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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, 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 CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right. So here I'm looking at the sharpened version of the snake. I've gone ahead and saved it off as a separate file called Sharp snake.jpg, found inside the 14_sharpen folder. Now, how do you get a sense of whether this image is really going to print sharply, whether it's going to look sharp after you print it? Well, the best way to get a sense of how the image is going to print is to print it. Just go ahead and print it to your local Inkjet printer, that is the Inkjet printer inside of your home or office, or to a network laser printer or whatever, that's the best way. But what if you don't have a printer available to you, or what if you're at the airport or something, and you still want to get a sense of how the image is going to print, or you just don't want to waste a bunch of paper, there must be a way to soft-proof the image on screen, and there is. It's gotten better much better inside of Photoshop CS4, thanks to OpenGL support. So you need to make sure that you have an OpenGL video card for all this stuff to work.
Then there is this command, up here under the View menu, that's called Print Size. Now, it didn't use to be very good at all inside Photoshop CS3. In fact, it was a dangerous command, because it dropped pixels and that meant that the image was going to appear more jagged than it actually was, which might translate to you thinking it was sharper than it actually was. Now it works, thanks to OpenGL, which is why I've gone ahead and given it a keyboard shortcut. If you loaded Deke Keys, then you have a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+0 or Command+Option+0 on the Mac, which I hope you find useful. I'm going to go ahead and choose the command, and that's how big the image is going to print, or is it? Well, let's think about this for a second.
In order for Photoshop to know how big the image really is going to print, it needs to know two different resolution values. It needs to know the resolution of my screen and then it needs to know the resolution at which the image is going to be output, and it has to compare the two to figure out how big that image should be here on screen. Well, notice how big it's going to output. It knows that size because we set that up inside of the Image Size command, here under the Image menu. So you could go up to the Image Size command and right now I've got it set to 5 inches wide, a little more than 5 inches tall, and Resolution to 276 pixels/inch, which is great. Your Resolution should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 240-360 in order to print a nice smooth image, and certainly, I'm in that ballpark, so that's nice.
Now, if I wanted to change it to a different resolution, if I wanted to print it smaller, for example, then I would make sure Resample Image is turned off, so that I don't end up changing the number of pixels inside the image. Then I would just change that Resolution value to, let's say, 300 pixels/inch, and then I click OK in order to accept that modification. Then I'll go to the View menu and I'll choose Print Size again, and it will grow smaller, because I'm now packing more pixels onto the page, so that results in a smaller image; both on screen of course, subject to the Print Size command there, and of course when we print the image.
Now, I don't want that, so I'm going to go back to the Image menu. Actually, all I've got to do is go to the Edit menu, choose Undo Image Size. I just want my original image size restored. Notice that doesn't do anything to your screen image automatically. You have to go back up to the View menu and choose that Print Size command again in order to invoke the print size. However, this is inaccurate. This isn't right. If you were to print this image right now; which I invite you to do if you like, if you were to print it and bring it back here, the printed image is actually going to print bigger than it looks on screen, and that's because Photoshop does not know your screen resolution and has set your screen resolution by default to something too low.
So that's the Print Size command. A little preview of what's going on. In the next exercise I'm going to show you how to make that Print Size command accurate by evaluating and entering your screen resolution information.
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