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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.
In these last two exercises, we're going to bring up the saturation of a low color image, specifically this one here. It's called The treehouse.tif found inside the 07_basic_correct folder. And this is a low angle shot that I took of this spooky tree house, not too far from my house. And it looks for all the world like a black-and-white photograph. There does appear to be a little bit of color here and there, but it wouldn't seem like we'd be able to do much with it. In fact, we're going to turn this into an amazingly vivid photograph by time we're done, and we're going to do so using a combination of two adjustment layers.
Our blunt object, the powerful command that allows us to get a lot of work done fast is Hue/Saturation, and then we're going to follow it up with a delicate refinement function known as Vibrance. So here I'm working in a flat photograph. I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+U, Command+Shift+U, my keyboard shortcut for Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and I'm just going to call this guy hue/sat, and then click OK. Next, what I'll do is increase the Saturation value just for the sake of demonstration, increase that Saturation value as high as it goes to +100.
Now, at this point, our colors are absolutely screaming. So colors we didn't even know are there are screaming like crazy onscreen. And they're not quite accurate if only at this point because they're hyper-saturated, because the tree is absolutely on fire, the sky is as abnormal blue. And if you zoom in on the photograph, I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl++ or Command++ on the Mac a few times to zoom in to 200%. You can see that we have an awful lot of noise. Now, noise in a digital photograph is random variations between neighboring pixels that's completely an invention of the camera and is not representative of the original scene.
For example, if I were to zoom in a little more here, you can see these flecks of green and there were no flecks of green on that tree originally. So that's why I say it's made up by the camera, and we'd rather not have it in that scene if we can avoid it, which is why I'm going to click inside the Saturation value and I'm going to press Shift+Down Arrow to take it down to +90. And at this point we lose most of that aberrant color noise, and the colors settle down onscreen as well. So, now go ahead and zoom back out of the image by pressing Ctrl+-, Command+- on the Mac.
Let's go ahead and drag the image over a little bit. And you can see if I turn off this layer, what a difference we've made now at this point. I'll click the eyeball, this is the original almost black-and-white version of the image that we opened just a moment ago, and this is the appearance of the image now. Now, at this point we can almost stop. We could say, wow, we've really done a great job of bringing out this color information. However, I'd like to do an even better job if I could, starting with making sure the colors are a little more accurate. For example, to my eye, the wood looks too red.
So, I'd like to yellow it up a little. And I'll do that by clicking in the Hue value and I'll press Shift+Up Arrow, and you know you need to go in a positive direction because if you look at your color bar right there, yellow is to the right of red. And that means that you're going to have to scoot this triangle to the right a little bit, and that's what positive values do. Positive values go to the right, negative values go to the left, and that makes exactly the kind of difference we want it to make. Now, the sky is a little bit of a problem. It's too purplish. So, what I'm going to do is grab my Target Adjustment tool right there.
I'm going to click on it in order to select it, and then I'm going to press the Ctrl key since what I mostly want to do here is change the hue. I'm going to press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and I'm going to drag inside the sky slightly over to the left until my hue value, notice that up there in the Adjustments panel, goes to -10. And that slightly nudges the colors from that purplish cast they had a moment ago to blue. Then I'm also going to take the Saturation value down and I'm going to do that just by dragging with my Target Adjustment tool to the left until my Saturation value goes down to -40.
Once again, I'm just going with these big whole values so that it's easy to follow along with me. You can do as you like. Now, that looks pretty darn good. In fact, I would say it looks better than pretty darn good. This is what it looked like before, almost black -and-white and this is what it looks like now. I would still like to bring out even more color intensity if I could and I can, as I'll demonstrate using the Vibrance feature in the final exercise.
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