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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 that same Channel mixes.psd image. I've gone ahead and restored the original saved version of the image. So we're just seeing the background photograph and nothing more. In this exercise, I am going to introduce you to layer Comps, which are great for basically comparing the effect of different layers when piled on top of each other. So in our case for example, let's say I want to be able to compare Sienna 1 (raw), I will go ahead and turn that On, and then I want to compare it to Sienna 2 (burnt). So in other words I am comparing a raw Sienna effect to a burnt Sienna effect.
And if you are familiar with oils or acrylic paints, then you know that raw sienna is a yellowish brown and burnt Sienna is a reddish brown. And I want to be able to actually see that happen onscreen but in order to compare the two, I need to turn one Off and then the other On, and as a result I don't get that direct before and after preview, you know what I mean, it's not a side-by-side preview, but I want to be able to see one right after the other without the original image in between which ruins the effect, then I can't really do a visual comparison.
Well that's where layer Comps come in. Basically, at its most fundamental level, a layer Comp says which layers are visible and which layers aren't, and that's it. But just that very simple thing ends up providing a great advantage. So I am going to go up to the Window menu, and choose the layer Comps command, and that will bring up this layer Comps panel, and I'm going to drag the top of the panel up so that we can see every one of these 18 layer Comps that I've saved for you, and they don't take up much space at all and they are saved along with the file, incidentally.
So here is this file that has 13 different Channel Mixer adjustment layers and one Vibrant adjustment layer, notice at the top here, as well as this photographic image of course in the background, and then we also have 18 different layer Comps, but if you take a look at the size of the file down here in the lower-left corner of the window, you can see that it's 8.5 Megabytes/8.5 Megabytes, that means flattened it takes up a 8.5 megs in memory and with all of the Adjustment layers and with all the layer Comps, it also takes up 8.5 megs of memory.
It's as if these other elements take up no room whatsoever. Well they do take up a few K, is what it comes down to, but not enough to really amount to anything. So I definitely recommend, you take a look at these things. They are very easy to work with, very easy to create and here's how they work. Notice I've got this guy called Original. You don't click on it, you can but that doesn't really actually do anything inside the image. What you need to do is click in front of the item and you get this little newspaper icon and that goes ahead and shows you that layer Comp.
And in this case nothing changed because this layer Comp includes just the background image and nothing more. If I click in front of Channels forward then I'm seeing the Background layer along with the R > G > B > R Channel Mixer layer and you might ask, well, why is that Channels forward? Because I'm spinning the Channels forward. I am rolling the red channel into the green channel and the green channel into the blue channel and the blue channel background into the red channel. Half forward is the 50% mix, and notice, now I can compare them directly to each other, just by clicking in front of a different layer Comp, not only that I've got these arrow icons down here at the bottom which allow me to go to the Next Comp forward or the Previous Comp if I like.
So I will click on this right arrowhead to go to the Next Comp in which case we are rolling the channels backward. We are going from green > red > blue > green. And the next one is the half back, so we can compare the 50% version of that very same effect right in a row. Next I have got Portrait booster 1 and that is just as one Portrait booster layer by itself. Portrait booster 2 is the second one by itself. Portrait booster 3 is the two together, just as I showed you.
So again, you can compare those to each other as well. We've got Monochrome warm, and this is where I noticed while I was showing this to you in the previous exercise that there was no way, I could compare these two to each other, and it was time for me to show you the layer Comps that were lying in wait here, because you can see that it's a Monochrome image, but it doesn't look all that warm until you compare it to Monochrome cool, which is obviously quite a bit cooler onscreen here, and then we start working our way into the paint colors. So there is Yellow oxide, all of these are very warm pink colors, so you can think of these as being different sepia tones if you like or antique variations on the image.
So here's Yellow oxide and each one of these transitions progressively more toward red and finally into Magenta. So we go from Yellow oxide to Raw sienna, each one of these is selecting a different layer here inside the Layers panel. Then we go to Burnt sienna, so we can see the two right on top of each other there, and then Red oxide which is getting redder still, finally Violet oxide, and then notice so that you can really see the difference between these guys, I've got Yellow high. Now what in the world's going on there? Well, let's go ahead and scroll up the list inside the Layers panel.
It's Yellow oxide along with my vibrant layer on top. So then I've got Raw sienna high, which is Siena 1 (raw) along with vibrant, and then Burnt Sienna high right there which is Siena 2 (burnt), so in other words these are more highly saturated versions of those variations we saw before, but we are missing a couple. I don't have high vibrant versions of red or violet. So let's go ahead and create those very quickly, don't take any time. Go ahead and turn Off Sienna 2 (burnt) and turn on Red oxide, so make sure Red oxide is turned On and vibrant is turned On as well.
And then let's create a New layer Comp, by clicking on this little Page icon at the bottom of the layer Comps panel and that will bring up the New layer Comp dialog box and I am just going to call this guy Red high, and all we want to apply to the layers is Visibility for now, because we are not doing any special appearance stuff, that would mean Opacity Levels and Blend modes and any layer effects you may have applied including any settings associated with those layer effects. So Appearance conveys a lot. Position is all about moving layers. So you can actually save the horizontal and vertical location of a layer if you want to.
That also doesn't apply to our composition. So we just want Visibility, click OK and now I'll go ahead and turn Off Red oxide and turn On Violet oxide, make sure the vibrant layer is still turned On as well. Click on the little Page icon, up comes the New layer Comp dialog box, go ahead and call this Violet high, like so, and make sure Visibility is just turned On, the other two Off, click OK and you're done. You've actually gone ahead and saved out a couple of layer Comps and now you can work your way through all of these, just by clicking either the Forward button, which is going to take you back to the original image, so it cycles all the way around or you can click on the Previous Comp button here if you want to the left arrowhead to move backwards through these variations.
So there you have it, a file full of Channel Mixer variations that are available to you to inspect and use anytime you like and to check one of them out by the way. I'm going to go ahead and bring up layer Comps for just a moment once again, and I'm going to switch to Burnt Sienna high, because I think that's one of the most successful manipulations of this particular image. To check out what's going on with any one of these, just double-click on the Adjustment layer thumbnail that will bring up the Adjustments panel and then you can see, in this case, I have changed Red to a 50-50 mix of Red and Green.
I have changed Green to 10%, Red, 60% Green, and 30% Blue, and then I went ahead and changed Blue to -10 Red, so a little bit of an aggressive manipulation there, 50% Green, and 60% Blue, and every single one of them is different. You can check them out on your own and decide which ones you like, which ones you don't, drag them and drop them into your own photographs as well. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to use the Channel Mixer to create your own custom black-and-white images.
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