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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.
In this final exercise of the chapter, we're going to modify the channel-by-channel curves settings in order to remove this purple color cast from the sky and the snow. I've gone ahead and saved my changes to this Purple sky.psd, found inside the 14_levels_curves folder. With this top layer selected, that is darken snow, make sure that layer is active, and that you're looking at the contents of the Adjustments panel here. I'm going to grab my gray eyedropper, and I'm going to move it down into a fairly purple region of the snow here, and I'm going to click on it, because the snow should just be neutral.
All right, and that seems like it might have given the snow a bit of a green color cast now. That could be because I clicked on the wrong pixel. I've got my Eyedropper set to Point Sample. So, you know what, let's go ahead and change an eyedropper setting. I'll select the Eyedropper tool from the toolbox, and then I'll switch from Point sample to let's say 5 by 5 Average. I don't want to make it too big, because I don't have a lot of room inside of the snow. Now, I'll select the gray eyedropper, here inside the Adjustments panel, and I'll click inside the snow again, and that does a better job, it seems to me, of neutralizing that snow.
Now, if you want to double-check things, and make sure you've got some real neutral snow going, well, I then move the darken snow layer under that Vibrance layer. In my case, I'm going to have to collapse the Adjustments panel and I'll drag darken snow below superblaster, like so. What that's going to go is exaggerate any lack of neutrality inside of my snow. So, I do have a lot of green going on there. All right, so let's go ahead and double-click on the thumbnail for that Curves Adjustment, and now I'm going to visit the green color channel there, by selecting Green from this pop-up menu.
Notice I once again have those same keyboard shortcuts that I had with Levels, i.e. Alt+2 or Option+2 takes me to the composite image, then Alt+3-5 or Option+3-5 takes me to the various independent channels. I'm going to switch over to Green here, and I'm going to grab this Green point and drag it closer in, like so. So, if I'm dragging this point up, I'm going to add Green to the image. If I drag it down towards this diagonal line, then I'm going to remove some of the green from the image. However, if I go too far, then I'm going to essentially add the opposite of green, which is the purple that I was trying to remove in the first place.
So, let's go ahead and take this guy just slightly upward, and I'm going to make sure that my Input level is 128, and my Output level is 130. So, we're ever so slightly brightening the greens in order to compensate for those purples. All right, now let's check out the Blue channel. I'm going to grab this point, move it down a little bit, and now I'm going to take that Input level once again to 128, and I'm going to raise the Output level to say 126 or maybe 125. I'll take it down to 125, that looks pretty good. Then I'll visit the Red channel, just to make sure I'm happy with things.
I'll drag this guy down once again to an Input level of 128, and I'm going to take that Output level down one increment to a value of 124. That looks pretty darn good to me. All right, now we may end up still having a little bit of discernible color cast, but bear in mind that some of this is because we're under this superblaster, which is elevating the saturation levels like crazy. I'm going to collapse my Adjustments panel, and then I'm going to drag darken snow above superblaster, and pretty much all of that saturation is going to go away and we should see some very neutral snow left over.
The last thing I'm going to do, because if you zoom in on this image, you're going to see some very crunchy details around this grass, down here in the lower right corner of the image, and closer toward the house as well. To get rid of that crunchiness, here's what I want you to do. This is another option we haven't seen yet inside the software. Very easy to apply however! Make sure the layer mask is selected there in darken snow, and by that I mean it should have a double outline around it. Then I want you to switch to the Masks panel, and you can get to Masks by going to the Window menu and choosing the Mask command, or if you loaded dekeKeys, I gave you a keyboard shortcut of Alt+F10 or Option+F10 on the Mac.
Now, I want you to raise the Feather value, and you can just click inside of that Feather value and press the Up Arrow key in order to increase that incrementally, and you'll see the crunchiness disappear before your very eyes. At a value of about 5 pixels, I think it looks pretty good. This, by the way, is a nondestructive parametric adjustment, meaning we could change our minds anytime we like. I'm essentially blurring the mask on the fly, but I could always come back and unblur it later. All right, I'll go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, and then I'm going to zoom out so that we can take in more of the image at a time.
I'll go ahead and center the image in the window a little bit. Actually, you know what, let's drag the side of these panels over, so that we have even more room to work. Now to give you a sense of just how far we've come with this image, notice, by the way, all that detail in the snow down there, you can see all those shadow contours that we never saw before. You can also make out the distinction between the ground and the sky, something that was very hard to see. Then finally, if you look very closely, there is the darkish sun, so weird that this sun is darker than the sky.
Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and Alt+Click on that Background layer, so that we can see the original version of the image in terrible shape, now that we look at it. If I Alt+Click or Option+Click again, then I see the corrected version of the image. Thanks to the amazing contrast reducing power of the Curves command, here inside Photoshop!
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