Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Protecting skin tones

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Protecting skin tones

In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to another protection method that's afforded to you by the Content-Aware Scale command. And for my money it's much better. For one thing, it's fully automated and for another it works more reliably than that darn Alpha Channel function. So it's not 100% successful by any means. But it can be quite helpful. So in this exercise I'm going to show you an image that benefits from the skin tone protection, us what it is, quite well. And then in the next exercise, I'll show you an image that needs more TLC.

Protecting skin tones

In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to another protection method that's afforded to you by the Content-Aware Scale command. And for my money it's much better. For one thing, it's fully automated and for another it works more reliably than that darn Alpha Channel function. So it's not 100% successful by any means. But it can be quite helpful. So in this exercise I'm going to show you an image that benefits from the skin tone protection, us what it is, quite well. And then in the next exercise, I'll show you an image that needs more TLC.

Don't we all, really, when you come right down to it? Anyway, the name of this image is Chair in park.psd. It's found inside 29_new_tech folder and it comes to us from photographer Lee Scania one of my favorites over there. One of everybody's favorite. She makes out like gangbusters. I tell you what. Some of those photographers with iStockphoto are doing quite well. Bless them. And what I want to do is I want to move the forest or this glade of trees right here or whatever the heck it is, I want to move it closer to this women's head and get rid of some of the grass in between there. Compress that area and in case it has not come to light so far, what Content-Aware Scale is doing is it's protecting areas of high contrast and compressing areas of low contrast.

So where pixels are very similar to each other they get squished or stretched and where pixels are very different from each other they get automatically protected. Now I can also try to make the image a little wider but we don't really have that much grass to work with here. So we are going to start chomping into the chair pretty quickly, I would think. Anyway, I have gone ahead and prepared the image. As you can see here, I have given myself some extra canvas width. I have converted the image to an independent layer and so on. So all that up-front busy work is been done. Let's go up here to the Edit menu and choose the Content-Aware Scale command, like so.

And then I'm going to make the image shorter. And notice what happens. When I start making the image shorter, we get about this far next to the women's head, right? And then we start making her recline. I really dig that. I think that's pretty great. Now at some point, especially if I start stretching her horizontally here, which I'll do. Because she is centered I'm going to press the Alt key or the Option key as I drag one of these side handles and that way we are going to stretch with respect from the center outward.

And I'll stretch to, and actually let's just go for it and stretch all the way, what the heck. Let's make a mess of this image. She looks like the bottom half of her body has just been magically cut away. Isn't that amazing? Her elbow is very long indeed, especially this left-hand elbow and her right elbow is getting less stretched but still stretched. And notice up here in the Options bar, in the right side of the Options bar, we have this little dude and that guy protects skin tones. So it's ultimately protecting areas of orange and this could be pale areas of orange or dark areas of orange, what have you. But it's going to stick in that skin tone range that we all share. And so I'll go ahead and turn on the Protect Skin Tones option.

And watch her elbows now. Watch what happens here. She gets compressed. So she has normal elbows again. Her arms go back to a normal size. It's fairly amazing. Now the chair is an absolute disaster at this point. And it's fairly unusual that there just happens to be a hump of grass in back of her head. That's just wild that things worked out that way. So I'm not sure I would really use this image this way. In fact, I wouldn't. It would be foolish. But I did want to demonstrate just how well this function can end up looking. So it's doing a beautiful job of protecting those skin tones there.

Now what I'm going to tell you is -- Nah, on that modification. Why don't we just escape out? Just press the Escape key. It's easier to start over than to try to make that work. And then I'll go back into the Edit menu and choose Content-Aware Scale and you will see something that I think is very interesting. He is sticky. Notice that. I didn't even apply. I escaped out and yet he stuck. You need to watch that fellow. Because you do not always want him on. You are specifically protecting warm colors, especially the oranges right there in between the reds and yellows.

And it may be that that's just the part of the image that you want to stretch. But you can end up ruining the effect if this is turned on. If you are working with a landscape for example or a sunset background as well. I have got one of those coming up. So watch this setting. Make sure you only have it turned on when you need it. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and make the image less tall. I'm going to take it down until she starts reclining. That just doesn't look right at all. We could pretend that she is in a recliner but then we have the hump on the head and that just didn't work out. So I'm going to take it down until the chair stays upright. And that's at about this location here. Now I want you to see something that's pretty interesting here. Let me see if I can make this image any wider without stretching the chair. And it doesn't look like I really can.

