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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Photoshop almost always gives you multiple ways to accomplish similar tasks and that's definitely true with noise reduction and so far in this chapter we focused in on the noise reduction filter. Well, here I want to show you another filter which is called Surface Blur. Surface Blur allows us to try to blur large areas while maintaining certain details in other areas this will work well with a picture like this. If we zoom in on this image we'll notice that there is a lot of noise there in the background. Well, to remove or reduce that let's start off by copying that background layer.
To do so we'll press Command+J or Ctrl+ J.Next, let's go ahead and rename this layer by double-clicking it and we will just call this blur. The next step is going to be to navigate to the Filter pulldown menu and here we're going to choose Blur and then select all the way down at the bottom Surface Blur. And again what Surface Blur will do is it will try to allow us to blur out a lot of the details in the background while maintaining some of the details on the motorcycle. By changing the Radius and the Threshold, you can see that we can either increase or decrease the overall sharpening.
As I increase the Threshold let's say we exaggerate this it becomes completely fuzzy. So you want to have a pretty low threshold and we want to look to try to make that sky completely smooth. So I'm increasing these amounts so that I can have some nice detail in the image, but also have this really just smoothed out sky. So we're losing all of the detail there. Well, the problem with this one is that as I increase my Amounts I also have lost a lot of detail on the subject. Well, here is where masking will come in handy.
Let's go ahead and just dial this in a little bit more and then click OK to apply that. The next step is to zoom out. Press Command+Minus sign on a Mac, Ctrl+Minus sign on Windows to do that then let's turn off this blur layer and click back to our Background layer. So, why we're doing that? Well, we're doing that because we're going to go to our Magic Wand tool. You can find it underneath the Quick Select tool. This tool allows us to click on an area and build up a selection. Here it with a low tolerance it doesn't really work for your well.
Let's crank this up leave Contiguous off and then just go ahead and click again, you can see we can build up a pretty decent selection. Well, now that we have that we can click on Refine Edge. With Refine Edge we can turn on Smart Radius just to improve this overall selection. We can also add a little bit more density to the edge by increasing the Contrast. Next click OK. Well, now that we've done that we're going to go to our blur layer, click in that blur layer, and then click on the Add layer Mask icon.
Essentially, what we've done is we've now kind of punched a hole through this layer so that this area isn't being softened. It if we zoom in a little bit, you'll notice that my selection wasn't perfect. I have some areas on the motorcycle guy that are going to be softened here. So I'll grab my brush, I'll paint with black, and here I'll hover over this area and make my brush smaller by pressing the left bracket key and then I'll just click and paint over this. By painting with black on my mask, well, it's going to then hide or conceal this softening effect on these areas.
So, you can just go through here and if there are any areas that you need to kind of mask off here, you can do that just a couple little areas and that will then lead to better results. Alright. Well, let's turn on that Background layer so we can see both of these layers together and now up close by having this softening effect you can see it's really created this nice smooth background. Once again I'll zoom in even a bit closer so you can see the before and after. Here is our before with all of the noise in the background and then here is our view of after, after we have applied that Surface Blur filter in order to reduce or remove the noise in this photograph.
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