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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to show you what to do if Protect Skin Tone helps but it doesn't altogether solve the problem and we are going to be taking a very deliberate approach to this image because this image contents a model. And when you are Content-Aware Scaling inside of a portrait most likely I'm assuming you don't want to harm the person. You just want to manipulate the background. So how do you go about doing that? Well, you have to take a very deliberate approach, so you don't end up bending the arms and that kind of stuff for example. All right, so I'm working inside of an image called Brand new day.psd found inside the loving 29_new_tech folder. And by the way, we have got this layer called needs love because she does. And this image incidentally comes to us from photographer Juan Gabriel Estey of istockphoto.com. And what I want to do is I want to make the image only as wide as her out stretched arms. And I cloud crop it of course but then I would lose this little bit of shrubbery right there when I crop through the clouds. I just want all that stuff tucked underneath and we can do that with Content-Aware Scaling.
Content-Aware Scale is extremely adept at tucking as you will see. And then I want to stretch the sky all the way to the top of this expanded canvas. So that I have tons of room for let's say add copy. Like you know some prescription thing or other. All right so I'm going to go up here to the Edit menu and I'm going to choose Content-Aware Scale but this time instead of just stretching the corner handles I'm going to take a very deliberate and a numerical approach. Make sure of course that your little Protect skin tones man is turned on. And then I'm going to go over here to this Reference Point Matrix and I'm going to click the bottom point right there. So that she is anchored at this location right there.
And in fact, let's go ahead and anchor her right, in the middle of her torso. So that we can keep track of the arms and if the arm start to squish then we are in trouble. All right now go over to this Width Value, which erroneously says 98%. Every once and while Content-Aware Scale will do that, where it gives you the wrong reading. Let's go ahead and restore that to 100%. All right that's good. Now it's very unlikely you are ever going to want it turn on this link, because why would you want to maintain the Aspect Ratio if you are stretching an image with Content-Aware Scale. But it is an option, and just unlikely you are going to take advantage of it.
The Width value is active. Now I'm going to press Shift+Down Arrow and we can see that the image is declining in width. And she did sort of jump around there, more than I would have liked. Because it's difficult to track her when she does that. Her arms look just fine to me so I'll press Shift+Down Arrow again and she got a little bit of squishy going on. I saw something happen with her neck right there. If we press Shift+ Down Arrow again, oh that's definitely bad. We have lost a good deal of her ribcage here and her shoulders getting shoved into her neck and things just get worse and worse as we go on here.
This is a hilarious command by the way. I should point that out that it's something to show friends and have fun with just like Liquify. Anyway, I'm going to increase the Width value, back to 80% and I'm thinking that this works out pretty nicely. Actually look 81 just took her shoulder out a little more. I'll see what 82 does. No, 82 no difference. So 81 is the best Width value for now. And of course we'll take multiple approaches to this one. Then let's tab our way over to the H option for Height of course, and I'll press Shift+Up Arrow to raise the sky and if I press Shift+Up Arrow to raise the sky again, I start stretching her torso. So she has got the same problem that the woman in the chair had.
The woman in the chair was sitting in a red chair which is stretchy it's not protected by Protect skin tones. And she is wearing a red dress. So her world is stretching a little bit too. And then of course we could really give her some torso action if we want to just stretch her waist all the way up there and change her human proportions in a crazy fashion. Anyway I'm going to restore this value back down. Press Shift+Down Arrow until we get a reasonable looking human being, which is right there at 110%. So might as will take it just a little bit at a time. You do not need to get that much accomplished in one fell swoop. It's good to be patient and by the way notice that we did indeed tuck the shrubbery under her hand, this tree right there and the clouds too. So they have gone dramatically under her arm right there.
I will go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that modification. Actually I have to press it a couple of times because my Numerical option was active right there. And then of course we have to wait out the Progress bar just bear in mind that that's part of the deal. And just to give you a sense here, I want you to see how wonderful it is that this got tucked under. This was before. It was fully out of the hand range right there. The clouds were under the back of her hand and then this is after, the tree is moved under her hand and the clouds have moved under her elbow.
Just awesome. We still haven't quite accomplished my goal. So let's go up to the Edit menu choose Content-Aware Scale again and I should say something. It's kind of an apology. By default you have a keyboard shortcut for Content-Aware Scale, which is Ctrl+ Shift+Alt+C or Command+Shift+Option+C on the Mac. Thing is I have decided to reassign that keyboard shortcut to the Crop command right here, because I find it personally to be much more useful. I'm constantly cropping with this command, but I rarely go to this one here. So if you feel differently definitely change it back using of course, the Keyboard Shortcuts command down here.
I am going to choose Content-Aware Scale again manually and then make sure my bottom point is active inside of my matrix right there. And we'll go back to the Numerical options also check the man, the Protect skin tones dude. And then go to Width once again. We are going to press Shift+Down Arrow to see it go down to 90% and it looks good and then Shift+Down Arrow again to take it down to 80%. There is something happening with her shoulder and neck action again and we are shaving off her ribcage. The old problems are reoccurring here. So let's go ahead and take it up 1% at a time and right about there at 87% her normal proportions are reinstated or if we have go to 88% she doesn't get any better. 87% she looks great.
All right so we are being very, very scrupulous. We do not want to harm her one iota. All right, now tab over to the H value and let's press Shift+Up Arrow once. Nice! Shift+Up Arrow twice. Also nice. She is fine. Shift+Up Arrow again, we start getting the stretched torso. So let's take it back down. So 120%, 87% for W, 120% for H or Height. Press the Enter or the Return key a couple of times in order to apply that transformation. And then once I get done, we need a third application of Content- Aware Scale to finish the job.
By the way I have found that to be rather true for most images I have worked with. I mean some images just aren't going to be helped by Content-Aware Scale. But the ones that respond positively to what I find tend to respond quite well to three applications of the command. Anyway that's just an FYI. I'll go up to the Edit menu choose Content-Aware Scale. Once again, turn on that bottom point in the matrix and then I'm going to go over here to the Width value and I'm going to press Down Arrow, Down Arrow and as far as I can go. If I go to 97% notice, she starts getting squished. But at 98% she looks good. And we were tied to that finger. I think that that's what we are going to get. And then tab over to Height and you know what, why tab over to Height? Really let's just drag the sky all the way up now and that's going to work out for us. We have tons of sky to work with.
Now you might say, well Deke, that's just blue sky buddy. I mean that's just flat blue sky. You could have just filled it with blue. No you can't. You try that out if you want to and you will see that it doesn't work. Because there is all kinds of variation. Even a flat sky you are going to find all kinds of luminance and hue and saturation variation going on, and you can't try to fake it with a gradient or something along those lines, but Content-Aware Scale does it every time. This command is just great where skies are concerned. All right, I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that modification. We of course, have to wait out the Progress Bar.
Then I'll go up to the Image menu choose the Trim command. Click OK. Just ignore that dialog box and I'll go ahead and press the F12 key. This is the way the image looked originally and this is the way the image looks now. Isn't that amazing? Now of course, zoom in and check out the details. What you will find is that she looks great, at least that's what I found out. Where I'm seeing problems is if I zoom in on the grass see these weird transitions here inside the grass. That might be the kind of stuff you want to clone away or it might disappear on print. I would say actually if you print this image at 240 ppi or better this stuff is going to go away.
But if you are going to show the image at full size on the web you might want to think about the healing over some of those defects down there. But otherwise, I think it looks great. In the next exercise I'm going to show you how to use that Amount value up there in the Options bar and just coincidentally we are going take a moderately wide image and we are going stretch it into a panorama and it's going to look awesome. Stay tuned.
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