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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

How to position points and control handles


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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: How to position points and control handles

In this movie, I'll show you how to decide where your anchor points and control handles should be to accurately trace the shape. So if you have access to my exercise file, I have creating the kind of cheat. There is this layer here called points & handles, and it's a kind of template for where the anchor points and control handles should be that I created by taking a screenshot and colorizing it red. And so if you go ahead and match the template by dragging the square anchor points onto the square points in the template, and dragging the circular control handles, so they match the locations of a control handles in the template, then you'll end up reproducing my path outline, and you'll achieve the desired results where this droplet is concerned.
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  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 57s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 21s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
11h 8m Advanced Sep 12, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.

Topics include:
  • Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
  • Placing and blending Smart Objects in a scene
  • Transforming and warping vector objects
  • Correcting for lens distortion
  • Mitigating halos and enhancing contrast with Shadows/Highlights
  • Adding and editing points on a curve
  • Editing multiple images in Camera Raw
  • Creating a pro-quality sepia tone or quadtone
  • Colorizing with blend modes and opacity
  • Reducing and smoothing over noise
  • Creating depth-of-field effects with blur
  • Selecting with Color Range and Quick Mask
  • Perfecting a mask with Refine Edge
  • Drawing paths with the Pen tool
  • Converting path outlines to vector masks
Subjects:
Design Raw Processing
Software:
Photoshop Camera Raw
Author:
Deke McClelland

How to position points and control handles

In this movie, I'll show you how to decide where your anchor points and control handles should be to accurately trace the shape. So if you have access to my exercise file, I have creating the kind of cheat. There is this layer here called points & handles, and it's a kind of template for where the anchor points and control handles should be that I created by taking a screenshot and colorizing it red. And so if you go ahead and match the template by dragging the square anchor points onto the square points in the template, and dragging the circular control handles, so they match the locations of a control handles in the template, then you'll end up reproducing my path outline, and you'll achieve the desired results where this droplet is concerned.

And notice, as you work your way through things, obviously we are modifying the position of the segments, and their curvature as well. So you have to always bear in mind that the segment has to travel through the anchor point, but it never actually touches the control handle. The control handle just pulls at it. It has this kind of magnetic attraction, and it repels the segment as well, as you start getting closer to it. Then once you pass to the other side of the segment, you stretch it in this new direction. If you ever get this number here, where you twist the segment all the way around, the solution is very simple.

Just drag the control handles all the way back to their previous position. There is no reason, incidentally, to put, a control handle directly on the path outline; that doesn't serve you any purpose. In fact, it defeats the purpose of the control handle, because it's going to flatten out that portion of the segment, and if you wanted to do that, you wouldn't need a control handle at all. All right, so I am going to go ahead and drag this guy up to this location right there, and then I will drag this control handle in. As you are dragging a control handle that's associated with a smooth point, always bear in mind that you're going to change the angle of the opposite control handles as well, but you're not going to change its position.

In other words, it's going to remain the same distance away from the anchor point that it was before. So we are ultimately departing from the previous symmetry that we had when we were looking at that perfect ellipse. Now, Photoshop displays the path outline by inverting the composite image, so if you're working along with me, any time you manage to exactly match the template, your control handles and anchor points are going to turn cyan, because cyan is the complement to red. Also something to note is that this template is designed to look best at the 50% zoom ratio.

If you zoom in any farther, then it's going to look a little bit jagged, but it should still serve its purpose. All right, I've now managed to match every single one of these points, so I can go ahead and hide my points & handles layer. Now, given that we were working from a cheat layer here, it's no trick getting the proper results. However, you may wonder why in the world I chose these locations for my anchor points and my control handles. For example, why is this guy, instead of being centered at the top of the droplet, why is he listing over to the right? And why is this anchor point over on the left hand side located so close to this hairpin curve? Well, when you're working with corner points, it's pretty easy to decide where those points belong, because you are just trying to match the corners of the image element that you want to mask.

But when you're working with smooth points, you are always creating continuous arcs. So it's a little trickier trying to decide where those points need to be. I subscribe to a kind of driving analogy. So imagine that you're driving along this path outline, and for the sake of demonstration, imagine you're driving in a counterclockwise direction. So as you drive along this segment here, the road is pretty steady; that is, it's curving to a more or less constant degree, so you hold the steering wheel at a constant angle.

However, right at this location here, as you swoop into the hairpin curve, you need to change the angle of the steering wheel, specifically you need to angle it more; hopefully, you'd slow down as well, and that's exactly where you want to put the anchor points: at those locations where you're changing the angle of the steering wheels. So right here, we are steering harder, and as a result, the anchor point belongs at that location. Doesn't have to be there, by the way; it just makes for an easier experience, and a smoother experience as well, when you're tracing continuously curving image elements.

Where this anchor point is concerned, imagine that you're driving in a clockwise manner, because it really doesn't matter which direction you are driving; we are just looking, once again, for points at which you are going to change the angle of your steering wheel. And in this case, you want to ratchet up the steering right at this position here. So while that explains the side points, what about the top and bottom points? Well the bottom anchor point is located pretty much right here at the center of the base of the droplet, and this does happen to be pretty much the bottommost point to which this curve dips. Not so for the top point, however, it's over to the right of the apex of the curve, and all I have to say for that one is, in playing around and experimenting with the position of the anchor point, this worked out best.

So sometimes you just have to rely on experience in order to get the job done, and the only way to build up that experience, of course, is to work with the Pen tool on a routine basis. Now let's talk about the control handles here. There are two rules where control handles are concerned. Notice that we have two control handles for this curving segment; one as the segment exits its top anchor point, and another one as it enters the left-hand point. And it really doesn't matter which direction the segment is traveling, but we essentially have an exit control handle, and an entrance control handle, and that's the way we want it.

You either want two control handles for a curving segment, or you want zero control handles in the case of the straight segment. If you have just one control handle for a segment, as often as not, it's going to appear lopsided. The other rule is that you want the control handles together to add up to about two thirds of the length of the segment. That's going to give you the smoothest result. They don't have to be the same length; you can see that the left-hand handle is shorter than the top one, but together they should add up to about two thirds. Now, that is a rule of thumb, and you will find yourself violating it sometimes.

Notice, if I click on this bottom left segment that the control handles are different lengths, which is fine. They don't really add up to two thirds of the link of the segment, because if they did, I wouldn't be accurately tracing the droplet. So I will go ahead and press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac. However, they do add up to more than 50% of the length of the segment, which is generally essential to get the job done. All right, now let's go ahead and convert this path outline to a vector mask, and you can do that from the Layers panel by dropping down to the Add layer mask icon, and just as we did in the Paths panel, you press the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and click on it, and that converts that path to a vector mask.

Now I will click on the vector mask to make it active, click again in order to hide it, and I'll go ahead and zoom in as well. And here we have what was originally a perfect ellipse tracing a custom, organic image element here inside Photoshop.

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