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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
We are going to take a look at some advanced techniques which really combine some of the different things that we know about selections and masks, and we are going to do this in order to improve this photograph. This picture I captured for the cover of a National Magazine, and they wanted me to open up the shadows so that the image would print better. In particular, I needed to brighten up some of the areas of this photograph, say like these dark shadows here. Well, let's start off by going to our Select pulldown menu, and let's select those shadows by going to Color Range.
With Color Range, what you can do is you can click on an area of your image in order to sample that tone. Here, we can see these on a white matte background. You may have a different preview. If you do, you can change that by clicking on this menu and choosing different options. Sometimes it's helpful to see these on different previews, say like this White Matte so that we can see what we have selected. So you can either click on an area, increase the Fuzziness in order to select more or less. Another thing you can do is choose Localized Color Clusters.
What this does is it limits our selection more to this area, as you can see. A different way that you can make a selection is by clicking on this pulldown menu and choosing something, say like Shadows, and this will then give you a selection of all of these deep dark shadows. Well, this one is a little bit too much, so I want to go to something a little bit less. So here, we'll go ahead and navigate back to our Sample Colors, and I just want to click on this dark shadow there, increase my fuzziness. You can control the range, how far that reaches out from that point.
I want it to reach out to the other areas where I have deep shadows. And you'll notice it's selecting this area more than the other areas. That's why certain areas are kind of faint. We've talked about some of these things when we talked about selections, yet here I think this is a helpful review. Well, we're doing this simply to create a good selection. If you click OK now, you can see that I've selected the problem area. Well, now I can go ahead and create a Curves adjustment, and by doing that, it will create a Curves adjustment with a built-in mask.
If I make an adjustment here in Curves, you're going to notice that it's just working on this area of the photograph. Take a look at that precise control I have over those shadows, so I can bring those shadows up by simply clicking and dragging this up. It's also helping out some of my shadows in the other areas where I have problems. Well, one of the things that can happen, when you've brightened something like this, especially dark shadows, is you can introduce perhaps a little bit of color saturation, or you can see some color noise in that area.
So what I want to do is I want to desaturate this same exact area that I brightened. Yet Curves doesn't have the ability to desaturate. How can we do this? What you can do is you can go ahead and Command-click or Ctrl-click on your mask. That will activate any mask as a selection. You can see all of those marching ants are showing me that I've reactivated this mask. It's now a selection. Well, now all that we need to do is to click on another adjustment layer, say like Hue/Saturation.
Next, I can go ahead and change the saturation by desaturating. Now just to show you the area that I've selected, I am going to click on Colorize. This will look a little bit strange, but I want to highlight what's happening here. If I increase this and change this color, say, to something like let's say green, that's really noticeable. I know this looks kind of strange, but again, I'm just highlighting that this mask is allowing us to affect this area more intensely, and then some of the other areas that aren't as dark, a little bit less intensely.
And we're only able to create this because we used Color Range. Well, I don't want to add that color effect, so we'll click off Colorize. What I do want to do is just desaturate this a little bit to prevent that area really from having any problems. And one of the main points that I'm illustrating here is how we can use our different selection techniques, how we can turn those selections into masks, and then also how we can reuse our masks by Command-clicking or Ctrl-clicking them to activate the mask and then to create yet another adjustment.
Well, let's take a look at the overall progress that we've made with this image. Here is before, and then now if we turn these on, we have our after. And the beauty of this is that if the client says, "You know what? That's nice. But it's a bit too bright." Well, we can just go ahead and double-click on the Curves adjustment and make the needed change in order to bring back some of that original contrast there. Now the last thing that I want to highlight here is that when you're using this technique, if ever you notice that your edges in your mask--well, they are just too harsh, you can always soften those.
Here is a great way to preview this. Hold down the Option key on a Mac or Alt key on Windows. This will change your view to this mask here. When I look at this mask, I realize, gosh! These edges are actually pretty choppy. Well, to soften those up, you can go ahead and increase the Feather amount. That will then soften the edges of this mask. And by Option-clicking or Alt-clicking your mask icon, you just get a preview. You just get to see this. Hold down Option on Mac, Alt again on Windows, and you can then go back to the image and also increase the Feather amount here.
And by increasing that, a lot of times it just makes those mask work that much better. So let's increase our Feather a little bit here on this one, and then also, let's match that same Feather amount approximately, and so we'll go ahead and increase that as well. Now that we've made those adjustments, well, this image, it's good to go. Here is our before, and then now our after.
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