A newer adjustment command in Adobe Photoshop—the Focus Area command—allows you to make a selection in your image based on what is in focus. How do you use it? In this video, Richard Harrington demonstrates how to use the Focus Area command to make an adjustment in Adobe Photoshop.
- A newer adjustment command gives you the ability to limit a selection based on what's in focus. This is particularly useful for portrait shooters. Let's open up the images here and here's our original image and here's the adjusted image. Well, I like this one quite a bit. What's happening is, by making some targeted adjustments, we can refine things. For example, a vibrance adjustment to put a little bit more life into our subject. It was a bright, cold day and the subject was getting a little bit light in the skin.
Now, a curves adjustment on the background darkens it down a little bit, so it's not so overpowering, but remember, by darkening, we're putting in more color. So, a separate vibrance adjustment can really tone down that background and make it look a little more bleak, moving the subject really to the foreground, here, so he stands out a bit more. Let's do that. With the background layer selected, I'll chose Select, Focus Area. Now, it's going to analyze the image. This takes just a little bit.
Move this off to the side, so you can see a little bit better and it starts to make a selection. You can choose what's in focus, here. You might find the black and white view a little bit easier to visualize. Now, I'll adjust the in focus range and you see there, as I pull that up, more details are added. Now, if you go too far, it's going to start to pick up things in the background, potentially. So, I recommend tightening that up. You can also try Auto, which will analyze the image, but may not give you the results that you want.
That's pretty good. From the Advanced tab, here, you can also adjust the noise level, which can be used to help determine foreground from background. A little Soften Edge can go a long way and simply click the OK button to generate a new selection. All right, let's toss on a curve, grab the On Image tool, and we're going to pull down the jacket a little bit and grab the skin tones, there, and lift ever so slightly. With the before and after, that's a great change in contrast.
Let's choose that again. Select Reselect, put a little bit of a vibrance adjustment in and bring out the skin tones slightly. That little lift there in warmth, just rounds things out a bit and makes our subject look like he's under a bright sunny day. Now, we'll reselect and inverse our selection to grab the background. This time I'll try an Exposure adjustment instead of Curves. This is another easy way to pull down an area, but remember, darkening an area tends to bring out the colors a bit more.
So, it'll be important here to reselect that backdrop and pull down the intensity of the color with the Vibrance adjustment and a little bit of saturation. That's not bad, but I think I want to swap the Exposure for Curves. So, let's get rid of that there. We'll reselect and add the Curves adjustment. This will allow me to be a little more specific. Let's pull down the shadows and the highlights a little bit, but lift the brightest areas.
That's great. This allowed me to be more specific with how the background was being exposed. I like that there. And those two sets of adjustments working together goes a long way. Color correcting the foreground subject and the background independently. And you'll notice, thanks to that Focus Area command, even areas with very fine detail, like these hairs here on the head, are held perfectly and we have no haloed edges as we start to design. Now, as I zoom in here, I see a little bit of acne.
This is a great time to select that background layer and we'll grab the spot healing tool and with a gentle click we can just take those right out. There we go. Remove a few blemishes and scratches. And remember, since everything is in an adjustment layer above, it easily compensates and re-merges. Now, I like some of these other freckles. I'm going to leave those as is, but the small acne in the forehead was bothering me. Let's pull back out and we have a finished image.
- What are selections?
- Creating masks from selections
- Moving a selection
- Selecting with the Quick Selection tool
- Transforming a selection
- Using the Refine Edge command
- Selecting a color or tonal range throughout the image
- Making a selection with the Pen tool
- Saving a selection as an alpha channel
- Creating a selection from multiple channels with the Calculations command