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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.
Okay. So you've worked along with me. You've figured out your screen resolution. You worked through the calculator. You were a little confused by what was going on, but you came up with a number, and you entered it into the Preferences dialog box there. Once again, you've got to go up to the View menu, after you get done setting the screen resolution there inside Preferences, choose Print Size command in order to update the Zoom ratio. Then you go ahead and print the image, bring it back to your monitor here, and you compare the size of the two. If you have a bright enough monitor and thin enough paper, you should be able to even put the printed snake over the screen snake and see how they align with each other.
Let's say they're not quite right. What do you do? Because the likelihood of getting it exactly right in the first try is fairly low. So if you don't get it quite right, you can go through the numbers again. You can say, oh, I must have made a mistake, I'll get my calculator back out. You can do that, or you can just tweak it on the fly. Here is how you tweak it on the fly. You go up to the Edit menu, Photoshop menu on the Mac. You go to Preferences, and you go to Units & Rulers once again, which I believe, if I'm not mistaken, that's Ctrl+K, Ctrl+7. That's Command+K, Command+7 on the Mac. If you want to do it from the keyboard, there is your screen resolution.
Let's imagine -- here's the deal, if the snake is too small on screen, so it needs to be bigger, then you need to increase your screen resolution value. If the snake is too big on screen, you need to make it smaller to match the Print Size then you decrease the screen resolution. There is no inverse relationship in other words. It's just the way it seems like it ought to be. You decrease the resolution to make the snake smaller, you increase the resolution to make the snake bigger. So exactly the opposite of what we encounter when we're changing resolution per output.
So let's say my snake isn't quite big enough. He just needs to be ever so slightly larger. Well, what I tend to do when I'm trying to work this out is for starters I'll work in increments of 5, for small changes. If it's a big difference, then it's more like increments of 10. But even working through increments of 5 can't hurt you. So that way you'll get some work done fairly quickly, but you do have to do a lot of back and forth in here. So 104 would be an increment of 5. I'd go ahead and set that value and then click on the OK button, if I can get it on screen. There we go.
Now of course, you need to go to the View menu; don't forget the step, and choose Print Size again, you have to choose that command over again, and then it's going to grow slightly. Then if you went too far, you want to back off that screen resolution value. If you didn't go far enough, you want to increase it. Let's say I didn't go far enough, I'll press Ctrl+K, Ctrl+7 again, Command+K, Command+7 on the Mac and I'd say, okay, you know what, this time I'll try an increment of three. Let's say 107 pixels/inch. You can even by the way do one of these numbers here. You can enter quite accurate values if you want to and click OK. If you're just trying to make last minute tiny little tweaks, you probably wouldn't want to go that accurate, because that's not going to result in much difference, but you could do like 107.5 pixels/ inch let's say, click OK.
Then go up to the View menu and choose Print Size and that's going to grow ever so slightly. Once again, just compare it, do it till you've get it right, keep working at it if you've got to. Ctrl+K, Ctrl+7, Command+K, Command+7 on the Mac. Once you do get a value that's good; I'm just going to cancel out of here and assume that 107.5 is good enough for my purposes, then what you would do, go to File menu and quit the program; either choose Exit here on the PC or Quit on the Mac. That forces Photoshop to save your Preference Settings, so that's what it's doing.
Then you would go ahead and relaunch the program and from that point on your screen is not going to change. Your screen is going to remain the same resolution from that point on. Your image resolutions are going to change all over the place, but Photoshop will figure that out for you. You don't need to do anything there. So you will be set. Even though it takes a while to get that screen resolution setup in the first place, once you've got it, you're golden. So anyway, that's how you do it. Then of course, what you would do at this point, now that you've got it exactly at the right resolution here, is you would see whether you've got the Sharpening Settings the way you want them. I'm going to go up to my History palette right there. Click on that little guy, or I could choose History from the Window menu as well if I wanted to.
Then notice that Unsharp Mask was my last step. So if I click on Open, that will show me the previous version of the snake, the unsharpened version of the snake. Then if I click on Unsharp Mask once again, I see the sharpened version of the snake, and yes, he looks very nicely sharpened in print there according to my proof that I'm seeing here in Photoshop, now calibrated to the proper screen resolution of course. All right. So there you go. In the next exercise we'll go back to creative techniques here, and I'll show you how to limit your sharpening to just the luminance information inside an image.
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