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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
Well now that we know a little about how paths works, let's de-construct how they work even further. Now here you can see I have this little icon of a cannon. I'm going to use that to talk a little bit about how I think paths and the Pen tool actually works. So let's press P on the keyboard to select the Pen tool and then when I click to create an anchor point right here at the mouth of the canon and click and drag out. One of the things that you can think about with the canon is wherever it's pointing, you would know the trajectory of that canon ball, right? So if I click and drag over here, we can see I have the trajectory kind of following that line. Let's go ahead and undo that for a moment and let's say that we have the canon at a different trajectory. Now it's pointed up, so I'll go ahead and click and drag up and then click and drag over here. We can see that wherever this handle is pointing, it's showing my overall trajectory of where that path or where that curved line is going to actually go.
Okay well let's undo that even further and then talk about how this applies to our image. Now one of the things that we can see here with this particular image is that if I want to create a path around the edge of this portion of the building, we can see that this is bending in a specific way. Now if we were to turn that bent line into an arrow or more specifically an arrow that looks something like this, we can see that that bent line realistically is pointing right about here. Well how then does that relate to creating a path? Well, let's go ahead and turn off these layers for a moment and I'm going to then grab my Pen tool, press the P on the keyboard and I'm going to click to create an anchor point and drag out towards where that curve is pointing, right it's pointing up, it's not pointing down here because I want to go to the outer edge of this particular curve and then I'll click and drag over here and now that you can see I have the beginnings of our edge or a line around that curve.
Now it wasn't perfect, yet your edges will become more perfect with practice. So I need to fix it up. Well all I need to do is hold down the Option key on Mac/Alt key on a PC and slowly move that until I can get that right around the edge of this particular curve. And so I'll go ahead and pull it down and I'll also pull it closer and further away from the anchor point, until I can find the sweet spot where it's a combination of both handles in order to get that right on the money. Okay, well now that I have created this little edge, what I can do is navigate to my Paths panel. Now here you can see the beginning path that I have, I'll double click that and I'll name this 'top' for just the top curve. Now what can I do with this? Well there are a number of different things, if I had completed this and may be gone around, I could have turned this into a selection or I can add a Brush Stroke around this.
So I'll go and go back to my Layers and create a new layer, the Visibility on, go to the Paths tab and then I'm going to click on the Brush Stroke icon and there we can see if I click off this that I now have this black line along that edge. So one of the things that you can begin to do with your path selections is you can add brush strokes to them. Okay well that's kind of interesting. What about this other path that we have here? If you click on Middle, you will notice that I have a nice path around this portion of the building. In this case what I'm going to do is go ahead and Fill that. So now here we can see that that's filled with black. Okay it's kind of interesting; I'll undo that, Command+ Z on the Mac/Ctrl+Z on a PC. I can also turn this into a selection.
So I'll click on this icon here to allow the path as a selection. So now that that's a selection, I can then go back to my Layers palette and I can do a wide range of things here. One is I could click on the Adjustment layer icon and choose Curves. That will then open up the Curves dialog and here I'm able to control the overall the brightness or contrast or density of that particular area. For that matter I can go into some of the different channels of the curve and I could then begin to modify the overall color or tone of that specific area. Now at this image do I actually want to make a change like that? No. Yet all that I want to do in this movie is we are going to de-construct a few more things about paths. All right well now that we have seen a little bit more about how to work with paths and how you may want to work with paths, let's talk about how we can make a selection or make a selection just like this using the Pen tool and we will do that in the next movie.
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