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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, now we are going to check out a couple of other blurring and averaging filters. We are going to start things off with Surface Blur and then we are going to move over to Dust & Scratches, and we are going to apply both of them to this image here. It's called Freckles are fine.jpg and this image comes to us from photographer Renee Lee. Freckles really are fine, but we are going to be working on downplaying the freckles. All right, so here's what we are going to do. Step one, Ctrl+Alt+J, Command+Option+J on the Mac and we'll go ahead and call this new layer surface blur like so, press the Return key or the Enter key here on the PC to create the new layer.
Now, the first thing to try in a situation like this is surface blur and then we'll turn around and try in our next exercise Dust & Scratches and then we'll marry the two together and they will be so happy. Now let's go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, go ahead and choose Surface Blur and then what I recommend you do in this case, I typically will go ahead and raise this Radius value a little bit to something that's fairly high, extraordinarily high really, and then I'll nudge it down by pressing the Down Arrow key on the keyboard and what you want is the smallest Radius value you can get away with. That's still going to cover up the things that you are trying to cover up. And in about 17 pixels going down to 16, going to 15, we are starting to reveal the freckles incrementally. And so we don't want to reveal them so I nudged that back up to again the smallest value that's going to get the job done, which to my eye appears to be about 17 pixels.
Then you go to the Threshold value and remember that this is an upside down threshold, so what we are saying is any pixels that vary less than 255 luminance levels from each other will be blurred. Anything more than 255 won't be so everything gets blurred at 255. Then you start nudging that down until you bring back the details and I'm nudging the value down by pressing Shift+Down Arrow. It wouldn't really start at 255, no sense in starting that high. But at some point you are going to notice that you are starting to get the good detail back. What you really want to retain are things like the eyes and the stuff around the nose and nostrils and all that definition, the teeth and the mouth, all that stuff needs to come back baby! So notice right about 35, we are starting to get some stuff back that's good, and at 25 it really comes back, that's looking great to me. So I would suggest these are our values: 17 pixels for the Radius, 25 luminance level for Threshold. I'll click OK and next what I'm going to do is I'm just going to go ahead and reduce the Opacity value and I'm going to take it down to 50% just by pressing the 5 key. If I turn off the surface blur layer look at what her face used to look like, how many freckles she used to have, God bless them because they are great, love freckles. So if I turn the surface layer back on though, just a little bit of downplay, so we are just sending the freckles slightly into remission.
All right, in the next exercise, we are going to move over to Dust & Scratches, it's a little more work but it gets us farther toward our goal, stay tuned.
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