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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 movies, we have talked quite a bit about paths. Now we are all ready to begin with paths. So in order to simplify things, I deleted all the other layers in my Layers palette so I can really focus in on the task at hand. All right let's zoom in a little bit, Command+Plus on a Mac/Ctrl+Plus on a PC. Press P on the keyboard to select the Pen tool. Make sure you have the Paths option selected in the Options bar and then let's go ahead and click on this corner point over here. What we are going to do is click and drag in the direction that we are going. Again we are going towards this way, we are going to go clockwise and then what I'm going to do is I'm going to move up to this corner here and I'm going to click and drag away. Again I'm moving in this direction so I'm going to click and drag in the direction I'm moving in.
And my path in the background is a little bit messed up so I press the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC and I'm going to go ahead and bring in that path so it's right along the edge of the building there. All right we are perfect. One of the things you want to keep in mind is you want as fewer path points as possible. So this particular curve is pointing up. So I'm going to go ahead and click over here and click and drag away, or the direction that I'm moving in. In this case, the next curve point down a little bit so I'm going to pull that one down. Then I hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC and I'm going to go ahead and bring that in so that it's right there on the edge of the building.
Now I said that this one curves down a little bit, great. So I'll move over here and I'll click and drag up and then hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC and bring in that path there. So I'm just going to go ahead and bring that one so it's a little bit closer, excellent. Now I can't really see that's a handle here so I'm going to click and drag it out so you guys can see it. So there it is just way out there. Now I just need to click and drag away and I'm going to fix half of this by Option-clicking on a Mac/Alt-clicking on a PC and Option-clicking on a Mac/Alt- clicking on a PC on the handle, in order to get that right along the edge there.
Okay well so far so good, but what about the straightaway point. Well I can just position this handle so it is pointing straight, again Option click Mac/Alt click PC, click and drag and then I'll click once over there and I have a pretty nice straight line along that. If you want a straight line, you just do a single click and now I'll do a single click down here as well as a single click right there. Now on the other hand if you have a bent area or a curved area, what you are going to want to do is click and drag. Now that I think about clicking and dragging is it automatically gives you your handles. So I can hold down the Option key here and I can try to modify that so that I can get it right along the edge of the building.
All right, next step. It is going to be I go ahead and click and drag over here, this curve is pointing down. So I know that I'm going to need at least one of my handles to point down but not quite so far. So I'll go ahead and modify these and when I say "modify these", I know that I just have this tricky part, I can't get into that, I can't bend my path quite that way. So I'm going to pull that one up and I'm going drag this one over and slowly find the sweet spot for that. Now let's say that I just can't figure out the sweet spot, well here is what you can do. Hold down the Command key on a Mac/Ctrl key on a PC and move your two anchor points closer together and that will kind of ensure you to be able to create a little bit more of a simple path. So when you are learning how to create paths, you are probably going to have your anchor points a little bit closer together, eventually those are going to be much further apart. And I'll go ahead and click and drag over here and then I'll reposition those handles and we are almost there. I'll go ahead and click once to create a nice straight line there and then I want to finish this is off but because I don't want any curve in this next line, hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC and then click that final spot there to create that straight line.
All right well great, we are so far so good. I know that's I have this nice path selection. Let's click in the Paths tab and let's name this one 'middle 2'. Now if your selection isn't very good, no big deal, you can go and click in this top selection that I have included in this file in these next few steps. Now one of the things that we know we can do is turn this into a selection. There are two ways to do that, you can either Command-click on a Mac/Ctrl-click on a PC on the thumbnail or on the other hand you can simply click in this path layer and then click on the icon to convert this or load this as a selection.
Now once we have that as a selection, we are going to go back to the Layers palette, zoom out a little bit so we can see what's happening. Now here we are going to make any kind of adjustments that we wanted to this selected area. Now keep that in mind we can make our adjustments based on tone or color or we could sharpen this area. So we can choose a wide range of options. So I'll go ahead and click on the Adjustment layer icon and choose Curves, as I showed you in one of the previous movies and then I'm going to modify the curve either by dragging this up or down. So in this case I'm just going to try to darken this portion of the image, just the touch, click on the Eye icon to see my before and after. And then for a little bit more of a visual, I'll go into the Red channel by clicking on the RGB pulldown menu, click on Red and then here I'm going to increase the reds there so that we can see that this indeed is the selected area that we are modifying. And keep in mind that we can modify this selected area in a number of different ways. Now the intent of this movie isn't to talk about how we can modify but rather it's to teach you how you can began to work with paths.
Now at this point your paths skills probably aren't very good, so you need to spend some time practicing with this. So here is what I recommend you to do. I recommend you work on creating a path selection around the top part of this building and then go ahead and modify that and modify it the same way, modify it with Curves. And if you are able to pull it at this juncture, congratulations to you. If you are not able to pull it off, don't worry. Paths do take practice and practice in this case really will make perfect and do keep that in mind that learning how to work with the Pen tool and learning how to create a path is really worth it because this is the pro or the advanced or the best way to make selections in a wide range of situations.
Now that's being said, those other selection tools and those other selection techniques are good as well. There is never one way to make a selection, rather it is a combination of different techniques that ultimately will lead to the best results.
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