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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
If you saw the movie Avatar you may recall that the Na'vi people have blue skin and yet their hair remains brown. So it's basically human colored hair set against this alien skin. And this is a little bit of a challenge from an image editing perspective because it means that we need to color the skin independently of the hair. So we need to leave the hair absolutely alone and just change the skin, which means that we need a selection of some type, either a mask or a selection. Really for all intents and purposes they're the same thing inside Photoshop.
Still working inside this image called second liquification.psd, and I've got the brow & nose layer selected. I'm going to switch to the liquify eyes layer right there, go ahead and click on it because this layer doesn't have a layer mask and the command that we're about to employ has a tendency to override or mess up or get confused by layer masks. So click on liquify eyes, and then we'll go up to the Select menu and choose Color Range. Now this command is awesome, I have to say, which is why, if you loaded ekeKeys, you can see that I went ahead and gave you a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+Alt+O or Command+Shift+Option+O on the Mac.
If you're familiar with the Magic Wand tool, which allows you to select ranges of color inside Photoshop but delivers very ratty edges, this is the command that allows you to select ranges of color inside Photoshop but delivers really awesome edges. So I'm going to go ahead and choose Color Range, and then what you do inside of this command is you click to set a base color. So you kind of ignore the dialog box at first. You click to set a base color out here in the image window, and then you'll see that you're starting to create a mask inside of the dialog box.
So wherever you see white inside this tiny little Preview, that's going to be a pixel that's selected and wherever you see black that's going to be a pixel that's not selected. And if you want to add more to the selection, which we most certainly do, we want to select all of her skin, none of her hair is basically the idea, or as little hair as possible. We're going to end up selecting quite a bit of hair, but we won't select the background, and then we'll take care of the hair later. Then to add more base colors to the selection, you press and hold the Shift key, and that will give you little Plus sign next to your Eyedropper, and then you click again and then continue to Shift-click throughout the image in order to lift more key colors, more base colors for the selection and basically the idea is every color that you Shift-click on will be absolutely selected, and then other colors will be selected based on how close they are to those click colors, to those key colors, based on this fuzziness value.
So if you reduce the fuzziness value, you're only going to select the key colors and nothing more. If you increase the fuzziness value, you're going to select more related colors. We want to leave that fuzziness value at 40 for now and just keep Shift-clicking inside the image, or you can Shift-drag across certain areas to select a bunch of colors at once. Now as usual, I've gone ahead and saved my settings so that you can load them up and achieve the exact same results as me. And you do that by clicking on the Load button. And then go into your 01_Ps_demo folder, click on Face colors.axt, which represents the settings file for this particular operation, and click on the Load button, and you'll end up with a selection that looks like this. Fairly scary, actually, and if you want to see it in more detail, you would change the Selection Preview from None to Grayscale, and then you'll see the mask out here in the larger image window.
All right so now we're ready to go. We'll take care of the eyes and the mouth and the hair later as you'll see, but for now this is going to work out beautifully. Click OK in order to generate a selection outline like this. So basically she is selected, anything that looked white just a moment ago is now selected. Anything that looked black is deselected. All those grey values in between represent the drop-off of the selection so we don't have hard, jagged edges. All right. Now that we've selected the area that we want to color blue, we're going to apply that color using an Adjustment layer in the next exercise.
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