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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 this movie, I want to provide you with a little bit of creative inspiration and I have a bet. I bet that your dreams are not big enough. You know that this is something that I say to my students all the time. And one of the exercises that we do in my class is I give the students some time to put their dreams down on paper, to dream big, to shoot for the moon. And one of my students was Sammy Olson and he was a surf photographer. He had a dream of getting a cover of Surfing Magazine and I want to show you that cover that he eventually got. And it was so fun when he called me because he said, hey Chris, I got my first cover. He was just a year and a half out of school, which was phenomenal, amazing. He had got a cover on his favorite surfing magazine and it was really exciting for him. So do you remember in class, we had that dream thing and here is my cover shot. And he showed it to me. It's his really unique perspective that you don't typically see which is kind of classic Sammy Olson.
What I want to do in this movie is talk about how we can create an image so that it looks like that. I have the other file open here. Now I can't include these files in the training because these are kind of valuable to Sammy, obviously. What I can do is reposition them and here we can see the original file as shot. A lot of times when you see original files and they come off of your camera, you think okay, they are good but they are not great. Like this isn't necessarily cover worthy, right? Well of course it isn't. It hasn't gone through any postproduction. But if you have vision and if you have a bit of confidence and say hey, I think this is a good one, this is a little bit different, this is kind of this unique perspective, looking sideways. Typically what happens is this wave is shot straight on but he is kind of looking into the wave and this is on the North Shore of Hawaii. And then we say let's do a little bit of postproduction in order to make this thing snap.
Well, how can we do that? Well, we are going to obviously start off using some curves adjustments, right. Because we can see this has increased color and contrast and all that. So we will click in the original image and go to our Adjustments panel, click on Curves. What I'm going to do is select Medium Contrast from this pulldown menu. And say okay, that's a good start. But let's deepen this up even a little bit more and then we need to brighten up our lights a little bit as well and then also brighten up the mid-tones there, I want to bring some nice color into those mid-tone range areas. Now when I do that, I need to be careful of my whites so I'm just going to bring those down, I don't want those blown out. I'm just going to modify these points subtly to make my way through this image.
All right, well for our first contrast, I would say that's pretty good. Let's go back to the Adjustments panel and click on Curves again. We are going to apply more contrast here, this time I'm going to deepen up those blacks, brighten up those whites. Okay, so far so good, we are going in a good direction. Except one of the things I notice is that I want to work a little bit on the color. So I'm going to go ahead and navigate to the Blue Yellow channel, I'll grab my target Adjustment tool. Then I'm going to click and reposition this. I just want to change the color of that, just a touch there and then go to my Green Magenta channel same thing, just going to look to modify that, open that up just a little bit and then finally my Red Cyan channel. And again I'm just roughing that, I don't know exactly how they created this but I'm just going to go through some rough steps.
And one of the things, I hope that you starting to see is it, I haven't really done that much in regards to making his image really snap, really come together. Let's take a look at our before and after. So I go ahead and hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC and there is our before and there is our after. Yes, we are definitely getting much closer. Now there are a couple of other things that we may want to do here. If I go ahead and turn my Mask Layer on and off and I'll go ahead do this one as well, one of the things that I'm noticing in this case is that this foreground has to become a little bit too bright. No big deal, click in the Mask, I'll grab my Brush tool and then I'll go ahead and I'll paint with black and just a 100% black here limiting that adjustment to that area. Okay, now let's look at our before and after. Okay the focus is on the wave, great.
Now I'm going to zoom in. Another thing I had noticed in this image is when I zoom in on to it, I notice that it's a little bit too dark here on the surfer. So I'll go ahead and decrease my brush size, I'm going to then paint with black, I'll grab my Welcome Stylus Pen so I can paint away some of this adjustment here and again just paint it with black, try to bring back a little bit more detail so that this prints a little bit better. Let's look at our before and after. Before and then after. Again just bringing back some of the original light into that area. Especially because we know this will be printed in a magazine which will be a little bit darker and so it's interesting to zoom in on images. You can see the guy's tattoo, his knee brace, you may not have notice that before, right. Here is our before and after, subtle. Now let's zoom out again and take a look at our overall before and after, see if we are going in a good direction. Here is our before and then after.
Now of course, there are some more edits that we would probably make with this image, we do want to sharpen it, we do want to work on the wave a little bit more and we got to it's tone. Couple of more curves adjustment layers and then be very careful with our highlights, make sure we are not blowing any one of those out. Yet my point here is this, you got to dream big, you got to really go for it and in regards to our Photoshop work, a lot of times it isn't rocket science, right. Like I haven't done at all on here, yes I worked with masking a little bit and you may be thinking I don't know about masking, well we will cover that in other chapter. But I have basically made a couple of curves adjustments in that image. Man! It looks so much better. It's really starting to come to life, our final before and after. And then in closing, I just want to give a quick shout of thanks to Sammy for passing these images on to me so that I can include them in this training title. I hope you enjoyed this little creative inspiration movie.
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