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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.
All right gang, I have what I hope is a real treat for you. During this project, we're not only going to get a sense for how adjustment layers work, what the rules of using adjustment layers are, but we are also going to bend those rules to meet our needs essentially. We are going to add a bunch of adjustment layers inside of an RGB image. We're going to flatten that image and take it in the Lab and then we are going to add another adjustment layer and flatten that image and take it back to RGB and then we are going to do some hand-painting. So on paper this wouldn't necessarily be a best practice. However, it gets the desired result. So despite all you might hear about non-destructive image editing, all the accolades that are thrown its way, it's the only way to go.
Sometimes you just have to be a little brazen and modify some pixels, apply a few destructive modifications in the name of making the image look better, and that's what we are going to be doing. This is a terrible image and the reason it's a terrible image is I'm having to rely on nature light from the sun. So basically the natural light is going down probably about 35 or 40 feet into the water, reflecting off him and then back another 10 feet up to me. So it's going through about 50 feet of water let's say and that means we are losing the long wavelength, and it works like this.
Red goes first. So think of red, orange, yellow, green etcetera, etcetera. So we lose red like in the first ten feet of water or something like that, and then we lose orange and then we lose yellow, and then eventually we'll lose green. We didn't lose green in this image and pretty soon we are left only with blue. And this is very typical of point -and-shoot underwater photography. If you have a nice rig, you have an SLR and you've got strobes at the sides and you know what you are doing, great! You get great photography without this kind of work, but if you are just taking down a little point-and-shoot and you are hoping for good results, this is kind of stuff you get routinely.
Let's go ahead and take a look at this image here in the Channels palette and I want you to see this tank is neutral gray, it doesn't have any color cast associated with it in real life. And so if we look at it in the Blue channel, the very light Blue channel, you'll see that we have a very light tank. All right, so then we look at the Green channel and now we've got a darker tank because not as much green light is getting through and that means that of course, we do not have a neutral photograph, and then let's take a look at the Red channel light, don't we? Gosh, we don't have much of a Red channel to work with there. All I have is that tiny little label that reflected the flash I believe and everything else is just totally black. We actually got robbed of a channel. We just have a two-channel image. How in the world are we supposed to correct that? Well, I'll tell you. Not in any traditional way, that's for sure. This is what we are going to do, this is just by way of a preview here, we are going to get this far using adjustment layers in the RGB mode, notice these adjustment layers that we are going to pile on right here and then eventually we are going to go through lab and we are going to come back and we are going to do some hand-painting and we are going to get this image here.
So we are going to go from this that doesn't even have Red channel and the Green and Blue channel are in none too good of shape, you may recall, of you are -- we don't have anything resembling as shadow in the Green channel. And I'm not sure we have a mid tone in the Blue channel so we are very, very little to work with here. The image looks like this and yet we are going to turn it into this, and let me show you something, this is the way the Red channel looks inside this image. So let's see if we can switch to it here. I'm having a problem because I'm looking at the orange mask, let's go ahead and switch to the Background layer and then go back to the Channels palette. This is the way the Red channel looks, we've got a nice Red channel, this is the way the Green channel works, we've got nice Green channel, we've got nice Blue channel.
Not a great blue channel, that's the funniest thing is that of all of the channels, the one that's in the most wretched shape when we are done is the one that got the most light. We had the most blue light to work with and yet the Blue channel in the worst shape, just thanks to the magic of working in absolute no fear mode using adjustment layers and other functions here inside Photoshop, so I'm going to show you how it works, starting in the very next exercise.
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