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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Here we are going to dig a bit deeper into working with our eyedroppers, in particular, I want to take a look at how we can set our white and our black points in our photograph, and also how we can color correct this image. In order to do this, let's go ahead and open up a Levels adjustment. We can do that by clicking on this icon here. Now I've already mentioned that we have these eyedroppers, the black eyedropper and also the white eyedropper. Well, what's the deal with these eyedroppers and why do they matter? Whenever we are viewing an image on a screen, typically your white point and your black point, well, it really isn't that important.
Yet if you're going to send an image to a printer, whether it's going to be printed say in a magazine or a publication or book or maybe just on your Desktop printer, well you need to make sure you have good detail on your whites and also your blacks, otherwise the image won't print very well. Well, we can use these two eyedroppers in order to set an appropriate amount of black and white, so we have good detail in both of those areas of our photograph. We can find the area where we can set these points in levels, in a really kind of ingenious way.
If you hold down Option on a Mac or Alt on Windows, you can click on the icon, in this case the black icon here and then just drag it to left. This will show me my deepest darkest blacks. Right from the get-go, I notice that the jersey here, the shirt, this black area, that's one of my deepest areas. So I want to remember that. And we are Option+Clicking or Alt+Clicking and then dragging this just to find the tones or the deep or darkest tones in the image. We can do the same thing with our whites. Let's go ahead and hold down Option or Alt and click on that.
Here I'll drag to the left, so that I can see the brightest colors in my image. What I'm noticing are a few things here. I'm noticing that the brightest tones are here in the sky and also this in the image on the right shoulder here. The thing that we want to do is say well, which white do we want to select? Sometimes you'll have whites with specular surfaces, say like with something which is shiny, and there won't be any detail there, that's okay. Yet if it's a garment like in this situation, we want to have detail there, so that we have some sort of texture or even shape to that object there.
So we are going to use those two points, and we held down Option or Alt just to find those points. You know, sometimes you can just look at an image and you can figure that out for yourself. Other times, well, this little trick, it can help you find the white point and the black point. Now that we've found those points, what we need to do is to customize these tools or kind of set them up and then use them. So the first step is going to be to double-click one of our tools, in this case, I'll start with my black eyedropper. You want to make sure Only Web Colors is turned off.
Next, in the middle you have Hue, Saturation and Brightness. We're interested in Brightness. And in order to have good detail on your blacks, one of the standard numbers that we can enter here is 5. If we then use this tool with these settings, it will ensure that we'll have decent detail in our deepest blacks. So again, you just want to add that 5 there. Next click OK. Now that we've set up the tool, we want to use it, so we haven't really done anything yet, we've just been evaluating the photographs, setting up our tool, now that it's set up, we are going to go ahead and hover over that area.
And before we click, we want to make sure that we're not clicking with Point Sample, let me show you what I mean. You notice I have the eyedropper up here in my Options bar. By default, the Sampling is going to be Point Sample, just click on one pixel; we need to average the area. So depending on the resolution of your file, you'll want to average it out. This is a lower res file, so a 3x3 or 5x5 really would be fine. If it were a higher resolution file, you might want to choose one of these other options here. All right, well now that we've dialed that in, we'll go ahead and click on this area, and what's going to happen is it's going to change our overall image.
Essentially what it did is it kind of brought up some of my blacks and some of those deeper tones. Let's click on the eye icon, and you can see there is that before and then after. So while this image has a little bit less contrast, it's going to print better. All right, well next let's work with our whites. Here we'll double-click on the eyedropper for setting the white point, make sure Only Web Colors is off and then change the Brightness value here to 95 and then go ahead and click OK. Now if ever it asked you to save those values as default settings; click Yes or click OK, because these are typical or standard default settings, 95% for whites 5% for blacks.
Now than we've dialed in this tool, we'll go ahead and click on that area and what that will do then, is it will correct that issue as well. You'll also notice with that last click is that it color corrected the image a little bit too. All right, well to finish this one off, I am going to go ahead and select my Midtone eyedropper and here I'll just click on the black sleeve and I am going to do that to color correct this photograph. So by doing that I'm making sure that this area here is neutral. Well, let's evaluate the overall progress we've made with this photograph.
Here you can see the before, we had a color shift and also some problems with the tonality. Click this again, now we have really good detail across the board. The color is correct and this image will print really well. Now I should say too that if the final destination for your photograph say is the iPad or a mobile phone or you're just going to view it on a monitor, well, in those situations, your white with detail and black with detail, they're not as important. That being said, it's still nice to have some detail in those areas, because sometimes it just makes or helps you take advantage of the full tonal range, it makes the image look more complete, yet it's not essential.
Yet when it comes to printing, this technique is really essential and also really helpful, in order to ensure that you can create a compelling print from your digital file.
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