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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 am going to show you how to automate the adjustment of white balance using the White Balance tool, and then I will show you how to apply your changes using either the Open Images or Done button down here in the bottom-right corner of the screen. So I have open Swim meet-1.dng through and including Swim meet-4.dng here inside of Camera Raw, and I've clicked the Select All button to select all four of the images, and I could now modify my White Balance settings if I wanted to. I can switch to Daylight, for example, and that would update all of my images at once.
So super useful. You can absolutely mow through your images. You can edit blocks of a hundred images at a time inside this dialog box if you want to. And to make your changes even speedier, you can take advantage of this guy right there, the White Balance tool, which you can get by pressing the I key for Eyedropper. Now the idea behind this tool is not only does it automate the process, but it also is ostensibly more accurate than you relying on subjective modifications because you can just click on a color that ought to be exactly neutral and Camera Raw will do the rest of the work for you.
So what you want to do is you want to click on a light neutral color, and when I say neutral, you may recall I mean it doesn't have any color cast associated with, or it shouldn't have any color cast. So, for example, the white of Sammy's swim cap right there ought to be a neutral light color, and you want to go with a neutral light color, something that's lighter than 50% gray, for example, because once you start going into your shadows, your shadows end up becoming noisier, and so you may end up picking up color noise which is going to throw off the White Balance calculations.
Anyway, in my case I would just go ahead and click on Sammy's swim cap right there, right there on one of the neutral white areas, and that should take care of the scene. Well it doesn't, and it often doesn't when you're working with anything but a gray card. So if you went ahead and captured a gray card along with your image, great! Go ahead and use it. Click on that gray card with the White Balance tool. Otherwise you're kind of taking your chances. The other thing to bear in mind about White Balance, as much as we like to think that there is an absolute White Balance setting associated with any given scene, it's actually a subjective modification. It really is.
So you're determining whether you want to warm up the scene or cool down the scene based on what you're seeing and to me this scene ultimately looks awfully greenish after clicking in that neutral detail. What I find more helpful where this specific collection of images is concerned is this last one. If you Alt+Click or Option+Click on Swim meet-4.dng at the bottom of the filmstrip, then you're going to see a couple of neutral details that could turn out to be very useful. One is the seat in the background, which is a white seat. So if I click inside of it someplace, then I should go ahead and neutralize the scene and that is actually probably pretty darn representative of the way the image actually looked that day.
You're going to see some bluish details inside of this kiddo's face. That's because he was wearing some bluish zinc oxide and so that is indicative of the actual color inside the scene. But I would like to warm this image up even further, and I will tell you upfront here that where White Balance is concerned I tend to err on the side of warmth. I love warm images. I do not tend to go for cool very often. So as a result I might go ahead and click on this card. Notice this card right here that's listing all the various strokes and it's listing the penalties that might occur too.
If I click in that card like so, then that's going to warm up the scene tremendously. If I zoom out here now, you can see that it's very good-looking scene as a result, at least in my estimation, and it just so happens that is not a neutral gray card. That is a bluish card that I just clicked on. So I went ahead and neutralized that bluish card, and in doing so I warmed everything up fairly significantly inside the scene in a way that I find to be very appealing. So it's totally up to you how you decide to work. But you can see what my settings are.
Temperature value of 6400, and Tint, which I believe is too high, I am going to take that guy down to about 10. Those are the White Balance settings I am going to apply. Now how am I going to apply them? Well, I could just go ahead and open all these images inside of Photoshop and notice when you hover over that Open Images button you're going to see a tooltip that's going to tell you, you have some Alt or Option+Click and Shift+Click options that are available to you. So if you Alt or Option+Click on the button then you'll open the images inside Photoshop subject to the way that they look, but you won't update the metadata that's associated with the files themselves.
The DNG files in this case, and that can sometimes be useful. It's up to you. Shift+Clicking on this button will open all the image as the Smart Objects, which will give you continued access to your Camera Raw settings, and we'll see what that looks like when we discuss Smart Objects in the Mastery portion of this series. But for now we're not going to do anything with this button, and it might seem kind of weird, because this is the button that opens the images inside of Photoshop and you might think that's what you always do. Once you get done making your modifications here inside Camera Raw, then you go ahead and open the images inside of Photoshop and save them, I guess, as JPEG files or TIFFs or make some more modifications.
And that is an option, but it really is only an option if you intend to apply some more modifications inside of Photoshop. If all you want to do is convert these guys to JPEGs or TIFFs, then you can click on the Save Images button over here on the bottom-left corner of the image window, and then notice that you have the option of going in and selecting a different file format such as JPEG, TIFF, and so on, and then you can automate the saving of those multiple files. Anyway, in my case I am going to cancel out, because here's what I want to do. I am just going to click on the Done button. So don't click on Cancel because you'll lose your changes, but if you click on Done, you will go ahead and apply your changes to the DNG image files and then go back to the Bridge, and did you see that? All of those thumbnails went ahead and updated here inside of the Preview panel and inside of the Content panel in the Bridge as well, and we're also seeing if you check out these little content thumbnails, you'll see these circular settings icons, and those indicate that we have applied Camera Raw settings to our images as metadata.
So this is totally nondestructive. We have not harmed the original DNG file in the least. We've just gone ahead and thrown on some metadata along with it, which in our case just includes the White Balance settings because we didn't change anything else and that is now saved as part of the file. So you have your regional pixels, fully intact, and then you have your metadata on top of it, which you can think of as being a kind of adjustment layer, very tiny little changes that are applied on top, and that's what's meant by that icon. Now, if you want to get rid of your changes you can, and you would do so by right-clicking inside of any one of these thumbnails here then drop all the way down to Develop Settings and you would choose Clear Settings, and that would wipe out your changes and then you would go back to your original image files.
I don't suggest you do that in this case because there is yet another way to work. You can save snapshot variations of your changes if you so desire, and I am going to show you, because this is a very, very useful thing that was added in version 5.2 of Camera Raw. So midway into the previous CS4 product cycle, and I'll show you how it works in the next exercise.
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