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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie, I'll give you a sense for the amazing power of automatic edge detection inside Photoshop. So what we'll do is we'll start with just the worst selection outline ever, and we'll turn it into something really pretty darn great lickety-split using Refine Mask. But first, I was a little bit remiss in the previous movie; I didn't show you a before and after what we had accomplished. So this is the before version of our selection. I'll go ahead and zoom in on that hair, and you can see just how thick and gooey the hair looks, and how we have all this color fringing from the old background.
Then here is what we're able to accomplish using the automatic edge detection included along with Refine Mask. But it gets even better than that. I'm going to switch over to this image here, which features an unmasked version of the portrait shot with the sky in the background. I'll go ahead and turn that side view layer on and make it active, and now I'm going to press Control+0, or Command+0 on the Mac, just to zoom out,so I can take in the entire image with a little bit of the dark gray pasteboard. I'll press the L key to switch to the Lasso tool, and I'm going to draw a polygonal selection outline around this guy.
So I will press and hold the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and I'll start by clicking down here, and then I'll click my way up, as you can see me doing now, and I'm going to do a pretty rough job. I might try as sort of select into the lips and the nose a little bit, but I'm not to make an effort to be that accurate. Then I'll click my way up and around the hair, like so, and I've got the Alt or Option key down this entire time, so I'm drawing a polygonal selection outline. Then I'll click my way down, past the right shoulder, into the pasteboard once again, and I will release the Alt key, or the Option key in the Mac, in order to complete that selection.
Now let's convert it to a layer mask by clicking on the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of Layers panel, and we end up with this just horribly masked image. I'll go ahead and zoom in, so that we can inspect its horribleness that much more closely. Now I'll go ahead and press the keyboard shortcut Control+Alt+R, or Command+Option+R on the Mac, to bring up the Refine Mask command, and I'm going to increase the Radius value to 20 pixels. And just that one change makes a terrific difference to the appearance of the mask. Now I need to go ahead and paint into the hair using my Refine Radius tool.
So I'll just go ahead and paint in, like so, into this area right there, and then paint along the top of the hair, and over to the side, and release, and Photoshop does this. So you don't necessarily have to start with a great selection in the first place. Now I'll go and paint down along the back of the guy's head in order to clear up those details as well. Now, the hair looks pretty much just as good as it does with the other composition. However, what suffers is the smooth details. So you can see that we've got the hole in forehead, and if I were to reduce the size of my cursor and Alt+Drag or Option+Drag along the forehead, I could make that a little better.
Then I would have to spend time working on the nose, and the lips, and the chin as well, and so forth in order firm up those details. However, of course, thanks to the fact that we selected the image in the first place using Color Range, we didn't have to apply quite this many modifications, and we are getting better results in the first place. For example, there's really no way to recover this chin properly, because the previous selection was just bad. So I'd have to paint over that chin, and hope for the best, and I've got a bunch of blue showing through this stubble here, which I'd have to correct later.
Anyway, I will go ahead and click the OK button in order to accept my modifications, and I'll zoom out, so that we can take in more of the image at a time. If I press Control+Z, or Command+Z on a Mac, this is what my polygonal selection outline looked like, and then if I press Control+Z or Command+Z again, we can bear witness to the raw power of one of the best selection automation tools in all of Photoshop.
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