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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.
Now, the downside of the Variations command is that because it doesn't provide a whole image preview, you may have a very different idea of what a modification is going to look like inside the dialog box as opposed to after you click OK. Now, if you don't go far enough with an edit, or you go in altogether the wrong direction, then I recommend you press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac to undo your edit. Then go back to the Image menu, choose Adjustments, and choose Variations to revisit where you last left off. However, if you go too far with an edit, you can back it off using a command under the Edit menu called Fade, right there, which is currently dimmed, but will not be dimmed in just a moment.
So, I've gone ahead and saved the results of the previous exercise as Mood variation.jpg. With Tough boys.jpg selected, I'll go to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and choose Variations, or press that Deke key shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+V, Command+Option+V on the Mac. Up comes my last application to the Variations command, which gave me the image on right. Let's say, I decide to go even farther with this modification. Midtones is selected. I'll go ahead and click the center of the Fine-Course bar in order to reset the triangle.
I will add yet More Cyan and yet More Blue, like so. Maybe back off the Blue once again by moving the slider triangle over toward Fine, then clicking on More Yellow. Then I might go ahead and darken up the Midtones a little bit as well by clicking on Darker, let's say, three times in a row. That should be good enough for now. Click OK in order to apply that ridiculous modification. You may think, Deke, that's what you just called it. This is ridiculous. You've gone way too far with this change. It was looking just great before.
But check this out! Now, I can go to the Edit menu and choose the Fade command. The Fade command allows you to back off your last pixel-level modification, whether it's a Variations command or a Filter or even a Brush Stroke, you can go ahead and reduce its Opacity. You also have a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl +Shift+F or Command+Shift+F on the Mac. You get this very simple to use dialog box right here. Don't worry about mode for now. We'll get to Blend modes later. Just back off the Opacity value. So, if you reduce the Opacity all the way to 0%, then you completely undo the application of the Variations command and you restore the underlying original image.
If you increase the Opacity to 100%, you apply 100% variations and cover up the original image. Otherwise, you're blending those two images together, i.e., the original and the edit. So, for example, if I take this down to let's say 65% right here. Then I'm saying I want 65% edited image, mixed with 35% original image. I get this result right here. It provides you with something that Variations doesn't, which is a real-time preview of your before and after effect.
So, I might start at 50% and I might, in fact, just end there. I might decide 50% is perfect. So, we have a 50-50 blend of original image and modified image. Click OK and we have the completed modification, thanks to a combination of pushing the Variations command too far, and then backing it off using the Fade command under the Edit menu.
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