- Skin retouching techniques
- Smart Objects
- Differentiated blurring
- Lighting effects
- Final Check
- Export functions
The script for the Photoshop Advanced Workshop is intended exclusively for use in class at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and should serve as a reference work for all course participants. It may not be passed on to third parties.
Skin retouching techniques
Dodge & Burn
Another high-end technique that is very popular in the course of skin processing is called Dodge & Burn.
The possibilities offered by Dodge & Burn also make sense in a wide variety of applications. The particularly sensitive skin processing serves us again only as an example, at which the strengths of this technology can be demonstrated particularly well.
We already know the techniques from using the Dodge Tool and the Burn Tool. And we know that these are classic darkroom techniques.
Dodge lightens the treated areas, Burn darkens them. Strictly speaking, the exposure is changed, i.e. reduced or increased, and this is also confirmed by a look at the options bar of Burn Tool, for example: There we can control the intensity of the darkening by entering an exposure value.
> Activate Burn Tool.
Both tools can only be applied directly to pixels. We therefore duplicate the Frequency Separation group and merge it with cmd+E.
> Duplicate group and cmd+E, opacity 100%.
I don’t need to explain the tools any more, and the options bar settings should be familiar as well.
- The tone value ranges Highlights, Midtones and Shadows can be influenced separately.
- Protect Tones reduces clipping of the shadows and highlights.
- Choosing a smaller exposure value is appropriate to better control the effect.
Dodge & Burn tries to achieve two main goals:
- To gently lighten areas that are too dark, to gently darken areas that are too light, or vice versa.
- To emphasize the plasticity of the objects. The latter is called contouring in beauty retouching.
You will immediately understand what I am talking about.
Dodge & Burn via tools:
> Activate Burn Tool and soft tool tip (vary size).
> Options bar: Shadows, Exposure 5%, Protect Tones activated.
> Contouring in the cheek area on the left and right.
> Options bar: Midtones, Exposure 5%, Protect Tones activated.
> Carefully darken the shine.
> Activate Dodge Tool and soft tool tip (vary size).
> Options bar: Midtones, Exposure 5%, Protect Tones activated.
> Lighten eye circles a little.
> Hide and show layer for before/after.
There are of course many more application goals that can be achieved with this simple and direct method.
Another, but equally simple method of locally modifying the tonal values of an image is offered by the layer blending modes Linear Burn, Color Burn, Linear Dodge, Color Dodge and Overlay. But other blending modes are also quite suitable for this purpose. Sometimes you have to experiment a little bit.
> Hide Dodge & Burn tool layer.
Dodge & Burn via layer blending mode:
> New empty layer, blending mode: Linear Burn, Opacity 10%.
> Large, soft round brush, flow 20%, foreground color black.
> Contour the cheek area left and right.
> New empty layer, Blending Mode: Linear Dodge, opacity 30%.
> Large soft round brush, flow 20%, foreground color white.
> Lighten the eye circles a bit.
> Hide Dodge & Burn blending layer.
Dodge & Burn via Curves:
The most common Dodge & Burn method, however, is to use Curves – in the form of adjustment layers, of course.
The great advantage of this is that the exposure can be adjusted at any time, i.e. even afterwards, by adjusting the curve with the highest precision.
First we create two Curves, one for Dodge and one for Burn.
> Curves adjustment layer: Set point 130/160, name “Dodge”.
> Properties palette: Activate Mask and Invert.
> Curves adjustment layer: Set point 130/100, name “Burn”.
> Properties palette: Activate Mask and Invert.
At the beginning we can safely exaggerate a little. Because the effect can be easily adjusted at the end.
> Activate the layer mask of the Burn layer.
> Large, soft round brush, flow 20%, foreground color white.
> Contour the cheeks on the left and right.
You don’t have to be particularly careful here. This is one of the few cases where exaggeration does no harm. We will immediately see why.
Now we want to apply the result even more realistically to the image. Currently we have only darkened the zones. We could choose a layer blending mode for tuning, but we want to go a completely different way.
> Show layer mask via Option-click and return to the image view.
> Image / Apply Image: Layer Merged, Blending Multiply, 100% opacity. OK.
The image calculation produces a much more natural post exposure than a mere darkening. The tonal values of the image itself now control the intensity of the burn effect.
A look at the layer mask shows why. We applied a luminance mask to the curve with Image Calculation.
> Show the layer mask again via Option-click and return to the image view.
In the same way we now start to lighten the image.
> Activate the layer mask of the Dodge layer.
> Large, soft round brush, flow 20%, foreground color white.
> Lighten the eye circles a bit.
> Image / Apply Image: Layer Merged, Blending Multiply, Invert(!), 100% opacity. OK.
If we want to modify the effect, we use the possibilities of the curve.
> Increase brightness using the curve.
With a combination of Curves and Apply Image, burning and dodging can be done most gently and naturally.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that Dodge & Burn is not only essential for skin retouching. The areas of application and use for these efficient techniques are countless and in part completely different, in other words: In image processing it is very often and in the broadest sense a matter of darkening and brightening, burning and dodging, i.e. changing the exposure locally.
Edit skin tones
We have not quite finished editing the skin. What needs to be adjusted now is the correct skin tone.
There are countless ways to adjust the color values and the saturation values of the skin. We have already learned about many possibilities. Remember Camera Raw’s Color Mixer, Selective Color, Hue/Saturation, or Curves’ color correction options, etc.
In any case, no matter which method we choose, we should always know exactly what editing goal we want to achieve. What should a natural skin tone look like?
When we talk about different skin tones, we mean that, for example, Indo-European people have lighter skin than most African people, that Finns are on average rather light-skinned, Spaniards are on average somewhat darker, etc.
Furthermore, the skin tone lives on countless color nuances and degrees of saturation. There are more reddish skin types or more yellowish skin types. There are skin types that have a higher degree of saturation, others that have a lower degree of saturation, and so on.
Before we get into setting the skin tone, we should definitely do a white balance. With a white balance we establish the truth of the colors in the image and therefore the skin tones.
We have already learned how to do this. We don’t need to look at it again now.
And then there are a few guides as far as skin tones are concerned. Because graphic designers and image editors are used to thinking in terms of CMYK – and the output target is often enough print – these default values are defined in CMYK.
- The natural skin tone of rather light skin types tends to be slightly yellowish. The yellow and magenta components are about the same, but the yellow component exceeds the magenta component by a little. The cyan portion is about one third of the magenta portion.
- Medium skin types, have a much higher magenta and yellow content. Cyan is only slightly elevated compared to lighter skin types.
- Very dark skin types, sometimes have a similar magenta and yellow content as the medium skin type, but a significantly higher cyan content. The cyan value here is about half as high as the yellow value.
