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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.
As you have started to discover, Curves are quite amazing and the trick with using Curves is getting into the details and combining your Curves adjustments with other adjustments and other techniques like masking. In this movie we are going to talk about Curves and masking. Let us go ahead and open up the file annika.tif. To open this one up in Photoshop, we will double-click it from the Bridge and you can find this in the Chapter 18 folder. We will then press F to go to Full Screen View mode and Spacebar to reposition the image. Now at first glance, I again like this image, I like the perspective, I like the way that Annika is looking up at me and looking at the camera. Except there is something that kind of bothers me and it's the way that the light is working. This is window light. You can see that the window light is really hitting her right here. This is actually the brightest portion of the image. I want to bring some brightness to this aspect of the image.
So I'm going to click on the Curves Adjustments Layer and I'm going to go ahead and increase the overall brightness of the file. Now I don't like how bright it has become down here yet I'm not too worried about that. After I have created that adjustment, I'll press Command+I in a Mac/Ctrl+I on a PC. Next I'll press the B key to select the Brush tool, hover over the image. on a Mac/I'll press Command+Option, I'll click and drag. On a PC, that's pressing the Alt key and then your right mouse button and clicking and dragging to increase the brush size. All right, well now that I have this larger brush size, I have a nice soft edged brush. There is no hardness there. I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to paint over this area of the image and I'm going to paint with white, so I'll press the X key so that white is in my foreground color there. I'm just going to go ahead and paint into this area and what's going to happen is I'm going to start to bring some light into that portion of the image. Now it extended a little bit too far out, so I'm going to press the X key to flip that and then I'll go ahead and just approach those edges there and paint away some of that light that was spilled over into that background. Go underneath the face just a little bit as well here. Now let us take a look at our before and after, here is before and then after. Let's zoom in a touch more so we can evaluate this.
One of the things that I'm seeing is I like the brightness. Again, it's just a little bit too much brightness up top. So I'll lower the Opacity for this brush, smaller brush size by pressing the Left Bracket key and then go ahead and paint away some of the brightness up here. I still want a little bit of brightness but not quite that much. I'm then going to lower the Opacity even further, I'm going to paint some of it away down here on the lower portion of the face. So I'm bringing a little bit more to the eyes, increase the Opacity just a touch more there. And let us see how we are doing. We will look at our before and after. Again the image now is a little bit more about her eyes and I'm really liking that.
Now I want to bring some more brightness into this side so I'll paint with white, 100% Opacity. I'll change my brush opacity by pressing the 0 key, that will then change that Opacity to 100%. All right, I think that's looking really good. Now the last thing that I want to do is I want to smooth out the transitions or the edges that I painted on my mask. And I can do that by navigating to the Filter pulldown menu, choosing Blur and Gaussian Blur. Now I need to do this because I'm not using the Welcome tab here right now, typically I do. Yes, right now I'm using my mouse. Here we can see the different edges, I want to blend all that together so I'm going to go ahead and blur that out. Here we can see when I start to blur it out, the effect is a much smoother or even tone like. Click OK and now look at our before and after and that image is looking much more interesting.
All right, well let us go ahead and create another curves Adjustments. We will click on the icon to view the list. Click on Curves and here what I'm interested in doing is going to the Blue Yellow channel. I'm going to go ahead and click on the target Adjustment tool and I'm going to hover over the image and see where all these tones are falling. It's looking like I'm going to need to click in about the middle of my image and rather than clean it off, I want to warm it up, just a touch here. I want to add a little bit of warmth to that. I think that would be kind of nice. I want to add that warmth to the skin so I'll go ahead and look at our before and after. I like that, again it's pretty simple. Let us then invert the mask, click on the Mask icon, choose Invert and then grab the Brush tool. And then I'm going to paint with white and now what we are looking to do is just to add a little bit of warmth to the face.
I want to paint on the eyes. I'm just going to paint around those, pretty subtle little adjustment. Here one, here is our before and then two, there is our after. Let us zoom out a little bit and see how we are doing overall before and after. Now that yellow we added, looks good except it needs a little bit of red in it. So I'll double click the Adjustments tool icon, go to the Red Cyan channel, I'm going to add just a touch of red to that. And then I'll click down at this Curves Adjustments and I'm going to lower this all the way to take it off and then just find the sweet spot, it looks like something less than 50%, just a little bit of hue in there. Let us zoom in a little bit so we can see that before and after.
Again I'm sure that these subtle adjustments are going to be hard to see in the video, yet on my monitor, that looks phenomenal. So our overall before and then after. So as you can imagine, my hope here is to begin to help you to expand your vision for what's possible when you are making Curves Adjustments.
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