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Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
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Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay


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Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay

I am still looking at the Natasha.psd file and all we have done to this file is to walk through the layers in this fairly complex composition here and then merge all of the layers on to a single layer at top using Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac or Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E here on the PC. Now this is a static layer of course, it exactly matches everything below it. So if I were to turn off this eyeball here, we would not see any sort of transformation inside of the image window because it's pixel for pixel identical to the flattened version of the composition below it. But it's also static.
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  1. 22m 32s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 17s
    3. Resetting the function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      6m 4s
  2. 2h 43m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      49s
    2. Low contrast, bad meter
      5m 57s
    3. Auto tone, contrast, and color
      8m 1s
    4. Cache levels and the Histogram palette
      7m 16s
    5. How the auto commands work
      10m 15s
    6. A first look at Levels
      6m 11s
    7. Target colors and clipping
      9m 6s
    8. Modifying input levels
      9m 44s
    9. Adjusting the gamma value
      7m 34s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 17s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 34s
    14. A first look at Curves
      8m 46s
    15. Static Curves layer tricks
      7m 45s
    16. Dynamic Curves layer tricks
      7m 25s
    17. Correcting the composite image
      8m 30s
    18. Neutralizing a color cast
      6m 52s
    19. The Target Adjustment tool in Curves
      8m 29s
    20. Correcting an image in Lab
      10m 7s
    21. The Shadows/Highlights filter
      4m 18s
    22. Radius and tonal width
      8m 11s
  3. 1h 48m
    1. Edge-enhancement tricks
      1m 13s
    2. How sharpening works
      3m 48s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      4m 29s
    4. The Unsharp Mask filter
      7m 57s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      6m 25s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 47s
    7. Previewing how sharpening will print
      3m 37s
    8. Measuring and setting screen resolution
      6m 56s
    9. Tweaking the screen resolution
      4m 28s
    10. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 23s
    11. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      4m 23s
    12. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      5m 50s
    13. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 16s
    14. When to leave More Accurate off
      3m 48s
    15. When to turn More Accurate on
      4m 23s
    16. The advanced options
      7m 57s
    17. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 23s
    18. Accounting for camera shake
      7m 7s
    19. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      9m 8s
  4. 2h 16m
    1. Why would you blur?
      1m 8s
    2. Fading after an undo
      3m 27s
    3. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      5m 43s
    4. The linear Box Blur
      3m 6s
    5. Add Noise vs. Median
      4m 50s
    6. Despeckle vs. Dust & Scratches
      6m 31s
    7. Smart Blur vs. Surface Blur
      8m 13s
    8. The Motion Blur filter
      4m 33s
    9. Radial Blur's Spin and Zoom variations
      5m 48s
    10. Mixing filtered effects
      3m 56s
    11. The "Captain Kirk in Love" effect
      5m 4s
    12. Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay
      8m 50s
    13. Simulating Vaseline and film grain
      8m 2s
    14. Filling a layer with a neutral color
      2m 55s
    15. Old-school contrast reduction
      3m 39s
    16. Three steps to diffused focus
      7m 36s
    17. Averaging skin tones
      9m 45s
    18. Addressing the stubborn patches
      5m 26s
    19. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      6m 1s
    20. Blurring surface details
      3m 2s
    21. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      8m 6s
    22. Reducing digital noise
      8m 47s
    23. Striking a smooth/sharpen compromise
      4m 36s
    24. Smoothing over JPEG artifacts
      7m 38s
  5. 2h 31m
    1. Independent layers of color adjustment
      1m 7s
    2. Undersea color channels
      4m 2s
    3. Inventing a Red channel with Lab
      8m 20s
    4. Mixing color channels
      6m 55s
    5. Making shadows with Levels
      7m 5s
    6. Applying small color adjustments
      6m 0s
    7. Further modifying Levels in Lab
      8m 50s
    8. Creating a dynamic fill layer
      4m 38s
    9. Brushing and blending color
      4m 42s
    10. Working with "found masks"
      7m 31s
    11. Saturation, sharpen, and crop
      8m 9s
    12. Mixing a monochromatic image
      7m 2s
    13. Masking an adjustment layer
      4m 45s
    14. Working with Opacity and blend modes
      3m 39s
    15. Adding a black-and-white adjustment
      5m 53s
    16. The Target Adjustment tool in black and white
      6m 12s
    17. Tinting a monochrome photo
      3m 19s
    18. Introducing Gradient Map
      4m 17s
    19. Adjusting both color and luminance
      5m 44s
    20. Infusing elements with different colors
      6m 22s
    21. Adjustment layers as creative tools
      4m 33s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 43s
    24. Hue, saturation, and darkness
      6m 51s
    25. Filling type with a color adjustment
      3m 24s
    26. Using one adjustment to modify another
      3m 21s
    27. Breathing color into the title
      3m 38s
    28. The Hue/Saturation humanoid
      3m 44s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 23s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 16s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 46s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      6m 4s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 8s
