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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.
Select the file titled tent.psd and open that one up in Photoshop. Press F to go to Full Screen View mode and then Spacebar to reposition the image. Double-click the Zoom tool. That will take this image to 100%. All right, one of the things that you are going to notice here is that I have an Adjustment layer on top of the Background layer. That's there by way of reference. You will also click in the Paths tab, you will notice that I have Reference layer for you as well. Yes, we'll be creating those two layers in this movie; yet know that those files are there to help you out later, if you need that help.
All right, what we are going to do on this movie is talk about how we can create a selection and then turn a selection into a path. What I'm going to do is navigate over to my Lasso tool and choose the Magnetic Lasso. Now the Magnetic Lasso tool is pretty interesting. I'm going to go ahead and click on a point. What I'm interested in doing is selecting this portion of the image so I'll go ahead and click on a point here in the top corner and then I'm going to reposition the Lasso tool. Now as I do that, you will notice that what it's doing is it's dynamically creating little anchor points for me. Now that's kind of nice.
Now a lot of times people will say you can't use the Magnetic Lasso tool because it's kind of like setting your camera on auto mode. If you are a professional, you have to use the advanced settings, right? Well, not necessarily because in this case, what we are going to see is we can use this tool in order to create a nice selection for us that we will then turn into a path. We can fix it up, fix up those problem areas that just showed up which will be great and we will go ahead and navigate around here and then click on that first point. Okay, well now that I have this selection, I'm going to navigate to my Paths tab.
To really focus in on the Paths tab I'll double-click Adjustments. So here we are on Paths, I have this selection that I made really quick, right? I mean that was a really quick selection. Well I want to turn that into a path so I'll click on this icon here which allows me to make a work path from the selection. Now when I do that I see okay, you know what? I have a pretty good path, except I have a few little problem areas. Well I can then fix up those problem areas. So I'll grab the Pen tool, hold down the Command key on a Mac/Ctrl key on a PC and I'll click on this path in order to activate all of the different anchor points. I'm going to then zoom in a little bit, press the Spacebar to reposition this. So here we can see that's a little bit of a hiccup.
Well no big deal. Hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC. I can then reposition my handles in order to get a nice smooth edge. Now this next anchor point's a little bit too higher. Hold down the Command key, we can then reposition that anchor point and again go back to Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC, change the handles. So it's Command or Ctrl for anchors, Option or Alt for handles. So I'll go ahead and make my way through this path and I'm just going to clean this one up. Now, when I get in here I just have too many path points. Well here is what I can do. When I hover over one of those points and if I have Auto Add/Delete on, I can click to remove those because really I don't need them.
So I'm going to go ahead and remove all those, that's all gone. Now I grab my handle there and I'll press the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC and I'll just clean up that edge. Well, perfect. We are so far so good, things are looking nice. Down here on a Mac/press the Command key and on a PC, press the Ctrl key and I'm looking to do there just to modify this one a little bit. I want to make it perfect, right? I don't want this to be right on the edge there, nice. Now I'll make my way over here. Now this particular point, do I need it? No. Hover over it, it's gone. This point, do I need it? Hover over it. No, it's gone.
This point I do need. So I'll hold down the Command key on a Mac/Ctrl key on a PC and I'll reposition that and then I'll go back down here. Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC. I'm just looking to try to get that one around that edge there and then I have a couple of handles that are coming off of this, so hold down the Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC, bring this one down because it's creating that weird bend there, that little bit of a problem. And I think that looks pretty good. Next, Option key on a Mac/Alt key on a PC. I'm just looking to drag the handle to where the curve is pointing, make my way around this and I hold down the Command key on a Mac/Ctrl key on a PC. I want to move that one up. That will just help me get a little bit nicer curve there. So making my way through this, cleaning this one up, and now I have a pretty good edge around that area. Let's zoom out for a second.
All right. Well, one of the things that I'm trying to illustrate here is that you can create a selection any number of ways with any of your selection tools that you have, with color range, with masking, free transform different Lasso tools, different quick selector, magic wand tools, you can then convert that selection into a path. Now for some of you this is going to be your life saver because creating a path from scratch can be really tricky but modifying a path can be a little bit more easy and it that can be a nice way to learn how to work with Paths. All right, well now that we have the selection, let's go ahead and name this and I'll name this one 'window 2'. Now if used in turn out, good, no problem, click on the top layer which is this first window 1 which I have cleaned up nice and that one looks pretty good. Well how then can we work with this? Well here is what we can do. We will go ahead and hold down the Command key on a Mac/Ctrl key on a PC and click on the icon to turn that into a selection.
Now we get back to the Layers panel and then we have to go ahead and open up our Adjustments panel by double clicking on that. Now we have a number of different adjustments that we can make so let's click on the Arrow icon to go back to these different adjustments. We can control the contrast, the levels, the curves, the exposure. We also have a number of different Color options down here. Let's go ahead and choose one of the color options that we have used before and again we are just going to do this because it's really easy to see a strong visual change. We will click on the Hue/Saturation icon and now when I go ahead and drag this, we will notice that I have different colors in the middle of my image.
Well let's say that's the opposite of what I want to do, all I need to do is invert this mask, I can do that by going to the Mask panel and clicking Invert or I can press Command+I in a Mac/ Ctrl+I in a PC. Yet the reason why I like clicking on Invert here because I was guessing, and I was right, that my selection had a little bit of problems. So here I'm going to go my Mask Edge and now with this Mask Edge what I'm going to do then is look at the image in this way. I want to have a nice overlay. I'm just going to look to Contract this selection just a little bit here. So that it extends out just a touch, click OK and now we can see that I cleaned up those green edges that were around there just by modifying that mask with just a touch and so here is before and after, changing the color of the tent.
Now back to the Adjustments, now I can click on Colorize, right. It will be a little bit of more of an immediate affect here and I can change the color of the tent in order to create a little bit of different feel or for that matter I'll click that off and go ahead and bring that slider back to normal. And here I'm just going to simply de-saturate that yellow a little bit and why would I do that? Because in this case this will probably print better because that yellow won't be so far out of gambit and in addition I want to illustrate that we are going to make selections like this not just to make these real drastic, big, huge changes, yet sometimes that's a change as simple as this would just brings our colors down a little bit, mute things out, simplifies the image and it will then reproduce a little bit better.
All right, in order to increase this functionality I then want to reactivate this Mask and I'm going to do that by going to the Mask icon and Command clicking on a Mac/Ctrl-clicking on the PC, navigate back to my Adjustments and this time I'm going to go to Exposure. In Exposure what I'm interested in doing is just decreasing the exposure a little bit. Now that's the opposite of what I wanted, I actually wanted to decrease the exposure here. So I'll invert the mask by clicking on the Mask panel and choose Invert, all right great. Well now that I have this decreased exposure, I can then go back to my Adjustments panel and here I can just lower it a little bit, change the over all Gamma and Offset that just a touch. And all I'm looking to do here is just to bring a little bit more detail into the snow and you can see that the snow area was just a little bit problematic.
Now while this image isn't as a dramatic as the original image-- here is the original and then here is the photo that we just worked on-- this image will probably print better. So again, my whole intent here is to begin to show you how you can use your selection tools, turn those into a path and then from that path do a number of different things. At times what you are going to do is make real drastic changes; at other times it may be more subtle or more technical changes. Either way, my hope is that you have learned a little bit about selections and paths and I hope that I have convinced you little bit to begin to experiment so that you can learn how to improve your images with these techniques.
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