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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
In the previous movie we looked at how we could use Quick Mask to make a selection. In this movie I want to begin to show you how you can work with Color Range and then combine what you can do with Color Range with your masking skills and show you a few little masking tricks along the way. All right, what here we have the background image. I have targeted or clicked in that layer. I'll then navigate to the Select pulldown menu and choose Color Range. Now Color Range is actually kind of interesting. What I can do here is click on an area in my image and then I can increase the fuzziness to grab more of that. I can also use this eyedropper here which says, you know what, add more of those colors to this selection and I can click on the black and white mask or I can click in the image here.
Now when I click in the image, I'm not exactly sure what my selection is. Well you can change your Selection Preview, in this case I'll go to a white mask and here I can see that I have a nice selection preview. Now as I add to this one of the things that I notice I'm clicking with this icon, I'm adding to my mask. I'm liking it, I'm building this out, yet I'm creating, gosh, a number of different problems here. We can see those problems showing up in this area. How then can I fix those? We will talk about that in just a second. Let's zoom in, Command+Plus on a Mac/Ctrl+Plus on a PC, begin to build out this selection, add more to it, and we will see that yeah, we have nice selection of the red fleece, yet we've selected all this background. We will just decrease your fuzziness and then we will have a little bit less of that background, okay.
Well, that's nice. But I still need some fuzziness because I want this edge to be able to extend out a little bit, so let's increase that and here we can see that it just gives this a little bit of a transition edge there, right. Now how you use Color Range is really going to be contingent upon the image and how you are actually working on the image. Yet in my case I'm thinking, you know what? This will work pretty well for me, so I'm going to go ahead and click OK to apply that. Now I have a selection yet I have a wide range of problem areas. How can I fix those problem areas? I want to show you one way that you can fix those and that's with a mask. So let's go ahead and create our adjustment layer. We will click on Adjustments and then choose Hue/Saturation and in this case I'm just going to change the overall color here and just look to create a color that's somewhat interesting.
Now when I do that, I'll zoom in a little bit. I notice, okay, well for the most part my color change is looking good except I affected the face, I affected a number of the areas in the background, but I can't really tell what I affected and what I didn't affect. Well, how then can I modify that? Here's an amazing masking shortcut. You hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC, click on your Mask icon. All of a sudden I see all of these problem areas that I hadn't seen before. So how then can I fix this, what I can do to fix this up? Well, I'm going to use this Quick Selection tool, check this out. I'm going to go ahead and click in this white area; you'll notice that it's all selected now.
Next, I'm going to choose Select > Inverse. Now I have selected everything, but the white area, let's zoom out a little bit so we can see this. And then I want to fill the rest of this area with black. Now you can do that by way of shortcut, but if you've forgotten the shortcut you can also just grab a big brush and start to paint with black. So all that I have done here is that, you know what, I want to get rid of all of those problem areas and I did that by painting those away. Now navigate back to your Select pulldown menu and choose Deselect, now I just have this nice selection of this jacket. Well, let's take a look at how this actually looks. Hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC click on your Mask icon and then let's look at our before and after, here is our before and after.
Now that looks pretty good. We can zoom in, Command+Plus on a Mac/Ctrl+Plus on a PC, and when we zoom in we may see some problem areas. So we know how to fix these, right? We can go to the Mask panel and then we can refine the mask edge here so I'll go ahead and refine the mask edge and I can contract or expand that, so I'll go ahead and modify that. I can modify the feather as well, how far out this extends, and we can change the smoothing, how smooth or harsh this is. Also our contrast will control that nice defined edge. And then click OK to apply that and we could see our new results.
Now in may case my new results extended that too far around here, I don't like that, didn't work for me. Press Command +Z on a Mac/Ctrl+Z on a PC. How else can I fix this mask? Well, I can go to Refine > Color Range. Now when I do go to Refine > Color Range what's going to happen is I'm going to have to start all over, right? I'm going to have to go through and sample an area in the image. I'll then have to add to that area and slowly build this up and you can see how I would have to go through that whole process again. So in my case I don't want to do that because the mask is in pretty good shape. Let's turn this on and off and look at what our real problem areas are.
Well, in my case my problem areas come under this outer edge, so we need to take a couple of more steps to fix that up and because we've already covered quite a bit of material in this movie, we are going to go ahead and stop this movie and then continue to work with this image and refine this mask edge even further in the next movie.
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