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Photoshop is the tool of choice for most creative professionals and has quickly become household name synonymous with computer art and image manipulation. In Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics, internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland teaches such digital-age wonders as masking, filters, layers, blend modes, Liquify, Vanishing Point, and vector-based type. Along the way, Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, trimming away jowls and fat, and wrapping one image around the surface of another. Plus, the training teaches how to construct and organize the elements in a composition so you can edit them easily in the future. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.
Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
Now, our first creative, and it turns out, highly practical application of a Blur filter, in this case, it's going to be Gaussian Blur, is a little thing that I like to call the Captain Kirk-in-love effect, and here is the setup, alright. You may recall from if you have ever seen the original Star Trek TV series, most of us have I think, when a woman of a certain means would come on board the Starship Enterprise and the Captain got a bead on her for the first time, right. We would see the Captain's face and you could tell he was lit up a little bit, he was starting to feel amorous, and there would be a little bit of a musical interlude.
And then we would shift back to the woman who we had just watched enter the scene a moment ago and now, she is in close-up and in a totally different lighting scenario. She is lit in shadow with this sort of diagonal beam of light across her eyes. I swear they always did that, every single time. The Captain fell in love. They would have a diagonal bead of light across the woman's eyes, it's true, look at the shows. We are not going for that effect, that's not I want to go and try to pull off here. There was a second part to it and this is the Captain Kirk-in-love effect.
There would be a little bit of a Vaseline lens effect. So there is a blur basically aminating from the woman, a little bit of a blur, sort of softness on her face, a little bit of radiance. And I think the idea was we were supposed to recognize the Captain's affections at that point and sort of identify with them to the extent that we would think oh, yeah, the games would flit. So, that's what we are going to do with this gentleman right here. He is horacioqmarketforce.jpeg and he is available to you inside the 12-blur average folder.
And he seems like an unlikely object of the Captain's affections but once we are done with them, he is going to look red. And I am sort of setting this up as a big joke. It's really a great effect. It really is an awesome effect what we are about to pull off. And it's the kind of effect that gets used on a regular basis by portrait photographers and wedding photographers and so on, and it's really easy and it's really effective. So here is what I want you to do. By the way, this image comes to us from photographer Duncan Walker. Make sure that you can see the Layers palette on screen here, and I am going to make this Navigator palette smaller.
And I want to go ahead and copy this layer, I want to create a duplicate of it. So I am going to press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac, to jump it to a new layer. And let's go ahead and call this the Gblur layer right here for a Gaussian Blur of course. Now, the fist thing I am going to do is I am going to change the Blend mode that's assigned to this layer from normal to overlay, so an important first stamp. And it's going to seem like we are already going sort of over the top with this image. It's going to become slightly radioactive at this point.
We are going to see some very, very vivid colors now. And we are getting some very bright details and some very dark details too. If you turn this layer off for a moment and then turn it back on, notice how this area around his hair starts disappearing into the blackness. So this is without the layer, this is with the layer. So the hair is starting to recede into the blackness and a lot of the other details are as well, his jacket and so on. And by the way, I am going to go ahead and press the F key a couple of times in order to fill the screen with this image so that we can see a little bit more of it, so we can see how this jacket is going away.
We are going to take care of that in a moment, but it's just nice to set things up with the Overlay mode in the first place because we are going to need that mode. And now, we can gauge the effect of the Gaussian Blur filter a little more accurately. So go up to the Filter menu, choose the Blur command and choose Gaussian Blur, and for you, who knows what the radius value is going to come up as it may be 20 if you are using Gaussian Blur with me at the outset of these exercises. But you can see how I have got it set now to a radius of 10 which works pretty well for this guy.
Now, it's tempting to go too far with the radius value and do like this big ultra blur as long as we are blurring on top of the original image, because we are not harming the original at this point. We are just blurring the Gblur layer and since we have it set to the Overlay mode, we can get away with a fair degree of murder, really we can do a lot of damage to this layer and still be able to see through to the underlying original. But I am going to advise you that less is more where this effect is concerned. You are better off with relatively low radius values just to create a little bit of highlight.
You don't want to completely smear away the details in the person's face, you just want to get a little bit of a soft bounce off of their features. So I have got it set to 5 here. I am going to go ahead and take it back to 10. And I think we can all agree that this is a pretty good setting at this point now, it's a little too hot. And by that, I mean it's oversaturated. We still have this sort of nuclear appearance to this image. So anyway, go ahead and apply radius of 10 and then click OK. Now, the next thing I want you to do is we need to back off the shadows and the highlight.
So, what Overlay does is it goes ahead and burns in the shadows and dodges the highlights. So in other words, it uses the highlights to light everything underneath this layer and it uses the shadows to darken everything underneath this layer and then, let some of the midtones shine through. So as a result, we get a very heightened-contrast effect and a heightened-saturation effect as well. But if we rain in those highlights and shadows, we can tamper the effect, and I am going to do that by pressing Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac to bring up the Levels command here and I am going to change the output levels.
Go ahead and click in that first option levels field there, the one for the black point. And I want you to press Shift+Up arrow five times in a row to change that value to 50. And now, I am going to tab to the second value, the one that controls the white point, and I am going to press Shift+Down arrow five times in a row so that we are changing both values by 50. And that makes this value 205. So we are saying whatever used to be black, raise it up to a luminance level of 50 and whenever used to be white, lower it to a luminance level of 205.
So we are reducing the contrast of the layer and you can see this in the layer of thumbnail, the contrast has been reduced dramatically inside this image. And I will go ahead and click OK in order to accept the results, and that's all there is to it. And just to give you a sense of what we have done, here is the before version of the image, here is the after version of the image. Not only does he have a nice healthy glow coming off him, but all of his details look great. The information that needs to stay sharp remains sharp inside this image. The only thing that this Gblur layer is blurring is the sort of the skin stuff that's going on here, and that could use a little bit of blurring now that we see how it works.
So this I think looks stunning in fact and it's so simple to pull off. And wouldn't Captain Kirk be proud? I think he would.
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