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Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
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Using Content-Aware Scaling


From:

Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Using Content-Aware Scaling

Content-aware scaling is the new feature in Photoshop CS4 that has the biggest wow factor. The idea behind Content-Aware Scaling is that it can scale the size of an image while preserving its important content. So, why would you want to do that? Well, it's a great way to change the orientation of a photo. For example, here I have a horizontal photograph and I'd like to turn it into a vertical. But I don't want to just crop away this side because I want to keep the tree here to frame the boy. So, here is how I would go about using content-aware scaling to make this horizontal photo into a vertical one.
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
7h 55m Beginner Oct 13, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Learning and customizing the interface and workspace
  • Utilizing various manual and guided selection techniques
  • Working with Adobe Camera Raw
  • Adding special effects with layer styles and Smart Filters
  • Creating Photomerge panoramas
  • Optimizing photos for the web and creating web galleries
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Jan Kabili

Using Content-Aware Scaling

Content-aware scaling is the new feature in Photoshop CS4 that has the biggest wow factor. The idea behind Content-Aware Scaling is that it can scale the size of an image while preserving its important content. So, why would you want to do that? Well, it's a great way to change the orientation of a photo. For example, here I have a horizontal photograph and I'd like to turn it into a vertical. But I don't want to just crop away this side because I want to keep the tree here to frame the boy. So, here is how I would go about using content-aware scaling to make this horizontal photo into a vertical one.

First of all, let me show you what doesn't work. I found that on many images this feature doesn't work perfectly right out of the box, but there are ways to give it a little help. So, let's see what it does without any help first. The first thing I need to do is go to my Layers panel and I see that I have a special background layer there. That's a layer that's locked. So, I need to unlock that by double- clicking the word Background, accepting the new name, and clicking OK. Now I can go to the Edit menu and choose Content-Aware Scale.

This gives me these anchor points all around the image. I will click on the anchor point on the far left and I'll start to move toward the boy. And you can see right away that it is not respecting the boy's face or his body, which are all getting squeezed unmercifully. So, that doesn't work right out of the box on this particular image. I'm going to click the cancel sign here and I'm going to see if the feature that preserves skin tones will help. So again, I'm going to the Edit menu and down to Content-Aware Scale. Here in the Options bar, I see a picture of a person and if I click that, Content-Aware Scale makes an effort to protect skin tones, like the boy's face here.

So, let's see what happens this time. If I click on the anchor point and drag to the right... So far so good. His face actually is being protected, but look what's happening to his right arm. Not good. So, that's not going to work. What else can I do? I can make an alpha mask that protects just the parts that I want to keep, and I've found that that's the best way to use this feature. I'm going to go to the cancel icon again, and before I try to scale again, I'm going to get my Quick Selection tool and I'm going to run it over the boy.

I've got a little bit too much there, so I'll press the Option key on a Mac, the Alt key on the PC and get a little bit better selection. And I'll add in his hand and the book. It doesn't have to be a perfect selection. It just has to define the area that I want to protect. Now, I'm going to turn this selection into what's called an alpha mask. An alpha mask is just another way of representing a selection. One way to do that is to go to the Select menu at the top of the screen and choose Save Selection, which I showed you how to do back in the chapter on selections.

I'll call the new alpha mask grad, and click OK, and then I'll deselect by pressing Command+D on the Mac or Ctrl+D on the PC. If I look at my Channels panel, I can see beneath my regular RGB Channels, the new grad alpha channel and it's basically just a mask in the shape of my selection. I'm going to go back to my Layers panel there and I'm going to try to scale one more time. I'll go to Edit menu again and choose Content-Aware Scale.

This time in the Options bar, I'll uncheck that icon of the person and instead, I'll go to the Protect menu and I'll click-and-hold to see a list of all the alpha channels in the image. There is only one, my grad channel. So, I'll select that and now if I come over to the left, and I drag that anchor point, I'm happy to see that the boy is being protected as I make the image vertical. And I can get in pretty tight and he is still protected.

He doesn't get squeezed. Notice that when Photoshop did the scaling for me, it made some choices about what was the content to keep and what was the content to throw away. So, it did keep this tree to frame the image over here, but it did away with all that plain area of white snow, which was just the right thing to do. When I'm all done with my content- aware scaling, I'll come up and I'll click the checkmark up here to commit the change. It takes a minute to transform, but I think you can see that this really is a remarkable new feature.

To finish this up, I'm going to trim away the transparent pixels on the left, represented by this gray and white checkerboard. I'll go to the Image menu at the top of the screen, choose Trim and in the Trim dialog box, I'll make sure that Transparent Pixels is selected here. And I'll click OK and that automatically crops away the transparent pixels and then I can save this image in its new vertical format. Give content-aware scaling a try on your own photos and if you're not getting the results you want, remember to make a selection of the area you want to preserve and to use that selection as an alpha mask to protect your best content.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS4 Essential Training.


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Q: How can artwork be transferred from Photoshop CS4 to Illustrator CS4 without the background?
A: Save the image in Photoshop’s native PSD format. The background in Photoshop must be transparent, meaning there should be no background layer. (To remove a background layer, move your artwork to a separate layer by selecting and copying the content, minus the background, to a new layer, and then delete the background layer. A checkboard pattern behind your image indicates transparent pixels.) 
 


In Illustrator, select File > Open, and select the PSD file. In Photoshop Import dialog box, select Convert Layers to Objects.

Q: How do I retouch an image I have of an old photograph I scanned?
A: There are a few courses that address image restoration. Check out the Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training course, and for problems dealing specifically with old photographs, watch the Restoration movies in chapter 15 of the Enhancing Digital Photography with Photoshop CS2. Additionally, learn how to research and date photos with our Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree course.
Q: A client has asked for artwork to be delivered as JPEGs or BMP files in 16-bit format. In Photoshop CS4, there does not appear to be an option to save an image as a 16-bit JPEG. Is there a way to save JPEG files as 16-bit in Photoshop?
A: Unfortunately, JPEGs cannot be saved in 16 bit. JPEGs, by nature, are 8-bit. So if you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS4, you will see no option in any of the save dialog boxes to save the file as a JPEG. You would first have to convert the image to 8 bit (by choosing Image > Mode > 8 bits/channel) and then save it as an 8-bit JPEG. If you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS5, you will see the option to save it as a JPEG in the Save, Save As, and Save for Web dialog boxes.  But the JPEG will not be saved as 16-bit. Instead, Photoshop will downsample it to 8-bit for you  before saving it as JPEG.
 
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