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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.
I've saved my progress as Busted high pass layer.psd, so called because the high pass layer contains vestiges of the noise that we just got rid of, using the Lens Blur Filter. So how in a world do we now turn around and modify that layer since it's really a composite view of all, but the lens blur layer below it? How do we modify the contents of that lens blur layer, so that it stops sharpening details that we don't want to have sharpened? Well let me show you, it's a really cool technique by the way.
I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on this critter's feelers here. And you can see that I've all the details inside this butterfly image. The feelers are the ones that are best demonstrating or I might say, worse demonstrating the halos that are part and parcel of the sharpening effect inside of Photoshop. But sometimes the halos go too far. Sometimes, they are just too darn obvious, and you don't want them. And they're going to appear most obvious around super dark details, like these feelers that are set against a super light background or super light details set against the super dark background.
Anytime you have tons of contrast, you're going to get big halos out of High Pass and Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen and the rest of them. So watch when I can do though. If I click on a high pass layer to make it active, and then I switch over to my Brush tool here. The next thing I want to do is go up to my Color panel. Notice that I have my panel set up to display the H, S and B sliders. If yours is not set that way, then click on the flyout menu icon and choose HSB sliders. But doesn't really matter, what the Hue value is set to.
But if it's black, if your Foreground Color is set to Black as mine is, all your values will be zeroed out currently. You definitely want Saturation to be set to zero, that's very important. In fact, you know what I forgot to do, I forgot to make sure this high pass layer, I'm going to go and change it back to the Normal Blend mode. I forgot to desaturate it so that it doesn't have any weird color anomalies in it. And so, I'm going to take a moment at here to go to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and choose Desaturate, to make sure that we have no colors inside of this layer whatsoever.
All right, so much for that. So it's important that we have a Saturation Value of zero so that we don't introduce any other colors. However here's the really important thing, set Brightness to exactly 50%. That's because, when we're working with any of those contrast modes there, Overlay, down the list. So I was telling you that the best modes where high pass layers are concerned is Overlay, then getting stronger to Hard Light, stronger still to Linear Light. And if overlays too much, you might back it off to Soft Light.
But all those guys treat gray as invisible. And so if you paint with gray inside the image, then that information is going to go away. And in fact, the only reason I didn't paint those feelers away entirely there, is because my Opacity level is 50%. So I'll undo that modification. I'll press the 0 key to increase the Opacity level to a 100% and I'm going to reduce the size of my cursor a little bit by pressing the Left Bracket key a few times, and then I'll paint over the feelers, like so.] And we'll see that, if we switch back to the Linear Light mode, notice my halos have disappeared.
All right, well that's too much, actually I have to say. So I'm going to press Ctrl+Z a couple of times, actually Ctrl+Z and then Ctrl+Alt+Z, that would be Command+Z, Command+Option+Z on the Mac in order to get rid of that brush stroke. And I prefer to paint while I'm seeing when I'm doing. So I'll go ahead and now before I start paining, I'll change my Blend mode from Normal to Linear Light up front. There is the halo, so they are back. Now I'm going to restore that 50% Opacity value by the way, because now it's going to be useful to me.
And notice now, if I paint at 50% Opacity, I just get rid of half of the haloing effect. Now the thing that you have to bear in mind here, so painting with gray on a High Pass layer gets rid of the sharpening at that location. But this isn't like working with the layer mask, you have to bear that in mind. Because if you are working with a layer mask which you could, you can go ahead and mask this layer if you want to. But if you were working with a layer mask, that would give you a little more flexibility because you could paint with black, in order to paint the effect away, and then paint with white to bring it back.
When you're paining gray into a High Pass layer, you're just painting away, you don't have a method for painting back. So just make sure that you're doing what you want to do as you do it. You might suppose at this point, I'm going to tell you, you've got to paint in gray, all over this layer once again, but that's not true. Because you've already did the work here on the lens blur layer. So instead what you need to do is go ahead and load the contents of that layer mask by Ctrl+Clicking on it or Command+Clicking on that layer mask thumbnail, and that will load that layer mask as the selection.
Now we have the high pass layer selected, it's still selected in fact, and what I'm going to suggest you do is go ahead in order to fill the selection with the foreground color. I want you to press Alt+Backspace or on the Mac, Option+Delete, and that will fill that area with a lack of sharpness as you see right there. And just to confirm that we've gotten rid of the noise effect down below, I'll go ahead and scroll down into the left and I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, just to make sure, yes, that's where we used to have the noise and if I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z again, the noise goes away.
So anyway, yet another way to work. You can paint with gray inside of a High Pass layer to get rid of the sharpening effect. I'm going to press Ctrl+D or Command+ D on the Mac in order to deselect that region of the image. Notice by the way, that I could go ahead and paint some more and I'm painting with a 50% Opaque brush, in order to paint away some of the sharpening in this region, right next to the wing there. And I might reduce the size my cursor and paint into that crevice and I might revisit this portion of the image and paint the sharpening away there.
So a combination of painting away the sharpening and paining away the noise, should work out pretty brilliantly for you. Now the only thing I worry about at this point is that we might end up with two abruptive transitions between the noise and the lack of noise inside this image. So what I suggest you do is switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool, and then click on the lens blur layer to make it active and reduce the Opacity level. And I'm going to take the Opacity Value down to 70%, just by tapping the 7 key and that's going to restore a little bit of the noise in the background here.
So once again, we have slightly more realistic transitions between the blurred areas and the sharpened areas inside this image. All right, now I'm going to go ahead and switch to the Full Screen mode by pressing the F key a couple of times. And I'll go ahead and scroll this image into place as well. And just for the sake of comparison, I've gone ahead and created a version of the image where I sharpen that original noisy butterfly without removing any of the noise. I went ahead and sharpened it using the High Pass Filter, set to Radius of four pixels, so the exact same settings.
And this is what it looks like. And the name of this image incidentally, if you want to open it up and compare it as well, it's called Sharpened horribleness.psd. It's found there inside the 16_smooth folder. So this is the way things would have looked if we had not bothered to smooth out the details inside the image at all. If we adjust that in, sharpening the image using a High Pass layer with the Radius of four pixels set to the Linear Light Blend mode. And just notice, the world of hurt inside this image. There is not only all kinds of luminance noise that's rampant inside of these shadows, but were still probably is that color noise, which was the easiest thing to remove.
So make sure to get rid of the color noise before you sharpen the image because as a result, I've just a little bit of work before you start in sharpening, you can end up with an impeccable result like this, even though we started with the noisiest image I have ever worked with. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to create a paper texture using nothing but some of Photoshop's simplest filters.
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