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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I've saved the most recent version of this composition as The flattened panorama.psd, found inside the 32_photomerge folder. Now that I have my panorama flattened and converted to a Smart Object, I'll make sure it's selected. Then I'll go up to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and choose Shadows/Highlights. Or if you added that keyboard shortcut, you can press Ctrl+Alt+S, Command+Option+S on the Mac and some more settings. Basically, these again are settings that I came up with through trial and error. So this is all a matter of personal aesthetics.
I'm taking the Amount value to 10%, tabbing past the Tonal Width value, which I left set to 50, and I'm going to raise the Radius value to 100 pixels, so as to displace the halos as much as possible. Then I'm going to take the Highlights value up to 5%, so just a modest change there. Tab past Tonal Width, 50% is fine, and raise that value to 200 pixels. So you can see that our halos are just absolutely disappearing out here in the background, and then I'll leave Color Correction set to 0. That's my chosen default settings, by the way.
If you're still working with Photoshop's defaults, then you want to lower that value from 20 to 0. And then I'll tab to Midtone Contrast, and change it to 0 as well. So those are my values. Click OK in order to accept them. You know I hate those filter masks if they're not in use, so I'll right-click on the filter mask, and I'll choose Delete Filter Mask to get rid of it. Then I'll double-click on the little slider icon right there, in order to bring up the Blending Options dialog box. And I'm going to change the mode from Normal to Luminosity. That's probably not going to make much in the way of difference, but still, it's a good idea when you're using an edge-detection filter, such as Shadows/Highlights.
Next, I'm going to apply some sharpening, and in order to see this effect at all, we're going to have to zoom in to at least 50%. This won't affect me of course. Neither of these commands is affecting me because I'm on an independent layer. I'm not part of this panorama mix, which is a good thing because sharpening me when I'm in such cruddy shape is a poor idea. And we really don't need to draw that much attention to whoever this little guy is. Anyway, I'll go up to the Filter menu, choose Sharpen and then choose Smart Sharpen, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you've got Shift+F6.
The values that I'm going to enter are these right here: an Amount value of 300%, and a Radius value of 2. I've decided to select Advanced Settings so that I overwrite those settings. If you're trying to pay any attention to Settings at all, you need to select something to avoid overwriting something else. Anyway, these are the Settings I'm going with. Also, Remove set to Lens Blur, More Accurate turned off. Click OK in order to apply that effect. And just to give you a sense of what the Smart Filters are doing, I'll turn them off.
So this is the before version of the image, before I applied either Shadows/Highlights, or Smart Sharpen, and then I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to reapply them. And you can see that we have much sharper detail inside of the image. The problem is potentially we're drawing out some more of these blues down here at the bottom of the stage, which look kind of funky, actually. They are there, and so there's nothing we're going to do about them. They're going to persist unless we paint over them in a different color, and we'd have to do that, incidentally either inside the Smart Object, we'd have to open it on up, or create an independent layer that had these blues painted away and then set it to the Color mode, something along those lines.
But in the meantime, to just mitigate things, because I'm not going to go to all that trouble, to mitigate any color fluctuations, let's double-click on the little Settings icon next to Smart Sharpen in order to bring up the Blending Options dialog box, and then I want you to change the mode from Normal to Luminosity. That's going to do us, actually. So go ahead and click OK in order to accept that effect. Now, go ahead and zoom out. What I'd like you to do is draw a big rectangular selection with the Rectangular Marquee tool.
Now, you could use the Crop tool and if you like cropping with the Crop tool, if you prefer to work that way, by all means do. I actually like working with the Rectangular Marquee tool because you can undo and change your mind, and all this other stuff that you can't do with the Crop tool. Anyway, I'm going to Alt+Drag or Option+ Drag from the center outward, like so, so that I'm keeping the theater stage exactly centered inside of my composition, which is what I want, because after all, unless we're going to dramatically offset in one direction or the other, it ought to be smack dab in the center.
Otherwise, it's going to look just peculiar and accidental. All right, then I'm going to press the up arrow key until I raise the top of my marquee to one of these corners here, the upper-right corner in fact. So when I see the marquee touching, and I'm quite zoomed out by the way. So a simple press of the Up or Down arrow key is actually moving this selection in 1 screen pixel increments, which at 12.5%, means 8 pixels inside the image, 8 real pixels. Anyway, this looks good. Then I will come down to this bottom- left corner, press the Alt key or the Option key, this time to subtract from my selection, and I'll drag across the image like so, in order to get rid of this bottom area.
So this will be my crop boundary. I'm still inside the shot, so I've got plenty of room below my feet. So I'm not going to get my feet cropped away, or something weird like that. Now, I'll go up to the Image menu, and I'll choose the Crop command, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you've got that big keyboard shortcut, mash your fist C, that is, Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C on the PC or Command+Shift+Option+C on the Mac. Now normally, the Crop command gets rid of pixels, which is too bad. I don't know why it works that way, but it does. However, when you're working with a Smart Object, you can't get rid of pixels, no matter how hard you try, unless you actually open up the Smart Object and manipulate the pixels directly.
Otherwise, they're protected, even from the notoriously destructive Crop command. So I want you to go ahead and choose the command, knowing full well that you are not harming the image one little bit. Now, this has to happen. Photoshop has to re-render those Smart Filters. So go ahead and let that Progress Bar pass you by, and then we're done. Press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image, and I'll press Shift+F in order to switch to the full screen mode and zoom in on the image, like so. This is the final version of the stitch panorama with all seams, looking absolutely great.
We cropped away the only seams that had any issues whatsoever, perfectly executed by a combination of Auto-Align and Auto-Blend technology, as well as a few old-school manual modifications here inside Photoshop.
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