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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 want to demonstrate to you how you can combine the averaging technique that I just got done showing you along with the Gaussian Blur based, diffused focus technique that we saw a few exercises ago. I am working inside of an updated version of that Horatio Q Marketforce image, and this one is called CEO for President, yes sir, and this is of course is that Mark Aplet photo from istockphoto.com. And notice even though we have assigned something of a porcelain effect to this gentleman right here so if I were to Alt+Click on the eyeball associated with this background layer, or Option+Click on an eyeball on the Mac, we would see the man as he was originally photographed.
And now if I Option+Click or Alt+Click again, he's just so absolutely smooth. But he does have some wandering skin tones, does he not? And I have actually because of our video compression sometimes we lose a little bit of color distinction. So I have gone ahead and amped up the color distinction slightly inside of this image so we can see more of the difference between the reds around his nose for example and under his nose, and underneath his eyes here, and around his mouth and under his chin, and at the top of his ear. And then otherwise we have more sort of normalized yellowish skin tones inside of this image, for a light skinned person of course.
All right, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to generate a selection. You always have to select an area for this average technique to work, because otherwise you are going to be averaging in the blacks and the whites and the tie and everything else. And the best way to select this gentleman is with the Quick Selection tool. So I'm going to grab the Quick Selection tool this time, it just happens to work better on this guy. And I'll increase the size in my cursor and just kind of drag around his face in order to get as much as possible. The reason I'm using Quick Selection as opposed to Magic Wand for example is that otherwise we end up getting too much of his tie, it has red just like his face does in it.
Whereas the Quick Selection tool is looking for edges and this image has some very obvious edges inside of it. All right, now I'm going to Alt+Drag or Option+Drag along the hair, that would be an Alt+Drag on the PC and an Option +Drag on the Mac, along the hairline there just to rule it out and then I'll reduce the size of my cursor by pressing the Left Bracket key a few times. We'll Alt+Drag or Option+Drag inside of those sideburns. And if you are really wanting to get rid of the sideburns, you'd Alt or Option+Drag in these little tiny left-hand sideburns as well.
His right of course. And then I might drag in the top of his ear to get that, but that's not really essential. And if you wanted to you can rule out the irises. I'm not going to bother. I'll keep his nostril too. Now then we have a terrible edge associated with this selection outline after all we are using the Quick Selection tool, the worst edge tool there is in terms of generating selection edges not in terms of finding the edges which it does pretty well. So let's go up to the Option Bar and click on the Refine Edge button to bring up the Refine Edge dialog box and I'm going to just increase the Radius value to 30. And otherwise I don't really care about these options. Contrast should definitely be set to 0 and Contract/ Expand should be 0 as well, but if we have a Smooth value of 3 or 0, it's not going to make that much difference. Same for Feather.
So mostly I'm concerned about the Radius value of 30, and I'll click OK, and now we have selected his big old head. I'm going to make sure the Background layer is selected, which it is, and press Ctrl+Alt+J, Command+Option+J on the Mac, and I'll just call this new layer average. Click OK and there is his average face just sort of lumbering in space right there. Now I'm going to go up to the Filter menu and choose the Average command and it just so happens for this image, whatever mysterious magic is happening where the Average command is concerned, it does a good job without a selection, it chooses a nice color without having to go to that extra step of loading the selection for the head right there.
We are not going to keep that effect, although if you decide it's better by all means save that off, print it and put it in a frame. But I'm going to go up here to the Blend Mode pop-up menu and I'm going to change the mode from Normal to this guy right here, Hue, just like before, just the same thing we did a couple of exercises ago, and that ends up averaging out those hues. So check it out. This is how he looked before, and this is how he looks now. So it's kind of a subtle change, let me see if I zoom in on him. If we can see it even better here at 100%. And this is the before version, you can make it out, right? You can see the reds around his eyes and his nose and his chin right there and so on. Everybody has got wandering skin tones; it's nothing to be ashamed of. But we can make him better here by turning on this Average layer and then we are just completely making everything extraordinarily uniform.
Now if you decide that's not exactly the color of flesh you want, for whatever reason, by the way I have kind of overridden the color of his eyes at this point, so you could erase those way if you want. I'm not too concerned about them. But if you decide this skin tone is not exactly what you are looking for you could press Ctrl+U, Command+U on the Mac to bring up the Hue/Saturation command, and you could warm it up a little better or make it redder by reducing the Hue value a couple of clicks there, and that's going to add a little bit of red to things. Now the Saturation/Lightness options aren't going to make any difference at all, bare that in mind, because we have got the blend mode set to Hue. So Saturation and Luminosity are ruled out of the equation; they are not even getting paid attention to where this layer is concerned.
All right, so I just made him redder but I actually don't like that. I actually want to go the other direction. I'm actually going to make him yellower by raising this value by pressing the Up Arrow key a few times, and that might be more like it, a +2 Hue, pretty good to me, might look too jaundiced to you. If so take it down to 1. And there he is though, impeccably colored I think. He just looks like he is going to dominate the world with that expression. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to blur surface details.
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