Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
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Applying Content-Aware Scale


Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Applying Content-Aware Scale

In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to what has to be the sexiest new feature in Photoshop CS4. Note that I'm calling it the sexiest feature, not the best feature because the best feature is just about anything else actually. This one is just really cool is what it comes down to. And when it works, it works brilliantly and when it doesn't work, it fails miserably, and I'll show you work around where that kind of stuff is concerned. It's not necessarily the kind of command that you are going to be using on a regular basis, but you definitely want to have it as part of your arsenal and you will see why in just a moment.
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  1. 21m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      5m 38s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      5m 53s
  2. 2h 31m
    1. Introduction to masking
    2. Introducing color range
      4m 22s
    3. Adding base colors and adjusting fuzziness
      4m 46s
    4. Localized color clusters
      6m 12s
    5. The Quick Mask mode
      7m 33s
    6. Viewing a quick mask by itself
      6m 40s
    7. Testing the quality of edges
      3m 55s
    8. Introducing the Masks palette
      7m 45s
    9. Editing a layer mask
      6m 18s
    10. Choking a mask with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 44s
    11. Choking a mask with Mask Edge
      7m 43s
    12. Adding a Gradient Overlay shadow
      4m 23s
    13. Using live Density and Feather
      6m 12s
    14. Journeyman masking
      5m 44s
    15. Creating an alpha channel
      7m 6s
    16. Increasing contrast
      7m 15s
    17. Overlay painting
      8m 28s
    18. Cleaning up whites and blacks
      5m 48s
    19. Soft light painting
      5m 47s
    20. Selecting in style
      6m 55s
    21. Employing masks as selections
      5m 2s
    22. Scaling and compositing layers
      6m 30s
    23. Compositing glass
      5m 10s
    24. Selecting glass highlights
      8m 41s
    25. Working with found masks
      5m 46s
  3. 1h 34m
    1. Introduction to vector-based shapes
      1m 10s
    2. Vector-based type outlines
      7m 23s
    3. The benefits of vectors
      6m 27s
    4. Upsampling vs. nondestructive scaling
      7m 35s
    5. Vectors and effects
      8m 7s
    6. Fill Opacity and clipped layers
      4m 24s
    7. Basic shape creation
      3m 15s
    8. Drawing interacting shapes
      6m 21s
    9. Power-duplicating paths
      3m 12s
    10. Combining pixels and vector masks
      5m 19s
    11. Line tool and layer attributes
      7m 5s
    12. Copying and pasting path outlines
      3m 28s
    13. Drawing custom shapes
      3m 59s
    14. Drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 48s
    15. Creating cusp points
      7m 28s
    16. Defining a custom shape
      3m 34s
    17. Assigning a vector mask to an image
      2m 38s
    18. Adding a vector object to a composition
      5m 40s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introduction to Vanishing Point
      1m 11s
    2. Creating and saving the first plane
      8m 9s
    3. Creating perpendicular planes
      5m 16s
    4. Healing in perspective
      8m 47s
    5. Cloning and scaling in perspective
      8m 34s
    6. Patching an irregularly shaped area
      6m 59s
    7. Healing between planes
      3m 35s
    8. Importing an image into a 3D scene
      5m 46s
    9. Adding perspective type
      5m 37s
    10. Removing and matching perspective
      5m 36s
    11. Applying a reflection in perspective
      5m 1s
    12. Creating a perspective gradient
      6m 11s
    13. Converting a gradient to a mask
      2m 58s
    14. Swinging planes to custom angles
      4m 32s
    15. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      5m 49s
  5. 1h 15m
    1. Introduction to Smart Objects
    2. Placing a Smart Object
      5m 7s
    3. Saving a PDF-compatible AI file
      4m 27s
    4. Performing nondestructive transformations
      6m 8s
    5. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 50s
    6. Converting an image to a Smart Object
      6m 50s
    7. Cloning Smart Objects
      5m 24s
    8. Creating a multilayer Smart Object
      5m 51s
    9. Updating multiple instances at once
      2m 55s
    10. Creating a Camera Raw Smart Object
      4m 17s
    11. Editing a Camera Raw Smart Object
      3m 25s
    12. Assembling a layered ACR composition
      5m 55s
    13. Using an ACR Smart Object to effect
      3m 41s
    14. Blending multiple ACR portraits
      6m 56s
    15. Live type that inverts everything behind it
      6m 33s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Introducing nondestructive Smart Filters
    2. Applying a Smart Filter
      4m 22s
    3. Adjusting filter and blend settings
      4m 25s
    4. Heaping on the Smart Filters
      5m 19s
    5. Smart Filter stacking order
      7m 23s
    6. Resolution and Smart Filter radius
      6m 12s
    7. Masking Smart Filters
      4m 42s
    8. Employing nested Smart Objects
      5m 5s
    9. Dragging and dropping Smart Filters
      6m 31s
    10. Using the Shadows/Highlights filter
      5m 53s
    11. Regaining access to the pixels
      7m 8s
    12. Parametric wonderland
      5m 52s
    13. Working with the Filter Gallery
      6m 28s
    14. Freeform filter jam
      5m 52s
    15. Swapping filters from the Filter Gallery
      3m 45s
    16. Mixing all varieties of parametric effects
      7m 30s
    17. Addressing a few Smart Filter bugs
      3m 11s
    18. Applying a Smart Filter to live type
      5m 30s
    19. Choking letters with Maximum
      3m 7s
    20. Duplicating a Smart Filter
      2m 38s
    21. Enhancing a filter with a layer effect
      6m 30s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Introduction to Auto-Align, Auto-Blend, and Photomerge
      1m 2s
    2. Merging two shots into one
      3m 49s
    3. Applying Auto-Align layers
      3m 44s
    4. Masking images into a common scene
      1m 39s
    5. Auto-Align plus Auto-Blend
      8m 11s
    6. Assigning weighted Opacity values
      4m 7s
    7. Employing a Difference mask
      7m 17s
    8. Masking smarter, not harder
      3m 53s
    9. Capturing multiple depths of field
      3m 37s
    10. Auto-blending real focus
      8m 31s
    11. Creating a panorama with Photomerge
      7m 27s
    12. Correcting a seamless panorama
      4m 52s
    13. An altogether nondestructive Lab correction
      7m 59s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. Introduction to new CS4 technologies
      1m 1s
    2. Applying Content-Aware Scale
      7m 18s
    3. What works and what doesn't with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 19s
    4. Protecting areas with masks
      7m 31s
    5. Applying incremental edits
      7m 6s
    6. Protecting skin tones
      7m 12s
    7. Scaling around a model with TLC
      9m 0s
    8. Adjusting the scale threshold
      5m 22s
    9. When Content-Aware Scale fails
      4m 2s
    10. Creating a lens distortion effect
      8m 39s
    11. Layer masking the family
      11m 44s
    12. Installing the Pixel Bender
      3m 43s
    13. Introducing Pixel Bender kernels
      6m 50s
    14. Pixel Bender kernel roundup
      7m 24s
    15. Tube View and Ripple Blocks
      3m 58s
    16. Making a seamless pattern with Kaleidoscope
      6m 13s
    17. Introducing the Pixel Bender Toolkit
      3m 24s
  9. 1h 20m
    1. Introduction to actions
    2. Creating an action
      5m 45s
    3. Recording operations
      5m 12s
    4. Reviewing and editing an action
      4m 45s
    5. Playing an action (the Button Mode)
      4m 51s
    6. Saving and loading actions
      5m 0s
    7. Copying and modifying an action
      4m 8s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      5m 50s
    9. The Best Chrome Effect Ever II
      3m 41s
    10. Recording a fail-safe action
      7m 33s
    11. Rounding corners with a mask
      4m 33s
    12. Cleaning up layers
      3m 52s
    13. Automating layer effects
      7m 1s
    14. Applying chrome with Gradient Map
      6m 24s
    15. Action anomalies
      4m 11s
    16. Rendering effects to layers
      5m 1s
    17. Testing that it works
      2m 0s
  10. 1m 14s
    1. See ya
      1m 14s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 7m Advanced May 29, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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 Online Training Library®.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Defining the essentials of masking
  • Resizing images with content-aware scaling
  • Adjusting perspective with Vanishing Point
  • Applying Smart Filters to create complex effects
  • Using the Auto-Align tool to build composite images
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Applying Content-Aware Scale

