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In Photoshop CS5: Landscape Photography, Ben Long outlines a full, shooting-to-output workflow geared specifically toward the needs of landscape photographers, with a special emphasis on composition, exposure enhancement, and retouching. This course also covers converting to black and white, using high-dynamic range (HDR) imaging techniques to capture an image that’s closer to what your eye sees, and preparing images for large-format printing. Learn to bring back the impact of the original scene with some simple post-processing in Photoshop. Exercise files are included with the course.
With your images transferred, and your selects made, you're ready to start your image editing process. Just as there is an overall workflow that you should follow - import, rate images, and make selects, edit, and finally output - when you're editing and adjusting your images, you also need to follow a specific workflow. By performing edits in a particular order, you'll have an easier time determining what edits need to be made. But more importantly, you'll preserve better quality throughout your edits. To begin working within an image, you have to open it. You can launch an image into Photoshop form Bridge, simply by double-clicking on the image's thumbnail, or by pressing the Return key.
Of course, there are lots of other ways to open images, but if you've already been working in Bridge, it's probably easiest to launch into Photoshop directly from there. Earlier, I strongly recommended that you shoot your landscape images in RAW format, so we're going to begin our editing lessons with RAW images. This is a RAW file right here. It has a CR2 extension. This is a RAW file from a Canon camera. Not all RAW files have the same extension. If you're shooting Nikon, you'll have an NEF extension. Olympus cameras have an ORF extension, and so on and so forth.
So, there is no standard for RAW format. I'm going to double-click on this image. A couple of things happen. First, you see that we switched to Photoshop, and now you see this big dialog box you may not have ever seen before. It says Camera Raw. Camera Raw is a plug-in, which controls RAW conversion in Photoshop. We're going to be spending a lot of time here. Camera Raw performs all of the RAW conversion that your camera normally performs when you're shooting in JPEG mode. In other words, it takes all of the steps required to get it from RAW sensor data to a finished image.
The advantage, of course, is that you're in control of how these steps are made. Let's take a quick tour of the Camera Raw dialog box. Obviously, right here in the middle is a big preview of my image. Just like in Photoshop, I can zoom in and out, and pan around. I can zoom in and out using the Magnifying Glass tool, click to zoom in, Alt+Click or Option+Click to zoom out. I also have this nice little pop-up menu down here with some different sizes. I've got these buttons over here. But probably the easiest way to get in and out is the same way you do in Photoshop, which is Command or Ctrl, Plus and Minus to zoom in and out and Command+0 to fill the screen with an image.
Unfortunately, unlike Photoshop, there is no Command+1, which takes you to 100% view. When you're zoomed in, you can use the Pan tool, which is this little hand here to pan around, or you can just press and hold the Spacebar while you click and drag. That will bring up the Hand tool when you have another tool selected. Up above the image, I have a bunch of tools. We're going to go over these as we work through these lessons. I've got these Eyedropper tools and Cropping tools and Straightening tools and Retouching tools. Rotation tools, if your image came in rotated wrong, you can fix it that way.
Preview button lets me toggle the current adjustments on or off. I don't have any adjustments right now, so clicking it doesn't do anything. But this basically gives me a way to see before and after. This button lets you go fullscreen If you have sized the window down, this not only takes it up to the full width of your screen, but also wipes out the Photoshop menu bar. It gives you just a little bit of extra space. If you're working on a laptop, that can be particularly useful. To the right of that, we have a histogram. This is a three-channel histogram.
Below that, we have the essential exposure information that we used when shooting this image. I can see it was shot at f/10, in 1/160th of a second, at ISO 100, using this particular lens. Below that are what appear to be some buttons; they are actually the tops of a bunch of little tabs. I'm looking at the Basic tab right here. I've also got these other tabs: Tone Curve and Detail and HSL/Grayscale, a whole bunch of different controls that we'll be looking at. But these, the Basic controls, are really the workhorse tools that we'll be spending most of our time with.
Finally, down here at the bottom, I have what Adobe calls the workflow controls. That's all of these buttons. These control how I get out of Camera Raw, and what I do with the resulting image. We'll be talking about these later. Finally, this thing that looks like a link here actually is a link to this dialog box, which gives me some more options. The Camera Raw dialog box is a very complete image editing environment. Many of the adjustments and edits that you can perform with Photoshop's tools can also be performed here in Camera Raw. As we proceed, you'll begin to understand which edits you might want to perform here, and which you'll save later for Photoshop. Don't worry; we're going to be spending a lot of time here in the Camera Raw dialog box, so you'll become very familiar with all of these controls.
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