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Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
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Static Curves layer tricks


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Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Static Curves layer tricks

All right. So you see me playing me with this pachyderm here and the name of the image is High-contrast elephant.jpg, and I have gone ahead and chosen the Curves command. I went to the Image menu, chose Adjustments, and then chose the Curves command, or I could press Ctrl+M, Command+M on the Mac in order to bring up the Curves dialog box, which allows me to apply a static luminance modification. Now, I stress that because I'm about to show you a bunch of different wonderful hidden tricks for working inside the Curves dialog box. They work, as I'm about to show you, when you're applying a static modification. If you're working with an adjustment layer, things work a little differently. The secret hidden tricks are slightly different as you'll see. I say "as you'll see" because you're going to see that in the next exercise.
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  1. 22m 32s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced
      1m 43s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 17s
    3. Resetting the function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 37s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      6m 4s
  2. 2h 43m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      49s
    2. Low contrast, bad meter
      5m 57s
    3. Auto tone, contrast, and color
      8m 1s
    4. Cache levels and the Histogram palette
      7m 16s
    5. How the auto commands work
      10m 15s
    6. A first look at Levels
      6m 11s
    7. Target colors and clipping
      9m 6s
    8. Modifying input levels
      9m 44s
    9. Adjusting the gamma value
      7m 34s
    10. Previewing clipping
      7m 17s
    11. The futility of output levels
      4m 56s
    12. Channel-by-channel edits
      11m 54s
    13. When levels fail
      4m 34s
    14. A first look at Curves
      8m 46s
    15. Static Curves layer tricks
      7m 45s
    16. Dynamic Curves layer tricks
      7m 25s
    17. Correcting the composite image
      8m 30s
    18. Neutralizing a color cast
      6m 52s
    19. The Target Adjustment tool in Curves
      8m 29s
    20. Correcting an image in Lab
      10m 7s
    21. The Shadows/Highlights filter
      4m 18s
    22. Radius and tonal width
      8m 11s
  3. 1h 48m
    1. Edge-enhancement tricks
      1m 13s
    2. How sharpening works
      3m 48s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      4m 29s
    4. The Unsharp Mask filter
      7m 57s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      6m 25s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 47s
    7. Previewing how sharpening will print
      3m 37s
    8. Measuring and setting screen resolution
      6m 56s
    9. Tweaking the screen resolution
      4m 28s
    10. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 23s
    11. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      4m 23s
    12. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      5m 50s
    13. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 16s
    14. When to leave More Accurate off
      3m 48s
    15. When to turn More Accurate on
      4m 23s
    16. The advanced options
      7m 57s
    17. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 23s
    18. Accounting for camera shake
      7m 7s
    19. Sharpening with the High Pass filter
      9m 8s
  4. 2h 16m
    1. Why would you blur?
      1m 8s
    2. Fading after an undo
      3m 27s
    3. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      5m 43s
    4. The linear Box Blur
      3m 6s
    5. Add Noise vs. Median
      4m 50s
    6. Despeckle vs. Dust & Scratches
      6m 31s
    7. Smart Blur vs. Surface Blur
      8m 13s
    8. The Motion Blur filter
      4m 33s
    9. Radial Blur's Spin and Zoom variations
      5m 48s
    10. Mixing filtered effects
      3m 56s
    11. The "Captain Kirk in Love" effect
      5m 4s
    12. Diffusing focus with Blur and Overlay
      8m 50s
    13. Simulating Vaseline and film grain
      8m 2s
    14. Filling a layer with a neutral color
      2m 55s
    15. Old-school contrast reduction
      3m 39s
    16. Three steps to diffused focus
      7m 36s
    17. Averaging skin tones
      9m 45s
    18. Addressing the stubborn patches
      5m 26s
    19. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      6m 1s
    20. Blurring surface details
      3m 2s
    21. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      8m 6s
    22. Reducing digital noise
      8m 47s
    23. Striking a smooth/sharpen compromise
      4m 36s
    24. Smoothing over JPEG artifacts
      7m 38s
  5. 2h 31m
    1. Independent layers of color adjustment
      1m 7s
    2. Undersea color channels
      4m 2s
    3. Inventing a Red channel with Lab
      8m 20s
    4. Mixing color channels
      6m 55s
    5. Making shadows with Levels
      7m 5s
    6. Applying small color adjustments
      6m 0s
    7. Further modifying Levels in Lab
      8m 50s
    8. Creating a dynamic fill layer
      4m 38s
    9. Brushing and blending color
      4m 42s
    10. Working with "found masks"
      7m 31s
    11. Saturation, sharpen, and crop
      8m 9s
    12. Mixing a monochromatic image
      7m 2s
    13. Masking an adjustment layer
      4m 45s
    14. Working with Opacity and blend modes
      3m 39s
    15. Adding a black-and-white adjustment
      5m 53s
    16. The Target Adjustment tool in black and white
      6m 12s
    17. Tinting a monochrome photo
      3m 19s
    18. Introducing Gradient Map
      4m 17s
    19. Adjusting both color and luminance
      5m 44s
    20. Infusing elements with different colors
      6m 22s
    21. Adjustment layers as creative tools
      4m 33s
    22. Inverting and brightening the background
      5m 14s
    23. Blurring live, editable type
      5m 43s
    24. Hue, saturation, and darkness
      6m 51s
    25. Filling type with a color adjustment
      3m 24s
    26. Using one adjustment to modify another
      3m 21s
    27. Breathing color into the title
