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Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
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The Target Adjustment tool in Curves


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Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: The Target Adjustment tool in Curves

In Photoshop CS4, Curves offers one more big advantage over Levels, and that's the Target Adjustment tool, which allows you to click inside of an image and drag in order to change Luminance Levels. A really awesome function that makes Curves considerably easier to use, in my opinion. I'm working inside this image called The surfer who surfed.jpg. Now, you can get to the Target Adjustment tool whether you're working inside of the Curves dialog box or inside of the Adjustments palette, but we're going to work in the Adjustments palette, just because it gives us a little more freedom and control.
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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

The Target Adjustment tool in Curves

In Photoshop CS4, Curves offers one more big advantage over Levels, and that's the Target Adjustment tool, which allows you to click inside of an image and drag in order to change Luminance Levels. A really awesome function that makes Curves considerably easier to use, in my opinion. I'm working inside this image called The surfer who surfed.jpg. Now, you can get to the Target Adjustment tool whether you're working inside of the Curves dialog box or inside of the Adjustments palette, but we're going to work in the Adjustments palette, just because it gives us a little more freedom and control.

I'm working on a flat image, so no layers here, just a background image. I'll go to the Adjustments palette and click on the Curves icon in order to add a Curves adjustment layer, as we can see, and switch over to the Curves panel here inside the Adjustments palette. Now first, you've got to have this tool selected right here, the Point tool. You can't be working with the Pencil tool, and incidentally, the Pencil tool allows you to just go through and actually draw Curves, like this, if you want to. You can also draw your own crazy arbitrary maps if you want to. It tends to be a really useful tool for masking. I don't use it too often to correct images however.

I'm going to go ahead and reset the curve by clicking on this little button right there, and now we get the nice diagonal line once again. Switch to the Point tool so that the Target Adjustment tool right here is available. Then notice something about this tool that I want you to see. Watch the toolbox over here; notice how, currently for me, my Marquee tool is selected. Well, if I click on the Target Adjustment tool, which doesn't call itself the Target Adjustment tool, and I've heard it called various things by various people; I said this way back in the Fundamentals portion of this series, but I'm going with Target Adjustment tool because that's what its called in Lightroom.

Lightroom was the first application to offer this tool, and I just think that name makes a ton of sense. You're targeting Luminance Levels inside the image and then you're adjusting them. How much clearer could that be? Anyway, when I select the tool by clicking on it, then these tools are no longer active. No tool in the toolbox is active. I see my little Target Adjustment Cursor up here on the far left side of the Options bar. There are no options for it, but its something of a full-fledge tool that is only available when you're using certain adjustments. It would be great if it was actually over here in the toolbox and we could get to it all of the time.

Anyway, we've got a problem with the exposure of this image. It's underexposed. So we have a lot of empty highlights over here. I'm going to click the Auto button in order to just apply Auto Tone to the image. It fixes the highlights on a Channel by Channel basis. We'll revisit those Channels momentarily, but for now, let's stick with the composite image. Something else to note about this tool is it changes your cursor to an Eyedropper, and we can now access the bouncing ball inside of the Curves graph. See it bounce around there, without pressing and holding the Ctrl or Command key when the Eyedropper tool is selected. So really super easy function to work with here. Very tempting to have it always selected when you're working with Curves incidentally, because it does provides this benefit here.

Now, I want to expand the shadows a little bit. If I click down here in his wet suit, there are certain areas that I can click in, that would just completely lift black. I don't want to see that happen. I can tell that I should get it, because right there, that point the bouncing ball is all the way in the bottom left corner of the graph. So if I were to click and drag here, drag up or like so, I would move that black point up the graph. I'm decreasing the contrast of the image in the hideous and horrible way. So I don't want to do that. So I'll undo that modification, just by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. Instead what I want to do is click higher up on his haunches here, right at about this location on his glutes, and then I'm going to drag upward. So notice, as soon as I click, I get a point. I just added a point automatically in the lower left region of the graph, and now as I drag upward, I'm brightening that point.

