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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Because the Quick Select tool is really so powerful, I want to take a look at how we can work with this tool with three different photographs, and let's start off with this leaf picture, which we've seen before. You can go ahead and select the tool by simply clicking on it here, and if ever you want to alternate between tools with any of your tools in the panel, you can press the shortcut key, say, like the W key and then Shift+W, and that will toggle back and forth, or it will toggle through the tools that you have there. For example, say with the Marquee tools, press M and then Shift+M and you can go through those different Marquee tools as well.
Well, let's go ahead and select the Quick Select tool. This tool is revolutionary. It's amazing. All that we do is simply click and drag, and you can see that it quickly builds up an amazing selection of this half of the leaf. We could go ahead and click and drag over the other half, and now we have the leaf selected, and all we did was simply click a few times. Well, the problem though with Quick Select is while that's really fast, sometimes the edges aren't the best. So let's take a look at how we can improve that once again with Refine Edge.
Well, here with Refine Edge, if we zoom in, you can see my edges, well, they are a little bit rough here, but that's fine. This is really easy to fix. Click on Smart Radius and go ahead and click and drag this up. What's happening with Smart Radius is it's telling Photoshop to analyze the edge and to try to fix it up. And this works whether we are trying to extract a subject with long curly hair from a background, or we are working with a photograph like this. Next we can adjust the edge, smooth it out a little bit, add a bit of contrast, and then just use these controls kind of in tandem to try to find just the right blend of touching up the edge.
Press the P key. Look at your before, messy, choppy. Press that again, after. That looks much better. We now have a really good selection of this leaf by itself. Next what I want to do is I just want to output this, this time to the selection. I am not going to create a new layer just yet. So let's go ahead and click OK. The reason why I wanted to do that was to highlight that when you're working with any of your selection tools, you can always just go to Refine Edge to kind of sweeten up your selection and then go back and then do what you need to do, whatever that is.
Here, one of the things that we could do is copy this to a new layer now. To do that use the shortcut Command+J or Ctrl+J, and you can see that what we have now is this leaf sitting on a layer by itself. The advantage of doing this is that we can then use this graphic element here for a number of different reasons. We could free transform it, reposition it, combine it with other layers, and by being able to make good and quick selections, well, it can just help us out immensely. Let's say that we want to do something a little bit more functional.
Let's do that with this next image here. This is a professional Ironman athlete that I photographed for a publication, and let's say with this image the client came back and said, "You know what? We really want more blue in this jacket." Well, we could use Quick Select to do that to select the jacket, click on the tool, and then once again just click and drag across the area you want to select. You can see it's building up that selection really quickly. We will go ahead and click across the collar here as well. And then I am going to make a mistake just to illustrate this.
I went too far into the neck. How do I deselect something? Well, you hold down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows and then click away--or paint over I should say--the area you want to deselect. So we can go ahead and paint away that selection by holding down Option or Alt. Now primarily I have the jacket selected. Here, I could create an adjustment layer or go to one of my adjustments by simply going to Image > Adjustments. Then I will choose something, let's say Color Balance.
With Color Balance I can go ahead and add some cyan and also some blue, and you can see that what I've done is just made an adjustment to this area of the image. Again, here's the before, and now here's the after. It's a dramatic difference that we made really easily, really quickly, by simply making a good selection. Now with Quick Selection, you may want to sweeten up the edges. You may also just want to see the edges, these marching ants cover up the edge, so you don't know if this is good or bad.
Well, you can press Command+H on the Mac, Ctrl+H on Windows, to hide the marching ants temporarily. When I do that I realize my edges are fine. I'll press Command+H or Ctrl+H again to bring those back and then click OK in order to apply that change and then select and deselect. Well, let's take a look at one more scenario. Let's go to this image, melissa-01, and here in this image, I like the composition and color and tone and all of that, but when I print the image, the hat is too bright. I want to select that.
I'll try Quick Select, go ahead and quickly drag across the hat, and I make a few mistakes. All of a sudden, well, it selected above the hat and also the face. We already know how to do this. Hold down Option or Alt and then just click and drag over the area that you want to deselect. While you're fixing up these areas or painting away the selection from these areas by holding down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, if you deselect too much, well, just go ahead and paint back over it. The reason why I want to work with this image here was to illustrate how you work with those situations where you don't have a defined line like above the hat here.
What we can do is go ahead in paint that away by holding down Option, and it will paint away too much. But then just go ahead and add it back. What happens here is as we use this tool, well, it become smarter. The more that we paint with it, the more that Photoshop figures out, "Oh! That's what you want to work on." The next step here, of course, would be to make an adjustment which would just affect this area of the photograph. We've already seen how we can go to our Image > Adjustments layer. Later we are going to take a look at how we can use also these adjustment layers by clicking on these icons.
I haven't introduced this yet, but I want to create one here quickly just so that you know that these exist and also so that you know that we will cover these in more detail in another chapter. So don't get worried if you don't really understand how to work with adjustment layers yet. I am going to click on this second one which is Levels, or maybe the first one Brightness/Contrast, really either one. We can click on the icon and it opens up some controls. Well, now these controls, they just affect the area that we selected, in this case the hat.
Remember I mentioned that this printed a little bit too bright. Well, here I can go ahead and darken that up a little better, change the contrast so we can control that. If you click on the Eye icon, you can see here before and after. So again, we are making more of a functional correction rather than something creative here or correcting tone in a really specific area. So as you're starting to see, you do really select before you correct, and the better that you can get at these different selection tools, well, the better the corrections, whether those are corrective or creative.
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