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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
In this movie, we will be working on this photograph that I captured of this train car. Let's go ahead and open it up. It's called corwig_train. Press F to go to Full Screen View mode. One of the things that I want to do with this particular image is I want to work on the overall brightness value here. One of the things that I notice is that I like the composition, I like the way the lines and the shapes work, and I like the colors. It's just kind of a fascinating train here, isn't it? One of the things I'm noticing is that these tones are a little bit too bright for me. So I'm going to go ahead and select those. I'm going to do that by navigating the Select Color Range. I'll grab my Eyedropper tool, which I have here, and I'll click on in the area of the image, I can't really see what I have selected because of the White Matte preview. I'll take this to Black Matte. Okay. Now, that's great. Grab the next Eyedropper, which allows me to add to the sampled area. What I'm looking to do is to simply add or build out the selection.
I want to get these nice bright, white tones here, and I'm going to then darken those. So first I'll select them, and that looks pretty good. Again, just looking to get some of the brighter tones there, clicking on the image. Click OK to create a selection. All right, well, now that I have that selection, I'm going to copy that selection to a new layer. You press Command+J on a Mac/Ctrl+J on a PC. That will then copy what we have there to a new layer. Now, in order to be able to see that selection, let's go ahead and click on our background layer. Click on the Adjustment Layer icon, choose Solid Color. Let's choose a solid color of blue. So again, we can see that Blue is where I don't have any information, the white is where we have the original information from the image. Okay, well, let's trash that layer for a second. Well, what can I then do with this? Well, I can then go to my blend mode of Multiply, and that's a great blend mode.
We'll Zoom-in a little bit so you can actually see what's taking place here. I'll go even further. We can look at this door over here, or this panel right here. Here's our before, no detail, not going to print very well, and after, all we did was just darken that up. Now again, to double the intensity of that, click and drag that to New Layer icon, and now we have twice the intensity. We're going to have to be a little bit careful when we do that because our edges are a little bit rough and you can start to see those. Well, how then can you smooth out your edges? Well, here is you need to do, hold down the Command key on a Mac/Ctrl key on a PC, click on that layer, it will turn that into a selection, then click on the Add Layer Mask icon.
Now, click in this Layer Mask and navigate to your Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. What we're going to do is just blur out that Mask quite a bit and again, that will help smooth out some of those edges, click OK. We can then look at our before and after. Here is before and after, and you can see again how it's making those transition areas much more smooth. Here is our overall before and after. Now, I took this image a little bit too far in regards to darkening. Do I really need to go this far? Not quite. It's helpful to be able to see that. So I'll lower the opacity of that layer, go back to Layer One with the hard edges, lower the opacity of that one as well in order to get just the right amount of darkening, so I have detail, so the image prints well, not too much. For the most part, I think that's looking pretty good.
Why I wanted to show you this technique is because I find that blend mode of Multiply to be really helpful when I have super bright tones and I need to bring those tones down.
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