PHOTOSHOP

FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

Thomas Niemann

Table of Contents
Photoshop for Photographers.......................................................................................................... 3 Color Correction............................................................................................................................... 5 Color Correction Introduction ....................................................................................................... 5 Calibration .................................................................................................................................... 5 Color Theory ................................................................................................................................ 6 Levels........................................................................................................................................... 7 Auto Levels ................................................................................................................................ 10 Curves........................................................................................................................................ 11 Brightness/Contrast ................................................................................................................... 14 Eyedroppers............................................................................................................................... 16 Color Correction Summary ........................................................................................................ 16 Exporting........................................................................................................................................ 20 Resizing ..................................................................................................................................... 20 Unsharp Mask ............................................................................................................................ 21 JPEG Files ................................................................................................................................. 23 Black and White............................................................................................................................. 24 Image Toning ............................................................................................................................. 24 Converting to Grayscale ............................................................................................................ 25 Focus ............................................................................................................................................. 28 Depth of Field, Part I .................................................................................................................. 28 Depth of Field, Part II ................................................................................................................. 31 Soft Focus .................................................................................................................................. 34

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Photoshop for Photographers
by Thomas Niemann

This is a collection of tutorials on Photoshop for photographers. Included are the following topics: Color Correction. Learn about color theory, Levels, and Curves. Learn how to use Eyedroppers, and why you shouldn't use the Brightness/Contrast adjustments. Exporting Files. Learn how to resize images for the web and printed output. Learn about the Unsharp Mask, and how to optimize JPEG files. Black and White. Learn how to clone duotone techniques. Learn how to create grayscale images with filter effects. Focus. Learn how to simulate the depth of field of a large-format camera. Learn how to improve glamour images with soft focus techniques. To view contents offline, download this PDF file (1000k). It's intended for printed output, so you'll have to go online in order to click on links and properly view the images. Thomas Niemann Portland, Oregon epaperpress.com

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Workflow
Under Edit > Color Settings you can specify a workspace. This is the color space that you use while editing images. Later, when you export the image, you can reprofile the image to a different color space (Image > Mode > Convert to Profile). For example, if you plan to export images for the web, they should be in sRGB color space — the web standard. If you export images created in Adobe RGB (a very wide color space) to the web without reprofiling, they will have muted colors when viewed within a browser. You should use a large color space, such as Adobe RGB, to ensure that values are not truncated if you do extensive edits. Also, if you're targeting the press and need CMYK colors, Adobe RGB is a good choice since it encompasses both the CMYK and sRGB colors. If you have a digital camera that supports PIM, consider importing under PIM and do an automatic profile conversion to the workspace of your choice. In my case, I do not do extensive color shifts, and do not target the press. I do target the web and an inkjet printer. In both instances I see no difference between working in sRGB and Adobe RGB. Consequently, I've chosen sRGB as my color workspace. This makes my workflow very simple as I don't need to do profile-to-profile conversions. I still use PIM to import my images and do an automatic conversion to sRGB. Edit digital images in the following sequence:

• • • • • •

Use Levels and Curves to adjust density and color balance. Retouch the image with the Rubber Stamp or Healing Brush tools. Save an archival copy of the image in PSD or TIFF format. Resize the image as needed. Sharpen the image with the Unsharp Mask. Save as a JPEG for the web, or print on your printer.

Applying Levels and Curves to an image often brings out blemishes and artifacts that you can subsequently retouch with the Rubber Stamp tool. Resizing, after retouching, helps smooth out retouching imperfections. Sharpening should be the last step, as sharpening parameters depend on target resolution.

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Color Correction
Color Correction Introduction
The following picture needs serious attention. The image was scanned from a 40-year old color slide that had yellowed with age. Click the radio button to view the corrected image.

Before After

This image was corrected in two minutes using Levels, Curves, and the Unsharp mask in Photoshop. The Brightness/Contrast sliders were not used. For quality images, this is the last tool of choice. You'll understand why when you have completed this section.

Calibration
Monitor Calibration
Did you find the rollover, on the previous page, too dark or too light? Maybe you need to calibrate your monitor. Photoshop includes Adobe Gamma, a utility to calibrate your monitor. You may have more accurate results using an alternative procedure.

