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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.
All right gang, in this exercise we are going to go ahead and open this image inside the Photoshop. We are going to troubleshoot it, decide whether it looks as good as I am hoping it does, and then we'll see how to make corrections back inside of Camera RAW. To do that, you need to open the image as a smart object. So still working inside California coast.DNG. Before I open the image in Photoshop I need to reset my workflow options so I don't open a tiny version of the image. So I am going to click on this link down here. This blue link at the bottom of the window, and I'm to change crop size from 1348 blah-blah-blah to the one that doesn't include a minus sign or a plus sign, 3983 and so forth.
So I'll go ahead and choose that option, then click OK, and that's going to grow the image onscreen, and that's just fine. I'll go ahead and scroll it down so that we have a decent view of some detail here. And next I am going to open the image. Now this Open Image button right here goes ahead and hands the image off to Photoshop, but you can hand off the image in one of three ways. If you just click the Open Image button, then you'll do two things. You'll save all your settings along with that original DNG file on disk and then you hand off the RGB mix of the image to Photoshop, where you can edit it to your heart's content.
If you don't want to save off your changes to DNG file, then you will press the Alt key, the Option key on a Mac and click on what becomes the Open Copy button, and that preserves your original settings inside the DNG file. Now, that's not a good idea for us because we have made all kinds of adjustments. We have even saved a couple snapshots here. One would think we would want to save that work along with the DNG file, but if you want for some reason to protect the DNG file, that's how you do it and then finally if you press the shift key that Open Image button changes to Open Object, which tells you you are going to hand off the image as a Smart Object to Photoshop.
The advantage there is instead of delivering a flat background image to Photoshop, you deliver a Smart Object which contains the Camera RAW file, so that you can open the image back inside Camera RAW anytime you like. It makes for a bigger Photoshop file. It's a little more cumbersome as well. However, it's infinitely flexible, so that's what we are going to do. I want you to go ahead and Shift- click on that Open Object button. That is going to hand off the image to Photoshop, and it might take a moment for Photoshop to go ahead and render the image.
Then I'll go ahead and zoom in, and I want to get a sense for how good this image looks. So bear in mind now that we don't have that issue with needing to see the image at 100%. That doesn't affect us inside of Photoshop at all because Photoshop exploits OpenGL and it goes ahead and renders out the pixels more accurately. So it's troubling that I'm seeing this color mottling. To see what I am talking about, here I'll go ahead and zoom in another click. There is a bit of mottling going on inside at the sea. So we are seeing some occasional dark spots followed by light spots.
I wonder what's going on there. Well, that's ultimately a function of the color noise reduction. It's not because the color noise reduction is raised too high, because I am using too high of a value. It's because I can't go any higher than 100%. So we're still left with some noise ultimately showing up here. It's just big chunky thick noise now. So that means we need to go back in the Camera RAW and make some sort of modification while we can by virtue of the fact that we opened this image as a Smart Object. So here in the Layers panel, I would just go ahead and double-click on this California coast thumbnail, and that will once again open the image in Camera Raw, this time hosted by Photoshop instead of the Bridge.
I'll get that same message about how my screen is too tiny. Not a problem. I'll just go ahead and click OK because Camera RAW remembers that it is maximized, so we are fitting the interface onscreen. Then I am going to go ahead and zoom the image to 100% by pressing Ctrl+Alt+0 or Command+Option+0 on the Mac, and I want to be able to see this mottling. I can see it right now at 100%. It's very evident. I don't know how I missed it before. All right, so what I am going to do is rather than going to the Detail Options. I could play around with them until I was blue in the face and I am not going to get anywhere.
Instead what I need to do is adjust my Grayscale mix. So I'll click on the HSL/Grayscale icon, and the problem is I went too low in the Blues value, and it reduces too much noise into the image, so much that the noise is essentially undefeatable and so I am going to raise that value by pressing Shift+Up arrow until the mottling subside and at about 70, I am losing it, and I am not really seeing it to the same extent and just to be safe I am going to bring that value up a little bit higher to -65, so the Blues value is the only one I need to modify.
Now notice I have just two buttons: Cancel, which of course would abandon my modifications, and OK, which is going to update my smart object inside of Photoshop. Now the thing to bear in mind is we are not updating the DNG file anymore because Photoshop has no knowledge of that original DNG file. Instead we have the Camera RAW object, which is embedded inside of the larger Photoshop composition. So click OK, and then it's going to go ahead in re-render that Smart Object, as you can see there.
Now when it does the sea brighten up, which makes sense because we had to raise our Blues value, but we also get rid of the color mottling. Once again, I need to stress this that DNG file is just as we last left it. So if you decide this is a good modification and you want to update the DNG file to match, then you need to go back to the bridge, select that DNG file, press Control+R or Command+R to the open Camera RAW and go ahead and raise that Blue's value from -100 to -65. And that, my friends, is how you work with Camera RAW Smart Objects here inside Photoshop.
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