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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
Let's take a look at a small project that will help us learn a little bit more about how we can use paths. In particular, what I want to do is I want to make a path selection of the concrete here in the foreground, in order to brighten up the color there or change the color. In this picture, it's just a snapshot of the edge of a pool, and I kind of like the shapes, but I want to change the color in this foreground area. Well, a nice way to do that would be to make a path selection of that concrete. One of the things that sometimes happens when you're creating a path is you can't really see the path that you're creating.
Let me show you what I mean. Well, first, let's select the Pen tool by pressing the P key, or by selecting this in the Tools panel. Next, I'm going to click on this second icon here to create a path. Well, I want to create a path along this edge, and I'm just going to start doing this. I'm going to undo it in a second, but notice that as I do that, we can't even really see the line along that edge. It's near impossible to see if our path is going to be any good. So here's what we need to do. I'll go to the Paths tab, and I'm going to delete this path. I need to start over.
I'm going to go back to Layers panel, and in the Layers panel, what I need to do is create what's called adjustment layer to darken the image, just so that I can see my path. I'm going to do so with Levels. So I'll go ahead and navigate up to the Adjustment Layer icon for Levels. Click on that, and I'll drag my midpoint to the right in order to darken. Now the only reason I'm doing this is just so I can see my path edge here as we work through the image, and I wanted to illustrate that because a lot of times what you're going to need to do is make a temporary adjustment to your image, create the path and then delete that temporary adjustment.
You'll see how that will work here. Right, well, now let's actually make the path. How we're going to do this is we're going to click on this edge, and we're going to click and drag up. Remember, this is pointing in this direction here. Next, we'll make our way over here, and we're going to click and drag down. Well, now that we've done that, we can see we have a nice arc, but it's not perfect. Well, you remember that you hold down the Option key. What you're going to do is you're going to click and drag and fix one side and then the other. Now sometimes what may happen is that as you're fixing this, you may realize that your anchor point is going to need to move.
We'll, Command+click and drag that, and you can reposition that anchor point and then go back and Option+click those handles. I should point out that if you're on a PC, that's going to be Ctrl+clicking the anchor and Alt+clicking the handles. All right. Well, let's do our next point. Well, this, so far, is pointing down that should work for us. Let's move over here and click and drag up. Now, when we do that, what we need to do then is hold down the Option key or the Alt key, and we need to click and drag in order to get this line to fall right along this edge.
We can do so by working on one side and then make our way back to the other. We're just going to do this back and forth until we can sweeten this up, until we get a pretty good path along that edge. And the trick with doing this really is give-and-take. You want to do one, and then you want to do another, and you're going to find that eventually, you'll find that right spot where that edge is just going to go right along there. Now, the trick with paths, as well, is to have as few path points as possible. You could, of course, have a ton of little points, but then it's going to be a little bit slower process.
Again, if you ever need to move an anchor point, hold down the Command key on a Mac, Ctrl key on a PC, reposition that anchor point and then go back and Option+click or Alt+click and drag those handles in order to get that right along the edge. All right, next step here. I'm just going to do a little one. This one is pointing out just a bit. So I'll click and drag out, and then I'll use my handles in order to get right along that edge there. And then click and drag over here and Option+click or Alt+click and drag in order to get right along the edge there.
Now once I'm to the outer edge of my image, I can simply click without clicking and dragging, because this side isn't going to matter, and then I'll go back to where I started. Well, now that I have this nice path, I can go ahead and delete my temporary adjustment, which darkens the image. I'll do so by clicking and dragging this to the Trashcan icon. All right. Well, now we can see I have this area selected. What I need to do next is turn that path into a selection. Here, we'll click on the Paths tab, and there are a couple of ways to activate this as a selection.
We've already seen that what you can do is click on the Selection icon here, or on a Mac, hold down the Command key. On a PC, hold down the Ctrl key. Then click on the Work Path layer. Now that we have that as a selection, what we can do is navigate back to our Layers panel and then from there, go to Image and choose Adjustments and Hue/Saturation. What this will allow us to do is to make a Saturation adjustment just to this area here in the foreground, or for that matter, we could change this. If we wanted a little bit more of a surreal effect, we can see that as that goes through there, affecting this area of the image.
Let's say we don't want it quite so punchy. I'll go ahead and just try to bring that down a little bit there. Click OK in order to apply the adjustment and then navigate to select and then deselect in order to hide the marching ants. So as we can see now, we've been able to successfully modify that area of the image, and now the photograph looks a little bit different. And so at this juncture, we can now see that we were able to successfully modify the foreground of the image, and we were able to do so because we created a path, turned that into a selection, and then made an adjustment.
Well, in closing, I'm aware that paths can be a little bit tricky. Even watching these movies, you may be a little bit confused about how this actually works. Well, one of the things that I've found with paths is that practice really makes perfect. One of the things that you have to do, if you want to get good at making this type of selection, is to practice, practice, practice. So here's what I recommend. At this juncture in the training title, go ahead and stop the movie and then practice creating a few paths of your own. One of the things that you'll discover is that, at first, it is frustrating.
It's kind of awkward. You won't really understand how it works. But then after working on it a few times, it'll start to come a little bit more quickly, and eventually, it will become like riding a bike. It'll be something that will be impossible to forget. You'll really know how it works. Well, if you need a good image to practice on, this one might be a great one. Here's a recommendation. Next, try to go ahead and make a path selection of this concrete edge here and then go ahead and change the color of that edge. That'll be a really nice way to learn how this tool works. All right. Well, I hope that this movie was helpful, and best of luck with your path selections.
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