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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
I've gone ahead and saved my progress. It's Composition with saw.psd, found inside the 08_selections folder and in this final exercise, we're going to remove this dreadful fringing that's surrounding our otherwise Manlysaw. We're going to do it in one of two ways. So basically the idea is there is a quick and dirty way that gives you quick and dirty results, not surprisingly and then there is another way that involves a little more work, a little more brainpower, but it absolutely delivers great results. So we'll see both of them. I'm going to start things off by zooming-in to the lower right corner of this image because that's where the worst of the fringing is occurring. I'll zoom to 200%.
You can see that this just absolutely ruins the credibility of even this fakey ad composition. We're not even expecting anyone to believe that this hand and saw are in front of this metal background. That's just a question of design, but we still want to pull it off as impeccably as possible. So I want you to go over to the Layers panel and click on the layer mask thumbnail for the saw & sky layer to make active. It's very important that the layer mask is active for us to be able to work on it. Then go up to the Filter menu, choose Other and this is a quick and dirty method, choose Minimum.
I know that doesn't make a lick of sense, but these two guys right here, Maximum and Minimum, either expand in the case of Maximum or contract a mask. Now why in the world aren't they called expand and contract? Well, Maximum expands the maximum brightness value which is white, therefore expanding the mask or spreading it if you prefer and Minimum expands the minimum brightness value which is black thereby contracting or choking the mask. We want to choke as it were.
So I'm going to choose Minimum or you can take advantage of my keyboard shortcut that I gave with dekeKeys, which is Shift+F12. That brings up the Minimum dialog box. By default the Radius value is 1. You might have already seen the edges move inwards just a little bit. I'll take that Radius value up to two and we pretty much get rid of the worst of that edge fringing. We still have a little color detail left, but the fringing is gone away. Now the good news is by choosing a command and pressing the Up Arrow key we got rid of the fringing, awesome. However, the bad news is that we have some jagged edges left over and we have some roundness where we should have the corner.
So we're rounding off our corners and that's because we're taking the radius value so high. I know two pixels doesn't seem so high, but if you go above about one, you're going to start to get rounding. So I'm going to Cancel out. That's a quick and dirty approach, it's up to you. Here's the better approach. Leave that layer mask thumbnail selected, go up to the Select menu and choose Refine Mask or press Ctrl+Alt+R. If you are familiar with the Refine Edge or Refine Mask command in Photoshop CS4 or earlier, get prepared for a much more complicated dialog-box.
It's really gone nuts on this feature. In a good way mostly, there's some curious things that they've decided to do here, but it is ultimately more powerful function. Now it's so great that I'm going to be devoting all kinds of exercises to this dialog-box in a future chapter in the advanced portion of this series. For now, we're setting our sights on just correcting the edge fringing for this image. So for starters, we need to change the view. We're seeing the saw against the white background which would be great if we had dark halos, but we have light halos and besides I just want to see it in the context of the overall composition.
So I'm going to click on this icon right there and I'm going to choose On Layers or you can press the L key if you prefer, then click off of that popup panel in order to hide it. Now so far, we haven't done anything. This is the original version of the image. Notice down here, we've got this option Shift Edge and when I hover over it, I see this tip that says Contract or expand selection edge which is perfect, right? I know that I want to contract that edge. So I'll go ahead and move it down to - 100% and I get rid of almost nothing.
There's basically no perceivable difference on screen here. My question to you is 100% of what? We're certainly not scooting the edge in the 100% of the saw where the saw would have disappeared by now. What we're doing is we're scooting the edge in 100% of the softness of that edge. Our edge is not soft so this option isn't doing us any good. We've got to soften things up before we can use Shift Edge. So, I'll restore that value to 0% and I'll increase the Feather value to one and notice how soft that edge becomes.
All right, so that's awesome. The next step is to adjust Shift Edge and I'm going to take it down to -100% and this time we make some real progress. You go ahead and move that edge inward, all the way, that full one pixel, but that does leave some softness in its wake, so we still have a soft edge. If you want the edge to be firmer, which I think, we do, not as jagged as it was before, but nice and firm, then take the Contrast value up and a good place to start with Contrast is 50%.
In our case that looks too jagged to me. So I'll split the difference and I'll change it 25%. Now there's one other option with which you can experiment if you like and it's called Decontaminate Colors and if you turn it on, Photoshop not only works on the layer mask, but it also changes out the pixels along the edge inside of the image itself. And that is why when you turn on Decontaminate layers, Output To changes from, notice this, I'll turn it off for a moment, it was just layer mask, meaning, it's just going to go ahead and modify the existing layer mask, as soon as you turn on this check box, it says New Layer with Layer Mask because Photoshop is trying to protect you.
It doesn't want to ruin your old image in case you want to come back to it. Well, sometimes this option is quite useful. In our case it's not doing much. We still have that blue edge. It's not highlighted anymore, but it does have some color. So go ahead and scoot the Amount value up to 100% and you get this dark hairline right here around the battery at the bottom of the saw as well as some other details around the perimeter of this layer. You can if you want, you could increase its Feather value and some of that would go away. So I'll just click in the Feather value and I'll press the Up Arrow key in order to nudge that value upward in 0.1 pixel increments.
After a point we're going to start to loose that color. See that color go away, but then we're going to get roundness in our corners which I don't want. So my take on it where this image is concerned is, it's not worth it. I'm going to restore my Feather value to one pixel. I'm going to turn off Decontaminate Colors. I'm going to switch my Output back to Layer Mask. Now if you want to get a sense of what kind of progress we've made here inside this fairly elaborate dialog-box, then you can turn on Show Original. Turning on Show Original is like turning Preview off inside of another dialog box.
So as soon as you turn it on, you'll see the original version of our edges which were very jagged and very obvious. Now I'll turn it off and we have some much better detail. Albeit, a little bit of color is still there, but if we click OK and then go ahead and zoom out from the composition and this is more indicative of how large the image would print, those colorful edges don't seem to be nearly as much of a problem. And that is our final composition folks. Thanks to a combination of the automated selection tools, a little bit of quick mask, a little bit of layer masking and a little bit of the Refine Mask command here inside Photoshop CS5.
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