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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've saved our progress as First channel mix.psd. I've also gone ahead and renamed that Channel Mixer Adjustment layer, first mix, because it does represent our first successful mix of channels here inside of Photoshop. By the way, if you come across a combination of settings that works pretty well, but you're not sure that you want to stick with it, you want to experiment a little further, then I recommend that you go ahead and set that layer aside. Either create a copy of it, if you want to further change the settings from where you left off, or if you want to start a new group of settings, just turn that layer off and create a new Adjustment layer, and that's what we're going to be doing.
That way you can always come back to your settings, because it can sometimes be hard to find your way back to some settings that attracted your attention as you were working through the panel. Anyway, I've gone ahead and turned that Channel Mixer layer off. I'm going to bring back up my Adjustments panel. When I do so, it's still showing me the settings for this layer, even though it's inactive. That's typical behavior for the Adjustments panel. What you need to do if you want to create a new layer is, you need to click on this left-pointing arrowhead in the bottom left corner of the panel, in order to return to that list of Adjustment layers.
Then either click on the last column in the second row, or in my case, I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on that Channel Mixer icon in order to bring up the New layer dialog box. I'll go ahead and call this layer, portrait booster, because we're going to come up with a group of settings that are designed to boost the saturation of colors inside of a portrait photograph. That is, inside of a photograph that contains a lot of skin tones. All right! So I'll go ahead and click OK in order to create that New layer. It starts off without anything going on.
Red is set to 100% red, Green is set to a 100% green, and Blue is set to a 100% blue. All right! Let's switch back to Red, because that's where we're going to start. Just so that we can keep track of the RGB composite image and the Grayscale Channel by itself here in the Channels panel, I'm going to create a new window into the image, by going up to the Window menu, choosing Arrange, and choosing this command right there, New Window for First channel mix.psd. Then I'll go ahead and zoom in, so that we can see the image at the same zoom ratio.
I'll go up to my Arrange Documents icon and choose 2 Up, so we have two versions of the image side by side. I'm also going to go ahead and drag my panels out in the middle of things, so we can see our two views into the image at the same time we're working inside the panel. Of course I want to be able to see some meaningful part of this image, even though I've got a lot going onscreen here. So I will Shift+Spacebar+drag this young woman into the center of things, so that we can keep track of her, because we've got to pick one person or the other in this case.
Anyway, I'm going to switchover to my second window over here on the right-hand side, and click on the Red Channel. So we'll view the independent channels over here on the right-hand side, and the composite RGB image over on the left-hand side. I mention that even though it's pretty obvious, just so that you know to sort of keep your eye trained on both views here and there, so you can keep track of what's going on. All right! We're starting off in the Red Channel. That's the output channel here in the Adjustments panel. I also have Red Channel active here inside the Channels panel. So I'm going to go ahead and raise this Red Channel value to say, let's start with 115.
That means that I am really brightening the Red Channel way too much. My total is now 115%. That means, if I go over to the Histogram panel and update that Histogram, I've got a lot of clipping over here on the right-hand side of my graph, meaning that I'm clipping a bunch of Highlights. So if I'm going to add a 115 Red, I need to subtract 15% somehow out of one or the other of these two channels. So I'm going to take Blue down to -15 to compensate, and then I'll press the Tab key in order to accept that modification.
My total is now 100%. If I update the Histogram here inside the Histogram panel, I don't have any clipping. I should presumably have still brightened my image. Let's go ahead and check whether that's the case. My Red Channel is active. So keep your eye on the right-hand view into the image right now. I'm going to click on the eyeball to turn it off for a moment. So that's the before version of the Red Channel. This is the after version. Notice that it's brightening up slightly. You might ask why, why in the world would it brighten up, you just subtracted a bunch of Blue from it? Well, here is the idea.
Red was brighter in the first place. So adding 15% Red and subtracting 15% Blue, which is dark information, so it's not going to subtract as much, is going to brighten up the channel. So anytime you add the brightest channel and you subtract the darkest channel, you're going to still brighten things. Compare that to, I'll switch from Red over here to Blue, if we do exactly the opposite, I'll take that Blue value up to a 115, and then I'll take the Red value down to -15, and what's going to happen this time around. Let's switch over to the Blue Channel so we can see what's happening.
