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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.
Any conversation about the essentials of Curves will not be complete without talking about how we can work with, modify and save Curves presets. In this movie, we will be working on this file, cousins.jpg. So go and open that one up in Photoshop and press F to go to Full Screen View mode. Now we can access our presets in a couple of different ways. One way would be to open the Presets option here and choosing a preset by simply clicking on it. Now once I chose this preset I realize that wasn't the preset I was interested in. I really want to do this cross processing deal. So I'm going to choose Cross Process. And I'll say okay that's kind of an interesting cross processing effect but I would really like to modify that. So I'm going to turn off the Eye icon or the Visibility of that cross process effect and I'm then go back to my menu and chose Curves again, and this time I'll choose Cross Process again.
And then I'm going to modify this cross process effect. I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to flatten out my curve a little bit, which will make this a little bit less contrast. Here I'm going to take out some of the overall brightness of the image. Then I'll go through the different channels and all I'm going to do with these channels is minimize the effect. So I'll take the effect out, I'll make it a little bit less drastic and I'm going to go ahead and bring those down and then I'll go to that Blue/Yellow channel, same thing here. Bring those effects down just a bit. All right, let's take a look at our before and after. We will close the Adjustments panel now and here is our before and then after. Pretty subtle cross processing and then here is one that's a little bit more drastic, before and after. And then again before and after. So now that I have this much more subtle cross process type of a look. Again just a little bit more about a color boost than a full color swing. I want to go ahead and save this preset out so I'm going to go back to my Adjustments panel and I'm going to click on this icon here and choose Save Curves Preset. And I'm going to call this one 'Cross-Super Subtle', because that is a real subtle cross processing effect.
And one of the interesting things here is that now I have that particular adjustment, I'll go ahead and trash these layers. I can then advantage of that. All right, those are now gone, I'll go back to my Adjustments, close that for a moment, click on Curves and from the pulldown menu I'll choose, Cross-Super Subtle. And then I'll go back to my Layers panel. Now here we can see I have that effect, let us say I wish it was a little bit stronger, or here is what I could do. Click and drag this to the New Layer icon, we press Command+J on a Mac/Ctrl+J on a PC. I'll do the same thing and now I have this effect that's twice it's intensity.
Now at this point, I can lower the opacity, let us say I don't want twice the effect but I just want another half of that, so then here you can see I'm just slowly bringing that back in. And here is our before and then after. And just by way of comparison, let's take a look at what this looks like compared to the original cross processing. We will go ahead and create another Curves Adjustments Layer and here we will choose Cross Process and then close that for a moment. So here is was the original, then here was mine and then here is mine modified a little bit, still much more subtle and well this particular image works a ton better.
So as you start to work with Curves more and more and you discover that there are certain things that you do again and again, make sure to save out Curves presets so that you can use and modify those presets to your advantage.
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