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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
One of the reasons why we're going to create paths is because they allow us to make selections of particular areas that we can then modify further. Yet before we get to the modifications, let's just take a look at how we can perhaps select an area of a photograph. Well, here we have this photograph of the Getty building in Los Angeles. One of the things you notice is that there's this really interesting architectural detail. Well, let's use this detail in order to practice learning how to work with a path. Now before we begin, I'm going to create a new layer here. What I want to do is talk about how this curve actually works.
We're going to create a path to select this area, but we want to begin to get familiar with how these curves are defined. I like to think of turning a curve into an arrow. And if we were to turn that one into an arrow, we would see that it was pointing right about there. Why am I bringing this up? What we're going to do is click and drag with our path out to this point. And then when we do a different type of a curve, let's say this one is pointing down, but then this one is pointing back up. So again, we want to get familiar with the direction of where the curve is pointing, which in turn will help us create a path.
I'm going to delete this layer, just a little bit of a sketch there, and then grab my Pen tool by clicking on it in the Tools panel, or by pressing the P key. Here, I'm going to click and drag up, again, clicking and dragging where that curve is pointing. Over here, I'll click and drag down. And you can see that by doing that by doing that, I'm able to create a little selection edge right along there. If it isn't perfect, hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, and then you can click on that handle to reposition that, so that it hugs that line right along that edge.
Now remember, this next one dips down. So in this case, I'm going to hold down the option key. I'm going to change this handle, so it dips down a little bit. Here, I'll click and drag up, because my next one moves up. And then go back and modify these handles, while holding down the Option key in order to reposition those. And I can make my way around. Click and drag here. We can see that little path along the edge. And then Option+Click and drag one way and then another, in order to get that to go right along of the edge of that area.
Well, what you could do, as you can image, is we can make our way around this architectural detail and select all of this. And then we could modify that particular area. So what paths allow us to do is to, again, target specific areas. Well, let's go ahead and finish off this top area here. I'll go ahead and click just a single click right here. And then I'm going to click and drag up, because this curve is now pointing up. Click and drag down. And we'll go ahead and sweeten that up a little bit.
Click and drag up there. And I'm just going to work through this one really quickly. One of the things that you're going to want to do is to practice on these lines here, and also on the lines in the next movie, simply to start to get familiar with how you can select a particular area. Well, once we've done that, we can go to the Paths panel, and in the Path panel, we can double-click the path we're working on, and I'll go ahead and name this one top 2 and click OK. Well, here you can see I've saved a few paths in this file. We have another version of this top one, and then also an area of this middle one pathed out, or selected.
With any of these, what we can then do is activate this as a selection. I'll do so by clicking on this icon here, which will then turn that area into marching ants. So any area that we've turned into a path, we can then click on that option and activate it as a selection. Let's go back down to this one. So we'll click in middle and then click on the icon to activate as selection. Next, we'll go back to our Layers panel and click in the Background layer. And then we'll navigate to one of our adjustments, like Image > Adjustments, and let's say Levels or Curves.
Now we haven't talked much about adjustment layers, but we could also do something with those, or we could create a mask. There's a ton that we could do. Now to keep things simple, let's simply go to Levels because Levels really are so quite straightforward. Well here I can then make an adjustment. And you can see that the adjustment is just affecting that selected area. So I could tweak that one way or another, depending on what the photograph needed. All right. Well now that we've talked about paths a little bit more and experimented with this demo file, let's go ahead and take a look at a little bit more of a realistic scenario where we can use a path, and we'll do that in the next movie.
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