But beware: these values are only interesting because they indicate color ratios. The natural ranges of variation are not covered by these values, nor are the differences caused by the exposure and the lighting situation. These values therefore only serve as a rough guide.
Let’s take a look at our example.
Let’s place a Color Sampler in an evenly lit skin area, with no highlights and no shading.
> Activate the Color Sampler Tool, place the Color Sampler in the neutral zone right below the lips.
> Show Info palette and change the mode of the Color Sampler to CMYK.
Yellow is clearly above magenta, which is OK. However, cyan is a little more than a third of magenta.
I would put the skin tone somewhere in the middle range. Magenta and yellow can basically remain unchanged here. Cyan we can reduce minimally on a trial basis.
> Create Curves adjustment layer.
> Green Channel: Activate On-Image-Adjustment Tool and click into the Color Sampler. Raise green by two steps by pressing the Up arrow.
> Blue Channel: Click in the Color Sampler. Raise blue by two levels by pressing the Up arrow.
> Red Channel: Click in the Color Sampler. Raise red by four levels by pressing the Up arrow.
Sometimes different parts of the skin need to be adjusted differently. But I think we can save that in the workshop.
You see, in the end, the correct adjustment of the skin tones with the help of the mentioned scheme is not that difficult. However, the fine-tuning is always done purely optically.
> Open exercise file 16a.
Before we move on to a new, big topic, I’d like to talk briefly about Smart Objects.
Of course, you already know what Smart Objects are used for in Photoshop, how they work and how they are created. The main purpose of Smart Objects is to enable non-destructive work.
- Smart Objects ensure that the original pixels are always used when transforming and that there is no loss of scale.
- Smart Objects allow the use of Smart Filters, so that the filter settings can be modified afterwards and at any time without affecting the original pixels.
- We can combine multiple layers into one Smart Objects to continue processing at a higher level. The original layers and their parameters are preserved and can be unpacked at a later time by double-clicking on the Smart Object thumbnail in the Layers palette and modified in turn.
- We paste vector graphics as Smart Objects via the clipboard to preserve vector status in Photoshop. Double-clicking the Smart Object thumbnail in the Layers palette creates an editable vector version and opens it for editing in Adobe Illustrator.
But Smart Objects can do even more. And we can work with two different types of Smart Objects. Let’s take a closer look.
> File / Place embedded: Select exercise file 16b.
> Scale to 40%, move it down a bit and OK.
Using Place Embedded, we imported the contents of another file into our document as a Smart Object. A new layer was created from the original pixels and this layer was converted into a Smart Object.
I’m formulating the obvious so precisely because we’re about to learn about a completely different type of Smart Object.
> File / Place Linked: Select exercise file 16b.
> Scale to 40%, move up and OK.
What is immediately noticeable is that the layer thumbnail does not have the usual Smart Object icon, but a link icon in the form of a small chain.
Unlike the embedded Smart Object, the mere link did not import the original pixels into our document, but merely a proxy of the source file’s content.
The ability to either embed or link elements when placing them is, of course, something we know from Illustrator and InDesign. This is exactly how it works in Photoshop via Place Embedded or Place Linked.
What follows from this is quite clear: The Smart Object whose source data was merely linked remains linked to the source file. If a change is made in the source file, the linked Smart Object will be changed accordingly.
Let’s take a quick look at this so we don’t get so abstract about it.
> Open exercise file 16b.
> Image / Adjustments / Selective Color.
> Reds: Magenta -100.
> Save and close file.
> Switch to exercise file 16a.
The change we made to the original data in the source file results in an automatic update of the linked Smart Object in our target file.
The embedded Smart Object, on the other hand, is not affected by the change.
What are the advantages of the linking option?
- No matter how many linked Smart Objects are created, no matter where they are created, whether as layers within a document or in multiple documents, you only ever need to make a correction once, in the original file, to automatically change all branch data. This sometimes saves numerous repetitive interventions.
- Linking ensures that all data is updated without exception.
But mere linking also brings disadvantages.
- We know this from Illustrator or InDesign. If you move the files or rename them, the link is lost. The files must then be manually relinked.
- If the data is to be transferred to a third party – e.g. another image editor who is to continue working with it or to the prepress department, which might want to access the original litho – you have to make sure that, in addition to the current document, the original files of all the linked Smart Objects contained in it are also transferred.
But any potential problems with Smart Objects can be solved quickly and easily.
As in Illustrator and InDesign, changed contents can be updated and lost links can be renewed.
> Right-click linked Smart Object.
The context menu holds a number of relevant options for us to handle the Smart Object.
- With the entries Update Modified Content and Update All Modified Content we can update modified content.
- If we want to replace the linked file with another one, we use Relink to File.
- To make sure that we don’t forget any linked content when transferring data to a third party, we select Embed Linked.
- Rasterize Layer transforms the Smart Object into a normal pixel image.
We don’t apply this now, because it should be clear what happens.
> Show Properties palette.
The Properties palette also has a few options for handling the Smart Objects.
- With Edit Contents we can call the contents of the Smart Object for editing.
- Embed (or Convert to Linked) lets us embed a linked content and turn an embedded content into a linked one.
- Convert to Layers causes a rasterization.
> Open the File menu.
The entry Package of the File menu packs the master file and all linked files into one folder. This ensures that no element is forgotten when the data is passed on to a third party. Linked files do not necessarily have to be embedded before the data is passed on.
Maybe it takes a little getting used to at first to extend image processing to branch documents as well, but the whole thing works very logically and is basically quite unproblematic.
We will now look at some more complex ways of transforming images or parts of images.
We don’t need to talk about Scale, Rotate, Skew, Distort and Perspective, all functions of Free Transform (cmd+T), in the Advanced Workshop.
And I also want to take a very brief look at warping.
> Hide linked Smart Object.
> Duplicate embedded Smart Object.
> Free Transform via Cmd+T, activate Warp button.
> Options bar Warp menu: Arch -24 and position vertically centered in the liquid.
Grab one of the standard warps or pull the handles and control grid lines of the warp grid yourself.
> Options bar Warp menu: Custom.
> Pull the lines and handles of the distortion grid to improve the perspective adjustment.
The possibilities offered by the Warp dialog are quite useful in many cases, but limited in some respects.
> Open exercise file 17.
One of the ways we achieve complex deformations is with the Puppet Warp function.
Working with Puppet Warp is very simple and I only mention it in the Advanced Workshop because many people don’t even have this option on their radar. You only have to do it once to understand and love it.
> Activate Lasso (Feather: 0 px) and select the thumb with a lot of white space (left).
> Layer via Copy cmd+J, Smart Object.
> Edit / Puppet Warp.
Before you start deforming the mesh, you should make a few settings in the options bar to improve the work, but also the quality of the result.
- By choosing a warp mode you define the flexibility of the mesh. Rigid creates a rather stiff mesh, Distort a very flexible one.
