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Three steps to diffused focus

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Three steps to diffused focus

All right, in this exercise I'm going to show you a three-part diffuse focus technique that involves a combination of Median, Unsharp Mask and Gaussian Blur in that order and you can apply them in the order of Median, Gaussian Blur and Unsharp Mask. So in other words you change the order of the last two filters. But it's more helpful to see it unfold before you, if we go in the order that I just told you. So I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as the file called Hooray for Horatio.psd and I have selected the diffusion layer right here. So we have got a Contrast Reducer right there in form of old school Brightness Contrast layer.

Three steps to diffused focus

All right, in this exercise I'm going to show you a three-part diffuse focus technique that involves a combination of Median, Unsharp Mask and Gaussian Blur in that order and you can apply them in the order of Median, Gaussian Blur and Unsharp Mask. So in other words you change the order of the last two filters. But it's more helpful to see it unfold before you, if we go in the order that I just told you. So I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as the file called Hooray for Horatio.psd and I have selected the diffusion layer right here. So we have got a Contrast Reducer right there in form of old school Brightness Contrast layer.

We have got diffusion, which is just a copy of the background layer set to Overlay, and we are ready to begin our diffusion process. So I'm going to start with the real porcelain command, the one that does the best smoothing, the best detailed pounding of any command out there and this is for when you need that extra layer of diffusion and what you do is you go to Noise and you choose the Median function. Shift+F8, if you have installed Deke Keys. So, and the reason we are going Median is because we don't need any form of threshold which is what we would get out of dust and scratches. We really want to pound away that detail and it just does the best job.

It's merciless. So I'll go ahead and choose the Median command and then you just go ahead and raise this value and see what you see on screen and watch the bad stuff go away as well as the good stuff, of course it's just going to get rid of all kinds of details inside of this image. Now you don't' want to go too far with it because if you take it too high you are going to start losing the effect of the filter and it's going to turn into more of a brightness bounce and so you can start losing some of your shadow detail and possibly filling in your highlights as well. So keeping it below 20, I find it works pretty nicely and I'm going to take mine to about 16 and when I say mine I mean the Radius value.

This is what the eye looks like, if this layer were set to the Normal blend mode, but this is what it looks like when we are merging the effect using the Overlay mode. So it looks pretty nice and this is before, I'll go ahead and turn off the Preview check box and this is after. So I'll click OK and the next thing that I want to do is I want to bring back some of the details fortify the details using Unsharp Mask and I'm using Unsharp Mask as opposed to Smart Sharpen for a kind of arcane reason but it works for me. I only use Smart Sharpen when I want to take advantage of the removal of either Lens Blur or Motion Blur.

So if I'm removing Gaussian Blur and I'm trying to account for example, Bicubic Interpolation because I have resized the image or skin softening or something along those lines or the fact that I just got done applying the Median filter then I want to work with Unsharp Mask instead because that way I don't have to monkey with the remove setting. This is Shift+F5 of course if you load a Deke Keys and I'll go ahead and choose the command to the load up the Unsharp Mask dialog box. Now you have to either match or exceed the Radius value you have applied for a Median to get much of anything done.

So I'm going to suggest we kind of match our Radius values across the board. So decide on a value that works for you with Median and then carry it through to the other commands. So I'm going with the Radius of 16 pixels, we'll click on his eye here and you can see how that really sort of reestablishes things. Here is the Median version of the eye and it doesn't look like an eye anymore but it fills in quite nicely when it's set to the Overlay mode. It does a nice job of smoothing over these details here and then I'm going to take this value, this Amount value, you can take it really high if you want to, you can go through the roof with that and you will get this horribly modeled effect that is not something you want. What I love about this, I have to say I actually really love this, is that it looks like we have wrapped this man in plastic for the ages, so he won't spoil.

It's really kind of a cool, glowy, nifty effect but it is an effect. It's obviously not photographic at this point. So I would have to back it off and I'm going to take it down to 250% and you might say well it's still not photographic and good Lord the things we are doing to this layer are just tedious at this point but it's all working for us. Leave Threshold set to 0. Do not mess with the Threshold option for this function. And now having gone too far quite obviously with this effect we are going to back it off using Gaussian Blur. Now the thing to bear in mind there is that and this will become especially obvious if I were to change the blend mode to Normal for just a moment so that we can see this. Median is notorious not for creating softness inside of an image, it does smooth the contours by rounding corners but it's basically generating new details. So it's just displacing corners and edges inside of an image, as it's done for this man here.

So he is not any softer than he was before. He is just sort of glumpier. It's more like he is rendered in wax or something along those lines. In order to get rid of the new edges, which are basically not correct edges inside of the image at this point, in order to smooth those off, we need to then follow up with Gaussian Blur. So I'm going to change the blend mode back to Overlay of course, press the Escape key here on the PC in order to deactivate that option. Not necessary in the Mac, all right. Then I'll go back up to the Filter menu, I'll choose Blur and I'll choose Gaussian Blur, Shift+F7 if you load Deke Keys and match the same Radius value.

Once again it needs to be same or bigger if you are going to get much of an effect out of the filter. Now look at the eye it's no longer that weird disturbing slit that it was before. It is now just soft. So to see the effect of Gaussian Blur I'll turn off Preview and then I'll turn it back on. So it goes from being plastic wrapped to just nicely diffused and then click OK in order to accept that effect. Now this may seem a weird way to work. First we apply Median to make things sort of waxy and goopy and then we follow it up with Unsharp Mask with a blurring filter with the exact opposite really which is Gaussian Blur but it's a great way to go.

And just think of it this way, this is very popular route actually to both soften and blur, you are not really changing the focus. These are all parlor tricks inside of Photoshop, you are moving details around and gumming things up and smoothing things over and then fortifying new edges and that kind of thing. So it's all incremental. Anyway it all makes an enormous difference to this image. Check it out, if I turn off the diffusion layer now, this is what the image looked like to begin with and so I'll turn diffusion back on and now it looks awesomely gorgeous.

One other thing I would do just because he is tending to look a little too yellow at this point because we have bolstered the color saturation by increasing the contrast. So the colors are becoming increasingly obviously orange inside of this image. So I would just go ahead and click on that contrast reducer layer, top layer in the stack, go back to Adjustments, click on this green arrow in order to return to the adjustments list and I'm going to add a Vibrance layer, like so. And this layer does not want to be clipped. It just wants to be loose like it is and I'm going to reduce not the Vibrance because you don't want less Vibrance inside this image, notice that he looks pallid and horrible. So let's keep the Vibrance what it was.

Instead what we want to do is we want to take the Saturation value down to -10%, that's as far as I would take it. I won't go down to -20% because then he starts getting too pink and I don't really like that look very much. You can split the difference if you want to. I'm not going to. I'm going to go with -10% and I'm thinking that's great. So now where you can get a sense if I Alt+Click or Option+Click on the eyeball in front of the background layer this is before, this is after; thanks to this wonderful multi gender, multi step diffuse focus technique here inside of Photoshop.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

218 video lessons · 23902 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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