      3m 38s
    28. The Hue/Saturation humanoid
      3m 44s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 23s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 16s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 46s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      6m 4s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      7m 8s
    7. Darken, Multiply, and the Burn modes
      6m 33s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with Fill
      4m 43s
    9. Saving a blended state
      4m 18s
    10. Lighten, Screen, and the Dodge modes
      8m 22s
    11. Linear Burn = Add minus white
      5m 31s
    12. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 52s
    13. Fill Opacity takes priority
      6m 19s
    14. Difference and exclusion
      5m 21s
    15. Using difference for golden highlights
      4m 2s
    16. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 8s
    17. The brush-only modes: Behind and Clear
      10m 31s
    18. Layer groups and the Pass Through mode
      8m 54s
  7. 1h 53m
    1. It's all about the presentation
      58s
    2. Moving a layer a specific number of pixels
      6m 59s
    3. Adding a pixel mask to a layer
      5m 48s
    4. Editing a layer mask
      7m 19s
    5. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      6m 19s
    6. Introducing the Advanced Blending options
      4m 45s
    7. Using the luminance blending sliders
      7m 26s
    8. Forcing through underlying luminance
      4m 32s
    9. Masking with a path outline
      5m 45s
    10. Refining a mask from the Masks palette
      7m 18s
    11. Creating and modifying a layer group
      3m 29s
    12. Establishing a knockout group
      5m 29s
    13. Fixing last-minute problems
      6m 23s
    14. Introducing layer comps
      6m 40s
    15. Exploring layered states
      6m 43s
    16. Deleting layers and updating comps
      6m 18s
    17. Saving a basic composition
      6m 21s
    18. Assigning and saving appearance attributes
      7m 15s
    19. Layer comps dos and don'ts
      7m 27s
  8. 1h 56m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      56s
    2. Establishing default formatting attributes
      4m 5s
    3. Saving formatting attributes as a preset
      8m 5s
    4. Making a point text layer
      6m 18s
    5. Editing size and leading
      6m 44s
    6. Working with vector-based text
      6m 12s
    7. Formatting area text
      4m 16s
    8. Creating a layer of area text
      3m 20s
    9. Resizing the text frame
      4m 34s
    10. Changing the anti-aliasing setting
      3m 58s
    11. Obscure but important formatting options
      6m 31s
    12. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      8m 44s
    13. Creating a cast shadow
      6m 1s
    14. Blurred shadows and beveled text
      7m 16s
    15. Drawing a path outline
      4m 51s
    16. Creating type on a path
      6m 39s
    17. Flipping text across a circle
      3m 18s
    18. Vertical alignment with baseline shift
      4m 16s
    19. Warping text
      4m 57s
    20. Scaling your text to taste
      3m 33s
    21. Applying a custom warp
      6m 24s
    22. Creating an engraved text effect
      5m 11s
  9. 2h 17m
    1. Bending an image to fit your needs
      53s
    2. Creating a canvas texture
      6m 48s
    3. Masking objects against a white background
      5m 42s
    4. Scaling an image to fit a composition
      8m 9s
    5. Aligning one layer to fit another
      3m 51s
    6. Changing the Image Interpolation
      8m 10s
    7. Merging faces
      5m 32s
    8. Rotating the first clock hand
      7m 17s
    9. Adding hands and pasting styles
      6m 40s
    10. Series duplication in Photoshop
      4m 35s
    11. Masking objects against a black background
      6m 34s
    12. Skews and perspective distortions
      7m 57s
    13. Envelope-style warps
      9m 2s
    14. Old-school distortion filters
      8m 50s
    15. Introducing the Liquify filter
      4m 9s
    16. Reconstructing an image
      6m 55s
    17. Using the Warp tool
      5m 16s
    18. The Pucker and Bloat tools
      5m 53s
    19. Push, Turbulence, and Twirl
      6m 41s
    20. The Freeze and Thaw mask tools
      5m 45s
    21. Saving and loading a mesh file
      3m 59s
    22. Creating and applying a texture layer
      8m 30s
  10. 1h 28m
    1. Effects vs. styles
      1m 11s
    2. Of layer styles and masks
      4m 37s
    3. Everything about drop shadow
      8m 2s
    4. Adding a directional glow
      4m 39s
    5. Colorizing with Color Overlay
      5m 18s
    6. Stroke and fill opacity
      5m 48s
    7. Creating a multicolor Outer Glow
      9m 22s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 48s
    9. Contour and Texture
      4m 35s
    10. Simulating liquid reflections
      6m 28s
    11. Saving layer styles
      6m 18s
    12. Applying and appending styles
      4m 36s
    13. Saving and swapping style presets
      3m 16s
    14. The five effect helpers
      3m 47s
    15. Blending the effect before the layer
      5m 1s
    16. Colorizing a signature
      3m 30s
    17. Clipping an effect with a mask
      4m 5s
  11. 1h 50m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw in the Bridge
      5m 44s
    3. The Camera Raw 5 interface
      4m 39s
    4. Adjusting the white balance
      5m 0s
    5. Finessing and saving changes
      7m 55s
    6. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 43s
    7. Working with the Exposure controls
      7m 34s
    8. Straightening and cropping a raw image
      5m 53s
    9. Applying automatic exposure adjustments
      6m 6s
    10. Exposure warnings
      5m 44s
    11. Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation
      4m 47s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 33s
    13. Dodging with the Adjustment brush
      9m 24s
    14. Tone Curve adjustments
      6m 54s
    15. Using the Spot Removal tool
      2m 48s
    16. Removing noise and sharpening detail
      4m 5s
    17. Adjusting HSL values
      4m 18s
    18. Adjusting luminance, color by color
      4m 14s
    19. Black and white and split toning
      5m 16s
    20. Camera Raw tips and tricks
      7m 32s
    21. Correcting JPEG and TIFF images
      4m 42s
  12. 57s
    1. Until next time
      57s