Because I'm adding the darkest channel and subtracting the brightest channel, I am darkening the image. So I just turned off that color adjustment by clicking on this eyeball at the bottom of the Adjustments panel. We can see that the original Blue Channel was brighter than it is after we add that Channel Mixer back in. So adding the darkest channel and subtracting the brightest channel is still going to darken things. So I hope this makes sense. In other words, when you're adding, it's pretty obvious, you add brightness, you're going to get more brightness.
You add brightness from the darkest channel, not so much brightness. But when you're subtracting, if you subtract out the contents of the darkest channel, that's not going to darken the image as much as if you subtract out the contents of the brightest channel. So subtracting Red is going to have a bigger affect than subtracting Blue. All right! I'm also going to go ahead and switch to Green. Let's say I decide to go fairly nuts with my green modification. I'm going to take the Green value up to a 140%. And then I'm going to take 20 of that out of the Red Channel, -20 there.
I'm going to subtract 20 from the Blue Channel as well. Notice this image over here, the composite image over on the left-hand side is looking really great. This is the before version of the image. We have some interesting pinks and some yellows going on. As soon as I add this Channel Mixer adjustment, everything grows more vivid. It's especially growing more vivid in the yellow area. So we're possibly adding too much yellow to the mix, because I've applied this big modification here to the Green Channel. I've added a lot of medium information to Green.
I've subtracted some bright information, as well as subtracting some dark information. So it's kind of anyone's guess at this point whether I've lightened or darkened the channel. Let's go ahead and switch to the Green Channel and check it out. This is the before version of the Green Channel. Notice some things are changing down in the lower left region of the image window. This is the after version. Her skin tones are staying pretty much the same. But we do have some shadows that are being elevated down left here, presumably in the rear woman's jacket or the forward woman's clothing as well, could be either.
Anyway, let's go even further. I'll go to the Blue Channel now, so that we can check it out. Switch the Output Channel to Blue. Again, I'm just experimenting here. Let's take the Blue Channel now up to 140%. Let's take -20 out of Red and -20 out of Green. I'll click on the eyeball. This is the before version of Blue Channel. This is the after version. Obviously, we're darkening out the Blue Channel pretty significantly. Let's go to the Red Channel and make sure that we're brightening it. I'll switch over to Red as well for the Output Channel.
Let's take that Red value up to 140%. Tab to Green, take it to -20. Tab to Blue, take it to -20 as well. This is the before version of the Red Channel, a little darker than it is now, after we add back in this Channel Mixer adjustment. All right! Now, let's focus our attention on the Histogram for just a moment. I'm going to update the Histogram for the Red Channel. It looks pretty good. We're missing a little bit of Shadow data right there, but that doesn't bother me too much. Because when you're adjusting Channel Mixer settings, incidentally, you tend to be moving the Histogram back and forth.
It's hard to stretch out that Histogram. So if we darken up the colors in order to build back in more Shadows, if we reduce some of these values here, it's very possible it's going to come at the expense of the Highlights, and I'm not willing to do that. Let's go ahead and switch to Green. It's looking just fine. I think we've got some clip Shadows over here, but nothing that worries me. Now let's check out blue. There is the Blue Channel. Wow, we're really missing some highlights in the Blue Channel. So why don't we switch over to Blue, and even though the Total is 100%, my guess is we can take it higher.
I'm just going to raise that Blue value until I see the graph scoot over there. At about 145%, it looks pretty good, let's update that Histogram. It looks like we filled out the graph pretty nicely here. Even though our Total is adding up to a 105%, the Histogram is more important than this value, the appearance of the Histogram that is. All right! Let's check out what the entire composite image looks like. I'm going to put my Adjustments and Masks panel back where they were. I'm going to switch back over to the Layers panel.
I'm going to close the Single Channel View into the image, so that we're just seeing the RGB composite, and drum roll please while we decide whether this is any good or not. I'll go ahead and turn off the portrait booster adjustment layer. This is the original version of the photograph. This is the enhanced version of the photograph. We have some awfully saturated colors now. My question would be, if I plan on sending this out for commercial reproduction, I'm going to print this image, are these saturation levels actually going to hold up? Well, I'll show you how to proof your CMYK colors right here in Photoshop, in the next exercise.
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