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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
Welcome back, we are going to continue to work with this image. In the last movie I talked about a little problem I noticed and that was the deep dark shadow. So I want to work on those, that's why I want to talk a little bit about using these layers that we are creating, these Adjustment layers, and how we can use in order to blend them together with some of the blending modes. Now we are going to talk about the blend modes in thorough detail in another chapter. Yet for now, here is what I want to do. I have this nice adjustment that brought down the tones of the reds. I think that's pretty good except I just don't have enough shape to that area of the image. It's such an interesting area. Now I want to make that snap a little bit more. So I'm going to copy this layer. Command+J on a Mac/ Ctrl+J on a PC and then takes it blend mode to good old Soft Light.
Now what that Soft Light blend mode does is it just adds that real nice definition to that area of the image. Now if the Saturation is too high, all I need to do is double-click the original layer and go back to those reds and here I can pull out a little bit more of those red tones. Let's close that Adjustment panel and then look at our overall before and after with those final adjustments. Again we have nice shape, good even tone, the image is much more defined and it's looking really quite interesting. Well so far so good, now what we need to do is actually begin to work on some of these darker tones up here. In order to show you how to do that I need to teach you a shortcut.
Click in your topmost layer and on a Mac you are going to press Shift+Option+Command+E, on a PC that's Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E. Let me say that shortcut again because it's a strange one, it's a great one though, on a Mac Shift+Option+Command+E, on a PC that's Shift+Alt+Ctrl+E. and we are going to name this layer, merge. That gives us ability to take all of our underline layers and merge those to the top. So just by way of illustration, these three layers are now merged up to here so now we have this real before and after. The reason I'm doing that is because I want to apply one more adjustment. Now you can't find this in the Adjustments panel but you can find it here, Image > Adjustments. Now here are all the adjustments we can find in the panel, yet there are couple others like Shadow/Highlights.
Now Shadow/ Highlights is actually pretty interesting, we will go ahead and zero these values out. Now what this does is it allows us to work on different areas of our image, we can either work on the shadows or on the highlights. Now you can click on this option to show or hide more of the options. I want to show those options so I can really get into them. Now with the shadows I'm going to increase my Amount, my Tonal Width and my Radius and these three controls are going to work together so we can see that I can bring that in or out effecting a larger or smaller area and all I'm looking to do is to bring up the brightness and some of those shadow areas.
Here is our before and then after. Okay, well so far so good and I think I went a little bit too far so I'm going to bring my Radius up just to confine that a little bit more. All right, great, so shadows deal with that side of the equation highlights. Well, in this case is if you have a highlight you want to darken. Now in my case I don't necessarily have many highlights I want to darken, I could darken up the sky a little bit there and add that a little bit of contrast with those clouds. But I think this image doesn't going to really need it. Although if you need to highlight, you need to bring down you can use this dialog in the same way that we use this for our shadows in the case that we brought those up. So keep in mind that what this dialog is all about is correcting shadows or correcting highlights so it's not deepening, it's actually going to brighten shadows and then it's going to darken highlights.
Finally, we have this little Color Correction slider here, this will help up compensate for any color problems and also Midtone Contrast, bring a little bit of that back and then we will click OK to apply that. Let's turn on these layers because these are the layers that we want to compare this to, now here is our before and then after. I'll zoom out a little bit so we can actually see that before and then after. I was able to bring some light into real specific areas of the image. Now let's say that I don't need to bring such brightness over here on to the boat, what I'm going to do? Well, here is a deal, I'll go ahead and hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC. Click on the Add Layer Mask icon; that will fill that Mask with black. Next I'll grab my Brush tool and I'll paint with white.
So I'll then reveal this adjustment into specific areas in this image. I just want to bring a little bit more light into this portion of the boat and I can be pretty free with this painting because I can always undo it or modify it. And in this case let's look at our before and after, again just bringing a little bit of brightness to the boat. The nice thing about doing this to a new layer, we can control the Opacity of the layer, right. We can just bring that down, find a sweet spot, just add a little bit of snap to that color there in the boat and we will zoom in a little bit so we can see that better. And you know what? That looks pretty good.
Overall before and then after. It's a much different photograph and although this chapter was supposed to only be about the Adjustments panel, I just had to throw that other adjustment in there because it's really valuable and that's Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlights. Keep in mind that's a good place to go when you have exposure problems, either under or over exposure. Those sliders and controls can really help you out when you have some problem areas in your images. But do keep in mind that I found that this particular adjustment works best when you do combine it with a Layer Mask.
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