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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.
An important step in your overall Camera Raw workflow is sharpening and noise reduction, and here what I want to do is take a look at how we can use the sharpening and noise reduction controls and also how we can integrate these steps into our overall workflow. So go ahead and select these two files here. Then navigate to the File pulldown menu and choose Open in Camera Raw. Let's start off with this first photograph here. This is a picture that I captured in a low light setting with a high ISO. Yet at this zoomed out perspective, well, the image, it looks fine, yet if we zoom in to 100%, we'll see that the image actually isn't in that great of shape.
Let's go ahead and click on this icon here and go to 100% and then press the Spacebar and then click and drag to reposition the photograph. What you'll notice is that when you get up close, well, there's a lot of noise in the background and on the texture of the skin and all the different areas of the photograph. Let me zoom in even closer so that you can see this. Well, we can correct this by navigating to our Detail panel. You can do so by clicking on this icon here. And with this initial image, I just want to deconstruct how we can use these controls.
Let's start off with our Noise Reduction controls. Here, I'll go ahead and click and drag this up, and what it will do is it will remove all of the luminance variation that we see in the image. Yet there still are some color problems here. So we'll increase our Color Noise Reduction as well. Well, now with these simple adjustments, this image is already looking much better. Let's take a look at the preview. Here is before, you can see all the texture and color variation, and then I'll click that again, and there is after.
So these controls really help to improve our photographs, yet at the same time, something has happened. The image is now a little bit more soft, that's why these two sets of controls are right next to each other, because you know, when you reduce noise, you are also softening a bit because you're removing some detail. When you sharpen your picture, sometimes you're adding a little bit more noise. So you need to work with these two sets of controls together. Let's take a look at how we can work with our Sharpening controls.
Here, I'll go ahead and zoom back to 100% so we can see this image a little but more appropriately here. When you're sharpening, you want to be up close, ideally right around 100%. Let's see how these sliders work. You can click and drag the sliders to the right. Yet sometimes it's hard to know what's actually happening. Well, if you press and hold a Modifier Key and then click and drag, you get this really interesting preview which can help you find a more appropriate amount of sharpening, or a more appropriate radius for what you're trying to do.
Hold down Option or Alt and then click and drag the slider. As we do that, you can see the Amount really is intensity. And let's crank that up just to kind of exaggerate things here a bit. Well, what about Radius? Radius will be dependent upon your file resolution. The lower the resolution of the file, the lower the Radius. Hold down Option or Alt and click on this, drag to the right. You can see that those edges, well, they really glow. Drag to the left and that glowing disappears.
Typically, you don't want to have your edges glow. You want to have a really low or subtle amount of your Radius. Next, we have Detail. Drag to the right, you'll see more texture, more details. This isn't very good for people photographs, so with people, you want to remove the Detail amount altogether. Next we have Masking. When you hold down Option or Alt and click and drag on this icon, what you will notice is you get this really interesting black and white mask. This is showing me that whatever is black won't be sharpened, whatever is white will be sharpened.
So with this slider, we can limit what areas of our photograph will be sharpened. In this case, it's just going to focus in on the edges. Well, now that we know how these controls work, let's go ahead and decrease our Amount to something a little bit more appropriate. That was a bit too high, and I'll also modify the Masking amount there, and I'm just trying to make adjustments which look good to my eye. Let's take a look at our preview. If we click on this icon here, we'll be able to see that before, lot of texture, lot of noise, and then now the after, the image is looking much better.
Now that we know how all of these controls work, let's talk about workflow, and let's do that with the next image. We'll go ahead and click on this file here, and whenever you are working in Adobe Camera Raw, typically you start off with the Basic panel, and typically you go top to bottom. Here, we might increase the color temperature a bit to warm this photograph up. We also might increase our exposure, maybe our contrast, and we can just modify the way that this image appears, and I am going to make a few adjustments just to change the way I'm viewing this photograph. And again, I'm just doing this, so that it looks good to my eye.
And the reason why I want to illustrate this is because the amount of contrast and also the amount that you adjust all of these controls, well, they will modify or change how much sharpening you need to apply or also how much noise you need to reduce. Because if an image has a lot of contrast, it looks sharper. If it has a low amount of contrast, it looks a little bit more soft. So typically, you want to go through all of your workflow steps first. You want to modify the image with the Basic panel and the other panels as well and then near the end of your workflow, head over to the Details panel.
Here, in the Details panel what we want to do is zoom in on this picture, and I'll go ahead and zoom in so I can see some of the details of this frame. One of the things I notice here is that I have a little bit of noise, and I also want to make this a bit sharper. Well, to do that, we'll go ahead and increase our Sharpening amount, and then with the Detail slider, if I drag this up, what we'll see is it will bring out some of the texture. Well, texture with a photograph like this--even though it's a people picture-- might be kind of nice. Next, we'll increase the Masking amount, and if we actually want to see that, hold down Option or Alt and click and drag so we can see what area will be applied in regards to the sharpening or which areas of the photograph will be sharpened.
Again, whatever is white will be sharpened, whatever is black won't be sharpened. So we can find the appropriate amount there. Then we want to increase our Luminance Noise Reduction and also our Color Noise Reduction. Finally, we want to go back and make any needed last-minute adjustments, and that's a wrap. Let's go ahead and zoom out with this picture so that we can evaluate it. Here, what I wanted to do at the end of this movie, really, is just illustrate this whole idea that when working with your Detail panel, you want to integrate that into your overall workflow, and most importantly, you want to start off by making your basic adjustments and then eventually go to the Detail panel in order to make those needed final adjustments in order to finish off your photograph.
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