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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.
I've gone ahead and saved the results of the last exercise as Emboss vs SS MB.psd, found inside the 15_sharpen folder. I am doing this so that you can look at this file on your own screen, if you want to as opposed to here in the video. Because even though we got rid of all that color saturation in the Emboss overlay layer, we are still getting some different colors out of this effect than we were with SS motion blur, and I actually prefer the colors that are going on inside the SS motion blur effect even though we have more noise inside that version of the image.
So again, it's going vary from one image to the other and you can decide which path to take. Anyway, I am going to switchover here now to Ready for High Pass.psd, which is another variation on the squirrel's image right here. What we've got going is an Advanced 70% layer. You may recall that's the application of Smart Sharpen using the Advanced settings that required a little bit of work and then backing off the Opacity to 70%. Now I am going to show you how to avoid clipping if clipping is an issue for you, that is highlight and shadow clipping.
How to avoid that clipping using High Pass? And High Pass ends up having a little bit more of a delicate touch where sharpening is concerned. It's not a super intuitive filter for this purpose, but once you get the hang of it, I think you can make it work. It's really ideal for portrait shots as well as these squirrels here. All right, so I am going to go ahead and turn off Advanced (70%) and basically what I have going here is two versions of the original image, one in the Background layer and then one on this High Pass layer.
So they are the exact same non-sharpen version of that image. I am going to zoom in little bit so that we can take in more detail here, and I'll go up to the Filter menu, I'll choose Other, and I will choose this command right there High Pass. Notice if you loaded dekeKeys I've given in a keyboard shortcut, because I use this one a lot. I don't use Emboss that often, but I do use High Pass all the time. Shift+F10, go ahead and choose that command in order to bring up what has to be just absolutely the ugliest filter ever.
It just turns the entire image gray. It doesn't even bother to try to create some kind of cool effect the way Emboss does. It just makes the image all gray and the edges are there hanging on for dear life. So what's going on is that all the non-edges in the image are turning gray and then the edge details have little halos popping off of them, but we are actually seeing less in the way of the edges than we were before we even applied the command. So if I go ahead and turn Preview off, you'll see that those edges were a lot stronger before I apply the filter and then if I turn the filter back on you can see that they're really going away.
Well, what's happening is the edges really are hanging on. So you can imagine that we are taking all of the details inside this image and sifting it through a funnel, let's say. All the non-edges are going down to the bottom of the funnel, they are just running into this gray world here and then the edges are hanging onto the sides. This is a strange thing. If you increase the Radius value, you get less of a detrimental effect out of this filter whereas if you decrease the Radius, then you get more of an effect out of this filter.
You get rid of more and more colors and you have fewer edges hanging on there. Well, what you want to do with the Radius value is account for your output. So in other words if you're outputting for screen, you want to keep this value very low and the same rules that apply to Unsharp Mask apply here in High Pass as well. So 0.3 to 0.5 is going to work out well for screen images. Even though it doesn't look like it's going work at all, it will. So you just have to trust it, and you will gain experience over time, if you decide to work this way.
For print, you want to raise that value to something in the neighborhood of 3 pixels for example, so one pixel worth of Radius for every hundred pixels per inch of resolution. You may recall just so that we're getting a decent comparison here. I applied Radius value of 4 pixels with Lens Blur inside the Smart Sharpen dialog box, and I was telling you that when you're using Lens Blur, you have to increase your Radius value to about half again what it was before. So I am going to take my Radius value down at 2.5.
That's not exactly the right math, but it will work out well enough here. So 2.5, click OK. Now what do we do about all these grays inside the image? How do we keep the highlights and the shadows and burn them in the place and get rid of the grays? Well the same way that we did exactly that same thing with the Emboss effect. That is we apply one of the contrast Blend modes starting with incidentally Overlay, and notice that just goes ahead and drops out all those grays. We keep the highlights and the shadows and we get what is ultimately a very nice sharpening effect.
So this is the original version of the squirrels, if I turn that layer off and this is the High Pass version of the squirrels right there. Let's go ahead and compare that to what we were able to achieve using Smart Sharpen. This is the Smart Sharpen effect and we had to go through all those hoops, right. We had to apply those Advanced settings that don't make a ton of sense and then we had to reduce the Opacity to 70%, and we had to apply an Amount value while there was no amount value associated with High Pass. So we just got some decent results right off the bat.
Now if you look closely at this image you will see that there is something of a difference. I will go ahead and zoom in on the fur. Notice that we do have some wandering color problems here inside of the squirrels fur, even though we went ahead and applied our modification, that is we applied Smart Sharpen just to the luminance data. But if I turn off that Advanced (70%) layer, you can see that we've got a lot of color going on with High Pass as well for the exact same reason that we had weird colors coming out of the Emboss filter, because there are some colors still at work in that High Pass layer.
If we want to get rid of them, then this time we won't switch back to Normal and all that jazz. We will just leave High Pass set to the Overlay. Go ahead and make sure that layer is active. Then I want you to watch these colors inside the fur. Go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and that ends up covering up a lot of those fur details. But still, then I will go down here to Desaturate. Choose that command and you'll notice that a lot of those colors go away. So this is before, we have all kinds of weird colors going on inside of the fur here and this is after I apply Desaturate.
So there are still some aberrant colors at work, but that's just because we are exaggerating the color distinctions that were already there. Anyway, that's what you do. I will go ahead and zoom out. Now let's say that you want to increase the intensity of this sharpening effect. Why then you can switch from Overlay to one of two other modes. You can either take it up a notch by moving up to Hard Light, that will give you more pronounced effect. Let's go ahead and zoom in to a 100% so we can see that. So this is the result of Overlay like so and then this is the result of Hard Light.
I'm showing you the difference just by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. Then if you really want up the ante you switch from Hard Light, go ahead and skip this guy and switch to Linear Light, like so. Then you're going to get a very pronounced effect out of the filter. You can always modify the Opacity value if you want to. Now if Overlay is too much, you can reduce the Opacity or you can also try switching to Soft Light. Now Soft Light is not just the lower opacity version of Overlay, but it does provide a more nuanced effect. So I will go ahead and choose Soft Light and then if I turn off High Pass, this is the original version of the image, this is the, ever so slightly sharpened version of the image, so not all that different, but still.
Anyway, I am going to go ahead and switch back to Overlay here. The other thing to note where the differences between these variations are concerned, if I go ahead and turn Advanced (70%) back on, not only do we have a stronger effect inside of the fur; notice that. So this is Advanced (70%) applied using the Smart Sharpen filter. This is the High Pass variation which notice doesn't have any clipping going on. So we are not clipping the heck out of the highlights and shadows here. Also however, notice that we are retaining the whiskers quite nicely.
So we didn't have to sacrifice the whisker detail with High Pass where we did with those Advanced settings here at 70%. So there are some differences going on. Notice that the whiskers are little more pronounced or least they would be if we were to switch to a different blend mode. Let's go ahead and knock this up from Overlay to Hard Light and see there we get the whisker detail back. We are still not clipping the highlights or the shadows. Now notice the difference here with Advance 70%, that's what I was hoping to show you right there. That goes ahead and clips out the whiskers, because of those advanced modifications we made, whereas with High Pass we still get that whisker detail.
So if you're really interested in avoiding clipping where sharpening is concerned, and this is very useful for portrait sharpening, why then High Pass tends to be the better way to go. High Pass with whatever radius value you would normally apply using Unsharp Mask and then go ahead and set that layer to one of the contrast modes whether it be Overlay, Hard Light, or Linear Light.
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