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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, we still have some more details that we need to clean up here, especially, along the sort of top right portion of the head where we have a few stray hairs, some noise details going on and this area, the top of the head that we really want to sort of shave as you will see. Alarming as that may sound, but first thing is first. Let's go ahead and work on his tricky area right here and I'll tell you what is going to be best. If Overlay is too much of a mode for you, as we'll see, you want switch back to Soft Light and then you can take down the Opacity as well, if you want to. Let me go ahead and grab my Brush tool once again. And why don't we set it to Overlay just so I can show you what's going on here, by pressing Shift+Alt+O or Shift+Option+O on the Mac.
Now as soon as you switch blend modes, you will also want to switch the hardness of the brush. So when you are working with Normal, you want a hard brush. When you are working with Overlay or one of the other modes, then you want a soft brush. So, I'm going to switch this guy down to hardness of 0% and that way, you have nice transitions between your edges. You don't have abrupt weird transitions since you are painting over the large areas of the image. So I'm going to a make my brush a little bigger here and notice if I start painting, let's say with white, I'll press the X key to make sure that white is my foreground color. I'll paint over this area, and notice that I'm not only increasing the contrast around this area, making the hair as whiter. I'm also making it bigger. So this is before, this is after, so they are getting thicker and I'm bringing out a bunch of noise in the background that I don't want.
So I want an effect that's a little more subtle than this. So press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. I'll go ahead and switch from Overlay to Soft Light, and then I'll press the Escape key on the PC to make sure that mode is no longer active. So Soft Light is, of course, more subtle contrast mode than Overlay. In fact, it's the most subtle contrast mode there is inside of Photoshop. Now, rather than painting over the hairs like this, which is still going to go a long way toward exaggerating them. I want you to instead keep your cursor inside of the hair, so you are letting the softness of the brush do the work.
So I'll go ahead and paint along this edge like so and notice that I'm just making those hairs ever so slightly lighter than they were before. Now I'll press the X key to make the foreground color black and I'll paint in this region here in the background, in order to make the background darker. And again, notice that I'm letting the edge of my brush do the work for me, so that I'm letting that softness work to my advantage. Now then at this point, you can go work on the O, if you want to just sort of scrub it away a little bit which I recommend you do, even though we are ultimately just going to get rid of that O, but I'm going to scrub over the top of the hairs. You might also try this. Press the X key to make the foreground color white and paint inside of this area of hair and then press the X key to make the foreground color black and paint around here like so.
Again letting the soft edge, do the work for you. Then paint here in these areas. I'm just clicking, by the way. I'm just sporadically here and there. And then press the X key and drag along the neck right there to get rid of it or at least that is to say to make it lighter and select it actually. Now the more times you drag over an area, the sharper your edge is going to become and ultimately, you paint too many times and you're going to get jagged edges, so you need to watch out for that. I will paint down here along the hand and then I'll press the X key and paint over this area of the hand as well. Then you can check for stray edges, if you want to with the Magic Wand tool, so press the W key for Wand tool. Once again click in the background and just see where the little noise details are showing out there and you can see that things are pretty smooth where my mask is concerned, pretty smooth along the hand and along the neck and the ear is okay, but then we start having noise detail show up along the hair. I'm not all that concerned about that. That's okay. That will work actually to my advantage.
You want the hair to have a lot of action inside of it. So that you maintain those fine filigree details; don't you know the wispy hair? All right, this is okay, cut some garbage stuff going on the hand. I might go ahead and take care of that. Now let's see you want to keep track of it, you want to keep an eye on where this bad stuff is. Leave the selection outline attached, but right now it's selecting the area that you don't want to modify. To select the area you do want to modify, go to the Select menu and choose Inverse. And now, you have selected the area that you want to change, press the B key for the Brush, once again, let's make sure we are painting with black because that's what we are interested in changing and paint along this edge, paint along this edge too.
That's going to smooth out some of those details, even though we are painting into the wrist a little bit, painting down here into the arm. Now these would be arm hairs, by the way, that we are painting away, depends if you want to keep them or not. You want to keep the arm hairs, make the guy look like he is really fury or do you want to get rid of the arm hairs to make look like he is ridiculously smooth. I mean it's kind of up to you to make that call. All right, so I'm going to press the X key in order to paint with white and I'm going to paint along the wrist here in order to make it lighter. Now let's see what happens. Let's just go ahead and grab the Wand by pressing the W key and then press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac to deselect that area and then click again, and see if we are selecting a little tighter to the hand than we are. We do have a little bit of overage right there, a little bit of edgy stuff going on, but that's okay and I do want to have a little bit of hair, because we are all mammals, hair works to our advantage. It makes us look good and makes the composition look credible.
Now, where we still have a big credibility gap is on the top of the head. No person I know has an O coming out of their head like Russell does at the present time. And also, we have got this tuft of random hair at the top of his head. Now, that's something that we want to get rid of, we want to smooth that away and we are going to do that, we are going to make the hair look really spiffy and wonderful and good, starting in the next exercise.
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