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An environmental portrait—one photographed in a setting that tells a story about the subject—has the potential to reveal something unique and interesting about the person in focus.
In this course, photographer, teacher, and author Chris Orwig explores a variety of Adobe Photoshop postproduction techniques that enhance the authenticity and mood of an environmental portrait. Working with a photograph of world-champion surfer Kelly Slater, Chris steps through each technique, from black-and-white conversion and toning to retouching and more, explaining his creative process along the way.
At this step of our project I want to do three things. I want to take a look at how we can merge some of our layers together in order to organize our layers. And then, I want to step back from what we've been doing, and see if we've missed anything. And then finally, I want to do a little bit of burning and dodging on a new layer. Well first let's organize our layers. You can see the Layers panel that we've done a lot of work. We have a lot of layers. Let's merge these together. We can do that by clicking in one layer then hold down the Shift Key, and click in another.
This will select the contiguous or the touching layers. Now, that we have all of these selected by clicking and then Shift+Clicking, we can use a shortcut to merge those together. To do that on a Mac press Command+E, on Windows press Ctrl+E. Next, we'll go ahead and name this new layer details. So, here we have merged together all of the detail work that we've done. And typically you want to do this when you're ready to commit to the changes that you've made your photograph.
In this case, I'm ready to commit to all of these changes. And sometimes by organizing your Layers panel, it can give you a little bit of momentum so, that you're not distracted by all that you have there and you can say, you know what? I've finished that stage of a project. I'm ready to go to another. And whenever you come to that crossroads so to speak you always want to zoom out. And in zooming out by pressing Command+- or Ctrl+-, all of a sudden I notice that I have this bright orange logo on the surfboard that I completely didn't notice and that's distracting to me.
I want to get rid of it. Well, to do that really easily we can use the Patch tool. And let's go ahead and apply this adjustment right on our details layer. So, we'll stay in this layer. We'll press the J key and then Shift+J until we have that Patch tool, or just click and hold and choose Patch. Once again, we want to use Content Aware. And of course, if you're using a previous version of Photoshop which doesn't have this option, no big deal, just use the default settings here and you will be able to retouch in a similar way.
Yet of course, if you do have this option, you want to select it. So, let's go ahead and select Content Aware and then we want to choose the appropriate adaptation. And then again, here we want to use the adaptation of Very Loose, because this isn't really an identifiable graphic, this area that will be working on, it's just some handprints, and then we can leave Sample All Layers turned on. Next, we are going to go ahead and just make a rough selection of this logo here, and then click and drag to a new area, and then let go in order to apply that adjustment.
Now, after you've applied that adjustment, you want to press Command+D on a Mac or Ctrl+D on Windows to deselect. If you forget that shortcut, you can always go to the Select pulldown menu, and look it up right here, here it is deselect, and that deselects a selection that we just made. That was actually a pretty important adjustment to our photograph. So, let's continue to work with this file and we'll pick up where we left off here in the next movie.
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