In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to what has to be the sexiest new feature in Photoshop CS4. Note that I'm calling it the sexiest feature, not the best feature because the best feature is just about anything else actually. This one is just really cool is what it comes down to. And when it works, it works brilliantly and when it doesn't work, it fails miserably, and I'll show you work around where that kind of stuff is concerned. It's not necessarily the kind of command that you are going to be using on a regular basis, but you definitely want to have it as part of your arsenal and you will see why in just a moment.

If you have never seen it before, just prepare to have your socks and mittens blown off your body. Even if you have seen it before, I think you are going to be terribly impressed by this example. It's as if this image was born to be Content Aware Scaled. Anyway, here is the idea. I have got this image called Tomales Bay, and it comes to us from a photographer named S. Greg Panosian of Now, let's say that we want to take this image which is currently a vertically formatted image. We want to turn it into a landscape. So I want to make it wider than it is tall. So let's say I were to do that just the standard image size where I were to just squish it. Why then I would duplicate the image first of course by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Duplicate command. And I'll just go ahead and call this Squishy or something like that, and then click OK. We have got a copy of the image.

Now, go up to the Image menu, choose Image Size, Ctrl+Alt+I, Command+Option+I on the Mac, and let's go ahead and change the size of this image. Notice that I have Constrain Proportions turned off, that check box right there. I want you to turn it off as well if you are working along with me, and then change the Width value to 2000 and the Height value to a mere 1000 pixels. So we'll make an image that's 2000 pixels wide, 1000 pixels tall, totally different than it is now and click OK. So now it becomes a landscape image just like that. Well, this looks terrible, and it looks like exactly what it is which is an image that's been totally squished.

