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The course begins with an exploration of Photoshop features that make changes to an entire image: the Crop tool, the Auto button that's present in many adjustment dialog boxes, and the Curves panel options. Next, Bryan explores sharpness and blur. Each has its place in a photograph, and Bryan details how the sharpening and blur features work and how to get the most out of them.
The course also looks at adjusting specific areas of an image with the Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools, and at the growing array of content-aware features in Photoshop, showing how they work and what to do when they don't work. The course concludes with a tour of the powerful Liquify filter, features for correcting lens distortion, and the world of presets that allow you to apply settings with a single click.
- Reinventing the Crop tool
- Rediscovering the Auto button
- Getting the most out of curves
- Understanding Smart Sharpen
- Building blur and softness
- Working with a graphics tablet
- Using Content-Aware Fill, Scale, and Move effectively
- Correcting distortion automatically based on lens profiles
- Using presets
Skill Level Intermediate
Priority to Photoshop CS6, Creating a shallow depth of field in software was a fairly difficult process. You had you know a lot about layers and Masking and Depth Maps. It could be, done but it was a very manual process. We know that a lot of people want to get this effect and that their source files are often coming off of camera phones and consumer devices, so I realized it needed to be very, very easy. So what we've come up with in CS6 is called Iris Blur, it's designed to be very approachable and it's a whole new way of interacting with your image. Let me show you how it works.
So here we have this image that was shot with a macro lens and I've got a lot of great information here, but one of the reasons that you want a shallow depth of field is you want these center of focus to sort of jump off the page. So we're going to come in here to Blur, and there's a whole new family of Blur Filters, and one of them is called Iris Blur. And the first thing I notice is that my image is the preview, I don't have a little preview window. The interface that I don't need has disappeared and I have got the simplified interface for doing what I want to do here. And the way that it works is I can change the shape of the outlying area, those outer bounds are the Blur at its full strength, and the inner pins are where the effect begins, and in between is feathering.
And this little dial in the middle is where I amplify the Blur, and this thing that you see in the middle here is the center of focus. So I can move that over here and I'm going to exaggerate the Blur to show you where that pin start and end. And you can see that I can change the shape of this and I can bring in the edges and even though the pocket watch here is round, because of the perspective it's kind of oval and these inner pins can all be move together, and again those are my feathering.
So what I want to do is get those as close as possible, but then if I use the Opt or Alt key, I can move them individually and pull them out. So I'm just going to pull each one of those in or out to get the desired effect, and this is the pretty coy, I don't need to know anything about selections or masking, I've just got a really nice effect here, and this is the point where I'd back down the effect to more what I wanted. Something like that, it doesn't have to be too surreal, I just want to look at the watch itself here and I might take the opportunity to tune up the outer bounds of that a bit and that looks pretty good.
Now what about the chain there? I think when I show this to people, they often say that's really cool, it's really easy to use, but it isn't as powerful, some of the methods I've before. But what's great about this is you can have different parts of the image in focus. So in order to bring the chain back in focus, I just click on that and I've dropped another pin and I can shrink that way down and that's in focus. I can drop another one and maybe change the shape of that to be more of an oval, pull that in, and I am just going to do one more of those, down here, change the shape and the orientation of that a bit.
And maybe I want to add one last one, you have as much control as you like there. So we've got things looking pretty good there, what's neat is if I hit the M key, I can see that we have actually built a quick mask as we go there and I am seeing a preview of that mask. And I've some controls over on the right-hand side that show me the effects of the light, which is the blurred region and how the light behaves through it, and the Bokeh, which is how the color behaves through the blurred area. And if I'm a power user, I can save this mask to my channels, and I have the option of rendering a High Quality version of this as well.
So it's really quick and easy and it's great for getting that shallow depth of field. The other thing that Iris Blur is really useful for is creating a background, so may be you want to headshot of someone and move it over on to a blurred background and I find the thing that works best for this is to take an image that has a lot of light sources, and we're going to pass this over to Iris Blur, and the key here is just to shrink this down and bump it way up, and then we grab our pin here and just move this somewhere where we don't really need it, an unimportant area of our image.
I am going to shrink that down even smaller, I'll probably get rid of that later. And this is where playing around with the Light Bokeh, how the light interacts with the image and the color can yield a really interesting look to our image here, and I've seen some great images already where people are using an image, passing it through Iris Blur, and then using that as the background for another image. As before, if I hit M, I'll see a Preview of my mask which is just about the an whole image blurred. So that's Iris Blur. It's designed to be really easy to use, it's all on image, it's very fast and fluid.
There is another blurring there called Tilt-Shift, there are actually two. There's Field Blur which applies a blur or a graduate field and there is Tilt-Shift, which is an effect you've likely seen in some lighter weight applications and it's come to Photoshop in a very easy-to-use way. That same dial in the middle, will ask me to Blur, the dashed line is the effected full strength, the first line is where the effect begins, and I can move these in any way that I want and I can rotate them, turn the effect, and I have those same controls over the Light Bokeh and the Color as well.
As before, if I hit M, I'll see that there's a mask applied to that. So really easy to use on image, I think that this is intuitive enough that if you're not using the Bokeh Controls, you could actually dismiss the interface entirely and work only on image. Now there are all sorts of Blur features in Photoshop, if you were to come down to Filter menu you'd see that there are all sorts of different Blurs. These are all Global Blurs that could be applied selectively with Selections or Masks, but what's nice about these top three is that you're applying selective Blurs without any knowledge of how Selections, Masks, or Layers work.