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- Setting up a Wacom tablet
- Removing lens distortions
- Correcting distracting image elements
- Making shadow and highlight adjustments
- Simplifying details with filters and Smart Blur
- Modifying color
- Cloning layers
- Using a traditional paint color swatch set
- Using custom actions
- Working with canvas texture
- Creating physical surface texture effects
- Painting with custom brushes
Skill Level Intermediate
So, up till now, we've been basically building our story elements. We've been putting pieces together and creating this overall scene that tells a story. Now its time to start kind of locking down things and begin to prepare it for the painting aspect of all this. And so what I want to do now is, while I still have all of these elements in various layers, is start to play around with the tonality of them, somewhat. And again, this will be in the service of basically adding or strengthening the mood that I want to impart within this scene.
We're going to use a couple tricks here in the next couple segments to be able to work on a couple different parts of this image just to start to get what my vision of it is. And, keep in mind, my vision of this and your vision of this could be different, and especially if you take some of the lessons that you get out of this course and apply it to an idea that you have, your vision of it is going to be completely different than mine, so what you're getting throughout this course is, you know, a thin slice into my way of doing things, and it's very unique to the way that I do it.
You may find that these techniques work great for you, but you'll apply them and use them in totally different ways. So, don't feel like what I'm showing you here is, this is the one way to do things. This is just a way to do things, and hopefully, some of these techniques can parlay themselves into the way that you want to affect an image or tell a story. Now, what we're going to start with is the castle itself. And I'm going to take advantage of the shadow and highlight feature that allows me to play with kind of adjusting each component of that, the shadows and the highlights.
And I'm going to start off by kind of going to the castle layer here, and we'll go up to our Image menu to Adjustments to Shadows/Highlights. And I want to show you a couple things right here. Did you see how that changed when that opened up? I don't like the way this changes every time it opens up, and that's because by default, Photoshop has the shadows turned up. You know, if no adjustment's been made yet, its going to look like this. That's how it looked before we came to it. If you don't want to see that change every time you open up Shadows/Highlights, go down here to the bottom and you may have to open up your dialog.
It shows up like this by default, so you might want to open this up with the Show More Options option, just make sure you have everything turned down and then you can say Save As Defaults, and so we can say Cancel now. And now when I go to Shadows/Highlights it doesn't change. That's the way I like it. So that's, that's a little thing that I wanted to show you. Now, I want to start to darken up this scene a bit give, it a little more mystery. And so with the highlights, see how I can start to turn this down? But there's one thing that's wrong, and this is where we're going to have to start considering the layers and how they interact.
You can see in the shadows that we've applied with the tree limb, see how they're turning kind of brown, that's because that's on a different layer. So it's going to act differently than if it were all of a single layer. So the first thing I want to do is, rather than just adjust the castle, I'm going to cancel out of this, and I'm going to collapse these two together. Now, as we go throughout this title, keep in mind that at various spots in the process, it's going to become necessary to collapse things.
Sometimes, in fact in a little while here, we're going to collapse this whole thing down to a single layer. I really advise you to keep track as you go forward of anything that you think you may want to adjust later on and go change. You always want to make sure that you're keeping a layered version around so that, rather than have some major surgery, it's very difficult to correct something, you could think of it as, oh, if I just had that on an individual layer it would have been so much easier. Always keep that in mind as you go forward, so that you keep a version that's layered. And I can tell you that having gone through this process to do this image already, you wouldn't believe how many versions of this image I have.
I probably have 20 or 30 versions of the image from beginning to end. And that's all so I can always get back if I want to just go back a couple of steps. The more you save layered versions of images as you move forward, you want to be able to have those so that you can make changes. And one way to think of it is, any time you think you may want to get back to something or any time you're going to collapse things, always save the image first, and then collapse, and that way you can always get back. So, that's just a little lesson, but it's hard learned, because you'll eventually do it and not save it and you'll realize how much more convenient it would have been to have saved the layered version.
What I want to do is here is I'm going to collapse my shadow layer down onto the castle, so I select that layer and I'm just going to use Command or Control+E to drop that onto the layer beneath it, which is the castle layer. So now, I now have the shadow and the castle as all part of one layer. And now I can go back to my Shadows/Highlights and not get that funny coloration that we saw before. So we'll go back to Shadows/Highlights and I'm going to adjust my highlights.
Now, see, now that's not, you know, I'll over do it, but you can eventually, with Shadows/Highlights, make colors look funny anyway, but it's not as much of a problem as it was before. So I'm going to do that. Let's also take a look at shadows, I was just going to check both. See how I can now kinda open up those shadows a little bit. So, there's no right or wrong answer to this. I always call this kind of work seasoning to taste. Everybody's going to have a different way they want this to look. So, season to taste is just where it's open to interpretation how you want to do it. And I'll always check with turning this on and on to see what I've done.
And remember, too, that what we're trying to do here is move this farther and farther away from how a camera looks at it and more how human vision looks at it. So, now that I look at that, earlier, I thought it looked fine, but when I start to see it kind of crunched down a bit there In the dynamic range, I like that more, so I'm going to go with that. And I can also go to the background layer, and I can also do the same thing with it, and just see if it's going to make any difference. So once again, we'll go to Shadows/Highlights and let's see.
Yeah, see how that, we're getting much more definition in the sky? I like that. I'll also just check what the shadows do, and actually, that kind of has a nice look. Because what we want to do here is, this background is farther away, and so there's going to be some atmosphere between us and those elements. And the more distant items become, the more they kind of lose color and get lighter. So by actually kind of turning this down, you can see how it's effecting the landscape back there.
I can actually use this to kind of lighten that up. So I'm going to go with something like that. There we go. So, what we've done here is we've used Shadows/Highlights in a way that lets us kind of interactively adjust the look of this. And in fact, if I go back a couple of steps here, temporarily, see, that's where we were, and there's where we are now. So now we've got this adjusted more to a way that, again, according to my vision, the way I want to see this appear, looks correct.
So, we're going to with this and then in the next video, we're going to take advantage of yet another tone correcting feature, and then we'll be pretty much ready to start the process of painting.