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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.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to select an eye using two or three passes of the Elliptical Marquee tool. And then we'll use this selection to get rid of this protective junk that's going on inside the insect's eye here inside the layer mask. And then having successfully protected the highlights inside the image, we're going to further reduce the Luminance Noise because I don't think we've quite got it down to where we want it yet. I've saved my progress as Initial density mask.psd found inside the 16_smooth folder. And notice that I've got two windows into the same image.
I'm going to make sure the RGB window is active and then I'm going to switchover to the Elliptical Marquee tool. And the reason I'm working inside the RGB image is because that's where I can actually see the eye. I can see where it begins. I can see where it ends and so on. All right, so I'm just dragging with the Elliptical Marquee tool. I'm pressing the Spacebar right now in order to move it into a better position. Now notice that the insect's eye is not entirely round or elliptical, it actually sort of cuts off as it goes into the insect's face.
So it's somewhat round but then it indents into its inter-skeleton and whatever it's got going there, I'm no biologist obviously. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and draw our first ellipse like so, once I've got that ellipse more or less in the place on the left side of the visible portion of the eye anyway. Then I'll release, and I don't have to get it exactly right along this side. I could good work harder to do so if I needed to, but you can see that this side of the eye is just fine inside the layer mask. Then I'll press the Shift and Alt keys or Shift and Option keys on the Mac and that allows me to create another selection outline that will intersect with one I've drawn so far.
So Shift+Alt+Drag or Shift+Option+Drag like so, as soon as you've begun that new elliptical marquee, you can go ahead and release the Shift and Alt keys because they've done their thing. Now, I'm using the Spacebar here in order to align this new marquee with the right side of this eye and this looks pretty good right about there and I'll go ahead and release in order to create the shape right there. So basically, two passes of the Ellipse tool, the second pass, I'll press the Shift and Alt keys here on the PC, the Shift and Option keys on the Mac and that gives me the intersection of two different shapes.
And you can imagine that this would work just as well for any eye regardless of the animal including human beings, by the way you can select eyes this way as well with a great deal of success. All right, now I'm going to go up to the Select menu, choose the Modify command and choose Smooth in order to smooth away the corners and a Sample Radius of 4 pixels works out well for this I'll click OK. And then I'm going to go back to the Select menu, choose Modify and this time choose the Feather command and having a Feather Radius of 1 pixel is just fine.
I'll go ahead and click OK. I just need a little bit of feathering. Now, you may look at this and say hey Deke, here's the problem? You're selecting the RGB image; you want to modify the layer mask how are you going to get this selection outlined over to the layer mask. Well it's already there. Bear in mind that we have two windows into the exact same image. All I have to do is click in the other window there is the selection outline because it actually exists inside the image regardless of how we look at it. So there is that selection outline, all I need to do now is make sure that my background color is white which it is.
And then I'll press the Backspace key and of course the layer mask is active. You can see that here inside Layers panel, and so that goes ahead and fills the selected portion of the layer mask with white. All right, now that isn't going to make the most terrific amount of difference to the composite image. This is before, I went ahead and selected it and filled the eye with white, and this is after, very little difference at all. However, it's going to make a bigger difference where our future edits are concerned. For example, let's say I'm going to go ahead and click off that selection outline, return to the RGB image, actually go ahead and click in the thumbnail for the butterfly on this lum noise layer there in the Layers panel, so that I'm editing the image as opposed to the layer mask.
Let's say I look at this and I think, you know what, I've still got an awful lot of luminance noise going on inside the shadow details and by the way I Shift+Spacebar+Drag in order to go ahead and scroll both of my images at once. I might want to still get rid of those, after all my highlights are protected so I'm going to harm them. What might I do? Well I could go ahead and apply a second pass of the Reduce Noise Filter if I wanted to. However, I want to show you some other ways to get rid of noise inside a Photoshop. So I'll dropdown here to the Noise submenu once again, and I'll choose this command, another one of my favorites.
It's called Median. It's got a keyboard shortcut Shift+F8, if you load a dekeKeys. And what it does is it goes ahead and averages the colors of neighboring pixels. So in this case, I'm averaging inside of a Radius of 6 pixels at a time which grows to a diameter of 12 pixels incidentally. So we're averaging lots of pixels at once by default this value is set to 1 pixel incidentally, but I want to raise it to 6, if you're following along. Now, something I want you to notice is that really does wipe out the noise inside the image like crazy, but it also wipes out detail and it's affecting the layer mask just as it's affecting the RGB composite image which is really weird because the RGB image is selected, the layer mask is not so, why is Median affecting both at the same time? Well, because the two are linked together because of that chain icon Median is going to affect both.
And that's not true for all the filters, I should tell you, it's a little bit weird, but basically your big filters like Unsharp Mask, and Gaussian Blur and Median and all the old-school filters, that's how they work. They'll go ahead and attack the image and the layer mask at the same time, if they're linked together. It's something you got to watch out for. However, other filters don't, but my advice to you is to make sure if you're going to filter an image or a mask for that matter, after having created layer mask, make sure that two are not linked to each other before embarking on the filter.
Anyway, that said I do want you to notice that the Median filter here is wiping out all sorts of information inside of the image. So we are masking those highlights so they're preserved, but those shadows are getting gummed up as heck. There is another filter. It's very similar to Median, that's going to work better for our purposes. It's actually Median with one extra option, that's all it is. And we're going to take advantage of it here. So go ahead and Cancel out of this dialog box and then I want you to go over to Layers panel, click on the Chain icon in order to unlink the image from it's layer mask, don't move him because now they would move independently of each other we don't want that to happen.
However, we can also filter them independently of each other just as we will do in the very next exercise.
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