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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.
All right gang, it's time to complete this composition here, make it look its absolute best because it's right on the verge, but it's not quite there. The name of this image by the way is called Solid fill layer.psd and it's up to speed with everything we have done so far. Now at this point, I really wish the saturation levels associated with this orange were higher and I can't really make them higher. I can switch this orange layer from the Hue mode to the Color mode, but that's just obscene, why not just modify the Saturation value here that's associated with this dynamic fill layer and I can do that just by double-clicking on that dynamic fill layer icon right there.
It brings up the Color Picker dialog box, and then I could experiment with the saturation by just knocking it down like so until I come out with something that I like. But I hate this. It's too uniform, it's not working out for me at all. So I'm going to go ahead and return it to 80 because that's better that has worked out for hue anyway. Let's go ahead and cancel that and switch it over to Hue. We are doing hue, it doesn't matter what that saturation value is. So what, notice that by the way. I'll double-click once again on that Adjustment Layer icon. Here I'm inside the Color Picker dialog box and if I reduce the Saturation value, it just doesn't matter, but if I change the Hue value, it does matter.
So if I want to come out with some rosier coral, I could do that after the fact, after I have done all the brushwork, and I could change it to any color I want, purple coral, nice. But I don't want that, so I cancel it out. I'm happy with the color as it is. Well, that is to say, I'm happy with this layer as it is. I'm not happy with the Saturation levels associated with this orange and what I want to do is bring them out that much more, I want to make them really strong. So here is how we are going to do it, we are going to do it using a Hue/Saturation layer because if we try a Vibrance layer, which you might figure is the best way to go because most folks will tell you, oh, Vibrance is better than Saturation. You have got Saturation inside Hue/Saturation dialog box, you have got Vibrance and Saturation associated with the Vibrance function right there.
But notice, if you click on Vibrance, they are in the Adjustments palette and if you drag up this Vibrance value, yeah, you are going to increase the saturation levels that are associated with this orange coral, but everybody else is going to go through the roof as well including these blue areas of his fins and his sleeves and so on which were already as saturated as they need to be, and now they are over the top. So we don't want that and if I change this value to 0 here, we also don't want this different sort of Saturation value that's associated with Vibrance, it's different than it is, it's calculated in different fashion than it is inside the Hue/Saturation dialog box, but it's not color sensitive, the way Hue/Saturation is which it were, but it isn't because well, between you and me, I don't think much of Vibrance inside Photoshop CS4.
I feel like they could have done a much better job of implementing this feature, and instead they just shoehorned it in here and gave us two slider bars and that's it. Well, anyway, so instead of me just convincing here, let's go here and press the Escape key to get out of the Adjustments palette there and then I'll press Backspace or Delete to get rid of that layer, instead what we want is Hue/Saturation. So I'll go ahead and Alt+Click or Option+Click on the little Hue/Saturation dude right there, and I'm going to call this Up with red because I want more red inside of this image as you will see, even though it's orange, red is the color that we are going to affect. So I'll go ahead and click OK.
Then get yourself the Target Adjustment tool, go ahead and click on it to make it active and then find a nice orange bit of coral right there and drag on it to the right like so until you increase the Saturation value over on the right-hand side of the screen, upper right, until it turns to about +50, anything near that's going to be fine, and that ends up producing this effect here which is really nice. Now this is a very noisy image, you should know that. There are noises popping all over the place. So what, that is the way the image was captured. It is a noisy image, we have delivered that, but we don't want to sacrifice saturation because of that we want this to be a beautiful richly saturated noisy image.
All right so done, you can go ahead and close that palette right there, collapse it. Next, I'm going to go ahead and sharpen this image, so I'm going to click on the Background layer. You got to click on Background if you want to sharpen it because you need to sharpen the pixels. You can't sharpen an adjustment layer or a dynamic fill layer, that's not going to work for you. So go to that Background layer. Then I want you to go up to the Filter menu, choose Sharpen, and choose Smart Sharpen, Shift+F6 if you loaded Deke keys, and we are using Smart Sharpen as opposed to high pass because this is not a portrait shot, it does just have one person in it, but it's ultimately a high frequency shot with a lot of stuff going on and it's the coral that we really want to make nice and sharp.
So we don't want to affect Motion Blur, even though there is Motion Blur associated with this image. There is a little camera shake and he is moving and the shutter was open for longer than the light could accommodate. But you know what, who cares, we are going to move over to Lens Blur. That's what we really need for this image and actually oops! I have got Settings going. I want to switch from Camera shake to Random settings which are going to get us closer to the mark, not this much so. I don't want this much sharpening. I am going to take the Radius value down to 3 pixels and then it's up to you, I'm going to leave the Amount value at 400%, I mean that's over the top. I'm definitely over sharpening this image, but I want it to be tacked up and I want you to see just how much better this image is going to be after we are done.
So I'm going to leave it set to this ridiculously high setting here, 400%, Radius value of 3 pixels, Remove set to Lens Blur, I'm tempted to turn it on, but I'm not going to and then click OK. So leave More Accurate turned off. It ends up kind of settling down, did you see that the effects settled down there on screen from its original preview to the way it looks now. Sometimes it does that, and the settled down view is a little more accurate. All right, next, what I want you to do is let's go ahead and fade that effect because otherwise, we are calling attention to any chromatic aberrations in this image that is weird color stuff that's going on and there is weird color stuff galore in this image I suspect.
So let's go ahead and just for the sake of due diligence, press Ctrl+Shift+F, Command+Shift+F on the Mac to bring up the Fade command, or you can choose the Fade command from the Edit menu and let's change the mode to Luminosity. Just to make sure, we are only sharpening the luminous information inside this image. It doesn't look like it changed all that much, but still it's a good habit to get into and then I'm going to take that Opacity value up to 85%, I do want to back up the effect just a little bit but not too much, click OK. And then let's go ahead and crop him. I'm going to zoom out so that I can take in all of the image in a little bit of this gray pace board area, get the Crop tool and drag inside the image like so and I'm going to go ahead and rotate this boundary a little bit as well because I want him to be really the central focus of the shot even though I'm very interested in the coral as well.
But you notice, there is kind of this foggy area over here on the right side of the image, that is due to some sort of water getting into the lens or something was happening by this point of time. So it have a little bit of humidity in there showing up and might as well crop away what we can of that. Now if you don't want to get rid of any of your layer mask right there, if you want to keep it intact, then you would turn-on Hide and you would -- I would just mark over, I love that about the Crop tool. I have already complained about Vibrance. So I guess I should just leave crop alone.
Here we go, this looks good, and now I'm going to press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to apply that modification and here we go people, this is the true test of whether this image is any good. I'm going to send it to the Full Screen mode like so, and I'm going to zoom in a few clicks on it. There it is, the final version of the image. Yes, it's noisy, yes it's crunchy, yes, it's not the best underwater photograph ever captured. I'll acknowledge that in a heartbeat. But it once upon a time looked like this my dear friends. Oh my goodness! We had nothing practically but we managed to do a pretty fast job of it and turn it into -- this is just a masterpiece by comparison. Look at that, it's so good even though I had to bring Vibrance in the Crop tool a little bit.
I am so pleased with what Photoshop allows us to do and this is the kind of stuff we get when we obey a few rules like applying adjustment layers in a proper order from big changes to little changes and when we violate other rules like switching back and forth between different color models here inside Photoshop.
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