Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Photoshop Tips From The Pros
Some of the best in nature photography share 11 techniques that will turn a good photograph into an award-winner
Quick Mask Mode
5 I employ Quick Mask mode for my targeted adjustments because I find it easier to use and understand than layer masks. To get started, I suggest changing a default setting for Quick Mask mode. Double-click on the Quick Mask icon (it has a circle inside of a rectangle icon) directly below the color picker on the Tools panel. Choose Selected Areas from the Color Indicates option and make sure the Color is set to red at about a 50% Opacity setting. Click OK.
Next, choose the Brush tool. On the Options bar, make sure Hardness (on the Brush pop-up) is set to 0%. Adjust the size of the brush as needed using the left and right square bracket keys to reduce or increase the size of the brush, respectively. Press D to set the colors to their defaults of black and white, then press X to swap foreground and background colors so white is the foreground color. Paint on the image in areas you want to adjust, which will cause them to be covered with the red overlay color. If you make a mistake, you can paint with black to “erase” that overlay color.
When you’re done defining the area you want to adjust, press Q to toggle out of Quick Mask mode. The area you painted is now a selection. You can add an adjustment layer or directly apply an adjustment to affect only the selected area, or duplicate the selected area to a new layer if desired by holding Ctrl/Command and pressing J. The result is incredible power and flexibility that’s remarkably easy to use.
Darken When You Want To Lighten
6 To make an area in a photograph appear brighter, consider making the region around that area darker instead. Most photographers go to the area they want to appear brighter and simply brighten it. This tends to break down pixels and can cause highlights to be taken to full paper white, which reduces overall image quality. By darkening associated areas, you still visually brighten the area you want to emphasize while protecting the pixels in your image.
7 A simple S-curve changing the contrast of an image not only can bring more snap to it, but makes it appear sharper. Contrast is an important element that the mind’s eye uses to lock onto in order to tell it something is sharp. Start by adding a Curves adjustment layer. Then click about 20% to 25% up the curve from the black point and drag slightly to the right, then click about 20% to 25% down the curve from the white point and drag slightly to the left. This simple adjustment can have a tremendous impact on the final quality of your image.
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