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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.
All right, well now that we know a little bit about the Adjustment Brush, let's apply what we learned to this image. Grab the Zoom tool and then click and drag over the face, so we can zoom right in on the face, spacebar, reposition the image. Next, press the K key to select the Adjustment Brush and what I want to do here is I want to create a brush that's just pretty small, so I'll press the Left Bracket key. Now when it gets really small watch what happens, the icon is actually going to disappear. So, it's going to become really small there. Now, my Feather amount, I'm going to take that one down as well, so when I decrease my Feather amount. I know that my icon is still really small and then it just becomes crosshairs, all right. So, I have a real small brush there because it's so tiny. Flow amount, I want that real low, somewhere in the teens. So I'll take this probably about a thirteen or so, great nice low Flow amount on my exposure. So I want to brighten this up, well I'm going to take this up pretty high.
What I'm going to do here is I'm going to make some adjustments and make some mistakes and I want to make some mistakes because you are going to make mistakes as well and you need to really know how to work with this tool, right. Well, now that I have these adjustments down there. I'm going to go ahead and paint a brush stroke underneath the eye. Now when I do that, my first brush stroke coming back and forth, I say, you know what, it looks horrible. How can I undo it? One way, Command+Z. Okay, well why didn't I notice there, my Feather wasn't any good. Increase, the Feather amount. Now I'll click and paint, nice and smooth transition around the edges there. Okay, well that looks pretty good, Command+Z to undo. Brush size that makes that even smaller, I'll go ahead and click across the eye there. Now I have a nice small brush size, it's not extending out in the face too much.
Okay, well so far so good. Another way to undo that, is to click on the pen and press the Delete key that will then remove that adjustment and the pen was that little circle, it's a point where you initially click, you can see that then it shows you wherever you have adjusted, when you hover over it. It will highlight that. All right, well let's delete that. Okay, well so far so good, we are starting to see how this works. Overall Density, that needs to come down, right. My effect is a little bit too intense. Auto Mask, now what's that about? Auto Mask is kind of interesting. When I click and I paint over this, what it's trying to do is to limit the adjustment to the darker tones or to the tones, when I'm actually painting over. So, I'm going to go ahead and paint in here, we can try to get these little areas this way and when I do this, for the most part it looks pretty good. We can see when I hover over this, it's just trying to limit the search, trying to find edges to my Mask.
Now, a lot of times this works when you have a real fixed area that you are adjusting. Let's say you are working on teeth or lips or the earring. In my case, my edges are a little bit to straggling. So I'm going to go ahead and click on my pen and then delete that. Yeah, keep in mind that Auto Mask does work really well in a number of situations, again situations where you have fixed edges. Okay, well so far we have looked at how we can dial on this tool a little more. I'm just going to go ahead and paint around the eye here and keep in mind that, I'm going to make a few mistakes, couple of more mistakes, believe it or not and we will see how we can correct them. I'll go on this side of the face and I'm just looking to kind of brighten up the Exposure a little bit over here and I'm painting pretty quickly.
Now, If you are doing this, you would probably want to spend a little bit more time with some details, make my brush a little bit bigger here and now when I make this nice and big, it kind of smooth stuffs out but, it also starts to look like raccoon eyes, right. Make it a little bit bigger over here as well. Okay, well let's look at our before and after. Before and after, all right we have some raccoon eyes going on, it's to strong, how can I modify that? Well, I can dial in the Exposure to make it stronger or I can make it darker. Now that it looks really bad and I'm aware of that, yet it's helpful for me to see how far off my adjustment is extending.
Now, the other thing that we can do is modify or erase it. Now again, keep in mind I'm going to do something that doesn't look good, but I'm doing this to illustrate a point. When I increase my exposure if I click on erase here, then it gives me access to a different brush, different settings or here you can see my brush, you can see the Size and the Feather amount. Increase that even further, so I have a nice smooth feather with little tiny Flow amount. Now, when I begin to paint around this, you can see that what I'm doing is I'm removing this and I'm slowly kind of going in around the edge on my adjustments and In order to be able to really see that, I needed to have that high amount right. So, I'm just diminishing this a little bit and I'm looking for some problem areas left back to get a little bit smaller brush on this side and I'm just looking to take that back.
Now, of course, I know my Exposure is too high. Though at sometimes it's helpful to have that high Exposure to actually see your edges. Now I bring it back to a zero and then increment or bring that up just a touch. Doesn't need to be that high, right. And look at our before and after. All we are looking to do is bring a little bit of light there. Zoom out, Command+Minus on a Mac/Ctrl+ Minus on a PC, look at our before and after and then again we can find that sweet spot where we are brightening the area around the eyes. Just bringing in some light, but we are not going too far. And we can see that in this case the eye is doing to look better. Here is our before and here is our after, bringing in some light subtle yet significant improvement.
There are a number of different ways that you can apply this tool. It's actually quite amazing. So here is my recommendation to you. You need to play with this a little bit, you need to experiment. So open up one of your images and begin to experiment and make some mistakes and make some really drastic mistakes. But then take a look at how you can correct those and one of the things that I find with this tool to be really flexible, there's a lot of give and take, a lot of back and forth and the nice thing about it ultimately is it's non-destructive. If you don't like the adjustment, lets say I don't like this at all or maybe I just want a little bit of it, I can always do that and again it's just this little tiny bit of light that I'm bringing into the eyes and I have that flexibility at any point even when I close this image I can come back to this particular point.
Let's go ahead and do that. I'll click Done to apply this. The image is now closed. I'll then reopen the image, Command+R on a Mac/Ctrl+R in a PC. I'll grab the Adjustment Brush, zoom in, Command+Plus, Spacebar tool. Well, now that I have that pen, that adjustment, if I click and start painting I'm going to make a new adjustment, right. So now I have two pens, well how do I go back to the original? All I need to do is click on that target that you can see that little circle inside of it, the black circle also the highlighted area that I affected. I could then modify that bring it up a little bit more. Okay, I need a little bit more exposure there and then I'll go back to this pen and press the Delete key to delete that one.
Now, the last thing that I want talk about, is that you don't ever use this brush alone, you always use it in combination with your other adjustments. So, let's choose the Zoom tool for a moment, that brings back all of our other adjustments. Now, on the Basic panel, I'm going to bring in a little bit of Fill Light. Now that will also help out to those eyes. Then I'll bring in some contrast to darken them up a little bit and I'll bring up my Exposure, you know warm this image up just a touch as well. Now, once I have done that, I need to go back to the Adjustment Brush, right because the amount has been changed and here we can see it and so at this point, maybe I need to just nudge up back a touch because I brought some of that Fill Light in from my other tool and to nudge it back, we need to do what I did do. I just made a mistake right? I grabbed the slider but was this pin active.
Now it's probably good that I made that mistake because you will make it too. And in modifying this I was like hey! It didn't happen. But now if I click on that, I see the circle on the middle, then there I can dial this in and again and we will make it real drastic, so you can see that I actually have it. I can than dial in the amount. So, my final closing thought for you is this, the Adjustment Brush is unreal, it's non-destructive, you can continually modify and it's a tool that you are using in combination or in unison with many of the other Camera Raw tools.
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