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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie, we'll get rid of that purple colorcast and the snow and sky by adjusting our Curves Settings on a channel by channel basis. And you can see just what a difference we're going to make here by switching to the final version of the image, in which both the snow and sky are perfectly neutral. And here's how that works. I'll go ahead and switch to our composition in progress, and then I'll double-click on the thumbnail for the darken snow layer to bring up the Properties panel. And I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on a region of purplish snow.
And then I'll select my Gray Eyedropper, which lets me do the same thing it does when I'm working with Levels, that is you click inside the image to make a color neutral. And then I'll click on what appears to be a sort of purplish color there in the snow. And that does make the image more neutral, however, it appears to me as if I'm making the image sort of green. And in order to sort of test if I've gotten things right here, I can drag the darken snow layer below superblaster, and that way the effects of this adjustment will get exaggerated.
So notice as soon as darken snow is below superblaster, I'm increasing the Saturation and Vibrance of these colors like crazy, and I can see that, yes, my snow is now super green. All right. So notice now here inside the Curves panel that I can see some independent channel adjustments in the form of these green and blue curves; you may see a red curve as well. So obviously the main culprit is the green curve, so I'll go ahead and switch from the RGB composite to the Green Channel. And on the PC I have to press the Escape key in order to deactivate that menu.
Then I'll press the Plus (+) key a couple of times in order to select that central point. You'll just have one new point in the center of each curve. And I'm going to go ahead and move it to the center, so it's right there, at an Input of 128. And based on my experience, I want the Output value to be 130. So I'll press the Down Arrow key in my case to make it so. And then I'll switch from Green to Blue and press the Escape key again. And my central point is still selected, so that's great. I'll just go ahead and nudge it over by pressing the Right Arrow Key a few times to an Input of 128.
And then I'll nudge it down to an Output value of 125. And finally, I'll switch over to the Red Channel, press the Escape key, nudge the Input value over to 128, and nudge the Output value down to 124. And the reason I'm making both the green and blue curves darker is because, bear in mind, our snow used to be very purplish, which is a combination of red and blue working together, and therefore we need to darken the Red and Blue channels and brighten ever so slightly the Green Channel.
All right, that takes care of our Curves adjustments. Now, if you zoom in you're going to see some mottling in that snow, a lot of color noise, for example, but that's mostly because we're exaggerating the saturation like crazy with that superblaster layer. So now, go ahead and drag the darken snow layer back to the top of the stack and much of that color noise will go away, not quite all, we'll take care of that problem in a moment. But we've got a bigger problem right now in the form of this hideous posterization that's surrounding the edge of the mask.
So you can see these areas of gray right here, if I Alt+Click or Opt+Click on the layer Mask thumbnail here inside the Layers panel, they represent these choppy transitions between the black pixels in the mask and the white pixels. So what we need to do to solve this problem is blur the mask, and the best way to do that is to Alt+Click or Opt+Click on the layer Mask, so that we can see the full color composite image. Then double-click on the thumbnail to bring up the Properties panel, and I'm going to reduce the size of this panel so I can see what I'm doing. The solution is this guy right here, the Feather value, which allows you to blur the mask dynamically.
And if you click inside that value and press Shift+Up Arrow a few times, you'll see those ratty posterized edges disappear before your very eyes. And at a value of about 5 pixels everything looks to be in good shape. Now, this is another one of those parametric settings, so you can come back and modify the blurriness of this mask anytime you like. All right, now I'll go ahead and hide the Properties panel, and I'll zoom out once again to take in the entire image. Now, we have one additional problem, which is we still have some very obvious color noise going on inside of the sky and snow of this image.
And we can solve that problem by masking away the effects of the superblaster adjustment, specifically in the sky and snow, and here's how we'll do that. Go ahead and Alt+drag or Opt+drag the layer Mask thumbnail from darken snow to superblaster in order to duplicate that layer Mask. Now, that's giving us exactly the opposite effect of what we're looking for, that is to say, we're removing the saturation from the dark areas, that is the barn; and we're keeping the saturation in the bright areas, that is the sky and snow. So with this layer Mask thumbnail selected, go ahead and click on it.
Then press Ctrl+I or Cmd+I on the mask to Invert that mask, and you'll take the saturation out of the sky and you'll leave the saturation in the barn, just as you see here. All right, now I'm going to zoom out slightly here by reducing my Zoom value in the lower left corner of the image window. And this is the final effect, folks, and what's interesting about it is how much detail we have. Notice that we have all this contouring in the snow, which is absolutely great. We have all this detail in the weeds and the barn. We can even see the distinction between the snow on the ground and the grayness of the sky, none of which was visible in the original image.
If I Alt+Click or Opt+Click on the eyeball in front of the background item here, you can see that there's barely any distinction between snow and sky at all; the barn is so dark it looks like it was set on fire; and the ground looks as if we're snow blind. Compare that of course to our final corrected version of the image, in which all sorts of details are fully evident, including this strange effect right there, where the sun is darker than the sky. And that's how you apply the full power of curves to correcting even the most challenging of photographic images.
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