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Making creative corrections with Focus Area

From: Photoshop for Photographers: 2014 Creative Cloud Updates

Video: Making creative corrections with Focus Area

In this movie I want to continue our conversation And in this dialogue what we want to do is apply some sharpening.

Making creative corrections with Focus Area

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Photographers: 2014 Creative Cloud Updates
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 34s
    2. About this course
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 20m 8s
    1. Welcome screen (CC 2014.1) NEW
      2m 37s
    2. Better image viewing with Overscroll (CC 2014.1) NEW
      2m 27s
    3. Correcting distortion with Perspective Warp (CC 2014.1) NEW
      6m 37s
    4. Creating a promo piece with guide layouts (CC 2014.1) NEW
      3m 44s
    5. Creating a border with Modify selections (CC 2014.1) NEW
      2m 43s
    6. Easier grouping of layers (CC 2014.1) NEW
      2m 0s
  3. 27m 26s
    1. Using Focus Area for accurate sharpening
      5m 53s
    2. Making creative corrections with Focus Area
      6m 43s
    3. Improving color and light with Focus Area
      7m 29s
    4. Using Focus Area to extract a subject
      7m 21s
  4. 20m 27s
    1. Content-Aware UI change (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 5s
    2. Fixing the sky with the Patch tool
      4m 28s
    3. Better results with Content-Aware retouching
      5m 22s
    4. Removing distractions with Content-Aware Fill and Color Adaptation
      5m 4s
    5. Moving an object with Content-Aware Move
      4m 28s
  5. 19m 6s
    1. Adding a motion blur effect with Spin Blur
      4m 29s
    2. Introduction to the Path Blur filter
      7m 28s
    3. Creating blur effects that follow a path
      7m 9s
  6. 11m 22s
    1. Protect (or pin) edges in the Liquify filter
      2m 8s
    2. A better preview when selecting color
      4m 23s
    3. Improved layer comps workflow
      4m 51s
  7. 28m 23s
    1. Before-and-after previews in Camera Raw
      5m 36s
    2. Resetting and duplicating local corrections
      3m 6s
    3. Change the crop orientation more quickly
      1m 18s
    4. Modify the Gradient filter with a brush
      5m 35s
    5. Customize the Radial filter with a brush
      4m 53s
    6. Spot removal (CC 2014.1) NEW
      2m 53s
    7. Interactive histogram (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 55s
    8. Noise Reduction and Color Smoothness (CC 2014.1) NEW
      3m 7s
  8. 24m 2s
    1. Rendering a tree for a creative layer blending (CC 2014.1) NEW
      3m 34s
    2. Blending and masking in the tree (CC 2014.1) NEW
      4m 24s
    3. Rendering fire based on a shape (CC 2014.1) NEW
      3m 27s
    4. Lighting text on fire (CC 2014.1) NEW
      3m 34s
    5. Adding fire to a cyclist (CC 2014.1) NEW
      5m 43s
    6. Adding a frame to a photograph (CC 2014.1) NEW
      3m 20s
  9. 40s
    1. Where to go next

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