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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
Here we are going to continue to learn more about working with Levels, select one of them and then hold down the Command key on the Mac/Ctrl key on a PC. Click on the other one, you can find these in the Chapter 17_levels folder, let's go ahead and double click to open both of those. F to go to Full Screen View mode and then Ctrl+Tab will allow you to toggle between your two open documents. All right, one of the things that I want to do here is increase the overall color, saturation, the contrast, and I want to modify the color a little bit. So, in order to do that I'm going to apply a Levels Presets. Now you can find your Presets in the Adjustments panel here. I have those open. I'll go ahead and click on Increase Contrast 1. That will create a Levels Adjustments layer with a little bit of increased contrast. Now that wasn't enough for me.
Well I can change it here to Increase Contrast 3. All right, now we are talking. That's a little bit more interesting. Now I'm going to even go ahead and boost my whites just a little bit more and then here is my before and after. All right, well so far so good. We have seen how to do this before right, except we now learned how to use Presets. What about if I want to go into a different channel? In this case I'm going to go into the Red channel and here I'm just interested in boosting the reds just a touch. I don't want it to go cyan, I want it to go nice and warm. I'll then go into my Blue-Yellow channel. Same thing. What I'm interested in doing here is just warming it up again just a little bit there and then finally, Green-Magenta channel.
I'll click and drag to the right and add a little bit of Magenta, just want to add that overall warmth. And let's take a look at this. Before and after, very interesting image. And just as a side note, these photographs were taken at this Chalk Festival at the Santa Barbara Mission and one of the rules in photography is that you should never cut off limbs or arms or feet or heads, in this case with your composition. But that's exactly what I did and I came up with a really interesting composition because the only full view of a person is right here. So the image becomes a little bit more about shape and shadow.
So one of my tips for you is that next time you are photographing, experiment with composition and do things that "break the rules" because sometimes you can come up with some pretty interesting results. Okay, well let's look at the next image. Press Ctrl+Tab on a Mac or PC, press the Spacebar tool to reposition that image. Now you know what we are going to do here, right? We are going to go ahead and increase the contrast really significantly by clicking on that preset, Increase Contrast 3. Now this image is a little bit too cool. We know how to warm things up, right? We are going to go into that Blue-Yellow channel and with the Blue-Yellow channel we are going to grab that mid tone slider.
Now one of the reasons why I want to go here is when you increase the Yellow, a lot of times what you need to do is then go back and add some Magenta or Red. We can think of that Green channel as our Green-Magenta channel, I'll go ahead and increase that. Now when I did that, that looks so much better and then up to that Red channel same kind of thing here, it's going to add a touch of red and look at our overall before and after. So in this case we are not just increasing color and contrast, we are digging deeper to bring out some more of those other interesting colors in order to create a particular mood or a motion or a stylize color. Now the adjustments we are making here completely subjective. So experiment a little bit with those sliders and my hope for you is this that by watching this movie you will learn how to take advantage of not just the RGB channel but you will also begin to experiment with some of the other channels as well.
In closing, quick side note. This particular photograph is of the Santa Barbara Mission. Now most photographs of the mission are straight on, this is a photograph of the reflection of the mission. One of things that I recommend you do need next time you are experimenting with your own photography and your own composition is to try to take the straightforward picture. But then also look for the less obvious picture and sometimes it's the less obvious picture that's actually more visually interesting and more visually engaging.
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