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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.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to work with the Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation controls that are at the bottom of the basic panel there inside Camera Raw. Working in order, Clarity is going to give you edge contrast. So think of it as being very, very similar actually to working with Unsharp mask with a low amount value and a very high radius value and that's what you get with Clarity, but you only have an amount value, Camera Raw takes care of the radius automatically. Notice if I really bump this up we are getting some major edge contrast, we are feeling in her eyes which doesn't look so good actually but we are definitely sharpening up a lot of detail inside of this image, all be it with big thick edges.
So what I'm going to suggest is that we take this value down to something like 30 where this image is concerned and then maybe to compensate, I'll take the Contrast value down as well. So we have raised the Clarity value ultimately to 30 and I have reduced the Contrast value to +25 and of you want to get a sense of what the difference is you can preview. So this is what the image looks like when we first opened it up here inside the Camera Raw just now, just few minutes ago and this is what it looks like now. All right, so just a slight difference. Okay now, where the color saturation is concerned, we have got Vibrance and Saturation and they are straight out of the new Vibrance control in Photoshop CS4. So you know how you have now a Vibrance command under the Adjustment sub-menu and you also have a Vibrance adjustment layer that you can choose from. And when I say that these controls are right out of that, I really mean the other way around. Vibrance and Saturation first appeared inside of Camera Raw and Lightroom, and then made its way over to Photoshop.
So if you want to increase the Saturation of your colors across the board, you increase the Saturation value but that's going to end up especially at high values really sending the flesh tones through the roof as you can see here. That's not quite what we are looking for and there is some interesting thing, notice that the word Sign appearing in the background right there. Apparently the Sign company who have painted the truck has this very light logo going on that's fairly nifty I think and Vibrance on the other hand is increasing the Saturation or decreasing the Saturation of colors more selectively. So it's protecting skin tones for one thing, it's also increasing the Saturation of low contrast colors more than high contrast colors and it does a better job of avoiding clipping and where the Histogram is concerned, clipping looks like that. When a color peak tops out, that means you have Saturation clipping.
So let's go ahead and back this up. Even though, this image actually likes a lot of Vibrance as you can see. It really comes out but the problem is that you start getting some really wonky color transitions with very high Vibrance settings. And you are going to bring out Saturation values that you don't want, such as the orange in this tyre here. That tyre should probably be more or less neutral and it's turning very orange on us. If you were to look closely at her belt and the edge of her pants right there, we have got some interesting transitions by which I mean not so good and we are bringing out a lot of color noise as you can see.
So let's back this up. I'm going to take the Saturation value down, actually what I typically do by the way is as I start with Saturation. I'm going to take the Vibrance value down to zero for a moment here and then I'm going to raise the Saturation value to about 20 to bring out some of the colors and down here on the blue pants, this is before and this is after. Let's back up so we can see more of the colors now, so that we can see the car as well because it is definitely benefiting from the Saturation. This is before and this is after and now having raised the Saturation value to a fairly normal level, something reasonable, now let's take the Vibrance. Let's push it up and push the colors into almost unreasonable territory but I think right about here is as high as we want to go.
We are starting to bring out the orange in the tyre but the truck looks just dynamite. She looks great, her hair looks wonderful, her sweater looks awesome, jeans look perfect, belt looks very colorful. I'll press the P key for the before, this is before. Ah, so low Saturation, this is after and notice that the Saturation controls have done a pretty good job of increasing the Saturation values without changing the luminance levels, which is something that Hue/Saturation command for example has problems with. So just hunky-dory. I think it just swell and she is so wholesome. All right I'm going to Click Done in order to accept those modifications and there we have just an impeccable photograph of Megan in front of her boyfriend's car.
In the next exercise, we will move on to some of the more advanced options in Camera Raw.
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