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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, we are going to further deepen our knowledge of using Curves. We will work on this file annika_at_the_ beach.jpg. Let us go ahead and double- click that image to open it in Photoshop and then press F to go to Full Screen View mode and then press the Spacebar to reposition the photograph. Now at first glance when I look at this photograph, I think wow! What an expression, what a moment, it is absolutely beautiful.I like the nice warm tones, but then I think, wait a second. That sweatshirt was not blue; that was actually a neutral grey sweatshirt. So I have a little bit of a blue shift and I need to fix that. And I'm going to fix that using my Curves Adjustment Layer.
So I'm going to go ahead and click on the icon to open up the Curves Adjustment panel. Now once that is open, I'm going to navigate to the Blue channel. I'm going to do that either by pulldown menu or by the shortcut we can see there. Next I'll click on the Target Adjustment tool, hover over this area of the sweatshirt and click and drag down. I want to remove some of those colors there. Now I'm then going to go back to my Green/Magenta channel, same thing. I'll click over the image here. I'm just going to drag up just a touch there. It looks like it's more than in the highlights up here, so I'm going to drag those tones up just a little bit and then go to my Red/Cyan channel. Same kind of thing. I'm going to look at those brighter tones and I'm just going to bring those up just a little bit. Now the color isn't perfect but let us take a look at our before and after. Here is our before. Whoa. There is quite a bit of color shift.
There is our after, now I have these nice warm tones. All right, well so far, so good. We have definitely improved the image. We are just doing this by eye. I'm just looking at the color thinking, how do I want to shift this image? I want to get it to a little bit more of a neutral/warm place and I'm liking how that's looking. Then go back to the Blue/Yellow channel. The only thing I may want to do is just add a little bit more yellow, just to keep to that nice and warm. Okay, well now I'm going to go back to my composite RGB channel. Here, I'm going to click and drag up to brighten up the image. I'll click and drag to brighten up those mid-tones and then darken just the shadows a touch. I'll click on the curve line, press the Down Arrow key. Now how then could I get to this curve point up here? We will check out this shortcut.
If you have multiple curve points, as I have added here, you can press the Minus key to scroll down, you can press the Equals or the Plus key to scroll up to toggle between those different points. To remove a point, simply click and drag it off of that curve line. All right, we are so far so good. I'm going to go ahead and click on one of those curve points and I'll bring that down just a little bit and then click on this one as well and bring that down as well. Let us take a look at our over all before and after. Here is before and after, now if we have gone too far, we can of course lower the opacity, right. And bring back some of the original color so it's not quite so warm. Again here is our before now and after. Why, I'm liking the color and tone of this image much more.
Now the next thing that I want to do is I want to work on the eyes just a little bit. Command+Plus on a Mac/Ctrl+ Plus on a PC. Now we are going to press the Q key to enter Quick Mask mode, select our Brush tool. What we are going to do is just make a real rough selection of the eyes. Now it doesn't need to be perfect. Real rough selection, we should see the red ruby that overlay when we paint. Press Q again to exit Quick Mask mode. Now we actually have the wrong thing selected. Yes, I want to go through what happens if we have the wrong thing selected and then invert that because it's really easy to fix. We will click on the Arrow icon, choose Curves. Here what I'm going to do is brighten up the image here and as I'm brightening up, I realize I'm brightening everything except the eyes. Well how can you invert your mask? Click on the Mask panel and then choose Invert.
Now, I'm just brightening the eyes. Now my selection wasn't perfect, the brightening amount is too much, yet I had two good starting points. So I'll go back to that curves adjustment by double clicking the icon. Now I'm going to bring this down a little bit, I don't need to go that far with the eyes, just a little bit there. Go into the Blue Yellow channel, add a little bit of blue to the eyes, go into the Red Cyan channel, I want to add a little bit of cyan there as well. That makes for an interesting shade of blue. Zoom out a little bit and yes this is too intense but stick with me, here is our before and after. We need to fix the mask, don't we? So I'll click on my mask, grab my Brush tool and then I just need to correct this edge down here and a little bit of spill over on that portion of the image. I don't know if you can see it in the movie but I can see it on my monitor. That looks good and then finally I'm going to go ahead and lower the Opacity just a smidgen here till I find the sweet spot, there is my before and after. Just bring it a little bit of brightness into those eyes. I don't want to take this too far because I do want this to look somewhat realistic. I don't want it to be surreal, just a little bit of a light source in those eyes. Okay, that looks nice.
Then go back onto my Curves Adjustments Layer. I'm going to increase that a little bit more, which will make the overall image just a little bit warmer and keep in mind that I'm not making neutral or objective color edits in this movie. I'm trying to have some subjective fun. I'm trying to work with the color and enhance the color with Curves. Because some of the enhancements I have made here, I can only make with Curves, right. Let us look at our overall before and after. Here is our before and then after. That portrait looks great and I hope you picked up some valuable tips along the way.
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