    7. Darken, Multiply, and the Burn modes
      6m 33s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with Fill
      4m 43s
    9. Saving a blended state
      4m 18s
    10. Lighten, Screen, and the Dodge modes
      8m 22s
    11. Linear Burn = Add minus white
      5m 31s
    12. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 52s
    13. Fill Opacity takes priority
      6m 19s
    14. Difference and exclusion
      5m 21s
    15. Using difference for golden highlights
      4m 2s
    16. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 8s
    17. The brush-only modes: Behind and Clear
      10m 31s
    18. Layer groups and the Pass Through mode
      8m 54s
  7. 1h 53m
    1. It's all about the presentation
      58s
    2. Moving a layer a specific number of pixels
      6m 59s
    3. Adding a pixel mask to a layer
      5m 48s
    4. Editing a layer mask
      7m 19s
    5. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      6m 19s
    6. Introducing the Advanced Blending options
      4m 45s
    7. Using the luminance blending sliders
      7m 26s
    8. Forcing through underlying luminance
      4m 32s
    9. Masking with a path outline
      5m 45s
    10. Refining a mask from the Masks palette
      7m 18s
    11. Creating and modifying a layer group
      3m 29s
    12. Establishing a knockout group
      5m 29s
    13. Fixing last-minute problems
      6m 23s
    14. Introducing layer comps
      6m 40s
    15. Exploring layered states
      6m 43s
    16. Deleting layers and updating comps
      6m 18s
    17. Saving a basic composition
      6m 21s
    18. Assigning and saving appearance attributes
      7m 15s
    19. Layer comps dos and don'ts
      7m 27s
  8. 1h 56m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      56s
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 5s
    3. Saving formatting attributes as a preset
      8m 5s
    4. Making a point text layer
      6m 18s
    5. Editing size and leading
      6m 44s
    6. Working with vector-based text
      6m 12s
    7. Formatting area text
      4m 16s
    8. Creating a layer of area text
      3m 20s
    9. Resizing the text frame
      4m 34s
    10. Changing the anti-aliasing setting
      3m 58s
    11. Obscure but important formatting options
      6m 31s
    12. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      8m 44s
    13. Creating a cast shadow
      6m 1s
    14. Blurred shadows and beveled text
      7m 16s
    15. Drawing a path outline
      4m 51s
    16. Creating type on a path
      6m 39s
    17. Flipping text across a circle
      3m 18s
    18. Vertical alignment with baseline shift
      4m 16s
    19. Warping text
      4m 57s
    20. Scaling your text to taste
      3m 33s
    21. Applying a custom warp
      6m 24s
    22. Creating an engraved text effect
      5m 11s
  9. 2h 17m
    1. Bending an image to fit your needs
      53s
    2. Creating a canvas texture
      6m 48s
    3. Masking objects against a white background
      5m 42s
    4. Scaling an image to fit a composition
      8m 9s
    5. Aligning one layer to fit another
      3m 51s
    6. Changing the Image Interpolation
      8m 10s
    7. Merging faces
      5m 32s
    8. Rotating the first clock hand
      7m 17s
    9. Adding hands and pasting styles
      6m 40s
    10. Series duplication in Photoshop
      4m 35s
    11. Masking objects against a black background
      6m 34s
    12. Skews and perspective distortions
      7m 57s
    13. Envelope-style warps
      9m 2s
    14. Old-school distortion filters
      8m 50s
    15. Introducing the Liquify filter
      4m 9s
    16. Reconstructing an image
      6m 55s
    17. Using the Warp tool
      5m 16s
    18. The Pucker and Bloat tools
      5m 53s
    19. Push, Turbulence, and Twirl
      6m 41s
    20. The Freeze and Thaw mask tools
      5m 45s
    21. Saving and loading a mesh file
      3m 59s
    22. Creating and applying a texture layer
      8m 30s
  10. 1h 28m
    1. Effects vs. styles
      1m 11s
    2. Of layer styles and masks
      4m 37s
    3. Everything about drop shadow
      8m 2s
    4. Adding a directional glow
      4m 39s
    5. Colorizing with Color Overlay
      5m 18s
    6. Stroke and fill opacity
      5m 48s
    7. Creating a multicolor Outer Glow
      9m 22s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 48s
    9. Contour and Texture
      4m 35s
    10. Simulating liquid reflections
      6m 28s
    11. Saving layer styles
      6m 18s
    12. Applying and appending styles
      4m 36s
    13. Saving and swapping style presets
      3m 16s
    14. The five effect helpers
      3m 47s
    15. Blending the effect before the layer
      5m 1s
    16. Colorizing a signature
      3m 30s
    17. Clipping an effect with a mask
      4m 5s
  11. 1h 50m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw in the Bridge
      5m 44s
    3. The Camera Raw 5 interface
      4m 39s
    4. Adjusting the white balance
      5m 0s
    5. Finessing and saving changes
      7m 55s
    6. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 43s
    7. Working with the Exposure controls
      7m 34s
    8. Straightening and cropping a raw image
      5m 53s
    9. Applying automatic exposure adjustments
      6m 6s
    10. Exposure warnings
      5m 44s
    11. Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation
      4m 47s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 33s
    13. Dodging with the Adjustment brush
      9m 24s
    14. Tone Curve adjustments
      6m 54s
    15. Using the Spot Removal tool
      2m 48s
    16. Removing noise and sharpening detail
      4m 5s
    17. Adjusting HSL values
      4m 18s
    18. Adjusting luminance, color by color
      4m 14s
    19. Black and white and split toning
      5m 16s
    20. Camera Raw tips and tricks
      7m 32s
    21. Correcting JPEG and TIFF images
      4m 42s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time
      57s

