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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
I'm still working inside the image called Jedi Sam.dng and notice that my son's face here is lit up by this blue Lightsaber and I'd like to adjust the color of that blue, the Hue and the Saturation of that blue independently from the other colors inside the image. And that's something I can do inside of Camera Raw, but first, I'd like to compensate for some of this color noise. We just have a ton of color noise in this image as well as some luminance noise too, which is a function of my ISO, which was set to 800 when I captured this image.
So how do you adjust for digital noise? Well, that is something you could do inside of Camera Raw. In fact, Camera Raw is set to get rid of color noise by default and does a really great job of it. So why are we seeing so much color noise? Because we're not viewing the image at the right zoom level. So I want to switch to the Detail panel, can't switch to anything right now because the Spot Removal tool is active. So I need to switch to a different tool first such as the Zoom tool, then I have access to all my Correction panels. I'm going to switch over to Detail and you'll see that Color Noise Reduction is cranked up to 25, but also notice this message, Zoom preview to 100% or larger to see the effects of the controls in this panel.
Aha! You have to go to 100% or larger to see that Color Noise totally disappears. Notice that. Isn't that wonderful? Now I resent this. Actually, I wish they wouldn't do it this way. I see no purpose in them not showing the results of, especially the Noise Reduction at lower zoom ratios because it really gets in your way of correcting the image after a while. But that's the way it is and I'm going to go ahead and increase the Luminance Noise option as well and I'm going to take that up to about 50% in order to smooth over the details.
Now a note about Sharpening here. This is not effect sharpening. We're sharpening for effect; we are not trying to make the image more tactile. We're not doing any creative sharpening, sharpening one portion of the image independently of another. We are not sharpening for output. These Sharpening controls here are specifically designed to compensate for the capture process and a value of about 25% works out pretty well. It does a halfway decent job of compensating for the de-mosaicing process which is how colors are generated from raw images and invariably, results in a little bit of softening. So this amount of sharpening kind of takes care of it.
But you don't really have all much control. You do have an Amount value, you do have a Radius, so you could make that thicker. You could really just crank these values up if you wanted to in order to bring that noise back out, the noise that we just tried to get rid of there. You have also got this Detail slider that's going to sort of burrow in there and sharpen the details differently depending on whether it finds little details or big details to work with. Then you have this Masking option. Masking is interesting. You can Alt+Drag by the way or Option+Drag on all of these sliders in order to get different sorts of previews, but it's really useful with the Masking option. If I Alt+Drag or Option+Drag and raise this value, you will see the mask drawn on the fly.
So wherever we're seeing white, that's a detail that will get sharpened; wherever we're seeing black is a detail that will not get sharpened. What you'd extensively want to do is block out everything, but the really good details if you are going to use this option, something like 80 works out pretty well. Then you're just going to sharpen around the eyes. You are not going to sharpen the noise inside the skin and so on. But as I say, I don't really tend to work with these Sharpening options very often. I usually save my Sharpening for Photoshop proper and if you want to learn more about that you can check out my Photoshop Sharpening Images series that goes into scads of detail about these options and other Sharpening features and when to use what inside of Photoshop.
So there are the Detail options, as soon as you zoom out, it all goes to heck. You don't see the result of a single one of these options, nothing at all. In the next exercise, we are going to switch over to these guys, HSL/Grayscale. And I'm here to tell you these options are awesome!
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