing colors. They went down in saturation just a little bit there inside those reds for example. However, we've done a great job of depleting the saturation levels inside of the bug's head and down here inside of this green sort of ground cover whatever it is.
Now, I haven't completely neutralized the colors and I'm not sure that I want to and I say am not sure because I don't have the butterfly in front of me and I'm not enough of an expert at insects to tell you whether or not this is its natural coloring, so I don't want to go monkeying with it. I am going to assume for the moment that he does have some degree of blue and purple going on there. It just wasn't as much as we saw in the first place. Other times you'll know if you have purple shadows going on inside of someone's flesh for example, that happens often times or purple shadows mysteriously appearing on the edges of trees, then you know you're working with completely the wrong colors in which case you would create yourself a density mask, just the same way we did a couple of exercises ago, and then you would use something like a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, not only to reduce the saturation levels, but also to change your hue values to match the original scene.
Anyway, by now you should have a sense of how you approach shadows independently of midtones and highlights inside of an image. In the next exercise we're going to see how this composition holds up to a little bit of sharpening.
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