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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.
I have gone ahead and saved my changes to the Maddalena image as Mucha-betta.jpg and I do think this image looks much a better but it doesn't look perfect. The problems now have everything to do with my work. I have messed up the image at this point and I'll show you what I mean. Basically what we have is variations in texture, unreasonable and unlikely variations of texture inside of this image. So notice we go from some very harsh texture right on this portion of the neck to very soft texture underneath her jaw and that's just not going to fly. I mean anybody who knows anything about Photoshop is going to know we were here and they are probably going to know we used Liquify Filter since it tends to create these kinds of texture variations, or they are going to think we went at the image with like the Smudge tool or something hideous like that.
So the solution is to either not worry about it and print the image at a high resolution and you can see if you have got enough resolution associated with the image, once you start zooming out, you are going to lose that texture variation. You are also not going to see as much texture variation if it's very low noise photograph in the first place. However, if we were to print this image at a low resolution, or we were to try to post this image to the web for example, at its current size or maybe a cropped version of the image, we are definitely going to see those textured variations. So what do you do about it? Well, you go ahead and try to capture the texture that's inherent inside the image and then you brush it in to those areas that lack texture and I'll show you how that works. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in here and you can see that I have got this selection going, that's not a mistake, that's by design. I used Rectangular Selection tool to draw a square selection. I'll do it again for you. Press the Shift key as you drag to make sure it's a square. It doesn't have to be a square but squares tend to work very nicely and this will be the representative texture inside the image.
Let's say you just want to select some fairly neutral area that should just be a flat color but has texture in it and you can see there is tons of texture going on here and this is a function of the scan in the first place, probably it wasn't the high quality scan. It's got a lot of noise inside of it, there is a lot of JPEG compression artifacts and of course this is a 16th century painting, so there is some flex as well, the painting has started to chip apart. All right, so we want all of that, that's good stuff. So we will be creating a pattern by going up to the Edit menu and choosing Define Pattern, but first we have to prepare this area, so it's going to work out for us. What we want to do is we wanted to be able to coat the image with this pattern using the Overlay blend mode, which means that the neutral portions of the pattern have to be gray and in fact, we want gray throughout.
So we are going to have to go ahead and jump this little square on to an independent layer by pressing Ctrl+J, Command+J on the Mac and there we have it. I'll go ahead and call this layer texture tile or something like that and then, I want you to go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and then choose this command right there Desaturate and that will get rid of all the color saturation. Problem now is we need most of this layer to be neutral gray and right now it's lighter than that. For example, if I were to press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac to bring up the Levels dialog box, you can see that the image is quite light. This is the meaningful portion of the image right there. We don't have much in a way of any shadow detailed work with here. It's almost all midtones and highlights and that's a problem. We need to shift this histogram right there to the center and the best way to do that, the most scientific method because you could fool around with your histogram right here inside of the Levels dialog box if you want but then it would be incumbent upon you to get the numbers right and you are just eyeballing it, so who knows.
Here is a way to make Photoshop do it for you. Cancel out, you go onto the Image menu, choose Adjustments and you choose this incredibly obscure command that you use for just about nothing these days and it's this one right there, Equalize and it will go ahead and balance out that histogram and stretch it out as we will see. So go ahead and choose Equalize, and now we have an even distribution of Luminance levels inside of what is a really, really ugly pattern at this point but it's going to work out nicely for us. Then press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac and you will see that we have an evenly distributed histogram for what it's worth.
All right, so I'm just going to go ahead and cancel out of that. We don't need to do anything more there. What we do need to do now is go ahead and define this as a pattern. So I want you to load the selection outline backup, Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the thumbnail for texture tile. Then go to the Edit menu and choose Define Pattern and we will go ahead and call this chipping paint or something along those lines and then Click OK and now turn that layer off, Click on the background layer, press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac and now I want you to go down to the Black/ White icon. Make sure by the way this is very important before we do that.
Go over to the palette menu here, choose panel Options and do me a favor, make sure Use Default Masks on Fill Layers is turned off as I instructed you to do a while back. So go ahead and turn that off, Click OK. Now go to the Black/White icon and choose Pattern. You will probably see your most recently created pattern or probably be automatically selected, like it is for me. If not, you Click the down pointing arrowhead and choose your new pattern, which should come up. It's saying it's chipping paint. And don't worry if yours is a slightly different size, mine is 44x44 pixels.
Don't worry about any of this other garbage, just Click OK and now we will rename this texture layer or something along those lines. And I'll change the blend mode to Overlay and it's going to be way over the top. It's just going to look terrible as you see it right here. All right, I'll press the Escape key, so Overlay is no longer active. Zoom out a little bit. Oh, my goodness, she looks awful. In my case, I'm going to reduce the Opacity to 40% by pressing the 4 key. It's pretty high still but the reason is I'll zoom in, notice the hairs really want that much texture on them because they didn't fair so well, they are pretty stretched out. Now they look pretty good. The rest of her looks pretty rotten, so here is what I want you to do about that. Go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click on this Add Mask icon down here at the bottom of the palette and that will add a black mask so that we are masking away the entire effect.
Then what I want you to do is I want you to get your Brush tool. So go ahead and grab it right there and your foreground color should be set to White by default. Get yourself you know fairly generous brush here you wanted to be nice and soft. Make sure the opacity for starters is 100% and then I'm going to paint with white over the hairs like so because I want to get them reinstated first. And if you go too far which you will, then you press the X key to get black and then you paint away the hairs that were over the top and paint this away too.
Then finally, I want you to press the X key again so that you have white as your foreground color. So I just went ahead and did the hairs, which were the most egregious problems inside of this image. Now I'm going to press the 5 key to reduce my opacity value to 50% and now I'm going to paint inside of some of the other soft areas like so to reinstate a certain amount of noise in here, some texturing of course, that would otherwise be lost out, a little bit too much at this point. So I'm going to come back and take care of that in just a moment.
But let's go down here and come up with a bigger brush, paint along that side of her shoulder, paint over this side of her shoulder as well, paint inside the sky a little bit to make sure that we have a little bit of texture there. If you are not getting enough texture, you can paint a second time since you are working with the reduced opacity value. Ultimately, you will get an effect that looks pretty good I think. You will get something that looks more organic and it's not such a giveaway that you have been inside of the image, if you have done good work inside Liquify Filter of course. So this is what the image looks like without that layer. Notice all those soft areas and particularly around her mouth, because I made her mouth so much bigger. What were formerly vertical chips in the paint have now become diagonal and they have also gotten stretched quite a bit. But when I reinstate my texture layer, it looks quite a bit better. I mean we are basically getting it to the point, we can't see that there is any paint chips in there at all. It's just kind of resolving away, which is definitely a good thing and that my friends covers it.
We have seen Free Transform, we have seen Warp, we have seen Liquify, we have seen every method for torturing and distorting images inside of Photoshop. In the next chapter, I'm going to show you how to master Layer Effects.
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