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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, 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 CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right gang I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Behold shadows.psd and we have got an image, a very, very bad image as you may recall if I Alt+Click or Option+Click on this eyeball. Down here next to the background layer this is the original image, this is the image after we invented a Red channel using a Channel Mixer adjustment layer and finally this is the image after we invented shadows using a levels adjustment layer. Now let's invent some better color balance using a Color Balance layer and then we'll fix the fins using Hue/Saturation, my friends. All right, so click on the top layer because we want to make sure we are applying the layers in the proper order.
First let's invent a Red Channel then let's increase the contrast, make some shadows and so on and now we are going to apply some lesser, more subtle color corrections starting with of course, let's go over here, click on the left pointing green arrow and I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on that icon and just call it balance and this is just me hating those little ones and twos that appear after there, I just don't like those. Click OK for balance right there and I want to go ahead and add a little bit of red and I'm going to do that by pressing Shift+Up Arrow a couple of times in that first option and that increases the amount of red and takes it away from the Cyan end of the spectrum. So we are really depleting Cyan from the image and then I want to deplete some blue and add some yellow so I'm going to press down Shift+Down Arrow for this last option in order to add some yellow and that's all I'm going to do.
It looks like we are not necessarily getting where we want because I'm getting -- the fins are in even worse shape than they were before. But this is what the image looks like without that layer and this is what it looks like with the layer. So we are introducing some more reds into this region, into his skin, for example which is really important ultimately if we wanted to get him looking halfway decent. Next let's go ahead and click on the Return to adjustment list arrow. Left pointing arrow right there and finally we are going to add a Hue/Saturation guy, so I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on that Hue/Saturation icon right there. I'm going to name this Blue fins.
Click OK and the easiest thing to do certainly you could figure out exactly which color to work with from this list right here. You could say, I bet it's the Blues or it might be the Magentas so because this is sort of purpley, sort of violet. Why not just let this guy do the work? So the Target Adjustment tool, just go ahead and click on it and in order to use this tool you can either drag to change Saturation values. I don't want to. Instead I want to change Hue values and all I have to do is hover over this guy, and it even tells you Ctrl+Click, it means Ctrl +Drag, to modify Hues and that's a Command+Drag on the Mac.
So press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and drag on that fin over to left until you see the Hue value changes to -25 and that's what we want. That's going a little too far but that's going to help out our future adjustments immensely. So we are in the Blues, it just went ahead and figured that out for us nice and it changed the Hue value to -25, Saturation and Lightness are unchanged as they should be, because I don't want to change those. And that's the correction and let's go ahead and check it against this improved master.psd file that I have open up just for the sake of confirmation. And no, this is different, this is actually a little bit darker.
So you know what thanks to the miracle of inspecting this image when you weren't looking and checking what I did wrong, I'm going to go back to the other image by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Tab, that would be Command+Shift+~ on the Mac or I could just click on the title of course. I am going to go down here and the beauty is the reason I'm leaving this mistake in here for your enjoyment that adjustment layers are modifiable. So if you find there is a problem or if you just decide, now this isn't quite the look I'm looking for. Now that I have applied these other adjustment layers, let's go back to this one and make some tweaks, you can do it and that is non-destructive, by the way. That is a straight out non-destructive modification because you haven't really done anything to the underlying file.
So for starters I'm going to go to the Blue channel right here and I'm going to back off of the Blue shadows a little bit. So I'm introducing a little bit of blue into the shadows by pressing Shift+ Down Arrow for this first value, taking it down to 125. So I have got 125, 1.0 and 255 for this shadow, so if you are following along with me, in the blue channel. Now let's go back to the composite image which of course I could do by pressing Alt+2, Option+2 on a Mac and I'm going to click in the first value and I'm going to take the black point value because look we don't have much in the way of shadows here. I'm going to press Shift+Up Arrow to darken those shadows and then I'm going to click in my mid-tone value, my Gamma value right there, and I'm going to take it down by pressing Shift+Down Arrow to reduce it to 0.9.
So let's go to the other file, just to check in sure enough we have got a match. So this is the final RGB version of the image and just to give you a sense of how far we have come, go ahead and do a test. This is the before version of the image and this is the fully realized in RGB thus far after version of the image. Now you may look at this and you may go wow! That is an astronomical modification. It is amazing that we have been able to do this and I'm going to click on the background layer and I'm going to switch over to the Channels palette and we'll see we have got ourselves a nice looking Red channel.
From where did that come? I mean, we have just -- we made it out whole cloth, good for us. And here is a good looking green channel to go with it. That's a little bit different looking. So we do have some distinct unique channels at work here and then we have got the blue channel. But anyway, we have got a darn good looking image but it's not good enough. What we are looking for ultimately is this guy right there, check that out, that's what we want, when we are done with this process. So we have still got a little bit of work to do. In the next exercise we are going to do some work inside of the Lab Color mode, so we are going to lose all of our adjustment layers, get ready for that, and then we are going to take it back in RGB and do a little hand painting and I think you will find it to be extremely satisfying. Won't you join me?
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