Printer Calibration
Here's a way you can calibrate your printer for free. As you might suspect, results are not as good as you could obtain by investing in some hardware/software to facilitate the process. For my setup, however, it made a significant difference. You should be able to see all the patches in the following grayscale. And, if you print the scale on your printer, you should still see all the patches and all the patches should be a shade of gray. Give it a try. Right-click on this link to download a TIFF version of the grayscale, load it into Photoshop, and print the image.

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If you have color casts in some of the patches you can use Curves to make corrections. After determining the settings required, save the parameters in a file (the Save button in the Curves dialog). Next time you print an image, load the same curves just prior to printing. For convenience you may want to make this an action. So how do you determine the points in the Curve dialog? Although the TIFF file consists of a grayscale image, it's in RGB format so you can adjust colors with Curves. Find the patch with the most error. Open a Curves adjustment layer and guess at a correction for that patch. In my case the center of the grayscale had a brownish tint. This indicated too much red was present. At the appropriate point I subtracted 10 units of red and added 5 units of green and blue to keep the same density value. Print the result after correcting the patch. Continue this procedure until satisfied. That is, choose the patch that needs the most attention, correct that patch, and print the results. Drag the cursor in the image while the Curves dialog box is open to determine where each patch lies on the curve. To step through each point in the Curves dialog box, left-click on the graph to give it focus, then Ctrl-Tab to cycle through the points. Use the arrow keys to move points, or enter exact values in the text boxes at the bottom of the graph. I corrected the grayscale within 30 minutes in 6 iterations. The final version had 3 points/channel, at input values of 64, 128, and 192. Since color-calibrating the printer my black & white prints are black & white, and my color prints more closely resemble what I see in my monitor.

Color Theory
Colors are represented on computers using binary bits. Each bit can contain a "0" or "1". Eight bits are in a byte, the basic unit for representing a character. With one byte you can count from 00000000 to 11111111 in binary, or from 0 to 255 in decimal. You can represent up to 256 different numbers, including zero, in one byte. An alternative numbering system, hexadecimal, may be used to designate the value in each byte. Hexadecimal is a base-16 numbering system whose digits are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, and F. In hexadecimal the value of a byte can range from 00 to FF. For 24-bit color each color is represented by three 8-bit bytes. Each byte represents one of the primary additive colors: red, green, or blue (RGB). Colors are displayed on your monitor with RGB phosphors. Some sample colors, and their hexadecimal equivalents, are shown below. The primary colors — red, green, and blue — are shown in the first row. The second row contains black, white, and gray. You can make 256 shades of gray by using equal contributions from each of the primary colors.

(1)

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(2)

You can mix colors with black or white paint to create shades of color. To add black paint, reduce the color values of all channels so they tend toward 00. To add white paint, increase the color values of all channels so they tend toward FF. This is illustrated in the third row.

(3)

(4)

In Photoshop use the Lightness slider in the Hue/Saturation dialog box (Ctrl-U) to add paint. Move the Lightness slider to the left to add black paint, and to the right to add white paint. Gray paint has been added to the last swatch in row three. With the addition of gray, colors become less saturated and tend toward 7F. Increasing Saturation in the Hue/Saturation dialog box increases the difference between color channels. Decreasing Saturation reduces the difference between color channels, colors values are averaged, and the image resembles a grayscale at the extreme. The primary colors are combined in row four. These are commonly known as CMY colors (Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow), and form the basis of the subtractive color system. CMYK inks used in the press, where K stands for black. Black is added to ensure rich dark tones on printed output. If you're targeting the press, you need to be familiar with these colors. If you're targeting the web, or your inkjet printer, work with RGB colors. Even though inkjet printers use CMYK inks, the interface is RGB. You can use the Info panel to measure colors. After opening the Info panel, move your cursor to measure colors within Photoshop. If you want to measure colors outside Photoshop use DotColor, a Windows-based application. The eyedropper for DotColor resides in your toolbar and can be used to measure colors at any point on your screen. DotColor is freely available from Inetis.

Levels
The Levels dialog box (Ctrl-L), shown below, can be used to control brightness and contrast of an image. In the center is a histogram that indicates the relative distribution of pixels by tonal value. Dark values are represented on the left side of the diagram, and light values on the right side. Neutral gray is in the center. A peak in the histogram means that there are many pixels in that density range.