- The Density determines how many segments are used to build up the mesh. Working with few points reduces the rendering time, but the quality suffers. Many points provide the best quality, but the calculation takes a little longer.
- The Expansion defines the width of the area in which the calculation of the transitions between deformed and non-deformed zones should take place.
- The filigree mesh can be hidden by deactivating the Show Mesh checkbox to better observe the changes.
> Options bar: Mode Normal, Density Normal, Expansion 2 Px, Show Mesh checkbox enabled.
Let’s first set a few pins to pin down certain zones.
> Set six pins to fix the base of the thumb.
Now we place another pin at the point around which the thumb is to be rotated.
> Place pin to rotate in the center of the thumb ball.
And now we place another pin to serve as a handle point for bending the thumb.
> Set the handle point pin in the last thumb phalanx and pull it moderately to the upper right.
Photoshop automatically calculates the rotation when bending, which means that the thumb shape is recalculated as a whole and each segment is included in the calculation. The rotation value that Photoshop determines is displayed in the options bar.
The last link of the thumb could use a little tracking. The pin itself remains in position.
> Hold down the Option key and rotate the circle that appears on pin in clockwise direction.
Once we’re happy with the result, we press Enter and Photoshop renders the result.
> Hide and show thumb layer.
You see, there was no simple rotation performed, as we could do with the usual transfom command, but the different segments were affected differently by the rotation.
Let’s still take care of the index finger.
> Activate background layer.
> Select the index finger with a lot of white space (left) with the lasso.
> Layer via Copy cmd+J, Smart Object.
> Edit / Puppet Warp.
> Options bar unchanged.
> Set two to four pins to fix the finger base left and right.
> Set pin to rotate in the center of the finger base.
> Set pin in the last phalanx.
Before we bend the finger, we hide the mesh.
> Options bar: Disable Show Mesh checkbox.
> Move the pin clearly to the right.
> Temporarily hide pins by pressing the H key.
Pins can also be temporarily hidden by pressing the H key.
We see, the finger threatens to become crooked. To prevent this, we place another pin in the middle of the finger and trace it accordingly.
> Place the pin in the middle of the finger and trace it.
> Straighten the finger a bit and make it slimmer by placing and manipulating more pins.
> Activate the Show Mesh checkbox again and OK.
I think it’s become clear how easy it is to create and apply Puppet Warp. But we have other features in Photoshop to do deformations, resp. bendings.
> Open exercise file 18.
The manipulation of the human body is a major topic in Photoshop, which we also discussed controversially in the Basic Workshop. The inflationary occurrence of images in the flood of media in which they are showered upon us has by no means diminished their impact. On the contrary: the mass of images reduces our attention and thus also clouds our critical view.
Be that as it may, in a Photoshop Advanced Workshop we cannot avoid handling the tools for altering reality.
> Duplicate background layer, Smart Object.
> Open Filter / Liquify.
In the Basic Workshop we got to know a few tools and simple techniques. In the Advanced Workshop, we will look a little more closely at the possibilities offered by the Liquify dialog.
Forward Warp Tool:
The Forward Warp Tool should be known. It is the simplest tool for moving pixel mass.
> Activate Forward Warp Tool.
> Set Size and Pressure via ctrl-option: 250 / 25.
> Densitiy 50.
> Drag the ear.
- Pressure determines the speed at which an effect is applied and thus acts as a throttle. The lower the pressure, the more precise the effect.
- Density determines the strength of the effect within the brush size. A low value reduces the effect at the edge of the brush tip. To get smooth curves when moving, choose something between 50 and 75.
We don’t need to discuss the Twirl Tool, the Pucker Tool and the Bloat Tool here. More interesting, however, is the Push Left Tool.
Push Left Tool:
In contrast to the Forward Warp Tool, which works locally, the Push Left Tool can be used to move entire pixel stretches evenly according to the snowplow principle. The Push Left Tool is the HiEnd tool for body shaping and it is easier to use than explained.
> Activate Push Left Tool by pressing the O key.
> Size approx. 250 Px, Pressure 25, Density 50.
> Move the ear contour to the left with a brush stroke from the bottom to the top.
> Push the ear contour to the right with a brush stroke from top to bottom.
> Push the skullcap upward with a brushstroke from right to left.
> Push the skullcap downward with a brushstroke from left to right.
> Move the neck and the right half of the head to the left with a moderate brushstroke from bottom to top.
> With the Option key pressed, move the ear slightly to the right again.
You can reverse the shift direction either by moving the brush in the opposite direction or by holding down the Option key.
> Push the left side of the face to the right with a Brushstroke down.
> Push the biceps and shoulder down with a brushstroke to the left.
> Push the triceps and shoulder upward with a brushstroke to the right.
> Push the forearm (inside) to the left with a brushstroke up.
We chose the brush size cleverly and worked carefully. Therefore, we were able to move certain areas without affecting other areas that we didn’t want to move.
This does not always work so well. For example, let’s see what happens if we lower the right shoulder even further.
> Start at the mouth and continue lowering the shoulder and biceps with a strong brushstroke to the left.
Our manipulation of the shoulder has also affected the lower half of the face. There are two things you can do to prevent this.
If you have done too much, you reach for the Reconstruct Tool.
> Activate Reconstruct Tool by pressing the R key.
> Size approx. 250 Px, Pressure 50, Density 50, (Rate 80).
> Reconstruct mouth, left half of the face.
The mouth part has been reconstructed. However, the thick cheek has returned with it. The success is therefore doubtful.
In such cases, one must proceed differently from the beginning.
> Several times cmd+Z until biceps and shoulder are straightened again.
Freeze Mask Tool:
The Freeze Mask Tool can be used to mask areas that should not be moved to exclude them from subsequent manipulation.
> Activate Freeze Mask Tool by pressing the F key.
> Size approx. 250 Px, pressure 25, density 50.
> Mask left lower half of face and a piece of the shoulder.
With this, we locked the lower left side of the face.
> Open View Options and uncheck Show Mask to hide the mask.
> Using the Push Left Tool, push the biceps and shoulder down with a Brushstroke to the left.
The mask protects the zones that should not be manipulated.
- Using the Thaw Mask Tool, the mask can be retouched.
- If you want to remove all masks that are no longer needed, simply press the None button in the Mask Options panel.
> Show Mask Options and press the None button.
The editing process has left behind some unnatural looking curves. To improve the appearance of the curves, we now use the Smooth Tool.
> Activate the Smooth Tool by pressing the E key.
> Size approx. 350 Px, Pressure 100, Density 50.
> Smooth the right body contour from the shoulder to the crown.
> Smooth biceps and shoulder.
> Smooth triceps and chest area.
Let’s now take a look at the result in a before/after comparison.
