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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, here we are still looking at the contents of the Smooth contours.psd image. In the previous exercise you may recall I grabbed that Gaussian Blur layer, jumped into a new layer and then applied a large helping of High Pass at 30 pixel radius. As a result, we've got a kind of goopy effect that once we apply the Overlay blend mode amounted to additional clarity. Clarity by the way is enhanced edge contrast, however, it's not sharpness and sharpness is not possible, given the approach that we've taken.
So, I am going to press the Backspace key to get rid of the High Pass layer. Barely, notice that it went away there. What we need to do is start with a layer that has some decent edge information in the first place and that ain't Gaussian blur, that's not going to work for us. Remember, if I change this Blend mode for Gaussian blur from Overlay back to Normal. This is what we have there to work with, which isn't anything that's going to deliver sharpness. All right, so I'll go ahead and undo the application of the Normal blend mode there. Our options are to grab the Shadow Highlights layer right there and work from it or I could grab the Background layer, duplicate that and work from it; so that we are working from the original image.
But you may recall from the previous chapter when we were working with the butterfly, and I had taken that butterfly with its noise intact, set that to a new layer and then we applied High Pass to the noise. We'll even after we got rid of the noise in the underlying layers; we still had noise inside of that high pass layer. Here is my point, if we work from either of these layers; we apply High Pass to one of them. Then we are going to bring over the problems associated with those layers as well. For example, this guy is all washed out and Shadows Highlights is all windburned, and we don't want either of those effects.
What we want is what we are seeing right now. We want all of these layers merged together and then we apply High Pass to that. So, what you should do is click on Gaussian blur in order to make the top layer the active layer and then you want to merge all these layers together onto a new layer. Of course, that means mashing your fist on the modifier keys and pressing E that is Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E or Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac. For those of you who aren't too crazy about the fact that you have use that keyboard, by the way, because you do, because there isn't really a command that goes along with it, unless you do this.
I'll just throw this out there. You can press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then go to layer menu and choose Merge Visible. So, if you Alt choose or Option choose Merge Visible, you get that same effect as pressing Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E or Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac. For my money I'd rather have the keyboard shortcut, but there is the other way to work. Anyway, I am going to call this guy High Pass, and then let's apply High Pass to it. Notice it comes in with a blend mode of Normal, so we don't have to worry about that part.
Go to the Filter menu, it looks like High Pass was the last command we've applied. So, I can Just press Ctrl+Alt+F or Command+Option+F on the Mac or by the way you can press the Alt key or the option key on the Mac and choose that High Pass command; that also forces the display of the dialog box once again. So, you can Alt choose that first command under the Filter menu that's an Option choose on the Mac. I am just full of alternative ways of doing things suddenly. Anyway, I am going to go ahead and change the radius value to 5 pixels this time, so we get sharp tactile results.
Look at that much better than what we saw in the previous exercise. Click OK in order to apply that modification. Then I'm going to go and zoom in, so we are seeing the image at the 50% zoom ratio. I am going to switch from Normal, for starters, to Overlay and that's giving us a pretty darn sharp effect. If I turn the eyeball off for a moment, there is the image without the sharpening and then if I turn on the eyeball there is the image with the sharpening. It's a little bit subtle however to my way of thinking.
I imagine actually that if we were to print this image at 300 pixels per inch or something along those lines; we'd probably lose the sharpness, probably wouldn't come through. So, I am going to suggest we increase the effect. I was telling you, when you are applying high pass as an independent layer, you start with Overlay. Then if you want to add intensity, you can't increase the Opacity value beyond 100%. But you can go ahead and switch to Hard Light and then if that's not enough, which isn't in our case, it really doesn't make much of a difference, then you can switch to Linear Light in order to get that effect, which looks pretty darn nice.
Now, you can try out Vivid Light and see if you end up getting anything meaningful out of it. But typically, Linear Light is going to be your best bet. Don't go with Pin and don't go with Hard Mix. Here is Hard Mix by the way, probably, not going to use that one. Anyway, I am going to switch to Linear Light and we get a very intense effect indeed. This is the image without that High Pass layer, and this is the image with the High Pass layer. So, it looks really -- over the top it looks little bit too sharp at 50%, but as soon as we zoom out, as you can see, it ends up resolving itself quite nicely.
This is the image without the sharpening layer; this is the image with the sharpening layer. Now of course, very important that you do this just to avoid introducing any aberrant colors into your image, after, you've applied High Pass, you've got to get rid of those colors that are inherent in the High Pass layer. So, you go up to the Image menu, you choose Adjustments and you choose Desaturate. That still leaves us with one other problem, which is this fact here that we are just absolute losing our shadows.
Recall, if I Alt+Click or Option+Click on the eyeball in front of the Background layer, we've got tons of shadow details that we are losing. I mean, look at this guy's shirt, it's blue with all kinds of shadows going on inside of it. So, it's a darkish blue, but it's still bluish. It's not what we're seeing now, if I Alt +Click or Option+Click on that eyeball again, which is absolute blackness. So, how do we split the difference? I mean, his original shirt, it's little boring for the scene here, but I do want to bring some of it back. Well, we are going to introduce a luminance mask that we are going to apply to at least two of these layers, may be more, we'll see in the next exercise.
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