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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
When we last left off, we were working inside the HDR Pro utility, and the Method, you may notice, is set to Local Adaptation, which is very important. What I'd like you to do is go up to Preset option right here, and if you saved off my recommended presets from the earlier exercises, I recommend you drop down to this one: Neutral settings, just wipe out all the settings, so that we're starting fresh. Now that's going to result in a very drab looking image out here in the Preview area. Bear in mind that it's actually luminance-rich, because it really is a combination of every single one of these exposures working together.
So it may not look like much so far, but there is a ton of information inside of this composition already. You also have, down at the bottom of the window, this filmstrip, along with check boxes associated with each and every one of the images that you're merging. You can turn them on and off if you like. For example, I'll turn off this fourth guy in, which is one of the medium exposures. I think it's the five-second exposure there. And it barely makes any difference whatsoever, even though it is one of the key exposures in this group.
So it might be tempting to turn off a few more, because that will increase the speed with which Photoshop is able to generate your final composition. But I'll tell you this: no matter which one you turn on or off, its effect will be minimal. You have to have at least two, by the way. But if you just keep widdling things down one minimal increment at a time, you're not really going to get a sense of the overall contribution of all of the images working together. So what I'd suggest is that you select some representative images before you enter HDR Pro, just as we have.
Then you go ahead and stick with them, unless things are becoming painfully slow, or the Merge to HDR Pro command fails. All right, so having cleared out the settings, let's modify the Edge Glow values first. I'm going to increase that Strength value to 3, this time around, just to see what happens. Really, nothing is happening inside the window, probably because I have such a low Radius value. But let's go ahead zoom in by pressing Ctrl+Plus a couple of times, which takes us to the 100% view size. This is not the 100% view size, even though it says it is.
In other words, we have many more pixels than this inside these images. I didn't downsample these images at all, and they're all a 12-megapixel shots, so we have a lot more information than this. So regard what you're seeing inside of this utility as a preview. All right, now I need to increase the Radius value, so I'll take that guy up to 200 pixels. Of course, these are values that I've figured out when working with these specific images. These are not values that are going to apply to every single HDR composite that you create. All right, moving right along, let's check out the Gamma value.
Now I'm going to have to zoom out for the Gamma value. Notice when I decrease the Gamma value, I seem to brighten the image a little bit. Actually, I'm kind of washing it out, so we're losing a lot of the shadow detail. When I increase the Gamma value, I start darkening up the shadow detail, although I still get quite a bit of a bounce off the highlights. So it is an inverse gamma value. That's important to bear in mind. However, you don't want to necessarily think of it, strictly speaking, as a midtone control, because it has a big effect on the shadows and the highlights inside of the image as well.
Anyway, I'm going to go and set this guy to 0.50. So I'm brightening the scene just a little bit. Now I'm going to take it down by reducing the Exposure value to -1.00, like so. Now the next thing I want to do - I'm going to zoom back in, so that we can see the 100% view size - I'm going to increase this Detail value, because I really want to start sharpening up the scene. Now I was telling you, back in the HDR Toning command, that Detail has a sort of micro-sharpening feel to it. It's very much like the Detail option that's included along with Camera Raw.
Here inside HDR Pro, again, its contribution is a little different. So notice that not only are we sharpening the scene - so if I reduce the Detail value, we get less of a sharpening effect; if I increase that Detail value, we get more of a sharpening effect - we're also increasing the contrast between highlights and shadows around the edges, so I might characterize this as more of a kind of clarity setting. Anyway, I'm going to take it up to about 150% for this image. I'm going to leave the Shadows at 0%.
Then I'm going to take the Highlight value down to -100, so we can reduce those highlights just a little. The highlights, in particular, that I'm concerned with are these very bright spots of light that are coming in through this slats of wood. Notice at 0%, we had some pretty bright highlights going on. I'm sort of joking here. Then when we reduce the Highlight value all the way to -100%, they barely change it all. That's my point. Both the Shadow and Highlight values often times produced disappointing effects.
So I just want to prepare you for that. But you might as well give me try; still, we need to do better than this. By the way, I always get this question when I'm showing off this specific composition. These little sparkles of light that are showing in, are those being generated by HDR Pro? The answer is no. Those are actually inherent in each and every one of the photographs. So HDR Pro doesn't add sparkles and little special effects, and doo-dads, and stuff like that. It just works with the luminance levels it has. It makes the absolute most of them. All right, this is turning out to be a very drab barn, so I'm going to increase the Vibrance value to let's say 70, to really kick things up a notch.
That gives us some interesting oranges to work with here. Then I'm also going to tab down here and raise the Saturation value to 25%, let's say. We end up with this scene, which isn't that bad. I think it's pretty interesting. It's definitely better than the drab effect we started off with. However, I think we can do better. For one thing, we need to do something about these weird details that are showing up in the upper right-hand area of the image. So notice these highlights and how they have these weird, colorful edges associated with them.
Then we also need to do something about this super bright highlight that's coming in through the wood slats. We will deal with both of those problems in the next exercise.
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