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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.
In this exercise, we are going to address some of the tough details at the top of Russell's head right there that we need to deal with. We need to distinguish the top of his head from the O, in the word O'Reilly, my publisher. And we also need to address these very delicate hair details that are going on, on the right side of the image. This is of course the left side of Russell's head, where he's concerned. By the way, I've gone ahead and saved my progress as a document called Overlay painting.tif, so called, of course, because we were painting with a brush set to the Overlay mode. But now we're going to have to roll up our sleeves and be a little more selective here.
I've been painting with black allover the place and white inside of the image and it's helpful to know where in a world your black edges drop off or your white edges drop off, and where things turn dark gray or light gray, so light or dark that you can't quite make out the transitions on the screen. There for example, if you zoom in here on the right side once again, Russell's left side of this head, you'll see that there are some sort of garbage-y dark details that aren't quite black. They may show up more prominently on your monitor or less prominently on your monitor depending on how that monitor is calibrated.
But you can see for sure, exactly where the black ends and other colors begin, using the Magic Wand tool, and this is a fantastic use for the Magic Wand tool. So go ahead and select it from the fly- out menu here. Then as opposed to having the Tolerance set to 32, set it to 0, and then turn Anti-alias to off. So we're only selecting one color and one color only. Then what I want you to do is I want you to click in an area that you know to be black in the background. So I'll click up here and notice, these are all the black pixels now, outside of Russell's head. If I wanted to make sure to select the black pixels throughout the image, then I would go up to the Select menu and I would choose Similar right there. That will jump the gaps, essentially.
Now we only still have black pixel selected, because the Tolerance value is set to 0, and that Tolerance value does affect the behavior of the Similar and Grow commands. But now we have all of the black pixels selected throughout the image. We know, for example, that these guys up there are not black and they should be black. These guys right there should be black and these guys too. So this is what I do. I now switch over to the Rectangular Marquee tool like so, and then I'll Shift+Drag around those areas that need to be picked up. Here, of course, Shift+Drag here, Shift+Drag around this guy, not anything that's really super close to the image, we're staying pretty far out here. We're just getting these guys that are up in the far flung areas of the background or if you have a straight area, like this right here, you can go ahead and try to select it as well.
So I'll add that to the selection, I might as well add these guys to the selection to the best of my ability, like so. Otherwise, just note where these problems are occurring, if you don't want to get too close to that edge. So right now we've got some areas, let's see, let's check out Russell at the same time. Right around this knuckle and the right edge of his neck right there, are areas that I'm going to have to work on. Also, around his ear and, of course, around the hair, I knew, this area, was a problem. This stuff, obviously, we're going to have to address more delicately. We can't just go in there with the Rectangular Marquee tool, but I can select here, so Shift+Drag, Shift+Drag around this area, Shift+Drag here. If you have a mind tool again, some of this stuff you can get using Brush tool in just a moment.
We have some stuff going on along the top of the hand sort of duly noted, grab this stuff, Shift+Drag around it, Shift+Drag around here. It's like we're working inside of a swimming pool or something. Shift+Drag there, Shift+Drag here, I just mentioned that as an aside because it occurred to me as I was working and I have nothing else to talk to you people about. I'm selecting stuff. I mean it's not exciting, I don't think anyway. It's feeling kind of dull, but I have to say something. I can't just sit here and be silent, because it's a movie. So this looks pretty good. I think I've selected most of the junk that I want to select. I'm going to press the tilde key to hide Russell, so that I'm just looking at the mask. Now I want to fill everything that I have selected with black, because just selecting it doesn't make it black, we have to actually fill it with black.
Black happens to be my foreground color right now, so I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to make sure all of that stuff is black. Now if deselect the image by clicking off of it, go back to the Magic Wand tool and click in the background, low and behold, I've got this entire area selected right now. All black. That's good. Then I could Shift-Click down here if I want to instead of using the Similar command, another way to work. That area is nice and homogeneously black. Let's deselect that area, click inside Russell now to check the whites. So, they are in pretty good shape, but we still do have some ratty details here and there. Shift+Drag around them with the Rectangular Marquee tool.
Why the Rectangular Marquee tool, why not the Lasso tool? Because we can get right next to the edges with the Rectangular Marquee tool and not worry about adding in any anti-aliasing. So it's just a great choice. Let's go and Shift+Drag around there, Shift+Drag around there, Shift+Drag here if I want to. Note the neck. The neck needs work anyway. I'll renew that. The hand, this is the back end of his left hand, and we've got some areas in the right hand as well, fine. Go ahead and select as much as you dare with the Rectangular Marquee tool, of course, and then once you're done, which at some point you will be, when we presume, then you will press the Backspace key, because the background color is white for me. So I just press Backspace or on the Mac I would press the Delete key, and that goes ahead and takes care of those stray non-black and white colors.
So, we're doing great. We still need to get in there and address these little hairs and those other details that we saw that weren't quite black, weren't quite white. We'll do that by painting once again, except we're going to use a more cautious mode, Soft Light, join me, won't you, in the next exercise.
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