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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right friends we're almost done with this image. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Five-filter fusion.psd, so called because altogether we have fused the results of five different filters. This would be Smart Sharpen, Median, High Pass, Gaussian Blur and Shadow/Jighlights in order to create this composition right here. Not quite perfect. We are on the verge of perfection, I tell you. But there is one issue that I have, actually two, but one is major-minor and one is minor-minor.
The major-minor one is that we have this highlight across the bridge of the woman's nose right here that is getting sharpened. And first of all it's kind of a artifact-laden highlight in the first place. It's got a sharp edge to it and the edge is only gotten extenuated over time, thanks to all of our edge detection filters working together inside of the image. So what we need to do is heal this edge away. I think that's going to be your best path. There is certainly other things that we could try, but I think healing is going to be the simplest. So I'll go over here and get the Healing Brush.
And then I'll notice that I have a little Ghostbusters icon when I move my cursor into the image. Now, if you don't see the Ghostbusters icon, little no-can-do icon, that's because your Filter Mask is active. In that case you could heal inside of the Filter Mask, but that's not what you want to do. That's not going to do you any good. If the filter mask is not active, and it's the Smart Object that's active instead, you won't be able to paint with the tool. And if you try, you'll get an error message that's says Alt-click to define a source point to be used to repair the image. All right, I'll go ahead and give that try if you like, Photoshop. There we go.
A little Alt-click or an Option-click on the Mac, and now, I get a Ghostbusters icon inside of our preview. That's nice. And then if I start to click or drag, then I'm going to get 'This smart object must be rasterized before proceeding.' 'Edit contents will no longer be available.' Should I rasterize the Smart Object? No, cancel out; you don't want to do that. So you cannot use the Healing Brush because the Smart Object is not directly editable. That's the error message we are looking for Photoshop, thank you very much. We have to go a-hunting, but there it is. That's the problem.
Is you cannot edit the pixels and the Smart Object. This being familiar to us of course from the previous chapter. I told you that then. But it's the kind of thing that becomes an issue every once in a while. The penalty for all this splendid stuff that you get out of Smart Objects, you know the fact that you can apply nondestructive transformations, the fact that you can regain access to Camera Raw, the fact that you can create instances, the fact that you can heap on Smart Filters. The downside is that you don't have access to the pixels, not direct access. So what you have to do is double-click on the Smart Object in order to enter the nested Smart Object. Notice if we zoom in here on that bridge of the nose that we have that same old weird little cursor going on here, which is to say that we can see the thing that we are going to heal. But we have got a Ghostbusters icon telling us we can't do it, and if we go and click it we're going to get those same error messages, so don't even bother.
Instead double-click again on this Smart Object and now we are out of Smart Objects. We are actually in the pixels, this is the original image right here. Let's go ahead and zoom in on it, and this is the original untreated image. We have yet to make a pixel-level modification to this image, over this entire course of events here. All right, so what I'm going to do, armed with the Healing Brush, I'm going to Alt-click or Option-click right about here in order to set the source point and then I'm going to drag up the bridge of the nose to about this location there. So not all the way up, because otherwise I'll lose the highlights if I go too high. So just about midway of the nose.
And that covers up that weird little edge right there. Now if you feel like it covers it up too much, or you don't really like the brush stroke or you can see the edge of the Healing Brush stroke. That can happen too. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+Z again. Command+Z a couple of times, just compare the before and after. It's look actually pretty darn good to me, but just in case, press Ctrl+Shift+F, Command+Shift+F on the Mac, in order to fade your Healing Brush, and I'll back it off to 70% let's say. And then click OK and that should produce a really fine result and it actually looks great, I think.
All right, so I'll switch back to my Rectangular Marquee tool. I'll go ahead and close this newest image. Photoshop will ask me if I want to save the changes? Yes, I do. You would click the Save button on the Mac in order to save those changes into the nested Smart Object. And just to make sure you like what you see now that you can see it sharpened, we'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z and there is that edge, can you see it right there? And then Ctrl+Z again, that's Command+Z on the Mac of course, and the edge disappears. So it's a nice marvelous modification.
All right, now I'm thinking you know what? I do want this to look sharp in print. So I want to make sure we've got very tactile sharpening going on inside of this image. So as long as I'm looking at the nested Smart Object, I'm going to go over to the Smart Sharpen filter, double-click on its little slider icon right there to bring up the Blending Options dialog box. And I should note, by the way, that is easy to miss that thing. Every once in a while when I'm just kind of working by myself, I'll accidentally click a few pixels too far over to the right, in which case you are going to bring up the big old Smart Sharpen dialog box. So you really got to nail that icon, just so you know.
You probably already figured that out by now, but just in case. Double-click on the slider icon, right there in the center of it if you can. And then I'm going to change the Opacity value to 100%. Forget this subtlety. We need nice sharp focus. Click OK. All right, now I'm going to go ahead and close the nested Smart Object, and Photoshop will ask me, hey do you want to save the changes, meaning do you want to update your other larger composition? The answer is Yes or Save. So go ahead and click that button and then you come back into the Five-filter fusion.psd image.
Now both of your modifications wrapped into a single Undo because they happened actually in separate image windows. So this image is just tracking the fact that it received those modifications from the nested Smart Object. So in other words, if I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, I'm undoing both operations. I'm undoing the healing and I'm undoing the modification to the Smart Sharpen Blending, the fact that we send it back to 100%. And so we are seeing the image as it appeared when we first began this exercise. Hence I'm not seeing an asterisk up here in the title tab, which would tell me I have unsaved changes. I don't, because I just undid everything.
To redo it, and you can see we've got that sharp edge, that's no good, and we also have slightly softer details, for example, the eyelashes and the eyes. If I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z again, then we've got more tactile eyelashes and we no longer have that harsh edge on the bridge of the nose. Fantastic, I tell you. All right, so we are now done with this image. I'm going to go ahead and press the F key a couple of times to switch to the Full Screen Mode and let's do a before and after. This is how the image looked when we first opened it at the outset of this chapter many, many exercises ago, and this is how the image looks now. Super sharp beautifully focused, wonderfully rendered, the colors are outrageously great. Thanks to the power of Smart Filters, not to mention our very meticulous approach.
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