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In Photoshop CS4 New Features, leading industry expert Deke McClelland covers the latest developments in Adobe's powerhouse image editor, Photoshop CS4. Deke explores the new tabbed window interface and the Adjustments and Masks palettes, the enhanced toning tools, content-aware scaling and the latest versions of Camera Raw and Bridge, which prove nearly indispensable to the digital photographer's workflow. From the interface to integration, Deke leaves no stone unturned.
So the recap, Photoshop CS4 introduces a new Adjustments panel, which provides convenient access to Adjustment layers, which allow you to apply non-destructive color adjustments so that you are not harming the original image. Only problem is non-destructive adjustment layers have been with us since Photoshop 4, back before there were any CS's involved. So what Adobe has essentially done is they have taken a very old feature and they have dressed it up inside of this new panel. Now they have also added Presets and they have added this new Vibrance Adjustment layer, but I can imagine some people, some old schoolers, looking at this panel and just yawning. Which, not to pick sides here, was basically my reaction when I first saw it, until the good folks at Adobe introduced me to the tool that I'm about to show you now. And this one tool, which is available to you when you are working inside a Hue/Saturation, Curves or Black & White, this one tool absolutely justifies the existence of this panel.
Now this image comes to us from photographer Joseph Jean Rolland Dube of iStockphoto.com and it is an absolutely beautiful image, but let's say that I want to reduce the saturation of the lips a little bit. I feel like they are a little bit garish. And I could do that using a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer. So I will go over to the Adjustments panel here and you can see if I hover over this icon, I see the words Hue/Saturation in the upper left corner of the panel, so I will go ahead and click on the icon to add a Hue/Saturation adjustment. Now if I were reduce the Saturation value, I would reduce the saturation of all colors inside of the image, so I will go ahead and Undo that modification by pressing Ctrl or Command+Z. As many of you know, you can isolate your modifications by clicking on this option right here, the one that reads Master, and you can choose some other group of colors to isolate those colors independently of other colors inside the image.
Problem with that approach is you are not always sure what those colors are. In other words, a field of grass could be green, or could actually fall into the yellow spectrum. You never know, which is why this tool right here is so great. I'm just going to go ahead and press the Escape key a couple of times, and I'm going to select this tool now. The tool tip does not call it this, but I call it the Target Adjustment tool and the reason that I'm choosing this name is because that is what it is called inside of Adobe Lightroom, which is where this tool comes from. Notice it has a little left/right icon next to it, which is telling us that is how we are going to drag inside of the image, to the left and to the right. So, if I drag inside of these lips, I will start my drag inside the base of the bottom lip there and I will drag to the right to increase the Saturation, obviously that is the wrong direction, well I will drag it to the left to decrease the Saturation, but no matter what I do, notice that those irises are unaffected. So I'm just affecting the reds inside the image, which albeit is a lot of colors inside this particular image, but I'm still able to isolate my modifications.
So I'm going to take the Saturation value down to about here, this looks pretty good, which as you can see attacks the reds only and I have reduced the Saturation value to -17. Now let us say that I want to imbue the image with just a little bit of yellow, so I want to change the hue and in that case you would press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and I would drag inside these lips. If I go too far, we are going to get into some pretty weird zombie green territory. Obviously I just want to take it a little bit into the yellows like so, so drag inside the image with the Target Adjustment tool to change the Saturation of just the colors you are dragging in and Ctrl or Command-drag to change the Hues.
Now let us say, I want to change the Luminance levels a little bit, I want to sink the highlights and I want to raise the shadows. And so to achieve such a brightness reduction effect, I need to call upon Curves. So I click on this green arrow down here in the bottom left corner of the Adjustments panel and then I will go over to the Curves icon and I will click on it. Over the years having talked to people who use Photoshop, I know a lot of folks who are very intimidated by the curves command. Where do you start, how do you add points, what do you do with them? But thanks to this tool right here, you don't have to worry about it. You can just click and drag inside the image in order to set points and modify luminance levels.
So for starters, I'm going to ahead and expand the size of this panel, so that we a can see a large curves graph and I will do that by clicking on this Expanded View icon right there. Then I will grab the Target Adjustment tool and notice this time it has an up/down arrow next to us, telling us that is the direction we drag. Notice by the way, if you look inside the graph; keep your eye on this section of the graph over here. If I move my cursor around, you can see that bouncing ball. That tells us that is where these Luminance levels are located in the graph. But if I click with this tool and then I just go ahead and drag downward, I'll reduce the brightness of those highlights and you can see, if you look at that curve graph again, I have not only added a point, I have modified the point in one operation. So in other words, not only does this makes Curves easier to use it also makes it quicker to use. So whether you are a new user or an advanced user, you are going to find this tool very helpful.
Now I want to raise the shadows in the hair, so I will do that just by dragging upward inside the hair, and I have created a very nice curves graph with almost no effort whatsoever. Fantastic new function! All right, let us go ahead and click on the green arrow once again to return to the Adjustments list and now let us say I want to convert the image to black and white. As supposed to clicking out right on the Black & White icon, I'm going to apply a preset. So I'm going to go ahead and click this triangle to expand the Black & White Presets and I will click on Green filter just to see what that ends up looking like.
It does a pretty good job of converting the image to black and white. Of course, the original image is still in full color. We have not modified a single pixel in that image. These are all floating Adjustment layers, but let's say that I want to, you know, either darken or lighten the face colors and you can see that you have got control over independent ranges of color, how bright or dark they are. I'm going to once again grab my Target Adjustment tool, and this time I drag left or right and I will drag inside of her face, either to brighten the heck out of the colors in that face or to sink those colors, to make them darker. What I think, something right around here is going to actually look pretty good and that works out nicely.
Now let us say I want to brighten the hair. Then I just go ahead and drag inside one of these fibers of hair in order to make it brighter. Now look what is happening over there inside of the Adjustments panel. Which slider is changing? Cyan. She has cyan here. Who would have guessed? I never would have thought that I could increase the brightness of individual strands or hair by changing the cyan value. And if I sort of hunt around some more, I'm going to find that she has got blue in her hair. Again, who would know? The last thing I would like to do is brighten the colors of her lips and I will just do that by tweaking this Magenta slider here, just by dragging it up manually as in the good old days and that's it. That is the new Target Adjustment tool that is available to you when using Hue/Saturation. That is available to you when using Curves and when using Black & White, entirely not only justifies the Adjustments panel, but also makes adjusting colors inside Photoshop a heck of a lot easier and more precise to boot.
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