> Activate and deactivate the preview checkbox several times.
To be able to analyze the interventions in peace, we have two tools in the display options.
We can show the backdrop while working and thus check in an overlay view where and how much our interventions turn out compared to the original.
> Show View Options Panel.
> Enable and disable Show Backdrop checkbox.
The distortion mesh shows us where exactly and how much the intervention is.
> Activate Show Mesh and deactivate it again.
I think we can be satisfied with the first go and now give our OK.
> Apply Liquify with OK.
The Liquify filter has been applied as a Smart Filter and the result can therefore be improved at any time afterwards.
> Double click Liquify entry in the Layers palette to open the dialog again.
> Make small repairs with the Reconstruct Tool.
Now we have to take care of the face.
> Show Face-Aware Panel.
The Face-Aware Liquify Panel holds a comprehensive set of adjustments for editing the human face.
Photoshop is able to distinguish between multiple faces in a photo and allows independent editing of the detected faces. Since there is only 1 face in our image, the Select Face menu has only one entry.
Eyes, noses, mouth and face shape can be modified using numerous parameters. Since we already covered face-based liquefying in the Basic Workshop, we’ll just quickly pull a few sliders here and enjoy the result.
> Eye Size left 25, Eye Size right 35.
> Finally press the Reset Current Face button.
But we can also do face surgery in another way.
The Face Tool can be used to perform this kind of surgery manually.
> Activate Face Tool by pressing the A key.
If we want to work with the Face Tool, we have to activate the Show Face Overlay checkbox in the View Options.
> View Options: Activate Show Face Overlay if necessary.
> Move the cursor to the sensitive parts of the face and start the procedure.
Moving the cursor near one of the sensitive areas we already know from the Face-Aware Liquify panel, a specific tool appears with which we can perform our manipulations.
> Face shape: reduce face width.
> Mouth: more smile, upper lip higher, move mouth area down overall.
> Nose: Reduce nose width.
> Right eye: more eye height, rotate eye minimally counterclockwise, increase eye size slightly overall.
I’m not sure if all our interventions are justified. But that is in the nature of things.
With the Liquify Filter, we have a powerful tool in our hands that is very commonly used to manipulate the human body. Body shaping and cosmetic surgery are usually the main focus. In fact, however, the dialog is also quite suitable for processing completely different image contents accordingly.
When we use the tool, we must always be aware that we are contributing massively to the deconstruction of the image character and the image truth. And ultimately, the altered images also bring about a change in reality.
> Open exercise file 19.
Adaptive Wide Angle
Now that we have explored a few essential tools for transforming bodies and objects, let’s turn to transforming spaces.
First, let’s look at an advanced lens correction option.
> Filter / Camera-Raw-Filter / Expand Optics Panel.
> Expand Geometry Panel, cancel last.
The functions of the classic Lens Correction filter largely coincide with the functions of the Camera Raw panels Optics and Geometry. Together with the Straighten function of the Crop Tool, which is however only available in the course of the Raw conversion, but not in the Camera Raw filter, they have provided important services. Since we have already dealt with this topic in detail in the Basic Workshop, we can dispense with dealing with it again.
In extreme cases, however, we reach the limits of what is possible with the tools mentioned. Where we have to deal with strong perspective distortions, such as in extreme wide-angle shots, we use the Adaptive Wide-Angle Correction.
> Duplicate background layer, Smart Object.
> Open Filter / Adaptive Wide Angle.
In the Adaptive Wide Angle dialog, numerous settings can be made to normalize the distortions.
If Photoshop succeeds in reading out the lens data, half the distance has already been covered. In our case, Photoshop recognizes the camera model, but it is not possible to find out which lens was used. So we have to make a suitable choice ourselves.
> Open the Correction menu.
- Perspective is suitable for processing straight lines, as we find them in architectural photography for exterior shots.
- Auto is not selectable because no lens data was found.
- Full Spherical is aimed at a very specific type of shot, which is also not given here.
- For processing extreme wide-angle shots, the Fisheye mode is of course a good choice.
> Correction: Fisheye.
With the three sliders we can counteract the expected edge problem. I usually refrain from increasing the scale and crop factor because I like to crop or add to the edge areas after applying the filter.
Modifying the Focal Lenght is sometimes an option. However, not for the processing of our image. It is recommended to experiment with the Focal Length value, at least before starting manual processing.
Adaptive Wide Angle has a small set of tools ready for us. Actually, there are only two specific tools with which we do all the rectification tasks: the Constraint Tool and the Polygon Constraint Tool.
The handling of the Constraint Tool is simple. We draw perspective valid lines in the image with a constraint and Photoshop does the rest for us.
> Activate the Constraint Tool.
> Set the constraint at the top edge of the door.
> Adjust the constraint center point.
Since it is crucial for a successful correction that the constraint accurately traces the perspective line, the preview in the panel shows us a magnification of what is happening. Looking at the preview allows us to set the points very precisely.
We start by placing the most important constraints as precisely as possible in the image and then move on to capture ever more inconspicuous perspective lines.
> Set constraint at the right edge of the door.
Photoshop straightens the perspective line immediately. However, the perspective alignment of the line remains intact for the time being.
One aspect of perspective normalization is to actually verticalize lines that should appear vertical. The line at the right edge of the doorway is one such line that might want to be verticalized.
With a right-click on the constraint we can make this happen.
> Right-click on the constraint: vertical.
If we already know before setting a constraint that we want the line to be verticalized or horizontalized, we just have to hold down the Shift key while dragging.
> Set Shift constraint on the right edge of the left inlet.
Now we set a few more constraints until we are satisfied with the result. Please make sure that you only capture lines that are valid in perspective and work as precisely as possible.
> Set more constraints and OK.
> Hide the background layer to make the edge problems more visible.
So the correction itself is quite simple. The more difficult task is usually the post-processing of the edge problems and any remaining internal distortions.
For example, you could rework the hand and the coffee cup with the Liquify dialog. And, of course, the inevitable edge problems must also be eliminated.
Let’s try to close the missing spots very quickly with a Content-Aware Fill.
> Duplicate Wide Angle Correction layer.
> Rasterize layer via right-click layer bar.
> Activate Magic Wand Tool and select two of the four missing zones in the duplicate.
> Select / Modify / Expand: 6 Px and activate checkbox Apply effect at canvas bounds.
> Open Edit / Content-Aware Fill.
> Define the sampling area and OK.
> Repeat the procedure for the remaining missing areas.
If Content-Aware Fill cannot be applied to all missing zones in one pass, complete the fill step by step.
Polygon Constraint Tool:
For the sake of completeness, the Polygon Constraint Tool should be mentioned quickly. It can be used to normalize clearly visible perspective lines that are in the form of rhombuses. For example, ceiling areas or, if we think of an exterior shot, roof areas of houses, which are basically rectangles.
