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A portrait can be a cherished possession for a lifetime, and now making perfect portraits is just one Photoshop course away. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his vast knowledge of Photoshop to focus on the specific tools every photographer needs to adjust images and keep them looking genuine. Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training explores this program's deep resources and inspires photographers to do their creative best with everything from blemishes to backdrops. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now that we've made some progress on the face, we're ready to move to another area of the body. We're going to work on the arms. Before we do that, one of the things that I notice there is that this eye is a little bit soft, because that's what happens a lot of times when you liquefy something. Here's my before and then after. So here's what we need to do. We need to merge our underlying layers to the topmost layer. Press Shift+Option+Command+E on a Mac, Shift+ Alt+Ctrl+E on a PC. Next, we're going to click on the Add Layer Mask icon, but we'll hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC and we'll click on that layer mask so it fills with black. Then we'll grab our Brush tool, we're going to paint with white at 100%, nice decent size brush here.
I'm just looking to mask in this area of the eye. Now so far, I don't really have anything there, right? I'm just bringing in this area, the area that was liquefied onto that layer. So basically, I have a layer where I'm just bringing in a portion of the photograph. Next, I'm going to click into the image here. Target that, we see the brackets there. Go to Filter > Sharpen and then choose one of our sharpening techniques. I'll try Smart Sharpen; I'm going to zoom in here. I'm just looking to have a pretty low sharpening amount. That will probably work well, maybe even a little bit too high there. Click OK. Now that is definitely too high. So I'll lower my Opacity. I'm going to go ahead and lower, probably somewhere in the 50s, here is my before and after.
That looks much better. It may be tricky for you to see the overall before and then after. The sharpness looks like we've maintained it. We just had to bring a little bit of that back, because of that liquefy step that we took here. All right, great! Well so far so good. We're now making some good progress. Here is our before and then after. Let's merge this layer down. Press Command+E on a Mac, Ctrl+E on a PC and then choose Preserve to preserve that layer mask. Here we have our overall before and after with that Sharpening effect applied on the eye. Okay, great! Well so far so good. Let's then begin to work on the arms. How then can we improve the arms here? What I'm going to do is go ahead and make a selection of the arm, so I'll zoom in a little bit here. I'm going to grab one of my Selection tools. I could grab the Lasso tool. I'm going to start to make a rough selection here. When I say rough, I mean rough, just a real rough selection around the outer edge of this arm.
If I didn't select enough, hold down the Shift key and then we can click and add a little bit more to the selection. Okay, nice, so far so good. That's looking nice. I'm going to add a little bit of Feather, so Ctrl-click or right click and choose Feather and here we're going to add maybe about 5 pixels. Click OK. Now that we have that let's copy this to a new layer. Press Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC and just to illustrate, I now have the arm on its own layer. What I can do here with this arm is click in that layer. I'm going to use the Arrow keys and I'm just going to bring this in, just a bit and here we can see our before and after. Here is before and after.
We're using a good portion of the arm in order to thin those arms out just a touch. Well, of course, we need to bring in some mask in here, right? So go ahead and hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, click on the Add Layer Mask icon, which fills that mask with black. We'll grab our Brush tool. We're going to paint with white. What we're looking to do is to paint with white just along this edge here at 100% Opacity, so that we can blend in the skin. We're using a nice soft edge brush. We want to pay close attention to the transition areas, which are up here on the shrug, just make sure this is nice and clean.
Hit the X key, go ahead and bring back a little bit of that. Smaller brush, hit the X key again and take off the little edge there. Here is our before and then after. Again, before and after. So far so good. We've thinned out those arms just a touch. The whole trick with this is we're using something we have in order to enhance the photograph and this can really help out in different techniques. So let's go ahead and go down to the underlying layer and do the same thing with this arm. We'll make a rough selection here and just make in a rough selection along the arm and then out in to this space over here.
Copy that to a new layer, Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC. Then select the Move tool by pressing the V key and then using Arrow keys just to nudge this in, just a bit there. Now that we have that, we'll click on the Add Layer Mask icon. But on a Mac, you hold down the Option key, on a PC you hold down the Alt key and you click on that Add Layer Mask. Now grab your Brush tool. Paint with white and increase your brush size. Now, I know that some people are thinking, okay, that's kind of interesting, do we really need to do that with this image? Not necessarily, yet I'm doing this here just to show you this technique, to show you how you can begin to use content that you have in order to make enhancements like this, overall before and then after. Okay, really interesting! Well now that we've worked on the arms and the face, zoom in a little bit more so you can see that, overall before and then our after. Great! We're making some nice progress, although we have more ground to cover. We're going to continue to work on this photograph in the next few movies.
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