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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, 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 CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
All right, I am still working inside of Priestess.jpg, have it backed up the file, all I have done is created a copy of the Background layer and call it S/H, short for Shadows/Highlights, of course and those of us who are stuck with the previous exercise, we created the keyboard shortcut for Shadows/Highlights and you can get to it now by going to the Image menu, choosing Adjustments and then choosing Shadows/Highlights or pressing Ctrl+Alt+S, Command+Option+S on the Mac, which is a lot more useful to your Macintosh users than that Command+Option+V for Variations which we now know doesn't even exist on the Mac.
It's under 65-bit on the Mac; it's only 32-bit which pretty rarely you are going to run into a Mac that's set up that way. But anyway, Shadows/Highlights I digress. Let's go ahead and choose the Shadows/Highlights command. Those original defaults come back up, so 35% for Shadows, 0% for Highlights. You can now see what all of the other default settings are because the dialog box from now on is going to come up with more options revealed because once you turn on Show More Options, it sticks. Now, if you turn it off, it will stick too, but I recommend you leave the dialog box nice and tall with all the options revealed.
You may, however, want to change these default settings, but let's go ahead and switch out the settings for this image for starters. We don't need that much brightening of the shadows. So I am going to lower that Shadows value to 10%. You might take it down to 0 if you want to. We are really mostly concerned about the highlights. So I'll move down to the Highlights and I'll press Shift+Up Arrow in order to take it up to 10%, look at the image, see what I think, Press Shift+Up Arrow again in order to take it up to 20%. We are starting to really tamper the highlights at this point. I'll go ahead and take it up to 30%; you've asked me that's too much.
So I am going to press Shift+Down Arrow to keep it at 20% right there. Obviously, Color Correction, good bye Color Correction, take that down to 0, do not care for that option at all. Another thing about it, by the way, the way in which increases the saturation of the colors inside the image, I find it to be quite unpleasant. I am just not a big fan of the effect. All right, the next thing I do when I am working through this dialog box, just to give you a sense of how you might work with it as well, is I tried to decide whether I am going to change my Tonal Width value and in the case of this image, I am just going to leave it set to 50%.
That's what I normally do; I don't generally change those options and then I mess with the Radius values so that I can (a), avoid halos where possible which means I increase the Radius value and (b), try to bring out the detail inside of the small crevices in the image in which case you need to decrease the Radius value. So it really is a game that you are playing in order to decide which is more important; fewer halos, big radius, or more detail excavated inside of the nooks and crannies in which case you go with a lower Radius value.
What I want you to watch is this area of the hair right there, just down below that right-hand eye. If I raise the Radius value, it starts to fill in, notice that. If I lower the Radius value, I can brighten it up, not terribly concerned about brightening that up though. I want to get rid of the halos where I can. So I am going to take the Radius value up to 100 pixels that looks good to me. Now, you might want to play with the Radius value for the Highlights and when I say you might want to play with it, you definitely want to play with it and what I suggest you do is take this value down, I am going to press Shift+Down Arrow twice in a row to take it down to 10% and then press Shift+Up Arrow and just watch the results inside the Image window.
So this is 20%, this is 30%, this is 40%, 50%, 60% and so on. So not seeing a big difference once we get beyond 50% here. We'd have to make a pretty big change, I suspect to see a difference, this is 128 pixels for what that's worth and when I was saying percent, I meant pixels for this value, by the way. So let's take it down to 50 pixels. Of course, radius is measured in pixel values. It is a resolution-depended modification, once again, just as it is with all of the filters.
I am going to take this down to 50 for a moment and then I am going to increase my Midtone Contrast. So once again, I'll click in that value, press Shift+Up Arrow to incrementally raise that value and at about 30%, I am liking this effect and then I could adjust my radius once for Highlights to see what kind of different effects I get and this is ultimately why I decided in the end on 50 pixels was I thought it looked good. So these are settings that I applied to this image. 10% Shadows; 20% Highlights; Tonal Width for both, 50%; 100 radius for Shadows; 50 radius for Highlights; Color Correction 0 as always; Midtone Contrast, 30; left the Black Clip and White Clip alone.
Let's say from now on, you would like these values to appear as defaults. This, by the way, is something you'll have to determine over time, are you mostly using Shadows/Highlights to bring out details in the shadows to breathe life into those shadows to open that up or you are mostly using Shadows/Highlights to tamper your highlights because they are fairly out of control and you want to bring them back into the midtone range, or is it a combination of the two, and which one should be weighted and what should your radius values be. So if you decide, what we've got so far are great defaults and you could click on the Save As defaults button right there, I am going to suggest something different just for the moment.
So I am going to click OK where this specific effect is concerned and so just to give you a sense of what we've done, this is the before version of the image, this is the after version. Notice that we definitely have better information inside the image. That is the highlights are nearly so blown away. Again, this is before and this is after. So we have more volumetric and contour information and that kind of thing. However, if I zoom into the image, we don't have better color. So the colors that work there inside of the hair are just as messed up as they ever were and if I zoom in a little more, I'll go and turn that layer off once again and then turn it back on.
Notice that I am sharpening the image, meaning I am bringing out some of that surface detail inside of the skin which is something I might not want to do in this kind of portrait shot. So that might be a bad idea. However, that is something that happens with Shadows/Highlight because it does rely on that kind of Radius value, you are going to be sharpening details inside the image. So it's often the good idea, especially for portraits to follow that up with some kind of surface detail and smoothing effect and I'll show you what that looks like after we get done modifying our default Shadows/Highlight settings in the next exercise.
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