It looks like the chair starts stretching pretty quick there. Anyway, so right about there let's say. That looks pretty darn good. Okay watch what happens now with skin tones. Now it's not really doing much good for me. But I'll go ahead and turn it off and you can see, oh! It was actually, it was helping the chair at this point. It was working out pretty well for me. All right, and this is with it on. So the chair goes back to a normal width and her elbow also retracted a little bit. That's nice. You also see that the grass changes a little a bit, I believe. I'm actually applying a slightly different transformation than I have in the past. So the grass is rolling a little bit differently. And I actually like the way it's rolling with Protect Skin Tones turned on.

So, what I'm saying is obviously if you want to protect your skin tones, you turn on Protect Skin Tones and see if it's working out for you or not. But you may find that Protect Skin Tones helps in other departments as well. Bear in mind that what we see as green, especially grass greens, often fall into the yellow territory where Photoshop is concerned. It's really emerald green that falls into the green territory. And so grass green can benefit to an extent here by having Protect Skin Tones turned on. You may find that it works out nicely for you.

Anyway, I'm going to press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to apply that modification. And you can see we have a progress bar. That is to be expected. Now these are fairly low- resolution images, I should caution you. When you are working with high- resolution images, you have more wiggle room because you can always downsample from there and you can make bigger modifications, if you want to, so you have more flexibility. But at the same time Content-Aware Scale is going to take longer to apply. And you are going to get a progress bar essentially every time you use the command. All right, there we have it, Protect Skin Tones has protected the skin tones.

Attaboy! Yeah! I'm going to go up to the Image menu and I'm going to choose the Trim command. And I'm going to trim away those transparent pixels and that's the effect right there, people. I think it looks pretty darn good. In the next exercise, I'll show you an image that doesn't benefit quite so much from Protect Skin Tones, it benefits a little, and how you go about giving such an image a little bit of extra tender loving care.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

