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Creative Cloud delivers the latest Photoshop updates right to your computer, but how do you stay on top of all these new features and integrate them into your digital workflows? Chris Orwig is here to provide a photocentric guide to Adobe's updates, adding new chapters every time changes are released. To start, Chris covers correcting with Focus Area and explores the Content-Aware tool changes, the Path Blur filter, and the improved Layer Comps workflow, as well as updates to Camera Raw. Check back often for new tutorials.
In this movie I want to continue our conversation about working with focus area and here I want to look at how we can use this selection tool to do something which is much more functional. You can see that I captured this image with a really shallow depth of field. There's only a small sliver of the image which is in focus. Well, I want to sharpen that area of the photograph. It wouldn't make sense to sharpen the foreground or the background because it's out of focus. Well, what we'll do in this movie is look at how we can use focus area in order to build a selection of this area then we'll apply some sharpening to that part of the photograph.
Alright, here goes. Let's navigate to the Select pull down menu then choose Focus Area. Again, that's Select, and then Focus Area. And that will open up our Focus Area dialog. When you first start to look at and evaluate how Photoshop did when it created this selection for you. Sometimes what I find helpful to do is to move this dialog out of the way so that you can see the image, and also to change your view mode. You can do so by clicking on this menu and choosing different options, here and I view this on black, I notice I have this little detail up here which doesn't look very good.
You can also press the F key. You'll see that shortcut right down below and that allows you to toggle through the different modes. So, sometimes, if you tap the F key you can go to these different view modes where you can see or identify the areas that might need some help. Like, with this image, I need to get rid of this area which is selected. One way we might try to do that is by using our in focus range slider. Here, remember drag that to the left and what we'll have is the last of the image selected. In this case though it didn't work, it removed her hand and some other items though, that isn't going to cut it.
Let's turn auto back on and go back to that value. What we need to do is get more specific with our tools right here. We have two tools, one with a minus icon, one with a plus icon. Let's choose the brush with the minus icon so we can subtract from this and then we can go into our brush size, increase that brush size here and paint over the area that we want to remove from the selection. If you find that you have other areas in your image like I have a little bit of this edge selected which I want to get rid of, we'll just paint over that.
As you do that, Photoshop will reanalyze the other similar areas in the image and it will remove those and clean up and create a better edge for you. You can see how it's doing that here in this part of the photograph. Well if we zoom in, you notice that it selected an area behind the subject between her hair and arm which is clearly out of focus. Let me zoom in really close so you can see that. If we want to subtract that we want to use a smaller brush. And then just go ahead and paint over that area. And you don't need to be very exact just paint generally over that area.
That will tell Photoshop to pay attention to that area again and then to try to clean that up. Now in this case, so far we're doing okay with the selection we have. I lost a little bit of the shoulder so I grabbed the brush with the plus icon. I can paint over that, bring back some of the shoulder there. Yeah, my edges still aren't that great. So I want to clean those edges up, apart from trying to manually paint over different areas. Often we'll need to do that by going to Refine Edge. So here, let's go to Refine Edge and in this dialog we can turn on Smart Radius.
Again, we often start from the top and make our way down. With a little bit of Smart Radius with this image, if I look at the preview, and let me zoom in so you can actually see the edge detail. If I look at the preview before, and after, you can see those edges are already looking a bit better. Little bit of smoothing maybe, actually that didn't look very good. Maybe a touch of feather, a little bit of contrast, then I'll just trim off a bit of the edge there by shifting that in. All right, well, once we've refined our edge detail, the next step is to determine how we want to output this.
In the previous movie we outputted our selection to a selection rather than doing that this time, I want to output it to a new layer with a layer mask. And the reason why I want to do that is I want to sharpen this new layer that we're creating here. So on the pulldown menu, or from the pulldown menu, choose New Layer with a Layer Mask, and then click OK. Once we do that, we can see that we now have two layers, we have one layer which has the content showing which are primarily sharp and in focus, and then underneath this we have the entire image.
When we stack these on top of each other it looks like we just have one photograph but really we have these two layers so we can now work on these two different areas of the image. For example, with this top layer, I want to apply some sharpening here. So you want to click into the image icon in the Layers panel. Not the Mask icon but the Imagine icon. You should see the little brackets showing you that that's what you're targeting. Next up, we'll navigate to a filter. Here we'll go to Filter. Then we'll choose Sharpen and then good old friendly Smart Sharpen.
Again that's Filter Sharpen then Smart Sharpen. This will open up our Smart Sharpen dialogue and here let's move over to where we can see the subject. And in this dialogue what we want to do is apply some sharpening. And we're just applying the sharpening to this part of the photograph so that's the area that we want to pay attention to. This is a low res file so I know that I am going to need a lower amount and a lower radius. Typically, the higher the resolution the file, the higher the radius and amount. The lower the res, you bring those values down.
Alright, well, I think that looks pretty good. Let me zoom into 100% so I can see this at this view and just click to see the before and after. Just a subtle snap off, sharpening of this area of the image, that looks great. Click OK, and that will then apply the sharpening to this layer. So now we have the image selectively sharpened, and we're only sharpening the areas of focus. This is so helpful. It would be so much more difficult to try to hand paint this in and it would take a lot more time but by using focus area we were able to build a selection really quickly, refine those edges and then output that to a new layer with a mask and then apply our sharpening here.
Now, once we're ready to print, or send the photograph off to the client, we obviously will need to turn on the visibility of the background layer so we have the best of both worlds. Our top layer, where we have the sharpening being applied. And then the underline layer, which is the original photograph.
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