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The next thing that I want to do is take a look at how we can modify the color and tone of the track, and also work on the athlete. So first, let's click in this clean up layer. Then here what we can do is press the W key to select the Quick Select tool. Then just go ahead and paint across the area that we want to modify. In this case, I'm just clicking and dragging across the track. It's a pretty rough selection. In order to make it better, hold down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and then click and paint over the areas that you don't want to select. In this case, I definitely don't want to select the athlete here.
So I'm going to paint those selections away there. A little bit more of the track. If I want to paint away some of the white areas, I'm just going to hold down the Option key and click along those lines. You can see that what it's doing is it's kind of building out those edges. It's paying attention to where I'm clicking and it's adding this. This can be helpful, especially if you want to, say, preserve the whites there. You just want to modify the track, maybe making that a little bit more red, or something along those lines. So again, I'm just holding Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and clicking along those little lines there.
Let me zoom in a little bit more back here. Hold down Option or Alt. This area back here isn't that essential because it's so small, but I might as well do this just for a good measure. I'll just do a little bit more back here and see if we can connect that just a touch. All right, well, for the most part, we're getting going in a decent direction. Just go ahead, and modify a couple of little areas as we work on this, and just look to try to have good selections there of everything that we need. I think that looks good. Next, I'll zoom out.
I'll go to my Adjustments panel. I'm going to choose Curves this time. Here, I'll go into the Red channel. If I bring that up, we should see a brightening just in the track, because that's really the area that we're targeting. We can go to the RGB composite channel. We can darken that red up if we wanted to, or add a little bit of contrast, or change the overall look of that one way or another. In this case, I just want to add a little bit more of that clean uniform color. Here is before, and then after. That feels a bit more snappy. So far so good.
If there are any areas you need to clean up, you can always go into your Masks panel. Go into Mask Edge. Here, you can add a Smart Radius if you have some transitional edges. Add a little bit of Radius there, a Contrast, increase the sharpness of the edge, and just sweeten it up as needed. In this case, I think most of these edges look good. Click OK. All right, well, what about the subject? What can we do there? Well, the subject, it's going to be the same thing. Let's click in the clean up layer. Press the W key for a Quick Select tool. Then we'll start with a big brush, and just paint over the athlete, really broad brushstrokes.
Press the Left Bracket key to make the brush smaller, and then get into the some of the detail areas. Now as we get into these detail areas, we will inevitably make mistakes. But that's okay. There is going to be give and take. Just work on one area. Hold down Option or Alt. Subtract any of your mistakes that you've made. Go back, paint it one way or another, and just kind of go back and forth with this tool until you have a selection, which is pretty tight, pretty close. We want it to be right around the edge of the subject here. We want to have all the details selected.
We don't want to select the track, so we just want really the subject himself. I think for the most part we have a decent selection. Not perfect, but pretty good starting point. I'm just going to get a few more little details in here. All right, next thing we need to do is to go ahead and create an adjustment. We're going to create an adjustment just so we can really see what we have selected. Let's go for our Curves. We'll go back to our Adjustments panel, click on the Curves icon, and then drag it one way or another. Again, this is just going to help us see our edges.
Now here I see my edges are actually pretty good. I can control just the subject there. I've a couple of problem areas, so I go into my Masks panel, Mask Edge, Smart Radius, turn that up. Paint over any areas where you have problems, like over the fingers there. That's just making that really good. Little bit on the hair at top. Again, this right now is a decent mask. That looks really good. Click OK. Well, now that we have this mask, we can go back to our adjustments layer. Click and drag that point off and just modify this. Maybe a little more light on the subject.
There it is before and after, or perhaps we want to bring down the highlights just a touch on the highlight side. We can do that as well, or we can go into a channel. Add just a little bit of red, brighten that up and perhaps, maybe even a little bit of magenta, just a touch there, just to add a little bit deeper skin tone. Go back to the RGB composite and just modify that. So we have a different look or sethetic on the subject. Here it is our before, and then after. Nothing really brilliant here. I'm not too inspired by that. So in this case, the mask that I've created using Curves, I'm not even going to use.
But I am going to use it in a different way. What I want to do is if I zoom in on the subject, I want to add some sharpness to him. So here is how I'll do that. I'll turn off this adjustment layer. Not all is lost. My masking work there as far as finding the edges help me out. Next, click in the clean up layer, copy it, Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on Windows. Let's call this sharpen. Next, go to Filter. Choose Sharpen. Let's go to Unsharp Mask. Now with Unsharp Mask, a good way to do this is to try to line up your two dialogs here.
Let's zoom in on the background a little bit so that we can see everything. I just like to how these overlaps so I can see as much as possible. Here we're going to bring our Amount up somewhere pretty high, high 150, 160, 170. Incrementally bring up our Radius until we see glowing edges, like we see along the edge of the shirt there. Then drop the Amount back to 100. Then bring up a little bit of Threshold to save the day. Make any other needed changes. Click on the image, press the P key to look at your before and after, then click OK.
Well, now here we've sharpened everything. We don't want that. We just want the athlete. So in that case, grab our mask, click and drag it to this layer. There you have it. We have a layer where we're just sharpening the athlete here based on our mask. That looks pretty good. All right, well, next, let's trash this Curves layer. We don't need it anymore. Then we may want to modify this mask even further. For example, I'm noticing that we don't need to sharpen the pants. So I'll go ahead and mask that out there.
I also don't need to sharpen the fingers back here, or the forearm, or maybe the back of the head. So I'm just bringing this sharpening to selective areas. So I'm kind of getting the best of both worlds in a sense where I have this custom edge mask, and then also one that I'm modifying by painting directly on it. Well, we've made some great adjustments to the image. Let's take a look at how we're doing so far. Here it is before, and then after.
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