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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 first exercise, I'm going to show you how to apply a Smart Filter inside of Photoshop. I have opened this image right here it's called soft portrait.jpg and it comes to us from photographer Joey Nelson of iStockphoto.com and the image was shot a little soft plus I had to rotate the image a little bit to get it nice and straight and then I downsample the image as well. So when you rotate an image and when you downsample it, you apply interpolation, which amounts to micro- softening of the image, and so we need to compensate for the variety of softenings that are going on here by sharpening the image using a filter of course.
Now, because I'm not sure where I'm going with this and I want to keep things as flexible as possible, I might want to apply multiple filters which I'm going to, in fact. I want to go ahead and apply them as Smart Filters. So, I keep my options as open as possible. So all of my changes are parametric, I can change my mind anytime I like and so on. So we need to turn this image, which is a flat image currently as you can see into a Smart Object. That's step number one. Then there is a variety of ways to make a Smart Object from a flat image inside of Photoshop. We have already seen one of them. If you go to the Layers palette flyout menu right there, you can choose Convert to Smart Object. If you want to dig dipper in this menu, go up here to Layer menu, you can choose Smart Objects and you can choose Convert to Smart Object, same command, just harder to get to, it's the only thing.
Then there is a third way to work and that's to go to the Filter menu and choose this command right there, Covert for Smart Filters. So all this command does is turn the image into a Smart Object just like the other two commands. The one difference is that it brings up an alert message to tell you that it's going to make a Smart Object to enable re-editable Smart Filters. The selected layer will be converted to a Smart Object. Aha! So, say don't show again because we already knew that and click OK. All right, now we have a Smart Object, we can see that over here in the Layers palette. Let's go ahead and call this image something like smart girl because she is part of the smart group now. Now, if you go up here to the Filter menu, you can apply any of the filters that are available to you. So something like Lens Blur is not available but the other Blur filters are. As Smart Filters, which are editable filters here inside Photoshop.
I want to sharpen the image, so I'm going to go to Sharpen and choose Smart Sharpen. Now, the smartness of Smart Sharpen is completely unrelated to the smartness of Smart Objects and Smart Filters and smart girl for that matter. Smart Sharpen is called Smart because it's an enhancement to Unsharp Mask. The end. There is nothing else smart about it. It just has more options. Whereas the Smart Objects and Smart Filters and smart girl here by association, they are smart because they permit parametric modifications. So the nondestructive editing inside of Photoshop, you can come back and change your mind anytime you like, you can change the Settings, you can change the blend modes, change the Opacity, change the order of the filters as you will see and on and on.
Anyway, so the smartness here is purely coincidental but we are going to go ahead and select Smart Sharpen anyway. And then I'm really going to sharpen the heck out of this image. Let's go ahead and hone in on her eye here. I'm going to increase the amount value through the roof. I'm going to take it to its highest setting, 500%, completely over the top and then I'll increase the Radius value to 4 pixels and now let's mitigate things just a little bit by switching Remove from Gaussian Blur to Lens Blur which is going to give us finer detail, as you can see.
It's still well over the top. That's okay we'll take care of that in just a moment in the next exercise but for now what I want you to do is why don't we go ahead and actually save out these settings because they are just over the top? And click OK. And then of course, I would make sure to choose over the top as my Settings, so I don't overwrite the Defaults and then I would click OK and now we have this over the top amount of sharpening applied to this Smart Object right there. Notice that we now have a list of Smart Filters that's what this guy indicates and you can turn off all the Smart Filters or turn them back on using this eyeball. We also have a filter mask, we'll come to that later and then finally we have these Smart Sharpen item, the one filter that I have applied so far and you can turn it off if you want to and then of course, turn it back on. You can also modify its Settings, its blend mode, its Opacity and I'll show you all of that stuff which is really actually great and exciting, in the next exercise.
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