All in all, the correction with Adaptive Wide Angle in Photoshop usually works out quite well.
In addition to Lens Corrections, which we can do with the techniques we’ve learned so far, interventions in the actual perspective of an image are sometimes desired or required.
> Open exercise file 20.
A useful way to modify the perspective is to use the Perspective Warp command.
> Duplicate background layer, Smart Object.
> Edit / Open Perspective Warp.
At first, there doesn’t seem to be much going on here. In fact, we already have the tool with which we do the basic work in the dialog.
Before we can think of deforming the perspective, we have to capture the perspective given in the image. To do this, we use the Perspective Tool to draw at least two perspective planes.
In our image, the two house fronts can be used as reference points for this. Let’s start by setting a plane for the left facade.
> Draw the left plane generously.
> First create the verticals, then adjust the horizontals.
As you can see, I do not necessarily orientate myself only on the outer edges of the facade when creating the verticals and the horizontals. Much more reliable indices for the actual perspective are often window lines, cornices, rows of bricks or other elements that can be assumed with some reliability to be vertical or horizontal.
The exact placement of the plane is sometimes a bit tricky. But you should be really precise if you want to achieve a good result.
Now the plane for the right front.
> Draw the right plane a little smaller.
To connect the two perspective planes at the corner of the building, we bring the new plane closer to the already placed plane. As soon as gray lines appear on the vertical edges, we can let go. Photoshop will automatically connect the two planes.
> Dock plane.
We can grab the right edge of the right plane and drag it to the desired width.
> Create the verticals and adjust the horizontals.
If we finally want to extend the plane a little to the right, but keep the perspective we found, we drag the vertical while holding down the Shift key.
> Extend the perspective of the plane to the right via Shift-dragging.
The preliminary work is done. The rest is child’s play.
There are two buttons in the options bar of the dialog. The active button tells us that we are in Layout mode. This is what Photoshop calls the plane creation process.
Pressing the Warp button takes us into Warp mode.
> Press the Warp button.
Before we start warping, let’s take a moment to think about what we’re actually trying to accomplish.
- Perspective Warp allows us to normalize the perspective lines. We could have done that with Adaptive Wide Angle correction.
- Perspective Warp, however, allows us to actually modify the perspective of a shot to a certain degree, in other words, to change the angle of view.
For normalizing, we have three buttons in the options bar. We can normalize not only the verticals, but also the horizontals, or both at the same time.
In our example, only the normalization of the verticals makes sense.
> Normalize verticals.
Now it gets exciting. Let’s look at a few possibilities.
> Move the lower center point up.
The eye point is moved down by this action. We are now looking up at the building, so to speak.
> Move the lower center point down again.
> Move the upper center point downward as well.
The eye point is moved upward by this measure. We are now looking down on the building.
Let’s return to the starting point once again and remove the deformation by pressing the Return button in the options bar.
> Press the return button.
> Normalize the vertical again.
If we want to move our point of view to the left or to the right, we do not drag individual points at first, but activate the middle vertical first. The activation is done by a shift-click. If the vertical line lights up yellow, the two points can be moved together.
> Activate the middle vertical by a single shift-click.
> Move the upper point a little to the right.
Of course, you can now adjust the individual points to add perspective nuances. But I think the result is satisfactory so far and we can finish the Perspective Warp.
> Finish the Perspective Warp with OK.
> Hide background layer.
When we hide the background layer, the expected edge problems appear.
Not only are there missing parts of the image, but we also discover some strange distortions at the edges of the image. All parts of the image that were not within the perspective plane during the deformation are affected by distortion, e.g. the bollard or the flagpole on the roof of the building.
And if you look closely, even within the area correctly captured by the deformation, you can see certain oddities, e.g. the pedestrians that have become thicker or thinner.
So the perspective deformation brings one or the other unwanted object deformation. But the resulting insufficiencies are nothing that the skilled image editor cannot repair.
> Open exercise file 21.
Photoshop is basically a 2D program. But image editing must always take into account the three-dimensional aspects present in photos. This can be quite tricky at times.
Pattern and texture fills, image elements and structures that are to be cloned must be applied correctly not only in the image area, but also in perspective-distorted areas, otherwise you produce inconsistencies and perspective nonsense.
When it comes to working correctly in perspective in an existing image perspective, the Vanishing Point dialog helps us.
> Create new empty layer.
> Open Filter / Vanishing Point.
Similar to Perspective Warp, before we can set the first editing steps, we must first capture the given image perspective.
And the procedure for capturing the perspective is also very reminiscent of what we learned in Perspective Warp.
> Activate the Create Plane Tool.
> Zoom in on the middle window front.
> Create the perspective plane exactly.
The more precisely we capture the perspective, the better results we can then achieve with our manipulations.
- Working in a higher zoom level makes the creation easier.
- Reducing the grid size can also be helpful.
Of course, when creating a perspective plane, perspective valid surfaces must be captured. Curved zones like the dome cannot be used.
In the same way, we can now create further perspective planes.
If a second perspective plane is to be directly connected to the first one, however, we do not set a new point, but drag an extension from the middle point of a grid edge of the current plane while holding down the command key.
> Cmd-drag: Create a second perspective layer on the right.
Since we are not dealing with a rectangular building here, the tower has an octagonal floor plan, the first suggestion from Photoshop is not applicable.
We need to edit the angle and we can do this either numerically or by dragging the angle slider on the options bar, or we can do it manually.
> Drag angle slider to 234 and cmd+Z.
> Option-drag on the middle point of the right grid edge until the angle fits.
> Reduce the now very wide plane to the width of the wall segment.
In the areas defined in this way, we can now actually work in perspective properly. Let’s take a look at this right now.
We could now paste a planar subject from the clipboard and drag it into the captured zones. Photoshop would immediately adjust the subject for perspective.
But we can also use an existing element in the image as a source. Double-click to create a selection of the entire contents of a perspective layer.
> Activate Marquee Tool.
> Double-click to select the entire left plane.
In this example, however, we will make do with a smaller selection of the blue window.
> Unselect with cmd+D.
> Select the blue window generously and move it to the right perspective layer while holding down the Shift and Option keys.
> Place it there in the center.
As long as the cloned subject is within the perspective layer as a floating selection, it can be edited.
> Feather 8, Heal: Luminance.
Even if the result of the luminance adjustment is a little weak in contrast, it can sometimes be accepted as a starting point for a subsequent perfect tonal adjustment in Photoshop.
Let’s try another approach.
> Several times cmd+Z.
Detail retouching must also sometimes take into account the perspective characteristics of an image. Patterns, textures and structures cannot then simply be cloned 1:1. The result would be less than satisfactory.
