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Working in the Basic panel


Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

with Jan Kabili

Video: Working in the Basic panel

The Basic panel, which is over here on the right side in the Adobe Camera Raw window, is where you'll do most of the processing of your raw files. This is where the essential controls live. I'd like to show you how to use these controls on this image, which is skulls_0015.CRW from the Chapter 9 Exercise Files folder. I opened this file from Adobe Bridge into Adobe Camera Raw. First I'll make sure that the Basic tab is selected here in the right-hand column. That shows me these controls.
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
7h 55m Beginner Oct 13, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Learning and customizing the interface and workspace
  • Utilizing various manual and guided selection techniques
  • Working with Adobe Camera Raw
  • Adding special effects with layer styles and Smart Filters
  • Creating Photomerge panoramas
  • Optimizing photos for the web and creating web galleries
Jan Kabili

Working in the Basic panel

The Basic panel, which is over here on the right side in the Adobe Camera Raw window, is where you'll do most of the processing of your raw files. This is where the essential controls live. I'd like to show you how to use these controls on this image, which is skulls_0015.CRW from the Chapter 9 Exercise Files folder. I opened this file from Adobe Bridge into Adobe Camera Raw. First I'll make sure that the Basic tab is selected here in the right-hand column. That shows me these controls.

The first control here is the White Balance control. White balance is about the color of the light in which you shoot a photo. The color of a light can affect the overall color of a photograph. For example, if you shoot in fluorescent lights, there can be a green cast to an image. The purpose of the White Balance controls here in Adobe Camera Raw is to compensate for the color of light in which a raw file is shot. You use these controls to neutralize the overall colorcast of the image. If you're shooting JPEG you have to rely on the white balance controls in your camera, but when you are shooting Raw, it doesn't matter how your camera's white balance controls are set, because you can always change the white balance here in the Adobe Camera Raw window.

There are a couple of ways to do that. One way is to get this White Balance tool from the toolbox at the top of the screen, and then to come into the image and try to find an area that you think should be gray and click on that. So I am going to try clicking here on this gray area of this plate. That's not a bad result, but if I were to click somewhere else, say in the horns here, I get a result that's too blue. So I don't often use this eyedropper, because its results are so variable. Instead I'll come in and start from the White Balance menu here, which offers a number of presets.

The As Shot preset is the way that the image looks right out of the camera. The auto setting is Adobe Camera Raw's best guess at how the white balance should be set. I'll just run through these one by one until I see a result that's close to the way that I want it. There is the Daylight setting, which makes it quite warm; the Cloudy setting, it's even warmer; the Shade setting, and so on. I think in this case probably Daylight isn't bad, and then after I select from that menu, I'll come down to the Temperature and Tint sliders and fine-tune that result.

If I move the Temperature slider to the right, the image gets more gold or more warm, and if I move to left, the image gets more blue or more cool. I am going to go somewhere in between, maybe right about there. You'll notice as I move that slider, that the numbers here are changing. These numbers represent units of measurement on the Kelvin scale, which is scale that's used to measure the temperature of light. I can also vary the Tint slider, which goes from green on end to magenta on the other. When I am working with a photograph of a person, I'll often add a little magenta here.

In this case I am going to back off, put it just about right where it was to start with. After adjusting the White Balance, I'll move down to the Exposure slider. What this slider does is set a white point in the image, similar to the White Point slider in the Levels Adjustment panel and in the Curves Adjustment panel. I want to set a point that should be bright white, but I also don't want to lose detail in the white portions of the image. Before I use this slider I come up and make sure that the Highlight clipping warning is turned on, in other words it has this little white border around it, and that will let me see if I go too far with this setting.

Then I'll take the Exposure slider, and I will move it over to the right to brighten the image, and if I go too far, I'll see areas like this red here and here, telling me that those particular pixels are being set to pure white with no detail. And then I'll back off a little until I don't see those warnings anymore and I'll leave the slider there to set my white point. Now I am going to drag this slider over to the right to show you that there may be times when I just can't get rid of the red highlight warnings by moving the Exposure slider to where I want it.

In a case like that, I'll set the Exposure slider where I think it should be visually, and then I'll come down to the Recovery slider and I'll drag that to the right. What the Recovery slider does is give you the opportunity to bring back some blown out highlights in an overexposed image. That by the way is one of the benefits of shooting Raw over shooting JPEG, that you do have this opportunity to recover detail in highlights. I am going to the Recovery slider back, and in this case I am going to move that Exposure slider back to the left. So I might set it just about there.

