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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
Over the course of this project we're going to take this portrait shot, which has some great composition in my opinion, but is a little bit flat in terms of the contouring, so in another words, his face is lit from straight on and ends up washing out a little bit. And we're going to give it some more volume; we're going to give it some more depth in order to come up with this final effect here. I should say this image once again hails from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more and get discounts by the way at fotolia.com/deke. Now the first thing we need to do is correct for the Lens Distortion that's associated with this image.
Notice if I switch back to the original, not only is the image crooked so it's leaning down into the right, but his head is leaning in the opposite direction, almost as if it is skewed, which means once we straighten the image, he's going to look more crooked than ever. Also, notice that the right half of his face, his left, appears narrower than the left half of the face, and presumably a lot of that has to do with Lens Distortion. The idea is that there's curvature associated with the lens element and as the light enters that element and then lights on to the image sensor, the light actually distorts on its way into the image and usually that distortion is found around the outside edge.
Fortunately, we can correct for Lens Distortion using a filter known as Lens Correction. We want to apply that filter as a Smart Filter of course, so I'm going to convert this image into a Smart Object by double-clicking on the background here inside the Layers panel and I'm just going to Name this layer dude. And then I'll go up to the Layers panel flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object, or if you loaded DekeKeys, you can press Ctrl+, or Cmd+, on the Mac. Next, go up to the Filter menu and choose Lens Correction, which has a factory keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+R or Cmd+Shift+R on the Mac, and that's going to bring up this big huge screen-gobbling dialog box.
Now you probably want to start things off inside the Auto Correction tab, and notice down here in the bottom-left corner of the window, we can see the camera model, which is a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. We might also be able to see the lens model, although in this case we can't, so we'll have to make that up. But we can see the Focal Length, which is 40 mm. So let's go ahead and dial in what we know into the Search Criteria. The Camera Make is already set to Canon. I'll go ahead and select from Camera Model the 5D Mark II from the list. And by default Photoshop goes ahead and grabs a 28mm lens, which is good enough where this image is concerned.
Presumably a lens like that does work. Now I recommend you go ahead and turn on all the checkboxes. By default you may only have Geometric Distortion turned; on you definitely want that turned on of course, because that's the main thing that we're trying to correct where this image is concerned. We're going to learn more about Chromatic Aberration when we take a look at Camera RAW in the future chapter, but for now just know that it's a misregistration of color around the outer edges of the image. Just about every image has some form of Chromatic Aberration associated with it, so you might as well go ahead and turn that checkbox on.
And if your image has vignetting, that is presumably darkness around the outer edge created by the lens element itself casting a shadow, then go ahead and turn on the Vignette checkbox, and you'll see that it makes a slight difference where this image is concerned. All right, the next thing you want to do is switch over to Custom so that we can modify the Geometric Distortion by hand. If you drag this slider to the left in order to apply a negative value, then you're going to create a kind of bulging effect like we're seeing here. If you move the slider to the right that gives you a positive value and you create a pin-cushioning effect.
We do want a pin-cushioning effect, but not that much, so I'm going to start with a value of 0, and I'm going to press Shift+Up Arrow a few times in a row in order to increase that value in single digit increments. And by the time you get to a value of +10, somewhere in that range, things start looking good. You notice that the two halves of his head look a lot more proportional. Next, I'm going to drop down to this Angle value and we want to modify it as well, and what I suggest you do here is press Shift+Down Arrow in order to incrementally rotate that image down into the left; that is in a counterclockwise fashion.
And at about -0.8, you end up getting a straight horizon, and to confirm that you can turn on the Show Grid checkbox, so that you can see that grid there, which is going to show you an exactly horizontal line so that you can compare it to the horizon in the background. And that ends up creating a very nice effect, so I'll go ahead and click OK in order to correct that lens distortion. So just to give you a sense of what we were able to accomplish here, this is the before version of the image quite distorted by comparison, and this is the after version.
Thanks to the Lens Correction filter, here inside Photoshop.
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