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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
Before you begin to work on your images in Photoshop, it's critical, it's key, it's important, that you setup your preferences and your color settings and that's exactly what we are going to talk about in this chapter. Let's start off by opening up the General Preferences dialog. Now, in order to access the Preferences, on a PC navigate to your Edit pulldown menu; on a Mac select Photoshop > Preferences and then choose General. Now, right up here at the top there is an important Preference that we need to talk about. Color Picker, we are going to choose Adobe, and then Image Interpolation. By default Bicubic has been selected. Now, since Photoshop CS3, it's told us what type of Image Interpolation is best. In this case, Bicubic is best for smooth gradients.
Well, typically in my workflow what I do is I start with large images and then those large images become small. So in my case the Bicubic Sharper is going to be the best Image Interpolation. I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and then try to convince you of why that's going to be the best option. All right. Well, here I have this photograph of my daughter Sophia, and she was picking strawberries in Upstate New York this summer, it was just a blast. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on the image. So I'll double click the Zoom tool to take this image to 100%, press the Spacebar tool to reposition the image; and I want to focus in on those strawberries are.
I'm going to Zoom in even a little bit closer so we can really see the detail there in the strawberries. Now, this particular image was resized using the default Bicubic setting. Now, the image doesn't look very sharp by way of comparison. If I had used the correct option, which was the option Bicubic Sharper, you can see here the image looks much better. Again, here is our before with the incorrect setting and then there is our correct setting. I'm going to zoom in even further, because I know these movies become pretty small, and it's hard to tell. Again, here is the default and then there is the correct.
Now, the correct setting isn't sharpening the image, its maintaining the sharpness of that image rather than softening it. So I'll go ahead and Zoom out so we can see the entirety of the image, and hopefully what you are seeing is that if you are going to be taking large images and sizing them down, you want to change that preference. So let's go back to the Photoshop pulldown menu and then choose Preferences and General. Now, if you are on a PC you are going to go to the Edit pulldown menu and then choose Preferences and General. So what I'm going to do here is make sure that my Image Interpolation is Bicubic Sharper. Now, that's really important because that will then be my default Image Interpolation when I use the Image Size dialog window; we will talk more about that later. It also will be my Image Interpolation that's used when I use the Crop tool. So, again really important preference there.
Let's click OK, and then just to confirm that that's my default setting; Image and Image Size, voila, Bicubic Sharper. Now, you can always change it here if you want to change it to one of the other options, yet in my own workflow, because I'm a photographer and because I shoot all raw images and they are all really big, typically I start big and then I go smaller. Now, if I'm going to interpolate my images up, typically I'm using a plug-in for that, so again that option isn't even really relevant to me. All right. Well, that wraps up our look at our first preference. There is obviously more to cover in regards of preferences, and we will do that in the next movie.
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