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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, we're going to finally touch on the Recovery and Fill Light features here inside of Camera RAW. Fill Light allows you to open up your shadows. Recovery allows you to dim down your highlights. They're analogous to the shadows and highlights options included with the Shadows/Highlights command that we investigated in Chapter 17. So bear in mind that they are Edge Detection features, meaning that they're going to result in halos inside your image. So you either want to take it easy and use values between like 10 and 20, very low values indeed, or you just want to go for it and create effect images, which is what we're going to do, because these images need an awful lot of help.
They are Glanum ruins.dng and Spanishtown dinosaurs.dng, both found inside the 24_camera_raw folder. They both suffer from dark foregrounds and overly lit backgrounds. So I'm going to start here with Glanum ruins. You can see that the sun is setting in the background. We have a very bluish scene, but all kinds of rich detail, believe it or not inside of these shadows. Very little in the way of midtones going on, and then we have clipped highlights as warranted by this white triangle up right.
So this is the fairly complex image to correct. I'm going to start things off by balancing the color temperature. It's way too cool. So I'm going to take the Temperature value up to 8450, which is pretty darn high, but suits this image quite nicely. Now, the image looks to me to be a little pinker then I'd like. So I'm going to reduce the Tint value to -8 and that ends up giving me some more neutral ruins in the foreground. Now, let's tab down to Exposure. And I'm going to Alt+Drag or Option+ Drag this slider triangle over to the left.
So I'm darkening the scene, but that's because I'm trying to recover some of the highlights in the sky. Now, I'm not going to recover all the highlights. It's just not there. Notice if I take the Exposure value all the way down to -4, which is as low as it goes, I'm still clipping an awful lot of highlights in the sky. So I'm just going to have to accept that. I'll take that value ultimately to -0.6. So I'm reducing the exposure fairly minimally. And then I'm going to tab down to Fill Light for starters, because it's the shadows that really have problems inside this image.
And I'm going to raise that Fill Light value pretty much like crazy actually. I'm going to take it up to 50. And you can see that that goes ahead and lightens the foreground fairly significantly here. So we're opening up those shadows quite nicely. We're spreading out this mountainous region of shadows here inside the Histogram as well. Now, the image still looks a little bit flat, so we need to make some more modifications here. I'm now going to Shift+Tab back to Recovery and because I want to recover some of the sky region I'm going to take this value up as well.
And I'm going to take it pretty darn high. In fact higher than I took Fill Light. I'm going to take it up to 80. And that ends up dimming the highlights and bringing back a lot of cloud detail, which makes for a very moody scene, which I think happens to suit these ruins quite nicely. Now, I'm going to drop down to Blacks. Now, notice if you take a look at the Histogram here we're not clipping any shadows at this point, and we can see that because the upper left-hand triangle is black. And we're missing a lot of shadow detail, the darkest of the shadows here in the histogram. So I'm going to Alt+Drag or Option+ Drag the slider triangle over to the right until I take the blacks up to 25.
So a pretty high Blacks value, but that does end up sinking those shadows, the darkest of the shadows quite nicely, so that I add some more contrast to the ruins. All right, now I'm going to Tab down to Brightness and I'm going to take that value out up to 75, and you can see that the ruins are just now starting to come to life. They don't look nearly so muted as they did a moment ago. And Contrast is fine. Because the thing is if I start raising the Contrast value again that's tempting, but if I do that then I'm going to end up with some very murky shadows. And I don't want that, so I'll take that back down to 25.
I'll just leave it set to its default. The kind of contrast we really want where this image as concerned is clarity. So I'll raise the Clarity value up to 50 let's say and that gives us some more defined edges. Now, if you zoom in on the image you may notice some halos starting to appear around the edges. Fortunately, that tends to give us a little bit more volumetric contouring around these columns, so it's something of a good thing I think thus far. All right, now I'm going to crank the Vibrance, but of course I'll take that guy up to... let's say +65 actually looks pretty darn nice.
I'll just tweak the Saturation a little bit. I'll take it up to +10. And we end up with this effect right here, which I think is very becoming. This by the way is the before version of the image. Oh my gosh! How awful is that? And this is the after version, thanks to the tweaks that we've applied thus far here inside of Camera RAW. All right, just for laughs, let's see how these options affect a different image Spanishtown dinosaurs.dng. This is this amazing sort of Arts and Crafts area near Half Moon Bay in California just south of San Francisco, and I cannot tell you how much I recommend it.
These dinosaurs are utterly and completely fantastic. They are made out of metal, and they are absolute feats of artistic engineering. Really cool. There is a bunch of them too. Take the kids. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and tweak this guy. It looks terrible so far because they did a horrible job of capturing the creatures. The Temperature and Tint values I decide were just fine the way they are, but I'm going to take the Exposure down just a little bit to bring back some of the sky and to avoid clipping up there in that Highlight region. And then because the shadows are the biggest problem, because the dinosaurs are backlit, I'm going to drop down to Fill Light, and I'll take that value up to 50.
Once again, works pretty nicely for this image. And that is trying to bring out a little bit of posterization inside of the T-Rex's face right there. You can see a clear delineation between the various colors and luminance levels. However, again this guy's made of metal, so some degree of that is indigenous to the image in the first place. Anyway, I'm also going to take up the Recovery value so we can darken that sky, because it's got to look a little bit sinister. I mean after all, gigantic dinosaur. So I'll take Recovery to 50. So both Recovery and Fill Light are set to 50 at this point.
I'm going to take the Blacks up as well, so I'll Alt+Drag or Option+Drag that slider, and it's at about 15 that I start to see a little bit of clipping, and that ends up working out pretty nicely. It sinks the shadows inside of the creature's mouth. Now, I'll just go ahead and fly by Brightness and Contrast. In fact, you know what everything else is just fine the way it is. I see no reason to increase the Clarity on this specific image. It doesn't really suit it. And if I start cranking the Vibrance look what happens. I bring out blues inside of the monster's snout.
And those are potentially reflective blues from the sky, but they don't look right at all. So I'm just going to take that Vibrance value back down to zero. And this is the effect. Here is the before version of the dinosaurs and here is the after version, quite scarily modified here using the Recovery and Fill Light values in Camera RAW.
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