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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.
There's another new brush in Camera Raw, and that is the Graduated Filter Brush. What this tool does is lets you lay down one or more adjustments in a gradient pattern, so that they blend nicely into the rest of the image. I am going to show you how to use that brush on this image of the stormy sky. But first I want you notice that this image is not a raw image. Instead it's a JPEG. Yes, it's true that you can open JPEGs or even TIFFs into the Camera Raw window. Some people prefer to do that because they just like the way the Adjustment tools are laid out here in Camera Raw.
Regardless of whether I'm working on a JPEG or on a raw image, I can apply the new Graduated Filter Brush tool. The first step is to select the Graduated Filter Brush from here in the toolbox. That changes the controls over on the right to Graduated Filter controls. What I wanted to do with this image is to open up the clouds, making them lighter so that I can see more detail in the clouds. But I don't want to make the foreground part of this image any lighter. If I'd had a Neutral Density Filter on my camera when I shot this image, I would have been able to take care of this problem in camera, evening out the exposure between the sky and the foreground but instead I'm going to do that here in Camera Raw.
So in the Graduated Filter controls, I am going to increase Brightness, and I will increase Exposure a little too and then I am going to come into the image and click-and-drag from the top of the document on down and you'll notice that I get these green and red dotted lines which identify the beginning and ending of my gradient. That's not a very strong adjustment. So I am going to come back over to the Graduated Filter controls. Notice that the Edit button is selected and so I can increase the Brightness, maybe increase the Exposure a little, and that increases the strength of this combination of adjustments.
Now let's say I want to add some thing more to this adjustment. Maybe I want to add a little blue in the clouds. So I'll come to the Color field and click there and in the Color Picker, I'll try this preset blue. It doesn't look too bad. I might actually take the Saturation slider here in the Color Picker and drag to the left to reduce the saturation of that color and then I'll click OK. I can adjust the position of this gradient at any time by clicking and dragging to rotate it or dragging to change how long or short it is.
If I don't want to see that outline I can come down to this Show Overlay check box and uncheck it. I know that the gradient is still there but it's just not in my way as I analyze the photo. Let me show one more thing about the Graduated Filter and that is that you can use it in conjunction with the Adjustment Brush, which I covered in another movie. So for example when I added the gradient to make the sky a little bluer and a little brighter, this post also was covered by the gradient. If I want that to be a little warmer and darker, I can get my Adjustment Brush tool here, come over to my adjustments and lower the Brightness a little, maybe lower the Exposure and click in the Color Field and choose a Light Yellow.
Then I'll move over my image and I'll paint in on top of that fence post. If I don't like the way that looks, I can edit that adjustment by making sure the Add button is highlighted here and maybe I'll decrease the Saturation there and decrease the Brightness a little. That green pin that you see there represents the mask that allows me to localize this adjustment to adjust the fence post. If I move over that pin you'll see that mask and as you recall I've used this Adjustment Brush on top of the Gradient Filter that I also applied to this image.
So that's how to use the new Graduated Filter tool and how to use it in conjunction with the Adjustment Brush. And as a little bonus, a reminder that you can process not only your raw images in the Camera Raw window but also your JPEG and your TIFFs.
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