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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie I'll introduce you to the next panel over here inside Camera Raw and that's Tone Curve, and it allows you to apply an aftermarket curve to your image. So in other words, after you get done truly developing your image here inside the Basic panel, then you can go over to Tone Curve and add the equivalent of a curves adjustment layer, but I'm showing you this with the big caveat. The thing is, thanks to the way that the exposure controls work inside Camera Raw 7, you don't really need the tone curve function anymore, and I'll show you exactly what I mean.
So we'll start things off where I left off this image in Camera Raw 6, and so, because I last developed the image in Camera Raw 6, we're seeing the old exposure controls along with this exclamation point (!) down here in the bottom right corner of the image preview. And even though I have thrown a graduated filter on top of things here, in order to increase the contrast of this upper background, I still felt like I had some brightening to do where this image is concerned. So I'll press the Z key to escape out, so I can gain access to my panels once again, and I'll switch over to Tone Curve.
Now you've got two different variations on the curve here that you can heap on top of each other if you want, so they operate independently. We've got Parametric which I'll show in a moment and then we have Point, which is that familiar version of the curve that we saw in the previous chapter, where you click to set a point then you drag it around and so forth. You can also see that bouncing ball inside of the graph by pressing and holding the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on the Mac that gets you this eyedropper cursor on the fly and then you just move the cursor around, you don't have to drag.
In order to see the bouncing ball, if you click, you'll go ahead and set a point inside of the graph. So that will be a Ctrl+Click on a PC or Cmd+Click on the Mac. I decided not to apply this kind of curve however, so I'll go ahead and reset that diagonal line by choosing Linear from the Curve pop-up menu and then I'll switch back to Parametric. The benefit of these options is that they allow you to modify specific areas of the curves independently. For example, I can crank up the shadows value in order to lift the first quarter of the curve, which is going to brighten the quarter-tones inside of my image.
Now I don't want to go that high, so I'll change the Shadows value to 85. I decided I wanted to lend some heft to some of the other darker shades, so I took the Darks value down to -10 and then I went up to the Highlights value and took it up to 50, let's say, and that raises the last quarter of the curve, which brightens the three-quarter tones. You can also define what you mean by Highlights and Shadows and Midtones by dragging these slider triangles. So for example, I can compress my Highlights by moving this right-hand triangle to 85 and then I can scoop my Midtones over and I took them up to 65, in the case of this particular correction, and then I went ahead and took my Shadows all the way up to 40, which means a larger portion of the image is being effected by the Shadows values and I ended up coming up with a pretty decent correction.
Thing is, I can do better with less work now in Camera Raw 7, and let me show you what I mean by that. I'll go ahead and switch back to the Basic panel and let's clear out everything we've done, because I've already saved it out as a snapshot. By going over here to the panel flyout menu and choosing Camera Raw Defaults, which will clear out all the settings as well as a graduated filter and the tone curve by the way, and we'll see the image as it was captured, which is extremely dark as you can see here. Even though this is four second exposure, I had the ISO setting set very low, so that I get as little noise as possible.
All right, so now that I'm seeing my Camera Raw 7 Exposure controls, I'll go ahead and crank this Exposure value up to 2.00, so I'll press Shift+Up Arrow four times in a row. Next I wanted to mitigate the enthusiasm of these lights in the background, so I'm going to go ahead and drag this Whites value all the way down to -100, so we can recover as much of the light as possible and you can see that makes a big difference, we now have more subtle specular highlights, and I'm also going to press the Alt key or the Opt key on the Mac and drag the black triangle down until I see just a little bit of clipping there inside the image preview, which happens at about -10.
All right, now I'd like to dim these lights a little further, so keep your eye on them as I reduce the Highlights value to its absolute minimum of -100 and then I'm going to crank the Shadows value to its absolute maximum of +100 and we end up coming up with this developed image. Now just one more step, I need to adjust the color Temperature because the scene is too warm, you can do that using the White Balance tool of course, and you can get to the White Balance tool one more way that I haven't shown you. You can press and hold the Shift key, when you're using any other tool, that'll give you White Balance tools and then I'll click on the brow of this boat right there and that'll set the Temperature to 2750, which is very low, but that will compensate and cool down the image as you see it.
And you know what, I think maybe the image could use a little more contrast, so I'll go ahead and crank this guy up to say +20 and that looks like a great development of the image to me. All right, now just for the sake of comparison I'll switch over to my Snapshots and I'll create a New Snapshot by clicking on the little page icon and I'll call this guy ACR7 development and then click OK and now we can compare the two versions, that is the one that takes advantage of the tone curve along with the graduated filter, that I was able to pull off with a fair amount of work inside of Camera Raw 6, and there it is.
Compare that to the better version of the image that I was able to achieve using just the Exposure controls along with White Balance. No tone curve needed here inside Camera Raw 7. So now you know two things, how to use the tone curve, and that you'll probably never need to.
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