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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.
Select the file corwig_dog_lover.psd and then double-click that one to open it in Photoshop. Here we have this fun photograph. I was walking by and I notice this woman taking a picture of her dog. She set her up there while the sun was setting and she actually told her dog to smile. And I was like, aww! I have to take a picture of this. Absolutely classic. I want to do a little bit of workflow with this file, which include sharpening. So let's say I assume I'm done with the image. I'll double-click to Zoom tool to make sure I'm at 100%, right-click the layer, Convert to Smart Object, and in this case, I'm going to go to my Filter pulldown menu and I'm going to choose Smart Sharpen. I like Smart Sharpen and I think it works really well. I want to make sure I'm removing Lens Blur. I want to make sure I'm on Advanced so that I can modify the overall amounts of the halo there.
Now my Radius is going to be something it's going to be pretty low. So we are looking at before and after. I'm just seeing a little bit of nice snap detail on the dog. I liked that. I'm going to try More Accurate because there is nice texture in this file, right before and then after. In my case, that looks pretty nice. I'm just keen on little bit more of that texture. My Amounts really high again. I'm going to increase my Radius till I just find, just the right amount of sharpening there. I want to bring some nice detail into the dog. Now as I look at that, I just keep evaluating that, trying to determine if that looks good. I think so. I think like how brings out a little bit of the texture there. I'll go ahead and click OK. Well, now that I have applied that, I need to invert my mask. So I click in the Mask icon. Command+I on a Mac, Ctrl+I on a PC, and then we will zoom in so we can see the dog.
Next, grab the Brush tool. Press the B key or select it from the toolbox and here what I'm going to do is I'm going to actually use the Wacom tablet, paint with a little bit of pressure sensitivity here. So I can bring in different amounts of sharpening and I'm going to bring in some of the texture the fur there and the reason you want to mask this in is, one of the things I notice is, the dog color became a little bit too sharp. Press the X key. I can then mask that off. I don't want any halo in from those areas.
Also the little edges of tongue there was a little bit too sharp for me in some of those highlights and that little highlight right there along the edge of the eye. So I want to get into those details and here is my before and then after. So far that's looking really nice. It's pretty subtle. You should start to see that the image is coming to life just a bit. I'm going to zoom out. Say what else do I want to sharpen here? Well, I grab my Brush tool and click in the mask. I'll make the brush nice and big by pressing the Right Bracket key, and here I'm going to paint with white.
I'm just going to add a little bit of sharpening to this edge right around the dog. So it's kind of little bit of sharpening surrounding the dog there and zoom out just a touch. That looks pretty nice. All right. Zoom back in so I could see how I'm doing and here is my before and after. I'm continually zooming out, zoom in back in, look at my before and after. I know this is kind of tricky to see the overall results. But I'm hoping, hoping that you can see we have some nice detail there on the dog. We haven't over done it.
At this point I probably think, okay I'm done. I like the image. I like the expression yet. So I even notice something. The dog is essentially backlit right, because the sun setting over here. So his face is kind of dark and his eyes are kind of dark. Why don't we brighten those up? So click on the Adjustments panel and choose Curves and I'm just going to look to brighten up the face of the dog there. Then I'm going to go to the Mask panel. So I may need to access that. Make sure I have clicked in the mask, invert the mask by clicking on the Invert button, grab my Brush tool, zoom in a little bit here and I'm just going to paint with white to bring in some brightness to the dog's face here and to the fur. I want this image to be a little bit more about the dog's face. Press the X key. I make any mistakes. Zoom out to touch. I want to bring in just a little bit, real subtle on the dog's body.
So I'm going to go ahead and bring in some of the brightness here and just slowly make my way through this. Small little details matter and then we will look at our before and after. Okay great. In my case, I noticed I have a couple of little problem areas in my mask. I'm kind of moving quickly. This isn't that important of an image, just a fun file. So what I can do is click in the mask and navigate to Filter Blur and Gaussian Blur and this will be especially helpful. Talked about this before. If you don't have a Wacom tablet, you don't have that pressure sensitivity and in my case even though I do have that pressure sensitivity, I was being a little bit careless. So this will just sweeten up that mask just a bit. And then I have my overall before and after and let's take a look at this without the sharpening.
So there is without the sharpening. Zoom in on the dog and here is a little bit of sharpening. Here is a little bit of brightness to that area, and you know what, that wraps up this movie and you know all that I want to do here is just to show you how I begin to connect the dots and how I begin to use different techniques, because a lot of times when you are sharpening, what happens is you are sharpening the areas of your image that are really important. When you begin to focus in on those areas, you will notice other things that you will need to do in order to improve those aspects of the image. So always keep that in mind.
Again I just kind of want to show you my trend of thought, how I began to work on my images and began to notice things. All right, well finally, I want to zoom out a little bit so I can see the image and evaluate it at this state. Find a little before and after, then before and after with my sharpening and say, you know what, hey that looks good and that wraps up this movie and this chapter on sharpening.
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