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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
In this movie, we will be looking at another new feature inside Camera Raw; it's called the Graduated Filter. We will be working on the file antelope_valley, go ahead and press Command+R on the Mac/Ctrl+R on a PC to open that image up inside of Camera Raw hosted by bridge. Now the Graduated Filter is located just to the right of the Adjustment brush, you can find it here or you can press the G key to access that tool. Now when you select the tool, one of the things you will notice is that your controls are actually very similar to the controls that you have with the Adjustment brush, except you don't have any brush settings, so what's that all about.
Let me go ahead and reset these by double-clicking the sliders and take them to zero. I have an increased Exposure amount here. Now, here is how the tool works. You click in a point and then you click and drag. Now when you click and drag, the green circle is showing you or the green marker is showing you, that's where the adjustments starts, the red is showing you where it stops. We also have the dotted line showing you where it starts and stops. Now I can click and drag and rotate this in any number of ways. Now in my case, what I want to do is darken the sky, yet I have brightened the sky. I don't like that. So, all I need to do is modify the controls here, just decrease the Exposure a little bit to have this work like a traditional graduated filter and I'm going to go ahead and make sure that's nice and straight and pull this down even further, create a little bit smoother transition, then up top, I'm also going to drag this up higher.
Now that makes my adjustment much more subtle. Now when I increase this, we will see how it's much more subtle compare that to this. So again, the blackness is happening a little bit further away, it's also stretching further down the screen and of course, I can have it go even farther. Now, in my opinion, that's much too strong. What I'm looking to do is to simply add a little bit of visual interest by darkening up the sky. All right, well so far so good, I have my first adjustment, I have darkened the sky, the degree of the darkening is really going to be contingent upon the image and upon how far you want to go.
Now, one of the things that I like to do is darken the corners of photographs like this. So go ahead and select another tool like the Zoom tool, then I'm going to click on Lens Corrections and I'll go ahead and add a little bit of Lens Vignetting, my Midpoints, dial that in and just find a nice sweet spot for that. Here is my before and after with the Vignetting, just darkening those up, just a touch, so it's a little bit too strong. So again, before and after and then let's go back to the Graduated Filter and look at our overall before and after for that one, before and after. So you can see here, we are adding this darkening effect around the edges, top to bottom, really interesting.
Well let's say that what we want to do is darken up the foreground as well. So I'm going to simply click and drag, and now I have that darkening effect down below and if it's too strong, I'm going to extend this, so there is a little bit more of a transition and I'm also going to modify the overall amount and then here we can see our before and after. Now the trick is those panes and those lines are getting the way. We will press the H key, that will then show or hide that particular filter and here you can see I can bring it back and forth and then once you are in the filter, press the P key, that will show you a preview before and after.
Now what about this? Let's say up top, you want to darken that one up. We will simply hover over and click it to reactivate it, then modify the slider further. All right, well as you can see this new tool is actually pretty fascinating and you can use it to create dramatic effects as I have done here or on the other hand, you can use it to simply just correct your images, just a touch. I'll go down and delete this one. So now in my case, I have just corrected it, just a little bit. Now keep in mind, there are a wide range of controls here. So here is what I recommend, experiment with this tool. If you haven't played with it before, open up one of your own images and see what you can come up with, because again, I think this is one of those tools that you are going to be using.
Now, you are not going to use this tool as frequently as the Adjustment brush, there are times where this tool will be the only way that you will be able to make certain corrections or enhancements to your image, especially when you have photographs like landscape photographs or when you have this age old problem which is a foreground which is exposed properly and then the sky which is just too bright. So I recommend you experiment with this one a little bit because I think the time that you invest in this tool will pay off in the long run.
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