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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In the next few exercises, I'm going to show you how to scale an image that is not well suited to Content- Aware Scale and this is just such an image here. It's called Suburban family.psd and comes to us from photographer Jeff Edney of istockphoto.com and it's found inside 22_new_tech folder. Now what I want to do is I want to make the image narrower, but I don't want that to come at the expense of the family right here. So, I want to create something of a Fisheye Distortion effect where the house declines away from us and this area might go away just a little bit as well, but the entire family is going to be completely protected. How to we go on that achieving such a thing? Well, I have already set the family up in an independent layer. So, what you would think, if you are going to try work over with the Content-Aware Scale, is you would figure we better mask the family. So, you go to the Channels palette, and you would create a new channel right here by just clicking on the New Channel icon down at the bottom of the palette, and then let's go ahead and view the image as well by clicking on its eyeball, so that we can see alpha channel and image all at once. I'm going to go ahead and call this gradient, because we are going to create a gradient mask. I was telling you if you are going to have any success whatsoever with Content-Aware Scaling in an alpha channel, then its going to have to be a soft edge alpha channel so that Content-Aware Scale has a little wiggle room. It's still going to go disastrously wrong, just to ruin the ending for here, but I might as well give it a shot.
So, I'm going over here and grab my Gradient tool and it's set to White to Black for me. I have gone ahead and set it to the Foreground to Background color like so. And my Foreground color is White, my Background color is Black. So, I'd go ahead and drag from here. I don't want this girl here hurt at all. So, I don't want that any of the family members to be touched. So, I would start outside of her, just a little bit there and drag to the left while pressing the Shift key. Now I have about this much fuzziness right there to about kind of the middle of this doorstep here. And that's going to make of course the family White, which would make you think I'm going to modify it, and the Background Black, which would make you think that's protected, but of course we already discussed how everything's upside down where Content-Aware Scale is concerned.
So, we have got White to Black gradient, which is what we want. Let's go back to the RGB image, let's turn off the Gradient, we don't need to see it. And then, I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Content-Aware Scale. You can turn the skin tones on if you would just want some extra skin tone protection. In a moment I'll show you what it looks like with only skin tones, but right now let's try the alpha channel, which is gradient of course, and then let's go ahead and drag this edge in and see what happens. It isn't so much that the people don't get protected. They are going to be protected famously at this point. It's that the house is just a disaster.
It's really, really falling apart. And were we to go to the amount value and try reducing that, you can see that now we are hurting the family and we don't want to hurt the family. The family is sacrosanct, so we have got to restore that Amount to 100%. That's not working, but let's see what happens when we protect skin tones as well as having this gradient option turned on. And then the house really starts falling apart. There is like this huge wrecking ball that just shoved into the house here and destroyed a lot of it. The reason is because the skin tones are seeing the beige bricks in house and it's trying to protect them. And this is its idea of protection is to hit it with a wrecking ball.
Just for laughs here, let's try to see what happens if I set the Protect option to None so we don't have the gradient getting in the way, and then the family unit suffers. So, this is a not a job for Content-Aware Scale, which is just not going to have luck with this command. So, press the Escape key, a couple of times actually. So, what do you do? You could try to warp this area if you wanted to. You could select it independently of the family and try to warp it. Good luck with that. That will cause you a good hour's worth of pain if you go that route, or you could try a really old school distortion technique and that actually works pretty darn well, if you are going for that kind of effect. I'll show you how that works in the next exercise.
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