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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 Dead calm.jpg image, the only thing that I have done incidentally is jump the image to a new layer and apply the Shadows/Highlights command which is available under the Image Adjust submenu. All right, so I have applied a Shadows amount value of 10% and a Highlights amount value of 50%, but we need more control obviously. Turn on the Show More Options check box in order to reveal lots more options inside of this dialog box. So this is one of those classic struggles by the way between a product manager at Adobe and an engineer at Adobe.
The engineer wants to give you every single option imaginable, and the product manager says, no, that's going to overwhelm everybody, let's go ahead and just show them these options, then the compromise is this Show More Options check box. So you can decide which way you want to go. Well, where this particular command is concerned, the engineer had it right. You want to see everything, even though it's overwhelming, you want access to these options, and I will show you how to approach them. The first thing you want to do is get the heck rid of this Color Correction setting.
I don't know who thought this was a good idea, but elevating the saturation of the colors to 20% by default is a very bad idea. So go ahead and take that value down to 0 and you get rid of the guy's sunburn. Now of course what we have is some theoretically less saturated colors than we did before at the very outset. So we'll turn Off the Preview check box so we can see what this image looked like originally. Turn it back On, it looks like we are really pounding down the colors in the image because we are reducing the brightness of the Highlights to 50%, we are going so far with our correction.
However, this turns out to be a good thing over the long haul. The next thing you want to do is check out these additional sliders that you have for Shadows and Highlights. Notice that they're same three sliders repeated in both locations. So we have them out which we have already adjusted. In that amount value you just adjust to taste, just decide what looks good inside of your image, and you can always come back if you get done adjusting the other settings and tweak the amount values as well. The next option is Tonal Width, and you may recall these very same options, Amount, Tonal Width and Radius.
When we were working inside the Advanced Settings in the Smart Sharpen dialog box, however, here they have a lot more practical application. So Tonal Width determines what are Shadows. So in other words you could increase the shadow range to include everything inside the image to some degree or other. So basically black is going to be an absolute shadow, white is going to be somewhat considered, it's going to taper off across the entire range. If the shadows are the big issue inside the image; where our image is concerned shadows aren't a big issue, I am just going to leave it set to 50%.
If Highlights are a super-big issue for us why then I could increase the range of Highlights, and notice when I do, because I have such a big Amount value going that I am effecting more of that image. So I am darkening basically even the midtones inside of the image to some extent or other. Now what I am going to tell you is when in doubt, leave the Tonal Width value set to 70% a piece, if you want to adjust them, go ahead and try it out, see what you come up with. In the case of this image, I am going to leave them each set to 50%.
So that we are not trying to basically do double-duty, where any specific luminance level is concerned. In other words, if we were take that Tonal Width too high to 100% for example, there are some luminance levels here that not only are we brightening a little bit using this 10% Shadows option, but we are also darkening them using this 50% Highlights option, and that seems to me a little bit of overkill. So I'll go ahead and set that to 50%. Radius is harder to understand, however, it's exceedingly important and this is where this command proves itself to be a filter.
Remember, when we were working with Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen and things like Median and Gaussian Blur and all those commands they all have Radius values because they are basically scrubbing through the pixels inside the image and comparing those neighboring pixels to each other in order to come up with a result. Well, that's what's happening inside Shadows/Highlights as well, we are comparing neighboring pixels in order to elevate the shadows and downplay the highlights. So what you want to do is you want to try to get rid of those halos to whatever extent possible because it's that Radius value there that's responsible for that halo that we are seeing bouncing off the horizon line and you don't want halos, if you can avoid them, because it just makes the scene look really weird.
It's basically what it comes down to, if all of a sudden you've got the sort of flares coming off of a person's eyes or off their cheeks or something along those lines. So what I recommend you do is you raise the Radius value basically as far as you can and still get decent results out of it, because as you raise that Radius value you are going to displace those halos. They going to get bigger, less noticeable, however you may also lose the effect inside of small details because your Radius value is too big essentially to fit inside of those details.
Well, our Shadows modification is pretty subtle, so we can go with a high Radius value, that's what I'd suggest. I am going to take it up to a 100. We do want to raise the Highlights value as well and you just want to try some different Highlights values and see what you come up with. Notice if I take the value too high, really not getting much of an effect out of it anymore, I'll turn Off the Preview check box, there is the before, there is the after. So it's a more subtle effect than it was. If we take this Radius value down, we can get into some of these smaller details, however, we are also creating kind of a weird, fake reality scene here.
If that's what you want, if you want that kind of height and reality effect, but it's not going to look super-believable then that's fine. It's going to give the image a kind of magic quality I guess, but if you want something more naturalistic you want to take this Radius value up. I am going to split the difference here. It starts of as 30, by the way, which I think is too low. I am going to take it up to 50 pixels. So not quite as high as a 100 but you know a fraction of the way there at any rate. Then dropdown to Midtone Contrast. Now if you want the scene to sort of have a flat look to it then you can leave the Midtone Contrast value alone.
Notice by the way, I want you to see here, thanks to the fact that I adjusted that Radius value, even knocking it from 30-50. We are not getting nearly as noticeable of the horizon halo. So this halo back here is still there and it's still evident if you look forward. However, I think it's a lot less obvious. Anyway, I am going to take my Midtone value up, and what I recommend you do is you press Shift+Up Arrow, just to take it up in 10% increments and take it to taste until you feel comfortable with the effect that you are getting.
At 60% I think we are getting a really striking effect out of this filter. I think the scene looks great, actually you could take it down if you want to, if you want to flatten the scene, I think that's of course craziness, I don't know why you would do that, that looks ugly and it almost always does. But again up to you, I am going to take it up to 60, as I said. You also have control over how much of the image is getting clipped. I would leave these values alone, just let Photoshop do its thing because you don't want to clip your shadows and highlights anymore than you have to.
So as you can see here by default you are only clipping a-hundredth of a percent of the shadows and a-hundredth of a percent of the highlights as well. So very negligible. Anyway, these are the values I suggest where this image is concerned, I will go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification and just so you can see what we have managed to do here. This is the before version of the image, just brightest heck by comparison, quite washed out and this is the much more sculptural intense effect as a result of a careful application of the Shadows/Highlights command.
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