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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to this check box right here, Localized Color Clusters, give you a sense of how it works and why it's there. I'm still working inside the Lips.jpg image, haven't really done anything to it. A while back, I selected the Color Range command from the Select menu. So far, we've been working on selecting the flesh in the background with the idea that we'll ultimately reverse the selection in order to get the lips. But I was telling you that's not really going to work. The better approach where these lips are concerned is to go ahead and click inside of the lips, in order to select them.
Now in order to see what I'm doing, I'm going to change the Selection Preview back to None, so I can see the lips in full color inside the image window. Then I'm going to Shift+Drag over some details here in order to add to the selection. So far, I seem to be doing a pretty good job of selecting the lips without selecting the flesh in the background and the teeth. I don't know whether you'll have this kind of success or not, but in order to get it right, you want to make sure that you Shift+Drag inside of the dark region of the lips. Don't go Shift+Dragging inside the light-gold area. Even though we do want to select that area, if you Shift+Click inside of it, notice I just wipe out my selection.
I just select everything inside the image, because so much of the image is very similar to that gold region there. The flesh is similar, the teeth are similar, and so on. All right, anyway, I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac as you do have one level of undo when you're working inside of Color Range. I could also go ahead and vary this Fuzziness value. I could ratchet it down a little bit. Here is my problem. I'm going to switch my Selection Preview back to Grayscale, because you do spend a fair amount of time going back and forth between the full-color image, and the mask preview of that selection outline.
All right, so what I want to achieve from Color Range here. I want to make sure that I select the lips, and I'm not too concerned about the highlights, because I can always come back and paint them in. I don't want to select the teeth. I don't want to select the flesh in the background. So I might have to back off this Fuzziness a little. But I want to make sure that I have an obvious wide edge tracing the upper-right portion of the lips, because that's what's most likely to go away for me. I need to be able to paint these highlights away, and I need an edge to paint inside of.
So, if I get rid of the Fuzziness to the extent that those selected pixels down and to the left of the lips go away. I start losing that edge. I just need some more control. I can get more control out of Localized Color Clusters. But before you can have a clue of how that function works, I have to take you back to a file we saw when I was showing you how the Magic Wand tool functions. So I'm going to cancel out of Color Range, and I'm going to switch to this image right here. It's called Gradients.psd, you may recall it, and again, just for the sake of jogging your memory, I'll grab the Magic Wand tool here.
Its Tolerance is set to 32. These are the default settings, Anti-alias is on, Contiguous is on, Sample All layers off. If I click inside the top gradient, I select 32 luminance levels brighter and 32 luminance levels darker than the click point, and I don't jump the gap. I go ahead and stop at the end of those adjacent pixels. As soon as I hit red, the selection outline stops as well. Now, I could jump the gap if I preferred by turning off this contiguous check box. But I just want you to know the default behavior is to not jump the gap.
All right, I'm going to press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac, and I'll go up to the Select menu, and I'll choose the Color Range command or press that keyboard shortcut if you loaded dekeKeys. Notice now, if I click at that same location, I do jump the gap, by default. Not only do I select 42 luminance levels brighter and 42 luminance levels darker, although it drops off over this Fuzziness range. Notice this, I'll switch to Grayscale, and you can see that natural drop-off even inside of a gradient. However, I do go ahead and jump the gap.
There is no way to tell the Color Range command not to jump the gap, to select just adjacent pixels. The closest you come is this Localized Color Clusters check box, and if you turn it on, notice that Color Range continues to jump the gap. But it does jump it differently, and basically, what's happening is you set a click point, like I'll just click right there in the center of this Gradient i.e. the vertical center up and down. Notice that the selection starts to decline a little bit, down here toward the bottom of the image.
That's thanks to Localized Color Clusters being on. If I had it off, I would select the exact same column of colors right there at the top and at the bottom. Anyway, I'll turn this option on, then you have this Range option that you can adjust. If you lower the Range, notice what's happening here is you're sending out a burst of selection from the click point. So, what Photoshop pays attention to when this check box is on is the physical location. The geometric location of your click point inside the image.
So, if I then Shift+Click at another location, then it pays attention to that geometric click point as well. If I Shift+Drag, check this out, then I go ahead and draw a line of selection. So, at this point I'm drawing a kind of face inside the image with my selection outlines, and this range value is determining how small or how large these sorts of blips of selection are. The more you increase that Range, the more generalized your selection outline becomes.
So I just want you to get a sense of how that works. I'm going to go ahead and cancel out of here for now. In the next exercise, we'll see how that Localized Color Clusters function helps us do a better job of selecting these lips.
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