If, on the other hand, we work with the Clone Stamp Tool in a well-defined perspective plane, we don’t have to worry about the correct perspective application. Photoshop does it automatically.
> Activate Clone Stamp Tool: Diameter 100, Hardness 50, Opacity 100, Heal Luminance, Aligned enabled.
> Option-click to pick up the three-hole window of the right plane.
> Reconstruct three-hole window in the left segment in one go.
We cannot be satisfied with the result.
Why does the adoption of the new perspective not work properly for this image element?
Because Photoshop remains a 2D program despite exact vanishing point correction.
The third dimension remain excluded from the correction. Only a 3D program can do that.
> Restore the initial state with cmd+Z.
The Vanishing Point dialog is a great way to do perspective tricks, but as we have seen, there are limits to the tricks you can do.
Let’s finish the example with something feasible.
> Activate Marquee Tool.
> Select blue window generously and move it to the right perspective plane while holding down the Shift and Option keys.
> Place it there in the center.
> Feather 8, Heal: Luminance.
If we look closely, we can see that even the small shadow of the window reveal is enough to produce a perspective insufficient result.
In many cases we can repair a small perspective error like this with the Transform Tool.
> Activate Transform Tool.
> Activate Flip Checkbox.
> Shift-option-Scale: enlarge the window minimally.
> Apply Vanishing Point with OK.
For the sake of completeness, let’s now quickly improve the contrast of the cloned window with a simple tone correction.
> Create Levels adjustment layer.
> Black slider: 60.
> Create intersection via option-click layer separator.
> Process the transitions to the wall using a layer mask with a soft brush.
At the end of the big topic Transform, a few general words.
One thing should have become clear to us: With the advanced techniques for transforming bodies (Warp, Puppet Warp, Liquifiy) and the advanced techniques for transforming spaces and spatial aspects (Lens Correction, Adaptive Wide Angle, Perspective Warp, Vanishing Point), image content can be greatly altered.
Where the claim to image truth or even just the maintenance of a certain realism is important, it must be considered whether the measures taken with these tools are justified.
> Open exercise file 22.
Now let’s look a bit more at how to change the look of an image without interfering with its content.
Photoshop has a number of ways for us to manipulate the mood of an image, increase the drama of a composition, emphasize elements, make other elements fade into the background, increase or artificially create lighting and atmospheric effects, and more.
A classic among these weakly manipulative techniques is differentiated blurring.
We don’t need to look at the classic blur filters Gaussian Blur, Motion Blur and Radial Blur. The essential tasks performed by these simple filters are smoothing and blurring.
As we can see from the Motion Blur filter example, blurring is not always about just smoothing. Blurring is often used as a stylistic device in photography and therefore also in Photoshop.
- Sharp areas of an image attract the viewer’s attention more than blurred areas.
- Depth of field effects support the spatial depth.
- Vignetting effects can be created with the help of a targeted iris blur.
The Gaussian Blur filter is only suitable to a limited extent for creating depth of field, since it merely produces a general, diffuse blur. However, depth of field as a phenomenon is characterized by many aspects that depend on the lens itself. The Lens Blur filter proves to be the HiEnd tool for this.
> Open Filter / Blur menu.
Since the Lens Blur filter cannot be applied to a Smart Object, but we want to work non-destructively as always, we create a duplicate of the layer to be blurred.
> Duplicate background layer.
First we need to define the area to be affected by the blur. So we prepare the application of the filter by creating a selection or a layer mask.
> Add Layer Mask.
> Activate Gradient Tool, Black & White, Linear Gradient.
> Use a gradient from top to bottom to capture the tobacco field.
> Activate layer thumbnail.
> Open Filter / Blur / Lens Blur.
Since the rendering in the dialog is very time-consuming, activate the preview mode Faster to work.
> Activate Faster if necessary.
The depth of field effect lives from the fact that some parts of the image appear sharp, others blurred. We use the layer mask we just created as a Depth Map and use it to determine to which zones the lens blur is applied and to which it is not.
> Depth Map Source: Activate Layer Mask if necessary.
> Blur Focal Distance 0.
The focal distance and thus the focus area can also be defined by clicking into the preview image.
> Crosshair click on the upper tobacco leaves.
The blur effect is largely determined by the iris shape when taking photographs. The higher the number of corners of the iris shape, i.e. the more the shape approaches the circle, the less geometric artifacts appear. We decide to use the hexagon.
> Iris Shape: Hexagon.
The Radius of course defines the strength of the blur.
If you want to avoid geometric artifacts (which correspond to the iris shape) with a small number of corners, you can weaken them by a stronger Blade Curvature and/or a Rotation. Often, however, just such effects are desired to obtain a realistic depth of field. This is decided on a case-by-case basis.
> Radius 20, Blade Curvature 40, Rotation 0.
If you want to introduce further lens artifacts, you can set so-called bokeh lights. These are highlights that structure the out-of-focus area in high-contrast zones.
> Specular Highlights: Maximum brightness, minimum threshold value.
Of course, this only makes sense where the occurrence of such light effects is plausible.
> Specular Highlights: Brightness 3, Threshold 170.
Since blurring eliminates all micro-contrast, blurred images often appear too smooth. This can be remedied by artificially generated noise.
> Zoom in on blur area.
> Noise: Amount 2, Distribution Gaussian, Monochromatic.
Monochromatic prevents color noise.
Once you have defined all the settings in the extensive dialog, let Photoshop render the preview more precisely.
> Preview: More Accurate.
> Activate and deactivate Preview and OK.
By the way: Neither the blur effect nor the lens artifacts we create with lens blur correspond to what the human eye actually sees, but always only to what a certain camera with a certain lens delivers. Remarkably, it is precisely this learned way of seeing that increases the realistic feel of a photographic image.
A special set of HiEnd blur filters can be found in the Blur Gallery. All of the advanced blur filters listed here are used to create the aforementioned photographic stylistic features. We will look at only the Tilt-Shift filter as a representative here.
The Tilt-Shift filter creates the special depth-of-field effect of a tilt-shift lens. The area of sharpness stands out like a bar from the two areas of blur. This gives landscape motifs in particular a miniature touch.
First we create a duplicate of the background layer and increase the contrast a bit with a Curves adjustment layer. I would also reduce the green tint minimally and mix in some yellow to make the whole thing look sunnier.
> Hide the Lens Blur layer.
> Duplicate background layer.
> Curves adjustment layer: increase contrast, take out some green and blue.
Of course we don’t want to apply the Tilt-Shift filter directly to the pixels, but to a Smart Object.
> Duplicate the background layer and activate it together with the Curves adjustment layer.
> Filter / Convert for Smart Filters.
The two layers have now been combined into one Smart Object and the filter is applied as a Smart Filter to both components.
