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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.
I am still looking at the Angry blocks. psd image. All I have done so far is to select this top layer 1 TL for top left, and apply the Gaussian Blur filter with a Radius of 16 pixels. Now Gaussian Blur employed a Gaussian bell-shaped curve in order to distribute its blurriness, so it blurs very slowly at the beginning, rapidly in the middle and slowly again at the end. And it's continuous. In other words it's a gentle curving slope of blurriness. So there are no corners in the blur.
Whereas if it did not employ that approach if it just went ahead and blurred everything by the same amount regardless of the luminance level then we would end up with edges after our blur and I'll show you what that looks like. I'm going to switch to the 2 TR layer right there. So second top right and I'll go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose Blur and I'll choose this guy right here Box Blur which is the Linear Blur function inside of Photoshop. Interestingly, Gaussian Blur, the more sophisticated command has been with us forever inside the program. Box Blur just came about a few years ago in Photoshop CS2.
All right, so I'm going to choose the Box Blur command, and right now it looks like just a typical Blur function at this low Radius value, at least it's a low Radius value for me, it might be higher for you by default. And I'm going to crank that up rather than sort of wandering through our Radius values. So notice by the way we have to work with integers, so no decimals here inside of this dialog box. So pressing the Up Arrow key raises the value in even number of pixels right there and whole pixels. I'm going to take this value up to 16, however it might as well just cut to the chase and click OK. So we are matching the same Radius value that we employed with the Gaussian Blur filter, but notice that we get a very different effect with edges inside of it.
So much of the geometry of this original object is still intact. You can make out that sort of cyborg face in the background. And you can see this really distinct edge right in this area, right there. And that would normally be a bad thing. If we were employing a Box Blur for Drop Shadow for example, which you can't do, but if that was the way it worked then we would get these very harsh edges at the end of our drop shadows and that's why other applications that apply drop shadows and have these weird edges on them, that's why they get them is because they don't do the mathematics properly. They just go ahead and blur everything by the same amount. Photoshop gets it right with the Gaussian Blur as you can see.
But if for some reason you want to retain the geometry of an object as you blur it then Box Blur is going to be the better way to go and does end producing a boxy effect as you can see here. You can kind of see this little corner out here that's being described by the blurry corner of that rectangular outline. And notice that it is going ahead in blurring both the image and the transparency mask associated with this layer, just as before if we didn't want to blur the transparency mask, and of course we could lock down our transparency. All right, so that's it. That's Box Blur for you. In the next exercise we are going to move for a moment from blurring to averaging as we take a look at the Median and Dust and Scratches commands.
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