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Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
20h 57m Intermediate May 01, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.

Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Using blend modes, adjustment layers, and layer styles
  • Organizing a layered composition so it is fluid and editable
  • Creating and editing type in Photoshop
  • Using blur effectively
  • Using adjustment layers to add color
  • Combining layers into a clipping mask
  • Working with Camera Raw
Subjects:
Design Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay

I am still looking at the Natasha.psd file and all we have done to this file is to walk through the layers in this fairly complex composition here and then merge all of the layers on to a single layer at top using Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac or Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E here on the PC. Now this is a static layer of course, it exactly matches everything below it. So if I were to turn off this eyeball here, we would not see any sort of transformation inside of the image window because it's pixel for pixel identical to the flattened version of the composition below it. But it's also static.

So any modifications I'll make to it if I then turn around and change the layers below it, I would have to re- manufacture this layer. Now if you want something that's more forgiving and more dynamic, then you would want to go ahead and grab all of these layers here, click on one, Shift+Click on another in order to select them all like so and combine them into a smart object. We will be looking at smart objects in the future chapters, just that smart objects are one of the most complicated features inside of Photoshop. So we are going to save them for later. Right now, let's go with the static effect, it is the easier effect to wrap your mind around and to maintain, maintaining smart objects takes a little bit of effort. But we have got the static layer there, great.

Now we are going to create a diffused focus effect using a combination of Gaussian Blur and the Overlay blend mode and you can work in that order if you want to. In other words, applying Gaussian Blur first and apply Overlay second. But if you do, you will find it very difficult to gauge what you are doing inside the Gaussian Blur dialog box. After all, check this out. If I go to the Filter menu, I go to Blur and I choose Gaussian Blur like so, bring out the Gaussian Blur dialog box, the question becomes how much blur do I apply. Do I want to apply just a little bit of blur, just one pixel of blur? At which point I'm already really harming the detail inside the image and I'm not really doing all that much to smooth over any of the blemishes inside the skin tones, right.

So gosh, I guess I need to take it higher. Do I take it to five pixels though? That's a fairly porcelain looking effect at this point, but I'm going to be blending it. Thanks to the Overlay blend mode with the underlying layers, so I'm going to lose some of this smoothness and am I going to lose too much? Should I take it up for example, to 25? I don't know. I have no idea because I can't see what I'm doing. I can just see the opaque blurred layer. I don't want that. Cancel out. So let's go ahead and apply the blend mode in advance, even though it won't look right initially. So you go up here to the word Normal, in the upper left corner of the Layers palette and that's your Blend Mode pop-up menu, go ahead and click on it and choose the first of the contrast modes, Overlay. Now this is a good place to start.

