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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.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to work with Camera Raw's Clipping Controls, so you have a sense of where, if anywhere, your shadows and highlights are clipping inside the image, we have made some modifications to this image, but not enough. I think it could be brighter. So open it up inside of Camera Raw, and notice here above the Histogram, we have this sort of upside down gem shapes, these little triangles. And the one on the left is the Shadow clipping warning, and the one on the right is the Highlight clipping warning, and Camera Raw goes ahead and changes the color of those triangles, depending on what kind of clipping is occurring. So if a triangle is black, that means no clipping at all. If the triangle is white, that means clipping in all three channels, and if the triangle is of some other color, that means those colors are getting clipped.
So let me show you what I mean, keep an eye on that right hand triangle there, and I'm going to go ahead and increase the Exposure value, and pretty soon I'm going to get to a point where I get a Red warning. So I have clipping in the Red channel, but not Green or Blue. And if I take this up even farther, I'll eventually get a Yellow warning, which means I'm clipping about the Red and the Green channels, because Red plus Green equals to Yellow. And then ultimately I'll get to White. And that's just based on the colors that are going on inside of this image. I could end up getting Cyan, which is a combination of Green and Blue, or I could get Magenta, which is a combination of Red and Blue as well.
So you know once you see White though, that's something to worry about, because that means you have clipping across the board. And the same thing could happen to the Black triangle right here. If I were to raise the Black's value, so I'll go ahead and lower the Blacks value for a moment. At this point with Blacks set to zero, we have no clipping at all going on in the shadows. However, if I take this up with the Black value of 1, we are going to see Blue clipping, and then we see Cyan which is a combination of Blue and green clipping, and then ultimately if I raise this value high enough, we will start to see White, which means all three channels are clipping so, big warning! Now question becomes where inside this image is the clipping occurring? Well, if you want to see that you Click on one of these guys, the little buttons in fact. So if you Click on this icon, or you press the U key for under-exposure, then you are going to see Blue. Now the Blue is showing us areas in which the clipping is occurring in all three channels.
Whereas it works differently for highlight. It's Red for one thing as you can see here inside the Image Preview. And by the way, you can turn on the Highlight clipping Warning. Turn it on and off by pressing O for over-exposure. And the Red indicates clipping in any of the three channels. It's not all three channels; it's any of the three channels. So they have a different thing going on for shadows and highlights and I really don't know why? Which is why this isn't my favorite option. I'm going to turn both these guys off. I'm going to press U key to get rid of under- exposure, and the O key to get rid of over-exposure.
The better way to work so far as I'm concerned is to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and then drag on this Exposure slider. Notice now you'll see exact colors coded with the clipping. So where you see Red, it's clipping just in the Red channel. Where you see Yellow, it's clipping in both Red and Green, and where you see White, that's the most dangerous area, that's where it's clipping in all three channels. So you might want to take it down a little bit until the White disappears. But even though if we've gotten the white to disappear at this point, turning on this Clipping warning right there would still show us anywhere where anything is getting clipped in any channel. So interesting, but not really what I want.
Now that I can get the same effect here by Alt or Option, dragging this Black slider triangle, oh, and I just released the Alt option key, I have to keep it down. There we go, and so we are seeing Black that's clipping in all three channels. We are seeing White, no clipping is occurring. We are seeing Yellow that means it's clipping in the Blue channel, because we see the opposite, we are seeing the color compliment. Where we see Red, which is a color compliment to Cyan, that's where we are getting clipping in both the Blue and the Green channels, just so as you know, in case you want to keep track of that. So I'm going to take the Blacks value down to maybe lower than this, actually something like 3, might work out pretty nicely. And I think an Exposure value of 0.75 is working out pretty well, we just have a little bit of clipping in the Red channel mostly, over here in the sleeve.
By the way you can also track clipping with this Recovery slider right there. So let me go ahead and raise the Exposure Value a little bit. Well, I have the Alt option key down, and that's bringing us more clipping inside the image. And then I'll Alt+ drag or Option drag Recovery, and that's going ahead and taking some of the clipping out of there as I increase this value. And I'll go ahead and release when I feel comfortable with the results, I suppose. Now what's interesting is, if you don't have anything, when you Alt+drag Fill Light, not sure why that is, you don't get any kind of feedback out of that Ctrl there. So that's just to bear in mind. And then I'm going to go ahead and take my Brightness value down, I think a little bit, to something like 15, looks pretty great. Might as well adjust the contrast up to a nice round number, so we're all getting the same results.
And so on and so on, I'm tempted to take this down even farther, and I'm going to. I took Brightness down to +5, which I think is a little low, let's try +10, and now I'm done. So remember, you got U for under-expose, you've got O for over-exposed, you've got U showing you clipping in all three channels, you got O showing you clipping in any of the three channels. And you've got better feedback if you press the Alt+Option key when dragging the Exposure, Recovery or Black slider triangles. And that is all she wrote. I'm going to go ahead and Click Done to return to the Bridge.
In the next exercise, we are going to discuss the Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation sliders.
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