147 video lessons · 27746 viewers

Deke McClelland

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 21m 17s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      5m 38s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 34s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      5m 53s
  2. 2h 31m
    1. Introduction to masking
    2. Introducing color range
      4m 22s
    3. Adding base colors and adjusting fuzziness
      4m 46s
    4. Localized color clusters
      6m 12s
    5. The Quick Mask mode
      7m 33s
    6. Viewing a quick mask by itself
      6m 40s
    7. Testing the quality of edges
      3m 55s
    8. Introducing the Masks palette
      7m 45s
    9. Editing a layer mask
      6m 18s
    10. Choking a mask with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 44s
    11. Choking a mask with Mask Edge
      7m 43s
    12. Adding a Gradient Overlay shadow
      4m 23s
    13. Using live Density and Feather
      6m 12s
    14. Journeyman masking
      5m 44s
    15. Creating an alpha channel
      7m 6s
    16. Increasing contrast
      7m 15s
    17. Overlay painting
      8m 28s
    18. Cleaning up whites and blacks
      5m 48s
    19. Soft light painting
      5m 47s
    20. Selecting in style
      6m 55s
    21. Employing masks as selections
      5m 2s
    22. Scaling and compositing layers
      6m 30s
    23. Compositing glass
      5m 10s
    24. Selecting glass highlights
      8m 41s
    25. Working with found masks
      5m 46s
  3. 1h 34m
    1. Introduction to vector-based shapes
      1m 10s
    2. Vector-based type outlines
      7m 23s
    3. The benefits of vectors
      6m 27s
    4. Upsampling vs. nondestructive scaling
      7m 35s
    5. Vectors and effects
      8m 7s
    6. Fill Opacity and clipped layers
      4m 24s
    7. Basic shape creation
      3m 15s
    8. Drawing interacting shapes
      6m 21s
    9. Power-duplicating paths
      3m 12s
    10. Combining pixels and vector masks
      5m 19s
    11. Line tool and layer attributes
      7m 5s
    12. Copying and pasting path outlines
      3m 28s
    13. Drawing custom shapes
      3m 59s
    14. Drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 48s
    15. Creating cusp points
      7m 28s
    16. Defining a custom shape
      3m 34s
    17. Assigning a vector mask to an image
      2m 38s
    18. Adding a vector object to a composition
      5m 40s
  4. 1h 23m
    1. Introduction to Vanishing Point
      1m 11s
    2. Creating and saving the first plane
      8m 9s
    3. Creating perpendicular planes
      5m 16s
    4. Healing in perspective
      8m 47s
    5. Cloning and scaling in perspective
      8m 33s
    6. Patching an irregularly shaped area
      6m 59s
    7. Healing between planes
      3m 34s
    8. Importing an image into a 3D scene
      5m 45s
    9. Adding perspective type
      5m 37s
    10. Removing and matching perspective
      5m 36s
    11. Applying a reflection in perspective
      5m 1s
    12. Creating a perspective gradient
      6m 11s
    13. Converting a gradient to a mask
      2m 58s
    14. Swinging planes to custom angles
      4m 32s
    15. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      5m 49s
  5. 1h 15m
    1. Introduction to Smart Objects
    2. Placing a Smart Object
      5m 7s
    3. Saving a PDF-compatible AI file
      4m 27s
    4. Performing nondestructive transformations
      6m 7s
    5. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 50s
    6. Converting an image to a Smart Object
      6m 50s
    7. Cloning Smart Objects
      5m 24s
    8. Creating a multilayer Smart Object
      5m 51s
    9. Updating multiple instances at once
      2m 54s
    10. Creating a Camera Raw Smart Object
      4m 17s
    11. Editing a Camera Raw Smart Object
      3m 25s
    12. Assembling a layered ACR composition
      5m 54s
    13. Using an ACR Smart Object to effect
      3m 41s
    14. Blending multiple ACR portraits
      6m 56s
    15. Live type that inverts everything behind it
      6m 32s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Introducing nondestructive Smart Filters
    2. Applying a Smart Filter
      4m 22s
    3. Adjusting filter and blend settings
      4m 25s
    4. Heaping on the Smart Filters
      5m 19s
    5. Smart Filter stacking order
      7m 23s
    6. Resolution and Smart Filter radius
      6m 12s
    7. Masking Smart Filters
      4m 41s
    8. Employing nested Smart Objects
      5m 5s
    9. Dragging and dropping Smart Filters
      6m 31s
    10. Using the Shadows/Highlights filter
      5m 53s
    11. Regaining access to the pixels
      7m 8s
    12. Parametric wonderland
      5m 52s
    13. Working with the Filter Gallery
      6m 28s
    14. Freeform filter jam
      5m 51s
    15. Swapping filters from the Filter Gallery
      3m 45s
    16. Mixing all varieties of parametric effects
      7m 30s
    17. Addressing a few Smart Filter bugs
      3m 11s
    18. Applying a Smart Filter to live type
      5m 30s
    19. Choking letters with Maximum
      3m 7s
    20. Duplicating a Smart Filter
      2m 38s
    21. Enhancing a filter with a layer effect
      6m 30s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Introduction to Auto-Align, Auto-Blend, and Photomerge
      1m 2s
    2. Merging two shots into one
      3m 49s
    3. Applying Auto-Align layers
      3m 44s
    4. Masking images into a common scene
      1m 38s
    5. Auto-Align plus Auto-Blend
      8m 11s
    6. Assigning weighted Opacity values
      4m 7s
    7. Employing a Difference mask
      7m 17s
    8. Masking smarter, not harder
      3m 53s
    9. Capturing multiple depths of field
      3m 37s
    10. Auto-blending real focus
      8m 31s
    11. Creating a panorama with Photomerge
      7m 27s
    12. Correcting a seamless panorama
      4m 52s
    13. An altogether nondestructive Lab correction
      7m 59s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. Introduction to new CS4 technologies
      1m 1s
    2. Applying Content-Aware Scale
      7m 18s
    3. What works and what doesn't with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 19s
    4. Protecting areas with masks
      7m 31s
    5. Applying incremental edits
      7m 6s
    6. Protecting skin tones
      7m 12s
    7. Scaling around a model with TLC
      9m 0s
    8. Adjusting the scale threshold
      5m 22s
    9. When Content-Aware Scale fails
      4m 2s
    10. Creating a lens distortion effect
      8m 39s
    11. Layer masking the family
      11m 44s
    12. Installing the Pixel Bender
      3m 42s
    13. Introducing Pixel Bender kernels
      6m 50s
    14. Pixel Bender kernel roundup
      7m 24s
    15. Tube View and Ripple Blocks
      3m 58s
    16. Making a seamless pattern with Kaleidoscope
      6m 13s
    17. Introducing the Pixel Bender Toolkit
      3m 24s
  9. 1h 20m
    1. Introduction to actions
    2. Creating an action
      5m 45s
    3. Recording operations
      5m 12s
    4. Reviewing and editing an action
      4m 45s
    5. Playing an action (the Button Mode)
      4m 50s
    6. Saving and loading actions
      5m 0s
    7. Copying and modifying an action
      4m 8s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      5m 50s
    9. The Best Chrome Effect Ever II
      3m 41s
    10. Recording a fail-safe action
      7m 33s
    11. Rounding corners with a mask
      4m 33s
    12. Cleaning up layers
      3m 51s
    13. Automating layer effects
      7m 1s
    14. Applying chrome with Gradient Map
      6m 24s
    15. Action anomalies
      4m 11s
    16. Rendering effects to layers
      5m 1s
    17. Testing that it works
      2m 0s
  10. 1m 14s
    1. See ya
      1m 14s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?


Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.