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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
Selective Edits are one of Photoshop's core competencies, the ability to work on a small portion of the image and do very interesting things to it are something that Photoshop excels at. So we can take an image as far as possible globally in Camera RAW or Lightroom, but then when we're in Photoshop, we want to do things to specific pieces of it. We already talked about that with sharpening and sharpening key areas of the image, now I want to talk about it with Tonal Adjustments. And so what we see here is an image that I shot under control lighting, I've taken out as far as possible in Camera RAW and its looks great.
But let's see how much further we can go using some Brush Based tools. And a lot of people don't realize that the Dodge, Burn and Sponge tools were completely overhauled for CS4, they've what's called Protect Tones, which allows me to use them without introducing artifacts. So we're going to start with Dodge, which for those of you with photographic background, you know that these means I want to make an area lighter. And so, up here in the toolbar, I'm going to say that I want to make the Shadows lighter. Now I find that most of these, less is more, and you don't want Exposure to be really high, but when it comes to Dodging, I do use it in a pretty strong setting, 46% is pretty good.
Now really important shortcut is using the Ctrl+Opt or Ctrl+Alt key and clicking and dragging left to right. This is going to give me a visual representation of my brush. If I go up and down, I'll get the hardness of my brush, so I want a pretty soft brush, and I wanted a middle size and what I'm going to do is just come in here and start lightening some areas up. So I am going to give myself a smaller brush and start lightening the grill, I am dodging the areas in the grill shadow.
I'm going to dodge that headlight a bit. I'm going to come in here and dodge a little bit off the wheel. You can either click or sort of drag. If I am to work on that real wheel, again, Ctrl+Opt or Ctrl+Alt to get a smaller brush, lighten that up a bit. The other area that really wants to be lightened is these gull-wing doors, it's a key element of the car, but it's getting a little bit lost, with the rest of the image there, you want to be careful not to wander off of the image. I'm editing from afar in the interest of speed.
If you're really going crazy with this, you might want to zoom in a bit. So lightening those up, that's all looking pretty good. The next thing I what do is switch to my Midtones and I'm not going to spend as much time, but you'll notice I can pull a little bit more information of the grill, by targeting the Midtones. I can make that emblem really jump there and I can get a little more information from the headlights and it's almost like I'm cleaning them, by coming through here. Same thing on that rear wheel, I am going with the smaller brush and lightening it up and let's lighten those doors just a little bit more.
And then the next thing we're going to do is come to our Burn tool and that's opposite. I'm going to make key parts of the image darker. And so the first thing that I notice here is this sort of glaring highlight across the hood. It's a little bit distracting. So I want to go to Highlight and in this case I really want to use a low Exposure, 16% is just about right. I want to use large brush, so I am dragging left to right with Ctrl+Alt or Ctrl+Opt. And then I'm playing with the hardness to myself a nice soft brush, again, if I were to come all the way down to 99%, I'd see a very hard edge in red.
I am going to make that really soft. So now what I am going to do is just darken that area on the hood, and you can see that changing pretty quickly. What's nice about this is I am only affecting the Highlights, so I can go over other areas and it's just going to a blend in really nicely. So darken the hood to the degree that I want it, and the other part that drives me crazy is the windshield. So I am going to come over here and sort of aggressively darken the highlights in that, I am making sure to go over multiple times, because I am at a really low setting, I'm at 16%.
Then I'm going to go over to Midtones and just do the same thing. You can see the windshield darkening or sort of tinting the window as we go here, and last, we'll put it on Shadows and this is where it's really going to get quite a bit darker. So that looks pretty good, the other area that I see that I could change is this area off to the right on the pavement. You can use these tools to sort of equalize your Exposure. So I went over that ones with Highlight, then I'm going to build it up a little Midtone, and really gently large soft brush for our shadow.
That way it's not quite so distracting over there. And last thing we're going to do is switch to our Sponge tool. It's the same idea, we can either Saturate or Desaturate. What I want to do is Desaturate this reflector on the front of the car. So I come up here, I set it to Desaturate, and I'm going to turn off Vibrance. Vibrance is a way of giving you the best possible results, but it maps colors to more human flesh tones. In this case I've this sort of nuclear orange that I want to remove and I know that turning off Vibrance can sometimes get me more control.
So I'm just going to drag over that a bit and tone it down quite a bit. I am going to turn it Back On and move over to Saturate, and there's just a few areas of this image that I want to saturate. I am going to take the doors and the bright red leather upholstery, saturate those. It's just kind of monochromatic image, so I want the color that's in it to really pop and the other part I am going to take is these yellow lines in the pavement, the concrete here. And I want to make those just jumps right out of the image. So I am going to come over here and just drag my mouse across those.
And the last thing I have noticed is there's this fire extinguisher there in the background and I could probably Desaturate that a bit, it's a little bit distracting. Again, and I will get the result I want I can turn off Vibrance and now I really muted it. So let's go ahead and revert that. So here's where we started and here's where we ended up, before and after, pretty huge difference in just a couple of minutes of brush based edits.
So there you see where Dodge, Burn and Sponge, really dramatically change the look of the image. By interacting with small pieces, we can really change the look of the whole thing quite a bit.