I could also drag downwards to darken the point if I wanted to, and the cursor helpfully shows me that I can drag up or down with those Up and Down Arrows right there. So it's a very instructive cursor, to my way of thinking anyway. All right. So I'll dim him just a little bit, I don't want to take him quite that hot, but you can see over there in the graph, I have changed an Input value of -- why is it saying its 108, it's that point right there. Huh, this is very interesting that I'm seeing completely the wrong values. Were those the last values I saw inside the graph? I guess so. Look at that. That's not what I want.

So I'll press the Plus key to go forward a point and then I'll press the Minus key to go back a point, Huh, interesting bug. So now we can see that this point here, which is selected, has an Input Level of 13 and an Output Level of 20. Then we can track all the other points on the curve just by moving the cursor around. It's showing me what has happened to these other Luminance Levels; what they were, and this one happens to have been 92 and now its 121. So its way too bright is basically what it comes down to. So I'm going to find a fairly dark color here in his armpit; it turns out it works kind of nicely, and I'm going to click and hold and drag down in order to darken those shadows, that region of shadows right there. So I'm taking an Input Level of 31, changing it to an Output of 38, where before it must have been much higher that that.

All right. Now, I want to drag in the waves actually, to darken them up a little bit, like so. So that we can retain details in those waves. That leaves his face a little dark, but I think actually it comes out fairly nice. At this point I feel like we need to make some Channel by Channel modifications, because I'd like to warm up his face just a little bit and brighten it, if I can. So I'm going to go over to the Red Channel; and I can do that of course by just pressing Alt+3 or Option+3 in the Mac if I want to. Then I'm going to click right here on his forehead and I'm going to drag up a little bit in order to expand those warm tones and warm up the image in general.

That's a little too red now, so I'm going to try to balance that out by going to the Green Channel. I'll Press Alt+4 or Option+4 in the Mac and I'll drag up inside this region of waves right there to add some green. Now, I don't want to go too far with it. I can green up the image pretty quickly if I'm not careful. So I just want to make a tiny modification here. I'm not even sure where I started actually, so I'll just eyeball it in order to get something that looks pretty good. I feel like this is a good modification. Now, the one issue that I have; I could go through and add some blues if I wanted to. I might, actually, you know what, what the heck, it does look like we've gone too far with the reds and green. So I'll press Alt+4, Option+4 on the Mac, and let's brighten the blues. The most obvious point of blue here is inside of his wet suit. Although, we don't have to stick with anything that appears blue inside the image actually, I could drag from any point that I want to. So let's drag back here in these waves and drag up just a tiny bit, just add a little bit of blue to the image. All right. So I think that's good.

My one concern about the image is that we've lost some color saturation, and that tends to happen; if I press Alt+2 or Option+2 on the Mac to switch back to the RGB composite view, that tends to happen anytime that curve flattens out even a little bit, it doesn't have to go totally flat, it can just become less deep at a certain point in the image. Because it's less deep for a long period of time, we are going to lose color saturation. So the best way to get it back is to go to Vibrance. I'll click on the left pointing green arrow here, at the bottom of the Adjustments palette, to return to the Adjustments list. I'll click on the purple cone for Vibrance, and then I'll go to the Vibrance option and I'll increase this value, I think, to +30, actually works out pretty well. That might be a little high, let's take it down to +25 there.

Then I'm going to increase the Saturation at least to 5, I think, if memory serves me from working on this image before, 5 works out pretty nicely. That might be a little too hot actually, so why don't we take it down? I guess I applied a different Curves modification this time around. I'll go ahead and take this value up to +3. So your specific values, I should hasten to say, are going to vary depending on the specific Curves you applied. So your Curves are going to be slightly different than mine, undoubtedly. Just to give you a sense of what we were able to accomplish using these two layers right here, I'll go ahead and collapse the Adjustments palette for now.

I'll Alt+Click on the eyeball or Option+Click on the eyeball for the before view. So this is the original version of the image and this is the new version of the image with the expanded shadows, much better exposure, thanks to the very easy to use Target Adjustment tool here inside Photoshop CS4.

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