And then I'll turn off my Highlight clipping warnings. The next slider I'll use is the Blacks slider. This slider sets the black point in the image. It's similar to the Blacks slider in the Levels Adjustment panel and in the Curves Adjustment panel. Before I use this slider, I'll go up and turn on the Shadow clipping warning on the histogram by clicking it so it has this white outline around it, and then I'll come in and drag the Blacks slider all the way to the left and then start moving it to the right. I don't have to go very far in this image before I can see these blue clipping warnings here and here, and over in the red peppers.

So I will just leave this slider where it is and then I'll go up and click the Shadow clipping warning again to turn it off. If I want to try to bring in some detail in those clipped black areas, then I'll use the Fill Light slider here moving that over to the right to bring in some light into the darkest areas. It doesn't really do anything for me in this particular case, so I'm going to drag it back. But I do want to make the point that the Recovery slider and the Fill Light sliders are among the most useful sliders here. Remember that you can use Recovery slider to try to bring back detail in the highlights, and the Fill Light slider to try to bring back detail in the darkish shadows.

Next there is a Brightness setting here. It's at its default now. If I want to make the entire image darker, I drag the Brightness settings to the left, and if I want to make the entire image brighter, I'll drag the Brightness setting to the right. This setting is similar to the Gray slider in the Levels and Curves Adjustment panels inside Photoshop. Moving it doesn't disturb the white and black points. It just repositions the gray pixels in between. The next slider adjusts contrast. I usually leave the Contrast slider as it is and instead I'll make my adjustments to contrast here in the Tone Curve tab, which I address in another movie.

The Tone Curve tab is similar to curves in Photoshop proper. Next we have a Clarity slider. This almost always makes an image look better. If I drag the Clarity slider to the right, look what happens. The image just gets a little sharper and pops a little more. The next slider is the Vibrance slider, and before I show you that I want to show you my cursor, which now looks like a hand with a double pointed arrow. Whenever I hover just above one of the sliders, the cursor changes to that icon, and that means that I can just click-and-drag.

It's called scrubbing from left to right, to move the slider. I don't actually have to click on the slider triangle to vary the control. What Vibrance does is add a bit of saturation in the less saturated areas of an image. So, if I move Saturation way over to the right, you'll see that everything in this image gets saturated. I'll put that back to 0 and show you that if I move Vibrance over to the right, it doesn't overdo the areas that already are quite saturated in color. You are welcome to use the Vibrance slider to adjust saturation, but you may prefer to use the controls in another tab, which is this one here in the HSL/Grayscale tab.

From here you can change the saturation of individual colors in an image. We'll learn how to do that in another movie. But for now I go back to the Basic tab where I am done showing you the controls that are available here. These really are the essential controls for processing an image in Adobe Camera Raw. One thing I like about these controls is that they are all in one place, so they are easy to find and they are pretty straightforward in the way that they behave, making them a pleasure to work with.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS4 Essential Training .

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Q: How can artwork be transferred from Photoshop CS4 to Illustrator CS4 without the background?
A: Save the image in Photoshop’s native PSD format. The background in Photoshop must be transparent, meaning there should be no background layer. (To remove a background layer, move your artwork to a separate layer by selecting and copying the content, minus the background, to a new layer, and then delete the background layer. A checkboard pattern behind your image indicates transparent pixels.) 

In Illustrator, select File > Open, and select the PSD file. In Photoshop Import dialog box, select Convert Layers to Objects.

Q: How do I retouch an image I have of an old photograph I scanned?
A: There are a few courses that address image restoration. Check out the Photoshop CS4 Portrait Retouching Essential Training course, and for problems dealing specifically with old photographs, watch the Restoration movies in chapter 15 of the Enhancing Digital Photography with Photoshop CS2. Additionally, learn how to research and date photos with our Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree course.
Q: A client has asked for artwork to be delivered as JPEGs or BMP files in 16-bit format. In Photoshop CS4, there does not appear to be an option to save an image as a 16-bit JPEG. Is there a way to save JPEG files as 16-bit in Photoshop?
A: Unfortunately, JPEGs cannot be saved in 16 bit. JPEGs, by nature, are 8-bit. So if you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS4, you will see no option in any of the save dialog boxes to save the file as a JPEG. You would first have to convert the image to 8 bit (by choosing Image > Mode > 8 bits/channel) and then save it as an 8-bit JPEG. If you open a high-bit image into Photoshop CS5, you will see the option to save it as a JPEG in the Save, Save As, and Save for Web dialog boxes.  But the JPEG will not be saved as 16-bit. Instead, Photoshop will downsample it to 8-bit for you  before saving it as JPEG.
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