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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.
All right, you may recall few exercises back, in passing I mentioned that you can use the Add Noise Filter to match levels of Noise inside of an image. So the idea is that if you have two photographs that you are merging together, and they were shot with different cameras, different ISOs, they have different levels of Noise, then you can use an independent layer of that Noise in order to simulate a smooth transition between the two images. What we might want to do exactly that inside of our final composition, which is shown here, so this is that final version of the corrected photograph as opposed to the paper texture image, it's called Final feelers.psd, found inside the 16_smooth folder.
And notice what we have going on here. I am looking at this area in front of the butterfly's face. We are going from this region that has a fair amount of Noise inside of it. I love that Noise intact because it wasn't seriously containing with the detail. Then we all of a sudden go to this area of no Noise whatsoever, in the background. Now that's going to work out fine if I decide to print the image. So if I go up to the View menu and choose, for example, Print Size or press Ctrl+Alt+0, Command+Option+0, if you loaded dekeKeys, why then we are not really seeing the difference between the Noise at this level, so everything is going to print out theoretically just fine and you would try a test print just to make sure of course.
But my guess is this guy is going to have no problems when we print it, especially if we print the image at a resolution of 267 or 300 ppi something along those lines. However, let's say I decide to display the image on either a very large screen for a client or I am going to include a detail from the image on a web page or something. And I want to show every pixel inside the image, like so. Well, then people are going to notice the difference between the Noise portion of the image and the no Noise portion of the image.
Especially, I will zoom farther in here. You can see how the Noise just kind of drifts off, because I just painted in the mask. I didn't try to use any super-accurate masking techniques here. Which I could have done, but even then, I would have very sharp transition between Noise and no Noise. So in my case, it might work out splendidly, if I went ahead and added an additional layer of add Noise. Now this might sound crazy, because we just spent all that time trying to get rid of the Noise, why would we put it back? Well, this is going to be controlled Noise, it will be good Noise that we use as delicately as possible, just to match things so that it doesn't look like there is a big gap between the Noise and lack of Noise.
And it won't look nearly as ad hoc as the Noise I was captured by the digital camera in the first place. I am going to go ahead and zoom out here a few clicks and scroll the image over. Then I will go up to the layer menu and I will choose the Flatten Image command or press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F, Command+Shift+Option+F on the Mac, something to note about this. I have mentioned this before, but I just want to make this clear. Once you choose the Flatten Image command and you merge all your layers into one, if you go up to the File menu and you choose the Save command or press Ctrl+S, Command+S on the Mac, you wipe out, your layers are gone.
I just need you to understand this, one of the most frequent questions I get is, I wiped out my layers, how do I get them back? Believe it or not, that's a very common question, and the answer of course is you don't, if you save the image without, the layers are gone. What you need to make sure you do is you choose Save As after you get on flattening the image, so you still have a version of the image sitting around that's got layers inside of it. Anyway, once again, after choosing Flatten, it is good idea to follow it up with Save As, Ctrl+Shift+S, Command+Shift+S on the Mac. But to get back to where we were, I am going to press Ctrl+Shift+N, Command+Shift+N on the Mac to create a new layer that I will call Noise, like so.
And then I'll click OK. And then I might go up to the Filter menu and I could choose the Noise command and I would choose Add Noise at which point Photoshop gets grumpy at me and says, no, no, no, I cannot create Noise in an area of emptiness, I have to have pixels to work with, this is Photoshop talking. So I could add Noise directly to the background layer, but I can't add Noise to an empty Noise layer. Good to know, click OK. I have got a different way to work, in that case let's go ahead and create a layer that's ready to go, that's got some color associated with it already right from the outset.
So press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to get rid of that new Noise layer and press Ctrl+Shift+N, Command+Shift+N on the Mac, create another layer called Noise, doesn't look like I am doing anything different, but I am, I am going to change the mode from Normal to Overlay right off the bat, because Overlay is going to be our ticket to adding Noise to the existing image. So choose the Overlay-blend mode and then you have got this wonderful option right here, Fill with Overlay-neutral color, which by the way Photoshop whispers to you is 50% gray. Great! That's exactly what we want.
So turn on that check box, and in one operation we not only created a new layer and named it, we've also given it a Blend mode and filled it with 50% gray without having to dial anything into the Color panel. Click OK in order to create that new layer, notice, it is 50% gray, but we are not seeing it or anything, because gray is invisible where the Overlay-blend mode is concerned. Now, we can see our Noise as we apply it to the image. So go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise and choose the Add Noise command, this time Photoshop not grumpy with you, go ahead and zoom in on the image so that we can match the Noise that's going on here.
And that's too much Noise, and the amount of 20% is way over the top. What I suggest you do instead and after all we are trying to match the Luminance Noise, right, we got rid of the Color Noise throughout the image, so we definitely want Monochromatic turned On. Meanwhile Gaussian is a pretty good idea, because just the way it distributes the Noise, very useful, it tends to spread the Noise farther out so that we are more likely to get White Noise and Black Noise as opposed to just a bunch of low level Gray Noise which is kind of a waste of time really for our purposes. But what we definitely want to do is reduce this amount value.
What I recommend you do is start with something like 2% and you are probably not even going to see the effect of Noise at that level. I'll go ahead and zoom in on the image. I am seeing a little bit of Noise. Notice that if I turn Preview Off, the Noise totally goes away, I don't know if you are seeing this in the video or not. If I turn it back On we do have a little bit of Noise going on in the background, but if you are following along with me, you should see it. Then what I want you to do is press Shift+Up Arrow, actually Shift+Up Arrow isn't even enough, that just takes us in increments of .1. I hate the filters that do this by the way.
Where you press the Up Arrow key and it takes you in hundredths of a percent increment that gets you nowhere very slowly. Anyway, so I will just enter an amount of 3% and that's getting closer to it, let's try 4%, somewhere around possibly 5% is going to give me a good Noise match as we can see right there. So we have a decent level of Noise in the background, perhaps a little bit too much. We are not really doing anything to the Noise in the foreground, because we are actually covering up that foreground Noise with less Noise than we had before. So it's just kind of jumbling the Noise up.
Notice if I turn the Preview check box Off, we just see kind of a different Noise pattern going on in this region, as opposed to covering it up with more Noise, which just kind of clutters things a little bit, doesn't make much of a difference in other words. And that looks pretty good to me. So about 5% Noise is going to give us a halfway decent match, what you don't want to do is get carried away with the match and say, well, you know, that's more like 10% Noise, we better stick with that, because really, it's not a matter of making sure that you absolutely match the level of Noise, you just don't want people to notice that you go from Noise to no Noise inside the image, so don't overdo it.
Very important that you don't overdo this effect, just give it as little Noise as possible. In fact, you know what, if I was really doing this, I would enter 4% Noise or even 3% Noise, but because I wanted to show up on the video I am going to say 5% Noise, and then I will click OK, and that is an effective Noise match, created using an independent layer of gray, 50% gray, set to the Overlay-blend mode and then you choose the Add Noise command, enter something between 2-5% is going to work out great for you. Monochromatic if you want to match your Luminance Noise, I don't think there is any reason to match Color Noise inside the image, because you can get rid of that fairly easily.
And then finally, I like Gaussian distribution, but you can experiment with uniform as well. And that's how you get rid of Noise and add Noise to an image here inside Photoshop.
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