Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustration by Richard Downs

Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions


Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions

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.
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  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 59s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 51s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
11h 8m Advanced Sep 12, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
  • Placing and blending Smart Objects in a scene
  • Transforming and warping vector objects
  • Correcting for lens distortion
  • Mitigating halos and enhancing contrast with Shadows/Highlights
  • Adding and editing points on a curve
  • Editing multiple images in Camera Raw
  • Creating a pro-quality sepia tone or quadtone
  • Colorizing with blend modes and opacity
  • Reducing and smoothing over noise
  • Creating depth-of-field effects with blur
  • Selecting with Color Range and Quick Mask
  • Perfecting a mask with Refine Edge
  • Drawing paths with the Pen tool
  • Converting path outlines to vector masks
Photoshop Camera Raw
Deke McClelland

Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions

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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