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Lighten/Darken Adjustments
The gray input slider, also known as the gamma slider, defines neutral gray (127,127,127) for the input image. You can read gamma values at the top of the dialog box. When you move the gamma slider to the left, more pixels map to the right of the slider. This means there are more light-colored pixels in the image and the image lightens. When you move the gray slider to the right, more pixels map to the left of the slider and the image darkens.

Original Lighten Image Darken Image

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When you move the black and white input sliders toward the center, you expand a small portion of tonal range in the image to the full-scale output. The result is an increase in contrast. Values to the left of the black input slider, and to the right of the white input slider, are truncated.

Contrast Adjustments
When you move the output sliders toward the center, you compress the tonal range selected by the input sliders to be less than full-scale. The result is a decrease in contast. The final image will not contain any tonal values to the left of the black output slider, and to the right of the white output slider.

Original Increase Contrast

Decrease Constrast

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Auto Levels
With Auto Levels you can easily restore dynamic range and remove color casts from most pictures. You can use the short-cut key (Ctrl-Shift-L), or click on the Auto button in the Levels or Curves dialog box. Auto Levels automatically adjusts the black and white input sliders in the Levels dialog box. The slider for each color channel is adjusted independently. The sliders are moved toward the center, truncating tonal values with few pixels. Click on Options in Levels to adjust clipping points for shadows and highlights. When set at 0.50% the sliders will truncate 0.50% of the pixels at both ends. The following histograms illustrate the action taken by Auto Levels on a typical image.

The image had a strong color cast that can be seen in the histogram for the blue channel. Truncating void values expands the channel to full range. The assumption being made is that scene illumination, or something in the digital transfer, caused this channel to be compressed. Expanding the channel to full range is simply undoing the damage.

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This technique can do an amazingly good job of removing color casts and restoring dynamic range. All that is needed for the process to work properly is a very dark shadow and a very bright highlight. They will be restored to (00,00,00) and (FF,FF,FF), respectively. Results are unsatisfactory when this technique is applied to high-key fashion shots that lack dark tones, or sepia-colored photographs with an intentional color shift. The following histograms illustrate the RGB values before and after applying Auto Levels.

Comparing the Before and After histograms, we see that the tonal values now run full scale. However, a lot of static is present. The spikes result when two values map into one value. There are also some empty slots — a result of expanding the blue channel. Although the final histogram looks a mess, the image looks great and has no hint of a color cast. Image quality degrades each time you apply Auto Levels, Levels, or Curves. For this reason it's best to use an adjustment layer. With an adjustment layer you can revisit and modify settings at a later date without compromising image quality.

Curves
The Curves dialog box (Ctrl-M), shown below, offers more flexible control over tonal quality than Levels. The graph shows a mapping of tonal values from input to output. Input values are represented on the bottom of the graph, and output values are on the left side of the graph. The curve shown represents a simple linear mapping.

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Each value in the input maps to an identical value on the output. The slope of the straight-line portion of the curve is known as gamma. A gamma of one, illustrated above, indicates no change in contrast. Gamma values greater than one, or an increase in slope, indicate an increase in contrast. Gamma values less than one, or a decrease in slope, indicate a decrease in contrast. To change the curve, click on the curve to add a point. Drag the point to alter the shape of the curve. To delete a point, drag the point off the graph.

Lighten/Darken Adjustments
To lighten an image, drag the center point to the left. This causes more pixels to be mapped to the upper half of the output, and results in a lighter image. This adjustment corresponds to moving the gray slider to the left in Levels. Shadows have increased contrast (gamma > 1), and highlights have decreased contrast (gamma < 1). To darken an image, drag the center point to the right. This causes more pixels to be mapped to the lower half of the output, and results in a darker image. This adjustment corresponds to moving the gray slider to the right in Levels. Shadows have decreased contrast (gamma < 1), and highlights have increased contrast (gamma > 1).

Original Lighten Image Darken Image

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Contrast Adjustments
To increase the contrast of an image, drag the endpoints of the curve horizontally toward the center. This causes a small range of tonal values maps to the output range, and results in an increase of contrast. This adjustment increases the slope of the curve (gamma), and corresponds to moving the black and white input sliders toward the center in Levels. To decrease the contrast of an image, drag the endpoints of the curve vertically toward the center. This causes the input tonal values to map to a smaller output range, and results in a decrease of contrast. This adjustment decreases the slope of the curve (gamma), and corresponds to moving the black and white output sliders toward the center in Levels.

