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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
Now I dare say Smart Filters wouldn't be Smart Filters if you couldn't heap on multiple filters onto a single Smart Object, but they are and you can and that's great, and here is how it works. I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Better sharpening.psd and it features this smart girl layer right there. We have the Smart Sharpen filter right there applied with over the top settings. If you were to double-click on it, you would see 350% is the amount, 4.0 for radius, just extreme sharpening going on, but thanks to the fact that we set the Blending settings to Luminosity and an Opacity 40%. We have a much more reasonable result here on screen.
All right, let's say that we want to make the highlights pop a little bit and I'm going to do that using an application of the Medium filter and then I'd like to add some clarity as well in the form of a pass of the high pass filter set to a high radius value. So let's see what that looks like. I still have smart girl selected right here. I will go onto the Filter>Noise>Median, because I consider it to be one of the really great filters inside of Photoshop and I'm going to take this Median value up to 20 pixels, so quite high inside of this image. Then I'll go ahead and click OK and of course that looks ridiculous and it completely wipes out my sharpening effect. In fact, if I were to turn off Smart Sharpen for a moment so that we were only seeing Median. It's not much different. So Smart Sharpen now is contributing almost nothing to our process. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z to turn Smart Sharpen back on.
Let's go ahead and lessen the impact of the Median filter by changing its Blend settings. So I'll go ahead and double- click on its little slider icon right there and I'm going to change mode from Normal to Lighten and we'll get this effect so that we are only keeping the effects of the Median filter if they are lightening the original pixels inside the image and then I'm going to change the Opacity value. I'll take it down to 70%. Now that's still a lot of Median action going on, but it is reduced setting for now. Click OK and you can see what kind of difference this filter makes now. If I turn off Median, this is what the image looks like without the Median filter, but with Smart Sharpen and then this is what it looks like with both of the filters applied together.
You can also test out what the image looks like just without Smart Sharpen while keeping the effects of Median like so and then this is what it looks like with both Smart Sharpen and Median applied. In each case I'm turning off an eyeball and then to turn the eyeball back on, I'm pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo the hiding of the filter and that tends to be a quicker way to work. FYI, a little bit of a tip for me to you. If you turn the eyeball back on, Photoshop has to go in and recalculate the procedure. If you just press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, then it just undoes the hiding of the filter, which is much faster especially inside of high- resolution images. Believe me; I just gave you one of the best tips where Smart Filters are concerned ever in my humble estimation, my experience with using them of course.
So smart girl is still selected, let's apply that clarity in the form of High Pass. I'm going to go to Filter>Other> High Pass, and I'm going to raise this value to 50. So again a very high value here, click OK, you may recall, if we are trying to sharpen with High Pass, we want to go with a low value and then bump up the Opacity and apply a blend mode such as either Overlay or Linear Light. If we want clarity that is we want enhancement of edges without sharpening of the edges, then we want a high radius value combined with a lesser blend mode.
Anyway, I'm going to take this Radius value up to 50 pixels, click OK and then I'm going to switch over here to the Blending Options, once again for High Pass. You can see that there is the High Pass filter now heaped on top of the stack. I'm going to go ahead and double-click on the Blending icon and I'm going to change the mode from Normal to Overlay and then at this point, I might go ahead and reduce the Opacity of the application of that filter to 50% so that we are backing it off quite a bit actually and then click OK in order to accept that modification.
Now this is what the image looked like before I applied High Pass and you can see that it does a moment just to even turn off a filter. That's why it's so great that you can undo the hiding of a filter. So I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac to reapply High Pass right there and of course you can turn on and off the other filters in the stack as well, if you want to get a sense of how all of the filters are interacting. This is what the image would look like if we hadn't applied Median. So it ended up looking darker around the edges, especially in the mascara section of the eye here and around the pupil and so on. Then I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac to undo the hiding of Median and then finally, just for larks, I'll turn off smart sharpen so we can see what its contribution to the effort is.
There is what the image would look like if we had not sharpened it with Smart Sharpen and then Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac to see what it looks like with Smart Sharpen. Now that's not the final effect I want. I'm going to want to modify these Filter settings further; I'm going to change the order of the filters in the stack. We'll see how all of that works in the next exercise.
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