Normally, it is the mode you want to work with. If later, you decide you want to back off the effect and just try something different, then Soft Light is the other mode to try. The rest of the contrast modes are unlikely to do what you want them to do. So it's going to be between Overlay and Soft Light for this image and most images, it's going to be Overlay. So I'm going to choose the Overlay blend mode. Notice that creates a very high contrast effect and if anything it brings out more of the skin stuff that we are trying to get rid of. So it doesn't seem like it's the right approach quite yet. But that's because we now need to go ahead and blur it and we are going to blur it now of course, by going back to the Filter menu, choosing Blur and choosing Gaussian Blur or pressing Shift+F7, if you load a Deke Keys and now we can see Radius of 1 pixel barely makes any difference at all and if I take it up to 5 pixels, that actually looks pretty darn and good, but it might not be the degree of blurriness that we want and I want a little more bounce off this image.

So I'm going to try 20 pixels on her and see how it looks and that ends up giving me what I want anyway out of this diffused focused effect. You can try at a different radius value if you like, sometimes less ends up equaling more like I could take this value down to 10 and I might end up getting a better effect, something that I like better. But there is not really going to be an issue of removing more detail at higher values now that we have applied the Overlay blend mode. It's more about what degree of blurriness do we have, what degree of shine do we have going on inside the highlights and what degree of bounce do we have going on inside of the shadows.

So anyways, that looks good to me and you can see if I click on this eye, it bears no relationship to the opaque version of the blur effect, which we are seeing here inside the dialog box. So we are still able to track the opaque version if we want to here and then we would see the blended version out here in the image window. All right, anyway I'll click OK. In other words, we needed to see that image window preview, don't you know? Now you can reduce the opacity if you feel like you have gone too far. The only thing I'm uncomfortable with is the fact that we have too much contrast going on. So this before, and this is after.

So the colors are now officially over saturated. We are losing detail inside the highlights, we are losing detail inside the shadows. For example, check out her hair before, she has a lot more shine and detail going on inside the hair before we added this layer and now it's pretty much going black on us in most locations and we are losing some detail in this area as well and the highlights are just popping way too much across her face. We are losing that wonderful volumetric detail that we had before. So what do we do? Well, you go ahead and reduce the contrast of this all merged layer right here, just to keep it live and flexible, I'm going to suggest you do it with an adjustment layer. So let's go to the Adjustments palette right here and I'm going to go to the Levels command and we are going to use Output Levels, those exact functions that I told you really weren't that good back in Chapter 13 and a couple of chapters ago, telling you they are not very useful for reducing the contrast of an image.

Well, they aren't except when you are reducing the contrast of an independent layer that you are then going to turn around and blend with other layers, then it can be pretty helpful. So here is what we are going to do, I want you to Alt+Click or Option+Click on the little Levels icon right there in order to bring up the New Layer dialog box, and let's go ahead and call this reduce contrast or something along those lines and turn on this check-box, Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask. What that will do is limit the adjustment layer to just this one layer right here, just to the all merge layer and then those two layers will be blended together using the Overlay blend mode because otherwise you would ruin the entire overall image. All right, so click OK and I want you to change this Output Levels value there to 50 and then tab over to the second Output Levels value, which is the white point value, and change it to 205, which is 255-50.

So we are increasing the black point by 50, we are reducing the white point by 50. Then we end up getting this lower contrast effect right here which still looks really darn and good. Now, I'm going to go ahead and hide my Adjustments palette for a moment here, so I can focus on the Layers palette then notice that is it goes ahead and reduces the contrast of the entire image and you can see that's not what we want, that's exactly why I was telling you Output Levels are no good because when you apply them to a flat image, they end up producing this effect here.

However, if it clipped to just this layer, I'll go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click once again in order to clip it. Then it creates a very favorable effect because it's reducing the contrast of all merge before Overlay is applied to the layers below and now we can get a sense of what this layer has produced for us, this is the image before at this layer here. So it's a pretty subtle effect and this is the image after the application of this layer. So it still leaves a lot of good detail inside the image and it leaves the good signs of aging in my opinion. In other words, you wouldn't want to have no wrinkles whatsoever. So this way you still have all that wisdom, you just smooth over some of the stuff you don't want. It's basically the idea. This is not quite it though. This is great for your normal everyday average image. But where Captain Kirk specifically is concerned, we need another application of blur because we haven't gone far enough, we still need the blurs to pop more because whenever he fell in love, it really went blurry for him, so we'll do one more application of Gaussian Blur and we need to add some Film Grain because that was old school TV and they used film to shoot that show and I'm going to show you how to do both effects in the next exercise.

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