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Photoshop is one of the world’s most powerful image editors, and it can be daunting to try to use skillfully. Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, 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 CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, I'm still looking at this Cheerful girls.jpg file that I've opened from the 14_sharpen folder. It comes to us from fellow trainer here at lynda.com, Chris Orwig, and leave it to Chris to inspire this kind of response from his subjects, don't you think? And More Accurate? It seems like, what, we want less accurate, Photoshop? Pardon me. Why would you ever turn it off, would be my question, if what it really does is lend accuracy to the sharpening process? Then by all means, turn it the heck on.
That's not what it does. What it does is it applies a second pass sharpening, sort of this granular sharpening. In many ways it's the opposite of that threshold setting that were you seeing inside the Unsharp Mask dialog box, which rules out the low level detail inside of an image. More Accurate attracts more attention to it. So notice I'm going to zoom in another click inside the dialog box right here, so that we can see this middle girl's face that much more clearly. And I'm going to turn on the More Accurate checkbox, and did you see that? It went through and did a second level of scrub to this image right here and it's bringing out two things. It's bringing out surface detail in the girl's skin and their fabric and everything else inside of this image.
It's also bringing out any sort of noise or artifacting inside of the image, and it's almost as if we have some JPEG compression artifacts going on. I don't, you might, because I did save it as a JPEG file for you, but I have not closed the file and reopened it, so I'm not seeing any of the JPEG artifacts. I opened this directly and saved it out from Camera Raw, from the digital camera's raw file format. I believe this is an .nef file to start with. So it came from a Nikon camera. So that means that there was no JPEG applied. So what we're seeing here is a de-mosaicing artifact. It's a function of the fact that the camera's chip is filtering red, green and blue pixels, and then trying to invent full color from that filtered, actually gray scale information.
So anyway, it's bad. We don't want to bring out compression artifacts and we sure as heck do not want to bring out skin surface details, because even though these are little girls and they can stand up to it, because young people have not been fortunate enough to suffer the ravages of age, as those of us who are older have. So inside of an older person, my gosh, you should just see the wonderful things that More Accurate does to their surface details. It's a sight to behold. I'm telling you though, it's probably not a good thing. If you care for the subjects of your photographs, then you'll care enough to turn More Accurate the heck off.
So if you have any form of portrait shot going on, you definitely want to turn that checkbox off. You don't want to be doing a double scrubbing sharpening effect. You want to save that kind of stuff, save More Accurate for your still photography, if you will, especially for fabrics, and grains, and that kind of thing. It's just for the little details that you want to bring out. It's great. But for portrait shots, it's not. So in other words, the settings I've applied right here, 200% Amount, Radius at 4 pixels, Remove set to Lens Blur, More Accurate turned off. That's totally great. I'm now going to click OK in order to accept the effects of my sharpening, and just to give you a sense of what we were able to accomplish here, this is the before version of the image and bear in mind we are seeing the image at that Print Size zoom ratio right there.
So this gives us a chance to see what's really going on and how the image is really going to print, more or less. Obviously, the best test is to ahead and print the image and see how it printed. This is the after version of the image after I applied just a small dose of sharpening there, using the Smart Sharpen filter. So that's how you go about approaching high resolution, high frequency images. In the next exercise we'll take a look at another high frequency image, but this time we're going to attack it with More Accurate turned on.
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