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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.
In this movie we are going to talk a little bit about playing with color, and sometimes it's valuable to play with color in order to teach yourself some different things about how color actually works. So we are going to go ahead and open up this file corwig_sb_harbor. tif. Double-click that one to open it up in Photoshop and then press F to go to Full Screen View mode. Now here that we have this image. Now it's a photograph that I captured at the Santa Barbara Harbor and all that I did is I used my Camera Raw controls, my Color Temperature control to make it really blue and cool. Now I open this up in Photoshop and say, you know it's kind of interesting. It kind of makes me realize that blue kind of gives this overall kind of sad feel to it. It's really cool, it's also kind of calm, makes thing seem very simple.
I don't necessarily like it, like this color treatment isn't the final, the final destination for this file, but I want to play a little bit with this. Again just to experiment with color, just to play with color. Because you know as an artist developing your skill set, a lot of times what you need to do is doodle right, you doodle, you doodle, you doodle, and then you finally integrate some of those doodles into a piece of art. So again, that's all we are going to do here is doodle with color. So let's go to our Adjustments Layer and here we are going to click on Color balance. What I'm interested in doing here is adding a little bit of red and a lot of yellow to this image and so I'm going to go ahead and do that highlights as well. I'm going to add some red, and then add some yellow as well. And I'm just going to try to find a nice spot here where I have this pretty vivid color, and I'll close that, and here we can see our before and after, and I say OK. Well, that now changes the color and the overall moods significantly.
Well, what if I combine the Warm and the Cool; we will grab the Gradient tool. Gradient tool is really interesting. You simply click and drag and when you click and drag, it allows you to create a transition. You click and drag for a shorter amount of time, there is less transition. So we can see here I now have less transition. So I'm just again, what if I combine warm and cool. Well that's kind of interesting. What if I double the effect or double the intensity of the effect. Well I can do that by clicking and dragging that to the New Layer icon. Now once I did that, it went too far right, so I need to go back to the Adjustments on this Layer. Here I'll go back to my highlights, and for some reason those highlights just got too out of control there. So I'll reduce those and the Midtones as well. Again they just got a little bit out of control. Double-click Adjustments to bring me back, now here is my before and after with that adjustment there.
Again, it's a little bit too strong, so I'll lower the Opacity of that layer just to touch. I also want to change the gradation. So I click on my Mask, grab my Gradient tool, in this case I'm going to create a little bit longer of a gradation here. So I'm just looking to bring in some more of that color. Okay, well so far so good, I have this warm cool thing going. How could I combine those two colors? Well, click on the Adjustment Layer icon, choose Curves, and I'll go to the Red channel. I'm just going to increase the reds here. Now when I do that, I kind of have this connected red throughout the entirety of the image. We can see that here; try to connect the two colors. Okay. That's kind of interesting, so far so good. Let's experiment some more, right.
Now, here is a shortcut that you definitely need to know. It's a shortcut to merge all of your underlying layers. This sounds really long, but it's worth learning. It's Shift+Option+Command+E on a Mac/Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E on a PC. It takes all of your underlying layers and merges them to the top. So you click on the topmost layer. on a Mac/Shift+ Option+Command+E; on a PC, Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E. The reason why that shortcut is really helpful is it takes all those blended Layers and puts them in one spot. I can then work with this Layer in a unique way. For example, I could try a blend mode. I'm going to go ahead and try the blend mode of soft light. Now, when I do that, it gives me those real deep vivid punchy colors, kind of interesting. I kind of like that.
Then, I have this Layer above where I have added this little border around the image because as long as I'm pushing this image far, I might as well do something with the edge as well to push it even further. Now again, my intent here isn't to print this photograph, it's not to include it in my portfolio, it's not to even necessarily show anyone this image, and that's not because it's bad, but it's just because I wanted to doodle or to play with color, and one of the things that you can do in order to expand your knowledge of Photoshop is to play a little bit. And to try to play in a way where the final outcome doesn't matter.
A lot of times the final outcome does matter. In that case, you want your images to look their best and certain things need to be in place. In this case, hey, it's a doodle, its fun, it's playing with color and you know what it taught me? It taught me that there is incredible power in photographs whenever you can include warm tones and cool tones in the same image. Now, in this case I used Photoshop in order to create that effect. Yet, the next time I'm out shooting, I'm going to be looking and thinking for warm and cool, and I'm going to be thinking about that saying that one of my photograph instructors told me said," Chris, whenever you can have warm and cool together, you can just have such an interesting impact because you're pulling and you're pushing, you're bringing the person into the photograph in a really unique way." So in some, this experiment or for that matter Photoshop, kind of taught me how to see and in a way, gave me a lesson that I'll then take to my shooting and you know what else, after I shoot, I'll also bring it back to Photoshop.
All right, well I know that this movie was a little bit different than some of the other ones. Yet, in spite of that, I hope that you picked up some valuable, creative, and technical tips. See you in the next one.
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