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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, 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 CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
All right, so here we are looking at that scene that we created in the previous exercise using the Shadows/Highlights command and I have gone ahead and saved this progress file Intense lighting.psd, found inside the 17_shads_hilites folder, and obviously we've made a lot of progress with the application of just a single command, this is the original image, quite washed out by Contrast, something of a high-key effect but I think too much so. And this is the much more sculptural intensely lit scene, thanks to Shadows/Highlights once again, but I want to take it even farther.
I am going for this final effect, which is called The final calm.psd, once again inside that same 17 folder. And what I have done here is I have increased the level of Saturation inside of the image across the board, so you might say, well, Gosh Deke, he is back to being sunburned. I would argue, no, in the context of the highly-saturated scene he looks quite good in my opinion, we have these very bright highlights going on now, but there is still a lot of information inside those highlights and then we pass into these intensely saturated midtones and shadows, and I think it makes for an image that really sizzles onscreen, it's going to leap off the page the whole number, it's also quite sharp, quite tactile, and is a combination of adding two more filtering effects, Gaussian Blur and High-Pass, so let's go ahead and see how Gaussian Blur works here.
Back in the Intense lighting scene, I am going to select the S/H layer and I am going to jump it to a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac and I'll call this new layer GBlur, click OK. Now I am going to apply Gaussian Blur to this image by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Blur and then choosing Gaussian Blur, a command that I like so much that I have given it a keyboard shortcut of Shift+F7 if you loaded dekeKeys. And by default we are applying just a tiny bit of Blur, just one pixel of Blur, which can be useful for masking purposes, but it's not all that useful when you are trying to edit a continuous tone image like this one right here.
I am going to click on this eye to center it. You can see that there is not that much blurring going on, if I click and hold inside the Preview and then release, not much difference, in fact I am going to take this Radius value up to 15 pixels. I am going to blur the heck out of the scene. Now you might ask why in the world you would ever do such a thing, after all it's pretty obvious why you want to sharpen details inside of an image, even over-sharpening them is sometimes useful, but blurring an image or in our case over-blurring an image what the heck, why would you want to just erase detail? Well, you wouldn't want to leave the scene this way, that would be ridiculous, of course.
What we want to do instead is we want to take this blurred version of the image and blended in with the underlying shadow/highlight original there using a Blend mode as we'll see. This can be very useful for creating a bounce effect where the light is essentially bouncing off the subject of our image, absolutely effervescing across the scene. So I'll go ahead and click OK. And it's also useful incidentally for filling in skin flaws and defects and that kind of thing. You can use it for that purpose as well.
That's not really what we are doing in the case of this image, we are just trying to heighten reality. But anyway, what you would do in either case is after applying a big heavy dose of Gaussian Blur, something like 10 to 20 even 24 to 30 pixels worth of blurring depending on the resolution of the image then you would go to the Blend mode pop-up menu in the upper-left corner of the Layers panel and change it from normal to our good-buddy Overlay. Overlay is kind of the default setting where this effect is concerned if you feel like you are getting too much out of overlay you could switch down to Soft Light or if you are not getting enough, obviously you could take it up to Hard Light or Linear Light what have you.
I am going to stick with Overlay where this effect is concerned because it gives us that really great dynamic color, they are in the highlights and the midtones. Now the shadows are just wasted, I have just gotten rid of all the shadows inside the image. We will bring them back later using a Luminance Mask, but for right now, don't worry about it. That is the Gaussian Blur effect, so once again if you want to create a kind of light bounce inside of your scene that's also going to result in some extremely richly saturated colors as you are seeing here.
Then it's a combination of Gaussian Blur on an independent layer, very important, a high radius value and then set it to the Overlay mode, you can adjust the Blend mode settings to taste if you like to, take it down to Soft Light, take it up to Hard Light, that kind of thing. In the next exercise we are going to add a layer of Sharpness using High-Pass.
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