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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
So far in this training, we have talked about how we can color correct skin tone, yet, there's only been one person in the image. It's only been one type of skin tone. What about this situation where you have a family and you have different types of skin tones? Well, that's what we are looking at how we can color correct this image. So go ahead and select the file family.psd, press the Command key and click on the file family numbers.jpeg and open up all those up, Command+O on the Mac/Ctrl+O on the PC. Now at first I want to point out with this particular file there is a Reference folder. I'm going to turn that off. So here's the original and there are my adjustments will talk about how we are going to make those adjustments, yet, I want to include that for you, so that you have a Reference Point.
The next thing that I need to do, let me go and click and drag this family numbers image out of this tabbed arrangement here and here we have the different Curves Adjustments, that we are going to making. Now you can use this as a Reference Point. I'll Double Click the Zoom tool here for a second, in order to be able to see the different adjustments that we will be making. I'm going to go ahead and move this off screen, so that it's not distracting and then I'll go back to this image and take this to Full Screen View mode by pressing F and then Spacebar to reposition the image. Here, you can see, I have set Eyedropper's on the different people in the Paladino family. They are wonderful, beautiful family and this was just a snap shot that I took with a point-and- shoot camera, yet I thought it was perfect for Color Correcting when you have different types of skin tone.
All right, well, let's a look at our numbers across the board. Well, here are the two parents. When we look at those parents numbers we see that the yeah, Yellow is pretty low in that case, we will look at these numbers, yeah, Yellow is low in case, as well. So we are going to need to do some work on that Blue-Yellow channel. We are also noticing that our Red-Cyan the percentages aren't quite right, so how then we are going to be able to correct this? Well, let's click on the Curves Adjustments Layer icon. The first thing I want to do in this RGB Composite View mode is just brighten up the image just a touch. It feels a little bit too dark for me. So I'm going to go ahead and brighten that up just a little bit. Here's our before and after again, little bit of brightening. Now I want to do that first, so that my tone is in the right place, when I'm color correcting it.
Now the next channel, that I know I need to go to, is that Blue Channel. That's Option+5 on the Mac/Alt+5 on the PC. Now before what we have done, is grab this Target Adjustment tool and hover it over the image, yet when I do that I notice that, I'm going to be sampling different values based on who I hover over, this is a little bit lower, this ones a little bit higher. So go ahead and start up at the top and drag that down just a bit. Now I'm just looking to decrease the over all amount there. Now, one of the things that happens is when I decrease that over all amount, I can see that I'm decreasing it across the board and so now some of my darker tones, as well, are getting a little bit more Yellow. If I want to save some those, all that I need to do is click here and drag those up to reposition those up a little, so that my adjustment is been little bit more focused on these brighter tones, i.e., brighter skin tones, right? Okay, well so far so good. Let's look at our before and after. Here's before and then after, the image is looking much better. Lets' begin to analyze how this is working.
Now, in the number four position, the baby here with the light skin tone, my Yellow isn't quite high enough and the number three position, again, the yellow isn't quite high enough here number two it is. But this skin is much more Yellow, right? You can see that and in the number one position, gosh, it's still much too low. So I need to go ahead and lower these even further. So I'm going to go ahead pull this points down, even further to try to increase the Yellow a little bit more, so that I make sure that I have a touch more. Now let's then go to the Green-Magenta Channel with the Target Adjustment tool I'll hover over this point and I'll click and then I'm just going to use the Arrow keys to reduce that just a little bit and I'm going to press my Up Arrow key what I'm looking to do is to increase the over all amount of the Green and as I do that I realize, you know what, well, it's looking good on Steve here, it's not looking good on the rest of family. So I'm going to leave that adjustment as it is. I'll click and drag that off. All right, so here's my adjustment, my before and after.
How that can I deal with Steve's skin tone? The other thing I'm noticing, is this is a little bit too saturated, how can work on that? What I'm going to do, is go back to my adjustments and I'm going to click Hue/Saturation, I'm going to then go down to my Reds, grab the Target Adjustment tool, hover over Steve's skin here and I'm going to look to de- saturate some of those Reds that I'm seeing there. So I'm just going to look to pull some of those Reds out. Now, I need to find the sweet spots, right? Where I'm not disrupting the values so much, that I have some problems, but Steve actually was a little bit sun burn that day, he loves to body surfing and he was on the ocean, I actually know that for a fact. So I want to remove a little bit of the Red there.
And now the next thing that I'm going to do is, work on the Cyan. I see this Blue as a little bit too bright, so I'm going to ahead and navigate down in Cyans and click there and I'm going to reduce those a touch as well. Let's take a look at the before and the after on this layer, here's my before and then after. Let's look at our overall before and after, here is before and then here is after, much better skin tone. Let's go back to our Curves Adjustment, I'm going to go to the Red Channel. On the Red Channel, I notice that my Cyan and Red amount is a little bit off. So I'm going to go ahead and click up pretty high here. What I'm interested in doing is just bringing this value up just a touch, because I want to get my percentages in that range, right? 3X12 is 36, 5x12 is 60. Okay, that's in a range. 3x15, okay, we are already closer, we are close here as well. I think that final adjustment looks really nice. Let's look at our before and after and you know what we still have pretty nice even tones.
Now one of the things that you probably notice in this movie is there was a ton of give and take. You also are noticing that, all of the percentages aren't Color Correct. You all keep in mind that, those percentages are simply a recipe for getting good color. Now I had to, kind of, ignore some of Steve's skin tone because I know that his skin tone pretty Red .So I have the high Magenta amount. But the other three numbers are all right on the money and so because of that I'm going to go with this adjustment and then I'm going to evaluate it by looking at my Before and After and say, you know what, I think that looks really good.
All right, well, that wraps up this chapter and here's what I think you should do now, I think you should open up one of your photographs and try to Color Correct it with the techniques that we have used in this chapter. Because it's one thing to watch someone else Color Correct, it's another thing to actually experiment and learn how to do this type of Color Correction with your own images. Because once you have done that, you really have this skill and here's why I think you want to do that. This is one of those skills that you are not going need for every image all the time, you will probably be able to color correct your files in different ways with your different Eyedroppers, yet, when you need this technique you are really going to need it. So you want to have these skills in your bag of tricks. So that you can apply them when you really need them.
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