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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.
All right, now for something a little more elaborate. I have these four photographs here, and I'm looking at these photographs inside the Bridge. They all exist inside the Cyclist sub- folder, which is found inside the 28 Auto-Align folder. And the four images come to us from photographer Chris Orwig, another trainer here at Lynda.com, and you may recall we are used to one of these I think, Stunt Cyclist 3, back when I was showing you cropping or some such feature in the Camera Raw chapter of this enormous series. But now we have all 4 of the photographs in the group and what I want to do is align the four photographs, because these are not tripoded shots. Chris is presumably on his belly shooting these images with a wide angle lens, and starts over here with this guy on this mound or whatever it is and then he lifts his front tire and then he hops over, so wish I could do that, and then he lands on the other side.
And I want to create a progression of these images so that we see him move across the scene, and so what we're going to do is go ahead and select all of these images inside this folder by pressing Ctrl+A, Command+A on the Mac. Then go up to the Tools menu and then go here to Photoshop, which allows you access to a few Photoshop features that are suited to the Bridge, and we've got this one right here that's called Load Files into Photoshop Layers. Now this has long been a feature of Photoshop CS3 Extended and I lobbied Adobe to get it moved into standard Photoshop, and here it is. Because it's useful to us plain old everyday artists. Load Files into Photoshop Layers. It launches Photoshop, and goes in and piles all of the images on to layers for you so that you don't have to do it manually, which is a fantastic thing. All right, now I'm going to go ahead and turn off all but the bottom layer, and I'm going to press Alt+Right bracket so that we can see the progression of these images like so.
Now I'm pressing Alt+Left bracket. You can see him jumping across and you can see how the scene moves a little bit too. So the clouds are in motion and the ground is in motion and we don't really care about those people who are relatively still in the background there. The whole world's moving, but those people are remaining still. And of course, the bicyclist is moving. We want him to be moving. Okay, but we need alignment. Do we not? So what I want you to do is go ahead and select all of these layers and you can click on one, Shift-click on another if you want to, or there is a keyboard shortcut actually. It's Ctrl+Alt+A or Command+Option+A on the Mac. Selects all layers.
Now they don't have to all be turned on. In our case just one of the layers is visible. The others are hidden, which is just fine. Now go up to the Edit menu, choose that same command, Auto -Align Layers, and I got news for you. This time we've got some lens information because there is a lot of distortion associated with this scene. And that's a function of this fisheye lens that's being used. So it detected a fisheye lens in the metadata, the Canon EOS 5D, I went ahead and saved that information along with the files. And it even saved exactly what that lens is and so Photoshop CS4, this is new, is capable of applying some fisheye compensation if you like. Now I don't want that. I totally invite you to do that on your own if you want to, but we're going to get better alignment with this option turned off, and I actually like the fisheye distortion.
I think it works well with the scene. So I'm going to turn that checkbox off. Vignette removal is not on. So leave it off and then Auto is selected, leave that selected, click OK. In the gradual passing of time you'll go ahead and align these layers to each other. Now it doesn't do quite as good a job this time around, as it did with Elizabeth and I, and the more layers you start heaping on the more that Auto-Align is inclined to get it wrong is essentially what it comes down to. Anyway, let's go ahead and try out these layers here.
I am going to click on the top one to make it active. And there is its eyeball right there. So it's the only one that we can see. I'm going to press Alt+Left bracket to move down the stack. This is Option+Left bracket on the Mac and you can see that the scenes are pretty well aligned. But there is some distortion action happening over there on the right hand side with this final layer and you may also notice that we have a little bit of color wandering going on, which is interesting, because I processed them all the same. They started off as raw files. I apply the exact same settings, the aperture was the same, the shutter speed was the same. Everything, the color metering was the same and so on. And yet we do have some wandering. Blue is going on in the sky, but that's not going to hurt us. So don't worry about that. Anyway, you might as well just go ahead and turn them all on and now if you look at the top, right there of the image, you can see what I'm talking about with the wandering blues.
They are sort of shifting back and forth. As I recall, 2 and 4 match each other, and then 1 and 3 match each other as well. Now, you can at this point if you want to, go ahead and blend all of these layers automatically, which is pretty interesting by the way. Let's go ahead and do it, just so you can see what happens. There's this command under the Edit menu right there called Auto-Blend Layers. And I can't choose it because I only have one layer selected. So let's press Ctrl+Alt+A, Command+Option+A on the Mac to select all of those layers. Go up to the Edit menu and choose Auto-Blend Layers. Now you get a new dialog box here inside Photoshop CS4 and it's asking you, are you trying to create a panorama or you're trying to stack images on top of each other and do some wacky effect? We're trying to do the wacky stack effect, and yes, we want seamless tones and colors. Right, so let's go ahead and click OK and see what it comes up with. Now this is not necessarily what Auto-Blend was intended to do. But it can create a pretty interesting mix of images and keep the background stuff and then just add in the new stuff inside the image.
So it's trying to retain each one of the independent bicyclists as you can see, and it hasn't done a half bad job. Actually that's a pretty cool composition right there. Now is it exactly what you want? I don't know. Might be, given that it takes just a minute or two of work, it might be absolutely good enough for you. Now the thing that I want you to see though here is that we have not only a bunch of images that have been modified, their colors have been modified. So the colors now match each other, which is amazing. So we don't have those wandering blues any more and we've got automatic layer masks.
Check out the complexity of those layer masks. This function is amazing, but I'm going to show you something. What if you decide, well, gosh, I kind of want to paint this guy in a little differently. And so I want to adjust the masks, and I want this guy's bottom right here to be not so feathery. Something along those lines, what do you do? Well, if you were to let's say with this top layer, which I believe is this guy that's over all the way to the right there, Stunt Cyclist 1.jpg. If you were to turn off his layer mask by Shift- clicking on it, then you would see that his colors are little choppy. Like what in the world is going on there? Let's go ahead and Shift-click on one of these other layer masks as well, and in order to see those we need to Shift-click on this layer mask again to see it.
And you know what, this is what I'm going to do. I'm just going to turn off all these top layers, because we're not getting the effect I'm looking for. And then I'm going to Shift-click on the bottom layer so that I turn off its layer mask and you can see an unfortunate consequence of this filter, and they need to fix this because Auto-Blend could be really that much awesomer if they would take care of this problem. Not only do they apply these masks, but they only correct the image inside of the masked areas. So the automatic color correction is applied inside the masked area. It is not applied outside the masked area.
That means you really do not have the option of editing the masks because you're going to reveal wrong colors and that's going to kill the effect. So you either accept the consequences of the command or you don't, or you back up and try to do it manually on your own. And we're going to do the latter. We're going to go ahead and try our own things, just so you can see a different way to mask these images into place by hand. So let's go ahead and bring up the History palette right there and I'm going to click on this historic state, Select All Layers, because it's right before Auto-Blend layers and so we'll be able to see all of the layers in our stack, great. In the next exercise I'm going to show you how we are going to go ahead and create our own manual merge of the bicyclists, which will be more accurate as you'll see.
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