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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.
So anyway, there I was, still working inside of Blended layers.psd, and all I did was, I added this Black & White layer, and then I clicked on Auto. Pretty much what we did in the previous exercise. Now we are ready to dial in something that looks much better than this. We want to emphasize the skin tones; really bring them out and sync the non-skin stuff, I suppose. And we can do that by playing with these various sliders here. Now, the easiest way to play with the sliders is to use this Target Adjustment tool, god bless it. And I'm going to go ahead and click on it to select it. And of course that de-selects the tools over here in the toolbox, and leaves me with this guy now. I wish there was some way that I could tell, oh, I'm over-red, like reds would highlight. It would go, beep-beep-beep, that's me, and then when I went over here it goes, hey, that's greens or something. And instead it doesn't.
Instead what you got to do -- and notice, I'm going to click and drag to the right to make whatever colors those are brighter, and click and drag to left. This is so bizarre; this is first time I have landed on yellows for her skin tones. I'll go ahead and undo that modification there. I'll try again, and this time it get red. That's more normal. That's probably what you are going to get as you drag around here. So I can make them really bright. If I go all the way to the right, or really dark, if I go all the way to the left, and that would be pretty sinister if I went that dark. Let's take the skin tones up to 100.
The Reds, that is up to 100, which I think looks nice. It's a nice place to start, the entire image doesn't look nice or anything. And then I'm going to drag inside the eyes, and they turn out to be yellow. Now this is very common. Something that looks to us like green; to Photoshop is yellow. And this goes for green eyes, and green grass tends to be yellow, and green olives tend to be yellow. And in order to really be green, it's got to be like a shamrock. It's got to be emerald green. That's green in Photoshop's mind.
So anyway, this is yellow. I'm going to drag the yellow value. I'm going to drag to the right that is, or back to left, if I go too far. I'm going to drag over until the Yellow's value is 80. So that looks good. And that's about all I can get out of this image with this tool. You can poke around and see if you can find some more. But notice, if I turn off that layer, it's really all we got to work with. We got some reddish lips; they fall into the red category. I have got some, sort of orangish skin, which falls into the red territory mostly. And then I have got these greenish eyes that fall into yellow territory.
Now amazingly, I can still adjust this value. So if you want to look at your image and adjust your black and white settings, you can. You just won't be able to preview the effects of your changes, but you will be able to see which portion of the image you want to drag on, and then you turn on the layer to see what in the world you have brought? So you can't work that way. It's kind of a bizarre feature, but it's there. All right, I'm going to -- oops, oops! Look I discovered another yellow. I didn't want that, I want some red. Let's go ahead and keep it safe by dragging inside the lips, and I'll take that value once again down to a hundred. I don't have to be that precise. I'm just doing that so you can follow along more easily.
I am going to take the Green's value up to 40. And that's just going to brighten the things here and there. Because there are colors that we just can't get a grip on. They are there, and they are represented by these other values here. I'm going to take the Cyan value down, because I do want to just take some of the posterization out of the mix to whatever extent I can. So I'm going to take Cyans down to 10. And then I'll take the Blue's value, I could take it down, but if I start taking it down then I'm introducing more posterization down here. It almost looks like blistering under her lip. And I don't want that to occur. So I found that the value of about 50 helps a little bit, doesn't help tremendously, but helps a little. And then I'm going to take that Magenta's value up to 100%, and I end up getting this effect right here.
So obviously you can go your own way. You can try anything you want. After modifying some of these other values, it may occur to you that one of the other sliders needs some work. For example, at this point I'm going, I could back up the red just a little bit. It feels like we are too hot. I'll go ahead and take a look at the Histogram. And we don't have any clipping going underneath the shadows. We do have a big spike of shadowness there. But we do have some clipping going on in our highlights. We don't want that. So I'll just back off of this Red's value. And that's going to take the Histogram down, like so. So we no longer have any clipped highlights. We really don't have any clipped shadows. We have got ourselves a very nice Histogram, I would say.
And then something you can do with a lot of different color adjustments, we could have done it with the Channel Mixer. We can't do it with black and white. Any of the ones that are fairly complicated, basically is the idea. You can do with Levels, you can do with Curves, but you can't do it with Brightness/Contrast. You can't do it with Vibrance, but you can do it with Hue/Saturation, and what is it? In case, you are wondering, what is it that I'm suggesting you do to these poor adjustment layers, why? You go ahead and save out your settings. Save out your custom settings by not choosing anything here.
Pardon me, we'll go up to this menu right there, this little menu icon, and choose Save Black & White Preset, and then what we do? Notice it takes us to a specific folder that's very deep in the entrails of Photoshop here. And it's going to be a different path for Vista vs XP vs the Mac. I'm going to change the name of this to portrait_shot or something like that, so that I know this works pretty nicely for a portrait. It's a good place to start perhaps. And then I'll click on Save, and then notice that it becomes, my Black & White setting right there.
And then what I could do is I could just click on this layer, make sure it's active. Press the Backspace key to get rid of it or the Delete key on the Mac. And then I could go back to my adjustment list, here inside the Adjustments palette, and instead of clicking on black and white, I would twirl open Black & White Presets, and I would look for the one that I added portrait_shot, just click on it, and Bob's your uncle, there it is. And we have got this wonderful preset here that works obviously, very nicely for this image. I'll go ahead and call it B&W once again, and that's it.
In the next exercise I'm going to show you how to express this image as a Sepia Tone. So we are introducing some false colors that will help to warm up our composition considerably using a Gradient Map layer.
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