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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
All right, at this point, the eyes in general look pretty great. I'd say they're 99% credible and I've gone ahead and saved my progress by the way, just in case you're curious is Complete with pupils.psd. My only concern at this point is that the irises look a little soft by comparison to the pores and the flesh around them, especially when you look at this wonderful series of creases under this left-hand eye compared with the sort of murky detail inside the iris, might be nice to sharpen things up.
Now, there's a couple of different ways that you can sharpen the product of a lot of different layers working together. One is to combine all of those layers into a Smart Object and then apply a Smart Filter, but it's really not worth it for what we've done here to combine this many layers, there'll be a ton of layers here into a single Smart Object, and it might start slowing us down. Later I'll employ Smart Object for the dragonfly effect, that'll be our final step, but right now I prefer to use another technique.
So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to dropdown to the bottom of the layers palette and I'm going to turn off all the layers starting with darker whites. So, I'm just going to drag down on those eyeballs. That'll turn all those layers off because I just want to be able to see only the things I'm going to sharpen and nothing else. And then, I'm going to twirl open new irises here by clicking on its down pointing arrowhead and I'm going to turn off the one Outer effect which is Outer Glow, the other effects are inside the irises.
All right, now I'm going to take everything that we're seeing and I'll make sure that one of my visible layers is on and highlights is on. I'm going to take everything that I'm seeing right now and I'm going to merge it to a new layer and this is just a wacky technique in Photoshop that has no command associated with it. If you go up to the layer menu, you have commands like Merge Down and Merge Visible and notice Merge Visible is Ctrl+Shift+E or Command+Shift+E on a Mac. If you want to Merge Visible and merge it all to a copy, so you're copying at the same time you add Alt to the mix or Option on the Mac and so that means Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E or Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac and that's what we're going to do.
So, match your fist down, Ctrl+Shift+Alt, Command+Shift+Option on the Mac E, for the merge makes a new layer called layer 1. That contains once again these irises and it might look different if you're working along with me and you zoomed out to something like 50%, things may look a little different because the layer effects may end up rendering differently at different zoom levels, but it is essentially the same bunch of pixels. So, this is what we saw before and this is what we're seeing after, we're thickening up those edges because we're doubling the effect of the edges but that'll go away in just a moment.
Go ahead and call this new layer sharpening or something along those lines because it is going to serve as a sharpening effect. Now, I'm going to scroll down my list and turn all my layers back on, starting with darker whites and going back down, and now I'll go back up to sharpening and I'm going to apply kind of a crazy filter inside of Photoshop, one that doesn't seem to have any purpose whatsoever. You go up to the Filter menu, you choose Other and you choose High Pass and I find it to be so useful, I've given it a keyboard shortcut of Shift+F10 if you loaded D keys, and yet, it produces the ugliest effect conceivable.
It turns the irises totally gray, gray as slate I tell you, but, it only turns the non-edges gray. So, areas of fast transition, rapid, luminance transition inside the image will try to hang on for your dare life with a halo of dark on the dark side and light on the light side, which hopefully sounds like sharpening inside of Photoshop because that's essentially what it is. All we have to do is merge away the grays and it's going to look like a sharpening effect. So, a Radius of 2 is probably good for what we're trying to accomplish here.
So I'll leave it set to 2, you might have to change your value to 2, click OK in order to accept this incredibly ugly effect. Then in order to drop out the grays, turn the dark areas in the shadows and the light areas in the glows. You go onto the Blend mode pop-up menu and you choose one of these contrast modes right here, specifically those between Overlay and Linear Light. The other two are going to produce weird effects. Probably for our purposes here Overlay is enough. If it's not enough, you would jump up to Hard Light and if that wasn't enough you would typically go to Linear Light.
Linear Light is going to be our most extreme effect and that's taking it too far as you can see. So, I'm going to drop it down to Overlay and we're going to get a nice amount of sharpening there. This is without that layer of sharpening, this is with. Now, it might not be the kind of thing that's going to show up all that well on print or when we zoom out from the image, however, when we're zoomed in like this, we're going to see that the details inside the iris better match, not exactly match but better match the details of these creases underneath the eyes and the pores on the cheek and so on.
Anyway folks, this is our effect so far, I'll go ahead and zoom out so we can take it in, of course we're not done. We have more to do. If I switch over to the Final Na'vi image, you can see that we still need to add the warpaint as well as the background foliage and the firefly and we will be doing exactly that in future exercises.
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