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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.
All right, well now that we have talked about how we can convert a portrait to black and white, let's take a look at landscape photographs. We're going to open up this photo corwig_sierras.psd, press F to go to Full Screen View mode and then Spacebar to reposition the image. What I want to do here is take a look at how we can convert this to black and qhite and go even further. So here is my first tip for you. It's a zoom tip. Press the Spacebar and Command key on a Mac, Spacebar+Ctrl key on a PC and then click and hold and you can zoom in. Now, let's say I've zoomed-in too far, how do I zoom-out? on a Mac/ Spacebar+Command+Option; on a PC, Spacebar+Ctrl+Alt, click and hold and you can zoom out. So we can get the image zoomed to the perfect rate so we can work on it. All right, well perfect.
Well, next thing that I want to do is click on the Black and White adjustment layer. Now, we know how this works, right? We will click on our Target Adjustment tool and begin to see what we can modify. Well, we have a lot of green and yellow here in the tree. So most likely, this will be the yellows right here, and we can click and drag that one way or the other, okay nice. What about the sky? We know those are going to be blue. So we can darken up the sky, and come up with a pretty interesting, pretty compelling Black and White conversion without a lot of effort. Now, a couple of things that I want to talk about here though is a lot of times what happens when you lower your blues, you are going to start to see some noise in your sky. Now, if you ever see noise in your sky, here is what you need to do. Go to that chapter on Noise Reduction, you will find that in this Training title, and use some of those techniques to reduce the noise just in the sky and mask it under the sky area, so that when you do this real intense conversion, you won't get any of those artifacts getting the noise up there. So that's something that will help you out. Here is something else you can do.
Well, so far what we are looking at is we are looking at how we can convert to Black and White, but what? If we take this to a blend mode of Luminosity, what's going to happen? Well, this blend mode says, we will just use this layer as a Luminance value layer, don't affect the color at all, interesting. So now I can actually use this in order to modify my color photograph and change the overall brightness of the sky on this colored photograph in the same way, and I can control those reds there. You can see those reds on these plants in the foreground here. You can also control the overall yellow brightness amount.
So again, I can use these controls, also the Target Adjustment tool for that matter in order to modify the color image and to take advantage of this incredible adjustment layer that you thought was only for Black and White layers and that's how it was intended to be used, but you know a lot of times the most creative people, use tools in ways that they weren't intended to be used, and so that's what we are doing here. So my little tip for you is, Yes, use this Black and White adjustment layer on a blend mode of normal when you want to convert to Black and White and two, if you want to just work on your color images and take advantage of these different types of channels, take this down to that good old blend mode of luminosity.
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