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In Photoshop CS6 Essential Training, Julieanne Kost demonstrates how to produce high-quality images in a short amount of time, using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS6, Bridge, and Camera Raw.
The course details the Photoshop features and creative options, and shows efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, the course explores techniques for nondestructive editing and compositing using layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more.
In an ideal world it would have been wonderful when I was at this location if I could have stayed a while and actually waited for the light to come across this black sand and maybe just illuminate these white rocks here. Well, fortunately, Camera Raw has a Graduated filter and you can either select it here in the Tool area or just tap the G key in order to access your Graduated Filter. Most people, when I say Graduated Filter, they think of a neutral density filter, so they think of a filter that maybe you've used on your camera in the past that would darken down the sky.
And certainly we can use the Graduated Filter to do just that, but we can also load our Graduated Filter with all of these different attributes on the right-hand side. So for example, we can change the Temperature of the Tint, we could change Exposure and Contrast, and we can do all of these different parameters at one time. You're not seeing anything change onscreen because all I'm doing is I'm pre-loading the brush, but obviously I don't want to make all of these changes. My goal here really was to show you how to reset these, in case you come into this dialog box and yours are set to something else, because maybe you've used this tool before.
In that case, what I want to do is to reset just a single slider, you would just double-click on the slider. But I don't want to go to each one of these sliders and do that. So in order to reset everything and just change the parameters for one of the sliders, you would use either the minus or the plus icon. So I'll click the minus exposure, and watch what happens to all the rest of the sliders. They all get reset and the Exposure slider gets set to a minus amount, which in this case it's in an increment of a half a stop.
If I click the plus, it will go to plus half the stop. And then of course from here we can always just change it by moving the slider. So I am going to go ahead and bring that down to about -1 exposure. Again, nothing is going on in the image area right now. I'm just pre-loading the Graduated Filter. Then the way the Graduated Filter works is you will click and drag. Where you start, Camera Raw will lay down a green pin and then as you drag, the distance between the green pin and the red pin is going to be the gradient, where whatever you load into the filter will fade out.
I am going to hold down the Shift key because that's going to constrain what I draw to a straight line. In case you can't see exactly what's going on, let's go ahead and really take the Exposure down. I think now you can clearly see at that the green pin we've got a -4 exposure and that slowly fades until there's no change of exposure by the red pin. If I want to change the angle, all I need to do is move your cursor over one of the lines, either the red one or the green one, but move it far away from the pin, because you will have a lot more control now as you drag and set that angle that you want the Graduated Filter to be applied at.
If you want to move the entire Graduated Filter, meaning that you like the distance between the two pins, you just simply want to move it, position your cursor on the middle line here and then click and drag to move it. Let's go ahead and just make this a little bit shorter, and let's bring the Exposure back up. I just want to make a slight change in exposure for the sky. Then I might also want to add a little bit of contrast and I might want to a little bit of clarity as well, just to add some definition in the clouds.
If we scroll down, you'll notice there's also a Color option. If I click in the blank swatch here, it will bring up the color picker. And then I can choose a different color to add a tint to the sky. So in this case, I am going to warm it up just a little bit by selecting yellow. Of course I could do this in another method as well. I could use the Temperature or Tint sliders. So it's up to you which of the two ways you use to add color or change the color in your Graduated Filter. So that's really the basics of the Graduated Filter, but let's do something a little bit more advanced.
One of the great things about Camera Raw is it if you make a change in one area, to maybe say a +1 exposure and then you make a change in another area to a -1 exposure, if those two areas overlap, Camera Raw does the math at one time and they basically negate each other. So that's the basics of the Graduated Filter, but let's do something a little bit more advanced. I want to add some light down here to draw our attention to the rocks, so I want to create a new Graduated Filter. And let's go ahead and reset all of the sliders. Since I want to add light, I want to increase Exposure, so I'll just click on the plus icon. That resets everything except for Exposure, which now has a plus half stop to it.
So I'll position my cursor right about where the rocks start, I'll hold down my Shift key, and I'll click and drag up in order to add light to the rock area. I can reposition this, either tightening the gradient or reposition it completely by clicking on the line that connects the two dots. I don't think I've made enough increase in exposure, so let me make that adjustment over here. I think that's a lot better, but I don't like that it's lightening the foreground. So, what I am going to do is I'm going to create another new Graduated Filter, and I am just going to put the opposite amount in Exposure.
So I'll click New, and then we'll just change the plus to a minus here. And again, I'll click and drag up and you can see that because this Graduated Filter lays on top of the other one, where I added a positive 1.4 stops and then covered that with this negative 1.4 stops, its changed the tonality of the other foreground back to what it originally was. And now we can freely adjust these. And I could even go even further with the exposure. If I wanted to go back to the second Graduated Filter that I drew, all I need to do is select it and then change that exposure, either making it brighter or darker. And then we can go back to the last one that I drew and go ahead and make that darker.
It's a little distracting with all of the overlays there, so if I wanted to toggle those off, I come down to the bottom of my Graduated Filter panel and toggle off or on the overlay. I can also tap the P key to toggle on and off the preview, to see a before and after. So there you go. With just a few carefully placed Graduated Filters, we can greatly enhance our images by adding light to the area that we want to focus the viewer's attention.
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