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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 are going to focus in on the topic of removing blemishes. Let's open up this file dylan.psd. Press F to go Full Screen View mode and then double-click the Zoom tool to zoom in on this portrait of Dylan here. And here we notice we have a couple of different types of blemishes. We have some little cuts on his face also, just some dirt because he was playing in the backyard. So we want to clean this up. Let's create a new layer. Shift+Command+N on the Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on the PC. We will name this layer clean. Press S to select your Clone Stamp tool. Now here is a great trick for you. I'm going to zoom in. I can of course, Option-click and then paint again, yet, when I do that, I repeat the pattern and I'm copying actual pixels. So rather than doing that, I can grab my Clone Stamp tool, I can take this to blend mode of Lighten, lower the Opacity and then Option-click to paint on that. What's going to happen is it is just going to try to find the pixels that are darker and then lighten those.
So I'm going to go ahead and go around the image and you will see that what it's doing is it is maintaining the overall pixel integrity. Just change the brush size there a little bit. And it's then brightening those objects that are a little bit dark. So that trick can be really helpful especially when you have a lot of areas that you need to just diminish a little bit. What I actually want to do is remove all these spots. So I'm going to go ahead and select the Spot Healing Brush tool. Click Sample All Layers and here what I'm going to do is just click around the image and I'm going to click fairly quickly in order to get all these little spots and I'm just going to make sure I don't have any problems here and we will make our way around the forehead and then back down here on the face and the Spot Healing Brush tool is really nice obviously, for removing these small spots. Yet, I didn't just want to show that tool. I wanted to show that other technique where we are using the Clone Stamp tool and you change the blend mode in order to get the desired results.
Now as I'm clicking through here, I'm going to probably have a few areas where it is not going to look good, meaning, where the sample area that Photoshop shows for me just wasn't a good sample area and I don't like how it worked. So I'm going have to go back and fix that up. Let's take a look of before and after. Well, here is the before and here is the after. Okay, some great cleanup work, but like I said, there are some areas that are a little bit splotchy like right here is little bit splotchy and right here, above the eyebrow. So I'll create a new layer. Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC. We will name that one clean 2. In this case, I'm going to grab the Healing Brush and I'll Option- click and paint over the areas that I want to fix up. Here I have a little bit more control over what's actually going to get painted or cleaned or healed, I should say and so I'll just over those areas where it was a little bit too splotchy and I'm just interested in getting into the details of the photograph.
Now it's not super-fun to watch them and do this. So I'm not going to do too much of it. Yet, I'm hoping that you are starting to catch vision for how can begin to work with reducing or removing blemishes. You want to use your Clone Stamp tool and you might use your Clone Stamp tool in the way that's kind of unique in the sense that you use it on a blend mode. If you have a dark spot you want to reduce, you use a blend mode of Lighten, you have a bright spot want to darken, well, you know it, you would use the blend mode of darken and I'll go through here and just hit a few more of these blemishes. Again, I don't want to do too much of this.
So let's go up to the area that we have worked on and look at our before and after. Overall before and then after. So we are able to reduce those blemishes and the trick here is that, there isn't one tool that works best. Rather, it's a combination of your different tools and in addition, it's a really good idea to do this on its own layer, so that you can modify that layer. So that it's non-destructive and the nice thing about this is while you are creating a new layer and it is increasing your file size, it's worth it because it's a safety net. So that if you make any mistakes, you can go back.
The last thing that I want to point out here is that when you are using these tools just make sure you are choosing the option Sample All Layers that will give you the ability to Clone up to that top layer. Finally, it's kind of interesting to turn off your underlying layers and zoom out a little bit and see what you have actually done. Now here we can see I have my two layers of work here and all the small, little areas and ideally, what I should see is that when I turn on and off Layers at any time, then I'm not seeing anything that looks worse. You really want to pay attention to that, because all of these little details matter. In this case, I think we pulled it off, double-click the Zoom tool to go to 100% look at our overall before and after and I say, yeah, we are going in a good direction. We just need to work on the rest of the face. Yet, for the purposes of this demo, I think we have arrived at a good stopping point.
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