- By double-clicking on the Smart Object icon, you can access the original packed layers again at any time. Photoshop then unpacks the Smart Object into a new file linked to the current file.
> Open Filter / Blur Gallery / Tilt-Shift.
In the Blur Gallery, all five special blurs can be selected and modified. The filter we selected in the Filter menu already appears activated here.
Using the Tilt-Shift filter is as simple as it is effective.
- By setting the focus point, you determine the plane of sharpness.
- By moving the solid lines you determine the width of the sharpness area.
- By moving the dashed lines you determine the width of the blur areas.
- If you grab one of the points on a sharpening line, you can rotate the sharpening area.
- By dragging the blur slider or the circle surrounding the focus point, you can determine the strength of the blur.
> Position the focus point just above the uppermost tobacco leaves. Blur: 12px.
> Extend the upper focus area into the sky.
> Extend lower focus area to just below the topmost tobacco leaves.
- We could reduce the sharpness in the focus area by using the corresponding slider in the options bar.
- We could now take care of the shape of the blur and define a distortion.
- We could set bokeh highlights.
- We could add noise.
I don’t think we need to try all of that at this point. The way the Tilt-Shift filter works should have become clear and the result speaks for itself.
Blur effects can support the image composition, contribute to emotionalization or enhance spatiality. In any case, they should be used with caution. If exaggerated, such effects can quickly change the mood of the image and create an artificial impression.
> Open exercise file 23.
A completely different way to influence the appearance of an image is to manipulate the lighting mood. Of the many possibilities that Photoshop offers us for this, we will only take a brief look at the Lens Flare filter.
Lens flare is very well suited to emotionalize the lighting mood. Sometimes lens flare is deliberately used in photography, sometimes it is frowned upon. Like so many effects, their use is subject to photographic fashions and preferences.
Lens flare is an artificial artifact that can be caused by light refraction, especially in backlit shots.
Since we perceive lens flare in photos as quasi-natural, the effect is not noticeable as a flaw, but adds a special flair to the shot.
> Open Filter / Render / Lens Flare.
In the very clear Lens Flare dialog we can choose from different focal lengths and select a brightness for the effect.
> Move the light source into the sun.
> Lens Type 50-300 Zoom, Brightness 120%.
> Close dialog with OK.
Clearly, we do not want to apply the effect directly to the image pixels in order to have free editability.
> Undo with cmd+Z.
> New empty layer.
> Fill layer with foreground color black.
> Turn the black layer into a Smart Object.
> Apply Lens Flare again via Cmd-ctrl+F.
> Layer Blending Mode: Screen.
The Lighten blending modes all ignore black. We provide black pixel fodder to the Lens Flare filter and then conveniently hide the black by selecting an appropriate blend mode. This trick can be used beautifully in other contexts as well.
- The Lighten blending modes all ignore black.
- The Darken blending modes ignore white.
- The Lighting Effects blending modes ignore gray.
In addition to differentiated blurring and the introduction of lighting effects, a number of other qualities can be edited, enhanced, or completely generated to give an image the right mood.
- We could create atmospheric effects, such as a sfumato, haziness, fog, or in contrast, clarity and visibility.
- We could enhance or artificially create weather phenomena, clouds, storm atmospheres, etc.
- We could simulate times of day and seasons by cleverly setting lighting and atmospheric effects.
Many of the techniques we use to achieve such things we learned in the Advanced Workshop. You will be able to discover a lot more in the intensive examination of Photoshop.
The images themselves are the best teachers. If you have learned to look at images in depth, you will discover over and over again new aspects and qualities, amazing details, and often also greatnesses that appear inconspicuously in the background.
The toolset and know-how we have acquired so far in the Advanced Workshop should enable you to edit or artificially create many of these image qualities.
Finally, let’s turn briefly to what are usually the last steps in image processing: the final check and the creation of the output files.
> Open exercise file 24.
With the final steps of image processing, we primarily perform quality assurance.
We subject the Photoshop master to a final check and focus our attention on a few sensitive points that are especially important for print output.
Is the working color space – in our case Adobe RGB (1998) – also the target color space, or do we need to do a profile conversion for the output file we want to create last?
> Look at the Info palette.
> Activate the soft proof via cmd+Y and deactivate it again.
After the profile conversion, we check the Total Ink value again by measuring the black point, i.e. the darkest part of the image. Basically, we should be able to rely on the parameters of the ICC profile. However, a double check provides certainty.
> Check black point, via Total Ink in the Info palette.
As is generally known, white in print means: does not print. Small light reflections, shiners and highlights may be free of printer dots.
Larger white areas that are softly embedded in the print image should, however, have a slight tonal value. This is because at the edge of the non-printing area, as already mentioned, a fine line of very small printer dots will be visible in a gradient. You want to avoid the appearance of this line.
If you discover such areas in the final check, you should, depending on the intended printing process, add a minimum tonal value of 1-3% (when exposing the printing plates via film: 3%) with the help of a tonal value correction.
> Check white point via Total Ink in the Info palette.
> Open Image / Adjustments / Curves and activate white point.
> Position the cursor in a pure white area.
> Lower the white point by pressing the down arrow key until Total Ink in the Info palette is no longer zero and give OK.
Colors and saturations:
Immediately after converting the RGB image into a CMYK image, the colors and saturations in particular should be subjected to close inspection once again.
Occurring insufficiencies can sometimes be improved a little with Selective Color and Vibrance.
You should also always pay special attention to long, smooth gradients. Particularly in print, certain color settings in gradients tend to band.
To counteract the undesirable banding effect, problematic gradients should always be provided with noise. We learned about the appropriate technique when discussing the Gradient Tool.
Artifacts, banding and other errors often show up really clearly only in one or the other color channel.
If you discover undesirable things, you can now apply the very last fine retouching measures.
> Cmd+3, cmd+4, cmd+5 and finally cmd+2 again.
Once we have made sure that everything is set up properly, we can start creating the output files.
For different output destinations, we need to make copies of the image in different file formats.
Since we already talked extensively about the main file formats in the Basics Workshop, I’ll just give a brief outline of them here.
Working and print output file formats
> File / Save As…
> Expand Format Menu.
Photoshop and Large Document Format are our working file formats. The Photoshop master is always in PSD or PSB format.
For print output, we create either an EPS or a TIFF.
The EPS scores with the possibility to embed vector data (e.g. a clipping path) in it. In addition, it is already geared to the postscript workflow, which is of great importance for all high-end printing processes. The prepress workflows for offset, gravure, flexo and digital printing all use this standard.
TIFF is usually preferred when it comes to choosing a suitable print output file format. It is flexible, offers a clipping option with the use of an alpha channel, and can retain transparencies. It also does not rely on the Postscript workflow.
I provide a detailed discussion of the all-important PDF workflow in more appropriate contexts. It is hardly appropriate to create a PDF in Photoshop. Usually this is done in one of the output programs, i.e. Illustrator or InDesign.
