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This course explores the newest version of Photoshop from a photographer's perspective—helping users of previous versions of Photoshop make upgrade decisions and get up to speed with CS6. Author Chris Orwig covers the improvements to Camera Raw, including the improved exposure controls, Adjustment Brush tool, and Lens Correction filter. He then addresses the enhancements in Photoshop, such as the new Layer panel behavior, which makes renaming and organizing layers almost effortless, and image-editing features like content-aware retouching, photorealistic blur effects, and redefined nondestructive cropping; plus the brand-new ability to edit video in Photoshop. The final chapter addresses the new Creative Cloud subscription option, detailing features of interest to photographers: the enhanced Blur Gallery and Liquify filters, conditional actions, and improvements to the Crop tool.
Here, we're going to take a look at a great new feature, which allows us to have more flexibility when we're working with the three filters that we'll find inside of the Blur Gallery. Now before we get to how we can work with this in new ways, let's talk a bit about how we did this previously. Well, previously what you would do is target a layer then you would navigate to the Filter pull down menu, here we would choose Blur and then we'd select, either Field Blur, Iris Blur or Tilt-Shift. Let's go ahead and try Tilt-Shift just for a demo purposes.
This would then open up this Blur Gallery and here we could customize the type of the Tilt-Shift blur that we wanted to apply. If you'll click in the center circle, you can drag this around to reposition it. We can change the amount of the overall blur and also some of the blur characteristics. We can control what's sharp and what's in focus and also the transition area between what's in focus and what isn't. Now once we've come up with our desired effect, we would simply click OK in order to apply this.
Now the good side about these different types of blurs that we find in the Blur Gallery is that they allow us to come up with some really creative effects with our photographs. The downside is that this is completely un-editable. We can't change the blur. We can't change its intensity or modify it in any way, shape or form. Well now this new feature, it actually allows us to do that. Let me show you how. Here I'll press Cmd+Z on the Mac or Ctrl+Z on Windows in order to undo what we just did.
Rather than going straight to that Blur Gallery, first what we're going to do is target the layer and then right-click or Ctrl+Click that layer. In this contextual dialog, you're looking for Convert to Smart Object. Once you've selected that, you'll notice that the icon will change. It will show you that this is now a Smart Object layer and we can now apply those filters as Smart filters which gives us even more flexibility. So here we'll go to our Filter pull down menu, we'll select Blur and then we'll choose one of these types of blur.
And again all of three work. I'm just going to use Tilt-Shift for demo purposes. Well, now here we have that same Blur Gallery and we can go ahead and customize this and I'm just going to customize this a little bit to create this effect and let's say that that's what I want to do, we'll click OK. Well once I've clicked OK, I realized, "Oh gosh, the blur is way too heavy. I want to decrease the blur amount." Well now we can. To do that, you'll notice that we have these icons here, a mask and also the Blur Gallery.
I can click on the eye icon to turn that off or back on and if you double-click on the Blur Gallery word, it will re-launch the Blur Gallery. Here I could then decrease that blur amount and I don't want something quite that strong. Let me go ahead and modify these a little bit as well and then let's say, I'll bring it a little bit back up there and I think that's pretty good for at least for now. Once we have that, we'll go ahead and click OK. Well now that I've done that, I like the blur better but I see something that I want to change.
I really want to bring into focus this guy down here in the lower right hand corner who's about to cross the street. I kind of like that element of the photograph. Well we can do that by painting on the mask. Here if we click into this mask for our Smart filter, the blur which we just applied, we can then choose the Brush tool. Let's do so by clicking on the brush in the Tools panel. Next we'll go to the Options bar and we want to choose a brush without any Hardness and a pretty big brush. Then I want to paint with black because I want to conceal the blur.
I want to hide this. I want to bring back the sharpness so we'll just start to paint over this area. And what is so phenomenal about this is we can use that Blur Gallery to come up with some really creative results and then we can hand paint in how we want to modify that. For example, the car isn't quite in focus so I'll just paint it in so now it is. So now I've created my own version of this Tilt-Shift blur. And keep in mind, this works with all three of those different types of blur effects that we'll find inside of that Blur Gallery and you can really come up with some fascinating results.
Now last but not least what I want to highlight as well is that you can start to stack up the different filters that you apply in addition to using these from the Blur Gallery. Let me show you what I mean. So if we click on the image rather than the mask, now we're targeting the image here, we can go back to our Filter pull down menu. Here I'll choose Noise and then Add Noise. When we do this, and when we increase this amount, what we're going to see is that we're adding noise to this area of the image where the blur effect is being applied.
Now I've exaggerated the amount so that you can really see this but what's helpful with that is that when you're adding the blur, sometimes, at least in my opinion, the blur is a little bit too Gaussian or too smooth, too perfect. So we could add a bit of texture into that by adding some noise, Monochromatic noise, and perhaps just a really small amount there and in doing that if we add maybe just 0.5 or something along those lines, we can add just a little bit of texture in there so that it emulates or simulates a little bit more how a Tilt-Shift lens would work if we were capturing an image on film.
In either way, I just kind of like having a bit of texture there and then we can click OK. The great thing about stacking up these different filter effects is that if you apply one and want to change its amount, again, just double-click the name and then we could increase that amount or we could go back and decrease it and then click OK. If you decide that you don't like that at all and it doesn't really work for you, well just turn it off by clicking on the eye icon and it will remove that effect, whatever it is, whether it's adding noise or of course working with blur.
So in this way you can see that this new functionality, which allows us to take advantage of using Smart Objects really increases and expands the way that we can work with that Blur Gallery. It allows us to have more flexibility and more creative control as we seek to add creative blur effects to our photographs.
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