Original Increase Contrast

Decrease Constrast

With Curves you can also change the contrast of midtones to increase contrast. Place and drag two points to make the S-shaped curve shown below. Midtones exhibit increased contrast, while shadow and highlight areas show reduced contrast. The net result is a perceived increase in contrast, while retaining detail in the shadows and highlights. This adjustment is usually preferable to a simple straight line, where shadow and highlight detail is lost.

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Linear Increase Contrast

S-Shaped Curve

You can decrease contrast in a similar manner. Again, place and drag two points to make the S-shaped curve shown below. Midtones exhibit decreased contrast, while shadow and highlight areas show increased contrast. The net result is a perceived decrease in contrast, without losing rich blacks or bright highlights in the output image. This adjustment is usually preferable to a simple straight line, where deep blacks and highlights are lost.

Linear Decrease Contrast

S-shaped Curve

Brightness/Contrast
Without a doubt, the Brightness/Contrast dialog box (Image > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast) is the easiest way to make tonal adjustments. These controls work just like the adjustments on your television. Notice that no shortcut is provided to this feature in Photoshop. You'll see why in a minute. You can duplicate the effect of the Contrast slider in the Curves dialog box. An increase in contrast moves the endpoints of the curve horizontally toward the center, and a decrease in contrast moves the endpoints of the curve vertically toward the center.

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Increase Contrast

Decrease

This results in a loss of detail in shadow and highlight areas. These adjustments are similar to adjustments of the input and output sliders in Levels. With Levels, however, you have a histogram to view pixel distribution and can intelligently select cut-off points. With the Contrast slider, you're operating in the dark. Increasing and decreasing brightness adds the specified value to all pixels. This effectively moves the transfer curve up or down as indicated below.

Increase Brightness

Decrease

Again we have a loss of detail in shadow and highlight areas. The gamma slider in Levels, or shifting the midpoint in Curves, yields better results without loss of detail. The following dark image has been lightened using the Levels and the Brightness control. Judge for yourself.

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Original Levels Control

Brightness Control

Eyedroppers
You may have noticed eyedroppers in the Levels and Curves dialog boxes. Eyedroppers can also be used to restore dynamic range and remove color casts. The following eyedropper tools are available: White eyedropper. Click on the white eyedropper and select a pixel that you want to be white (FF,FF,FF) in the image. The pixel is forced white, and the rest of the image is adjusted accordingly. The adjustment is done by applying a constant multiplier to all pixel values. For example, if you selected a pixel with a value of 244, the multiplier is 255/244. A pixel with a value of 200 changes to 209 (200 x 255/244). A pixel with a value of 50 changes to 52 (50 x 255/244). Consequently the effect is strongest on light-colored pixels. Black eyedropper. Click on the black eyedropper and select a pixel that you want to be black (00,00,00). The pixel is forced black, and the rest of the image is adjusted accordingly. The adjustment is the inverse of the adjustment for the white eyedropper, and the effect is strongest on darkcolored pixels. Gray eyedropper. Click on the gray eyedropper and select a pixel that you want to be gray. This eyedropper removes color casts in midtones. It's not looking for an exact gray (7F,7F,7F), but an initial value of 60 to A0 for each channel is reasonable. It then balances the three RGB components so they have the same value (a shade of gray), and proportionally applies the correction to the rest of the image. Double-click on an eyedropper to specify black and white points. Use default values of (00,00,00) and (FF,FF,FF) for the black and white eyedroppers when targeting the web or inkjet printers. When targeting the press, consult with your printer for specific values.

Color Correction Summary
You have seen four ways to control tonality: Brightness/Contrast, Eyedroppers, Levels, and Curves. Each method was more complex than the previous one, but offered more control.