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Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
20h 57m Intermediate May 01, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, 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 CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Using blend modes, adjustment layers, and layer styles
  • Organizing a layered composition so it is fluid and editable
  • Creating and editing type in Photoshop
  • Using blur effectively
  • Using adjustment layers to add color
  • Combining layers into a clipping mask
  • Working with Camera Raw
Subjects:
Design Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Static Curves layer tricks

All right. So you see me playing me with this pachyderm here and the name of the image is High-contrast elephant.jpg, and I have gone ahead and chosen the Curves command. I went to the Image menu, chose Adjustments, and then chose the Curves command, or I could press Ctrl+M, Command+M on the Mac in order to bring up the Curves dialog box, which allows me to apply a static luminance modification. Now, I stress that because I'm about to show you a bunch of different wonderful hidden tricks for working inside the Curves dialog box. They work, as I'm about to show you, when you're applying a static modification. If you're working with an adjustment layer, things work a little differently. The secret hidden tricks are slightly different as you'll see. I say "as you'll see" because you're going to see that in the next exercise.

So let me show them to you here, inside the dialog box first, where they make a little more sense, and then we'll see them in the Adjustment palette in just a moment. I've already made an adjustment to my curve, and I've sort of drawn attention to this unspeakable mask back here in the shadowy background. Although this is an interesting modification, I'm not sure it's exactly what I'm looking for. So I'm going to reset my curve, my luminous curve back to a straight diagonal line, by pressing and holding; notice this Cancel button right here, if I press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, it changes to Reset. Then with Alt or Option down, I'll click on that Reset button and I restore the original elephant, which is in very bad shape of course.

Now notice, as I gesture at this elephant, what am I gesturing with, an Eyedropper. So as soon as I move my cursor out of the dialog box, assuming this tool right here is selected by the way. You want to make sure the Point tool is selected, not the Pencil tool. Then when you move your cursor out of the dialog box, you get an Eyedropper, and if you drag with that cursor, watch in the graph; I want you to watch this area as I drag inside of the image, you'll see a little bouncing ball that's jumping up and down all over the place there. It's showing you the location of the Luminance Level that you're dragging over.

So in other words, what is the luminance of the pixel that's directly under your cursor there. In my case, I happened to have found the dead center color. But what's more useful is to say, well, gosh, it's this area right here on the animal's forehead; whether it's a girl or a boy elephant, I think this is a lady, but right here on her forehead, let's say, is the area that I want to modify. Well, I can see with the bouncing ball that that's kind to be in the upper sort of quadrant or upper eighth really or sixteenth I guess it is of that graph. You can see where the ball is bouncing around, so in the upper right corner of the graph there.

