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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.
In this exercise I'm going to tour you through a variety of standard Channel Mixer variations, and that'll give you a sense of just how incredibly powerful this command is. I've also set up a file for those of you who have access to the exercise files, that should facilitate your ability to experiment with this function, because that way you've got a ton of jumping off points. In fact, this file before you right now and it's called Channel mixes.psd, it contains 13 different Channel Mixer variations, many of which are practical, some of which are not.
We are going to start with the over-the-top ones and then work our way down to the practical ones. You can take these very adjustment layers and apply them to your own images anytime you like. So for starters here notice at the bottom of the list layers, I've got this one that says R > G, and the idea is that little greater than sign is kind of an arrow. So the Red channel is going into the Green channel, the Green channel is going into the Blue channel, and the Blue channel is going into the Red channel, so everybody shifting. And if you turn On that layer and double-click on its thumbnail you can see that sure enough Red I'm replacing the contents of the Red channel 100% with the Blue channel, and I'm replacing the contents of the Green channel 100% with the Red channel, and I'm replacing the contents of the Blue channel 100% with the Green channel.
Now how practical is that manipulation? Well, not very quite frankly. However, it gives you a sense of what you can achieve using the Channel Mixer. I'll go ahead and turn that one Off, and these guys don't really build on each other very well, so you turn one Off you turn another On. And now I'll show you the next one up which is R goes in the G, G goes in the B, B goes in the R, so same thing as before, but only 50%, so we're only replacing 50% of the content of each channel. So if I double-click on this thumbnail, sure enough the Red channel continues to have 50% of its Redness and then it gets 50% Blue, and then the Green channel continues to keep 50% of its greenness but then inherits 50% Red and so on.
And what that does is it gives us some pretty Green skin tones out here in a larger image window. I'll go ahead and turn that guy Off turn On the next one up. Now we are replacing the channels in the opposite order. So we are putting the contents of the Green channel into the Red channel taking the contents of Red putting it in Blue and taking the contents of Blue and putting it in Green and we end up getting this purple image right there. Next we do it to the tune of 50% in order to get a purplish image, but we are getting more Reddish skin tones at this point. And then we have got the portrait boosters, that's a lot like that effect I showed you a few exercises ago where we were applying some aggressive manipulations, and so I'll go ahead and double-click on this guy right there.
You can see for Red, for example, that I'm giving it 115% Red and then taking out 15% Blue. So that was actually one of the manipulations we applied a couple of exercises ago, and because I wasn't sure if that would be enough for you I included another layer called Portrait booster 2, that goes even farther, I'll go ahead and double-click on it, you can see that I've got 130% Red, and then I subtract out 30% Blue and so on. So you can check out the various settings if you want to by switching between the output channels. I'm going to go ahead and escape out of there however, because this is the one exception you can go ahead and add these two layers to each other if you like by turning On the eyeballs for both and then you're going to further boost the saturation levels inside of your image.
You would want of course to go ahead and confirm whether these colors are going to stand any chance of printing by going up to the View menu and choosing the Proof Colors command, like so. But this end up looking pretty darn good if the Proof Colors command is to be believed. All right, I'll go ahead and turn that back Off, and we have some other variations going on as well. Let me turn Off those two layers, and I am going to turn On this guy Flat, which ends up flattening out the colors and giving us a kind of grayscale effect, but it's a warm grayscale effect, notice that, whereas if I turn Flat 1 Off and turn Flat 2 On we end up getting a kind of cool monochrome image.
Then we go into a variety of warm modifications here that are named after some common paint pigments. So we've got Yellow oxide, for example, if I turn that guy On, and then we have got Siena 1 (raw), and so on up the list, but you know what, before I show you those, I want to show you a better means for tracking these various channel manipulations here, and you can actually turn Adjustment layers On and Off automatically and save which layers are On and which layers are Off using these things called layer Comp, and I'm going to show you exactly how layer Comps work because they are amazingly useful in the next exercise.
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