If you want to hear more about this important aspect of print document preparation, you should attend one of the two Praxismoduls Graphic Design 1 and 2 in the coming summer semester. There, the topic of PDF creation will be discussed at length.
Display output file formats
For images that are not printed but prepared for display, other file formats are important.
For images on the web, the primary requirement is that they load quickly on the page. And this requirement makes it essential to reduce the file size of such images. After all, only image files of small size pass through the eye of the needle that is the Internet at sufficient speed.
There is no need to discuss the classics GIF and JPEG in an advanced workshop. It should suffice to mention the main differences between the two commonly used file formats.
With GIF, compression is achieved by indexing, that is, by throwing colors overboard.
To fully exploit the potential of GIF compression, the web designer likes to make the appropriate settings in the Save for Web dialog.
> Open File / Export / Save for Web (Legacy).
> Previews 4-Up. Preview top right: GIF.
> Reduce Colors to 32.
Since indexing colors in photos and halftone images (such as printed artwork) quickly leads to a severe loss of quality, the GIF is less suitable for compressing such files. When compressing images of more graphical content, however, GIF can play to its strengths.
The JPEG is different.
> Preview below left: JPEG.
> Quality High.
Here is a sophisticated algorithm at work, which manages to greatly reduce the file size and still achieve a high fidelity even in photos and halftone images.
Unlike the GIF, the JPEG cannot handle transparencies in the image. However, the JPEG 2000 format provides a remedy for this.
JPEG 2000 is, of course, a further development of the classic JPEG file format. JPEG 2000 can be selected in the normal Save As or Save a Copy dialog.
- In JPEG 2000, transparency is possible using alpha channels.
- Compression has been further improved compared to classic JPEG.
- JPEG 2000 allows lossy as well as lossless compression of images.
- ICC profiles can be embedded in the file.
> Preview on the bottom right: PNG24.
PNG has become one of the most popular file formats for files that are to be output on-screen. Whether on the web or for presentations, PNG is gaining ground over JPEG, but also over GIF. And there are many reasons for this.
- PNG24 succeeds with a lossless compression and thus competes in certain areas with the classic JPEG, but also with TIFF.
- PNG24 can be stored with a bit depth of 8 or 16 bits/channel and is in this respect in no way inferior to a TIFF. It would become an even stronger competitor to TIFF if it could handle CMYK.
> Preview below right: PNG8.
- PNG8’s better compression ratio gives slightly smoother results than GIF compression.
- PNG8 and PNG24 can handle transparencies in the image.
- PNGs are very stable and error resistant.
- All popular browsers, and most popular programs that allow the display of graphical content, can render PNGs.
For these reasons, it is also recommended to choose PNG as the default file format for the quick export.
> Cancel Save for Web.
> Open File / Export / Export Preferences and close it again.
> Open File / Export / Export As.
The export function is a welcome shortcut compared to the extensive Save for Web dialog and speeds up exporting immensely, especially for web, GUI and UX designers.
On the left of the dialog is a kind of file browser, which currently shows only a single image. Let’s cancel the process and take a closer look at what this is all about.
> Duplicate background layer, invert via Cmd+I.
Especially in web design, it is often necessary to export several image elements, layers or artboards to be able to quickly integrate them into a design or upload them.
Export As… allows such a multiple export in a single pass.
> Activate both layers in the Layers palette.
> Right-click, select Export As.
A look into the file browser now reveals its strengths.
We can define multiple scaling factors for the elements listed in the browser column.
> Activate Select All checkbox.
> Click on the plus symbol.
> Format 0.5x and suffix @0.5x.
In this way, the files can be exported in a single step in different final formats and provided with the corresponding suffixes in the file name.
In the right panel of the dialog, specific settings can be made for each individual subject.
> “Background”: PNG, Transparency, Smaller File (= PNG8).
> “Background Copy”: JPEG, Quality 5, Convert to sRGB, Embed Color Profile.
> Export all: Create folder “Upload” in your own student folder and OK.
Let’s take a look at the export result.
> Go to the “Upload” folder in the Finder and examine the contents.
> Open exercise file 13 again.
One last aspect should be checked in the output files: the image sharpness.
Depending on the scale factor and the image resolution, we may need to sharpen the output file.
This also applies to JPEGs, PNGs or GIFs in RGB mode for display output, files that are known to have an image resolution of 72 ppi.
Of even greater importance is the sharpness in print output files, as these will still lose sharpness in subsequent media steps. I’m talking here, of course, about files that are in CMYK mode, that is, TIFFs or EPS files with an image resolution of 300 ppi.
I don’t think we need to talk about the image resolution itself anymore, that was clarified once and for all in the Basics Workshop.
Earlier in the workshop we looked at what we call input sharpening, and that was in the context of Raw conversion. Input sharpening was about giving the image a good base sharpness at maximum resolution.
Output sharpening, on the other hand, is about giving the image a final sharpening after it has been converted to output resolution.
To sharpen the output file, I like to use the Smart Sharpen filter. Smart Sharpen allows an even more differentiated sharpening than is possible with the classic Unsharp Mask.
> Open Filter / Sharpen / Smart Sharpen.
We look for a prominent zone in the focus area of the image and define it for the preview.
> Aim at the upper end of the rope/bar corner, preview zoom factor 200%.
The criterion for output sharpening is to raise the sharpness to the point where the impression of sharpness is good, but there are no halo effects or artifacts on the contours in the image.
We remember: the image sharpness is located in the contour or edge area of the image.
In addition, we want to avoid in any case that the structures of the homogeneous inner areas stand out unpleasantly due to over-sharpening.
Let’s set the sharpness first.
> Amount 500%, Radius 5 px, Reduce Noise 10%.
An Amount of 500% and a Radius of 5 px are of course completely exaggerated. The unwanted halo effect is clearly visible. We reduce the Amount and Radius until the image in 100% view gives a good impression of sharpness and the negative effects in the 200% preview are reduced to a minimum.
> Activate default.
> Amount 150%, Radius 1 Px, Reduce Noise 10%.
For a 300 ppi image that has a good basic sharpness, choose an Amount between 50 and 150% and a Radius value of 1. The noise reduction should not be too strong, otherwise the microtextures of the boards, but also of the meadow, will be affected.
By choosing an item from the Remove menu, we specify what kind of blur we want to remove. In most cases it is about removing something like lens blur.
> Expand the Shadows / Highlights panel.
The Smart Sharpen filter allows us to sharpen the shadows and highlights differently. For example, if we want to leave the shadows unsharpened, we set the Fading of the shadows to 100% and so on.
In our case, we need sharpening in both the highlights and the shadows. So we leave the shadows and highlights sliders untouched at 0%.