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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.
In this exercise we're going to take a look at when the More Accurate checkbox comes in handy as in the case of a still life, something that doesn't involve portraiture, for example, no people involved, possibly animals, maybe up to you, but definitely things like this waffle right here, which is about the stillest life imaginable, once again from Chris Orwig. The name of this image is Breakfast explains itself.jpg, and we've got all kinds of texture to work with inside this image, and that's when the More Accurate checkbox really comes in handy. So we've got wood grain, and all these little cut marks, presumably this is the cutting board or some sort of counter that gets a lot of attention from axis, for example, and then we have this Waffle of course, which is just full of Waffle texture, and then we have the scrabble tiles that have their own wood grain associated with them, as well as these little numbers and the beveled edges and all that wonderful stuff there.
So I'm going to go the View menu, and I'm going to choose Print Size in order to zoom out to something that is simulating the size at which this image actually will print. This image is set to 300 pixels per inch, by the way. I'm going to move it up a little bit so that we can see those tiles while I'm working inside the Smart Sharpen dialog box, and here it is now. I'm going to press Ctrl+Alt+F or Command+Option+F on the Mac to bring up the Smart Sharpen, because once again it was the last filter I used. Then I'm going to click on this E right there in order to center it inside of the in dialog preview. Now I want this to be ultra sharp, so I'm going to take this Amount value up to 300%, and that might give us a little too much sharpness, but you're sharpening for print, you want to go about 50% higher than what looks exactly right on screen, just so you know, and this would be when you're looking at the image of the Print Size zoom level as we are now.
Now, I have the Radius value set pretty high for a 300 pixels per inch image, our last image was 360 pixels per inch. So it was the higher res image. This one is slightly lower res, 300 pixels per inch. So I say hardly low res, of course. But I'm going to leave that Radius value set to 4.0. If I was working with Gaussian Blur, I would reduce that Radius to somewhere between 2 and 3. Well, because the Lens Blur radius is more focused, more concentrated, we can go with a higher value, and it works actually really nicely for this image. I mean you can experiment of course, to your heart's content, but what we really want to do is we want to turn on that More Accurate checkbox, and I want you to see what it's going to do to these Waffle holes right here, the Waffle indentations, it really does an excellent job with them. So I'll turn on More Accurate, keep an eye at, look at how it just focuses the image on a molecular level there, just going in there and showing you where every single little detail is. It's pretty amazing! Then out here you can actually tell the difference in the Print Size version of the image as well. So keep an eye upward, I'm going to turn More Accurate off, I want you to just watch the Waffle indentations right there, the Waffle holes.
So here is before, and then I'll turn it on again, and there is after watch it, and did you see that what has just happened? Isn't that nice? That's a really nice job, and then it also brings up the detail inside of the scrabble tiles, very nicely as well. Okay. So those are the settings I'm going to apply. Then I'm going to click OK, and I'll tell you what, the next thing we should do, I believe, with everything in me, and we should have probably done this on all the images that we've sharpened so far. We should have done it on the previous one too. But this one, we're really starting to bring out some color artifacts. Notice that really bright blue edge there on that scrabble tile, and we have a few other little colors that are popping up here and there.
So let's take care of that by going up to the Edit menu and choose Fade Smart Sharpen, and of course, I'm going to change the mode to Luminosity, and that should get rid of some of the colors that were going over the top a little bit there. Then if you feel like you've got too far with the sharpening effect, for whatever reason, you can back it off here, I'm going to reduce mine to about 85%, and then click OK. All right. Then I'm going to go ahead and zoom out. Actually, what I should zoom to is that Ctrl+Alt+0 once again, or Command+Option+0. Again, that's if you loaded my Deke Keys, otherwise you're going to have to go up to the View menu, and choose Print Size manually. There we have it; the Waffle is screaming Waffle at you in a sharp degree of focus just beautiful detail that works inside of this image.
In the next exercise, we're going to take a quick look at the advanced options, stay tuned.
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