Now, that's very interesting. That would mean that you'd have to sort of click around and then go back to the graph in order to set a point to that location. What if you just want to lift a point by clicking some place inside of the elephant? Well, what you do is you press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and then click at that point. Notice what happens when you Ctrl+Click or Command+click with this Eyedropper, you just go ahead and add the point automatically. So you don't have to worry about the bouncing ball, you can see where that point is going to land. Then you know, okay, if I drag this down, I'm going to make these colors, those Luminance Levels, on that brow darker, along of course with a bunch of other colors that are getting dragged down along with it. So that's another way to work.

Now, this point is selected so I can get rid of it by pressing the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac. You can tell when a point is selected because it's black; see that, and the deselected points are hollow. I'll go ahead and Backspace that away once again. What if you want to add the Luminance Levels that are associated with a pixel on a Channel by Channel basis? So you want to add the component Luminance Levels. Then what you do is you press Ctrl and Shift at the same time, that would be Command and Shift on the Mac, and you click. Now, what you're going to notice is nothing happened here inside of the composite graph. That's because I have to go to the individual channels to see these new points.

So notice, I have the exact same keyboard shortcuts that I have with levels. So I've got Alt or Option+2 for the RGB composite. Then I've Alt or Option+3 for Red, Alt or Option+4 for Green, and Alt or Option+5 for Blue. I was telling you that Ctrl or Command work as well when you're inside this dialog box. Anyway, I'm going to move to Red. Notice right there, there is the point that I just added. If I press Alt+4 for Green, there's the point in the Green Channel. Alt or Option+5 for Blue shows me the point here inside of the blue graph.

So I'll go ahead and press Alt or Option+2 to move back to the RGB composite graph right here. Another thing that you can do. If you set a bunch of points here, let's say, I go ahead and set many points in this graph, like so, and move them around a little bit and so on. You can move from one point to another by clicking on that point, but if you click on a point to select it, you run the risk of slightly moving it. Sometimes you have things exactly where you want them to be, and you don't want to go goofing up your points and sort of messing up their locations ever so slightly.

So if you want to switch from one point to another from the keyboard, in the old days you would press Ctrl+Tab to move forward to the points or Ctrl+Shift+Tab to backup. That still works by the way, and that's Ctrl+Tab on either the PC or the Mac, but it only works when you're inside this dialog box. When you're outside the dialog box, over here in the Adjustments palette, that doesn't work anymore, because that's going to switch you between windows on the PC anyway. So I urge you to get in the habit of using a different keyboard shortcut if you had been in the habit of using Ctrl+ Tab in the past. This is much easier. You press the + key, which is the equals key of course, so you just press + in order to move forward from one point to the next, like I'm doing here. You press - to backup.

You can cycle all the way by the way. If I press - to go back to the black point here and then I press - again, I'll go to the white point and then cycle back around the graph. So that's just a way to advance from one point to another. Plus or minus are available to you. Then you can either drag that point to a different location or you can nudge it from the keyboard. Now, I want you to see what happens when you nudge from the keyboard. Notice we have an Input Level and an Output Level. So currently for me, this point is set to an Input of 169 and an Output of 162. Meaning, I'm changing everything that has a Brightness value, a Luminance Level of 169 and I'm changing it to 162. So I'm darkening up those Luminance Levels slightly.

Let me switch to a different point here so that option is no longer active, and then I'll press the + key to comeback to that point. I just want to make sure the numerical value is not active for this technique to work. Notice if I press the Right Arrow key, I'm increasing the Input Level value, and if I press the Left Arrow key I'm decreasing the Input Level value. Now, you might say, well, how in the world are you going to remember right and left for Input? Well, because it's moving the point back and forth, notice that. If I press the Right Arrow key, watch the point go to the right. If I press Left Arrow key, you can see the point go to the left. So that makes sense and that's all that's happening when you're increasing or decreasing the Input value.

If you press the Up or Down Arrow key, that's going to move the point up, in this case of the Up Arrow key and Down in the case of the Down Arrow key, and that's going to either increase with Up Arrow or decrease the Output Level value. So it's just something to bear in mind if you want to be able to move these points from the keyboard. If you want to move them more quickly in increments of ten, then you press Shift+Up Arrow or Shift+Down Arrow or Shift+Right Arrow or Shift+Left Arrow, also available to you. So there you have it, I think that's basically everything she wrote there in terms of, wonderful keyboard hidden techniques that are available to you here inside the Curves dialog box.

Things don't work quite that way once we switch over to the Adjustments palette, and work with an adjustment layer. So why don't we go ahead and do that. I'm going to go ahead and click the Cancel button to cancel out of the big old Curves dialog box, and then if you join me in the next exercise, I'm going to show you how things work when we apply a Curves adjustment layer.

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