Even the hills in the background look like they have been stretched and this tree looks stretched and this tree looks stretched, and everything looks totally wrong, and the post underneath this dock here, they look squished as well. And so it looks like an image that's being displayed at the wrong proportions, and you would never want this. This is not the effect you would want at all. Anyway, I'm going to return to the Tomales Bay.jpg image. Let's say what we want to do is we want to change it into a horizontally formatted landscape image. That looks good. That's credible, and the dock basically stays the same and the tree stays the same, and the hills stay more or less the same.

How would we accomplish that? What miracle tool would we use? Well, it would be Content Aware Scale. So let's see how that works. First of all, I'm going to have you convert this flat image into a layer, which is a very important step. Content-Aware Scale is dimmed by default. If you go up to the Edit menu, you will see, totally dimmed, because you either need a selection or you better yet, you need a layer. So we'll work with a layer. Go over to the Layers palette, double- click on the Background layer, and call it Dock or something along those lines and click OK. All right, now we have a floating independent layer.

Now I'm going to give myself some room to work by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Canvas Size command or pressing Ctrl+Alt+C, Command+Option+C on the Mac. I'm going to make the image 2000 pixels wide. We are going to change it to exactly the same physical size as that squished image we saw a moment ago. I will click on one of these left side chicklets here. We are not going to change the Height value for now. We'll come back to that. Click OK, and now we have got some room to work. Now, go up to the Edit menu and choose Content-Aware Scale and notice that it takes you into the special mode where you really can't do anything else inside the program. You can't even switch to Free Transform.

So it's not part of the Free Transform group, it's its own thing. I'll go ahead and turn this guy off. It's very important that for this example, Protect Skin Tones is turned off. Protect should be set to None as well, and everything else you just can ignore safely. I am going to reduce the height of this image, and notice as I do the dock is moving downward a little bit and that's because its reflection is getting a little bit truncated. But mostly what we are doing is reducing the size of this area of lake here in the middle, and the mountains on top, and notice now that we have these clouds, this fog is now rolling over this tree.

Where before, you can see that it was leaping over the tree just slightly. However, once we start making the image shorter like so, Photoshop is doing everything in its power not to squish that tree, and as a result, it's squishing the fog on top of the tree, which is pretty amazing. I actually have created a guideline, and let me see if I can go ahead and show it here by choosing the Guides command and sure enough there it is, awesome. And I'll go ahead and make this image just that high. That is the 1000 pixel mark inside of this image. So I wanted to mark it, so that we make the image the exact same height as the squished image that we saw in just a moment ago.

So we have lost almost none of the dock. Now, we have truncated the tree a little bit. It is shorter than it used to be. The mountains are definitely getting squished, but who would know. This fog is rolling in an unusual manner over that tree, it's definitely sticking over the tree. But I think maybe we can get away with that one. Now, I'm going to make the image wider as well. Now, watch what happens to the post on this dock. They move apart from each other as you can see, but the integrity of the dock itself remains intact.

So I'm just going to keep dragging this and hope that it keeps up with me, and hope that eventually goes in and redraws things on screen. This is a very computationally intense operation that we are performing here. So we can expect a few delays as we are working through this but check that out. I am going to go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept this transformation and it's very possible that you are going to see a progress bar that takes a while to complete. I'm not seeing a progress bar, I'm just seeing this darn useless little sort of equivalent of the beach ball of death over here under Windows, just not as colorful. But look at what we have managed to do here.

Now, I'm going to press Ctrl+Semicolon or Command+Semicolon on the Mac to hide that guideline. I'm going to go up to the Image menu, and I'm going to choose the Trim command which allows you to automatically trim away excess stuff. And it's set to automatically Trim Away Transparent Pixels, which is great. That's what we want to get rid of. So that we are just seeing the image like this and now, let's go ahead and Shift+Tab away those palettes. Let's go ahead and zoom in on this image. This is the Content-Aware Scale version of it. This is the squished version according to the Image Size command. The Image Size command rendered this completely redonkulous scene right here. I mean it's not the least bit credible.

Whereas, Content-Aware Scale gives us this. So we have fairly miraculously transformed what used to be a vertically formatted image into a horizontally formatted image. Amazing, what you can do with this command. But I'll tell you what, not everything is perfect. In the next exercise, we'll inspect what hasn't gone completely right. There are a few mistakes inside of this image, and how we go about correcting them.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery .

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Q: My Polygon tool is locked into a very small size. I can use the Transform tool to increase it's size once drawn, but I must have something set that will not allow me to freely draw it like I can the other shapes. What could be causing this problem?
A: This could be caused by a value associated with the Radius option of the tool. Click the down-pointing arrowhead to the right (a few tool icons over) from the Polygon tool in the options bar at the top of the screen. This brings up pop-up panel. If the Radius option has a number value, select that value and press Delete or Backspace to clear it out. That should fix the problem.
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