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Brightness/Contrast controls are coarse adjustments that truncate shadows and highlights and give no feedback for the damage done. With eyedroppers you can expand dynamic range and correct color casts, but brightness adjustments are not possible. Levels displays a histogram, allowing you to intelligently adjust brightness and contrast. Finally, with Curves you have the most freedom. You can do anything Levels does, and more. You can specify any transfer curve you wish in order to obtain optimum image quality and retain shadow and highlight detail. The best strategy is to avoid the Brightness/Contrast controls altogether. You can achieve much better results, and avoid truncated shadows and highlights, using Levels and Curves. To correct an image, first remove color casts and restore dynamic range. Try one of the following: Auto Levels. Frequently this will result in a remarkable improvement in image quality. This may be the only step required. Auto Levels, manual method. Sometimes, due to a few stray pixels, you must simulate Auto Levels by manually moving the sliders in the Levels dialog box. Adjust each color channel independently, bringing the input sliders toward the center to truncate unused areas. Eyedroppers. Use the black and white eyedroppers in Levels to set black and white points. Use the gray eyedropper to remove color casts. After restoring dynamic range, use one of the following methods to adjust brightness: Levels. Fine-tune brightness with the gray slider. Curves. Make adjustments to modify brightness. After you gain experience with Curves, you can specify Auto Levels from the Curves dialog box and fine-tune each color channels individually. This is the technique used for the example in this tutorial. The following steps were taken to color-correct the example. To follow along, right-click on the image and download it to your computer. Then, as you read, make corresponding adjustments in Photoshop. First, apply Auto Levels to the image. This corrects many deficiencies. However, there is still a reddish cast to the grass.

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Original After Auto

To remove the reddish cast, gamma was decreased in the Levels red channel. This made the grass green, but also removed the rosy-red coloring from the young lady's cheeks! It was noted that the grassy area was considerably darker than facial features. If we use Curves instead Levels, we can adjust the red channel to decrease its contribution in dark areas. An Sshaped curve was drawn in the red channel, decreasing gamma at the extremes, and increasing gamma for midtones. This had the effect of eliminating the color cast in the grass, and accentuating those rosy red cheeks. The picture, modified with Curves, is now as I remember it — taken near sunset at a park in Germany, showing the healthy glow of a young child at play.

Original Auto + Levels Auto + Curves

Using Levels and Curves will soon become second nature. These tools will add quality to your images, and allow you to do things that darkroom technicians can only dream about. Effects that were once the provenance of studio photographers are easy to do in Photoshop. For example, a light-red filter is often added to give warmth to a photograph. You can do the same thing by increasing red channel gamma. Not only that, but you can vary the effect, watch it change, and click "OK" when it's perfect! After you've corrected the dynamic range and removed color casts, it's time to print the image or export it for the Web. Before proceeding, save your work. The file format you choose is important. JPEG files utilize lossy compression. Every time you save an image, data is

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compressed and information is lost. Simply opening, saving, and re-opening a JPEG file several time degrades image quality. For archiving purposes, save your images in a non-lossy format. You can save an image in Photoshop's native PSD file format, or export the image to a TIFF file. Saving it in PSD format retains all layers and adjustments. When you export to a TIFF file, the file is smaller but you lose layer and adjustment information.

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Exporting
Resizing

Choose Image > Image Size to resize an image. The choices under Pixel Dimensions allow you to change the number of pixels in an image. The choices under Document Size control the printed size of an image. There are two checkboxes in the Image Size dialog box: Constrain Proportions. When checked you will see a link symbol appear between the Width and Height attributes. This indicates that the ratio of width to height will remain constant. If you change the Width, for example, Height changes proportionally. Check this option if you want a simple enlargement or reduction without distortion. Resample Image. When checked you can change the number of pixels in an image. When unchecked, the Pixel Dimensions section of the dialog box is grayed-out, indicating the number of pixels remains constant. When you export an image to a file, a file header is included. The header describes characteristics, such as pixel dimensions, of an image. For JPEG and TIFF file formats, the resolution in pixels/inch (ppi) is also included. When Resample Image is enabled, changing dimensions changes the number of pixels in an image, and resolution remains constant. When Resample Image is disabled, changing dimensions changes the resolution in the file header, and the number of pixels remains constant. Resizing parameters depend on the target: Targeting the Web. For display on a monitor, pixel dimensions determine image size. Ideally, you want the image to display without scroll bars. As a test you might configure your display for 800x600 and view your site. If different dimensions are required, enable Resample Image and resize. Targeting a Printer. To adjust the size of a printed image, disable Resample Image. This locks pixel dimensions so that the total number of pixels remains the same. Then adjust Width or Height to the desired value in inches. For good

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quality images on an inkjet printer, resolution should be at least 240 ppi. If resolution is lower than this value, select the Resample Image checkbox, specify bicubic interpolation, and increase resolution to 240-300 ppi. Some manufacturers recommend ppi resolutions that divide evenly into the dpi of the printer. For example, if you have a 1440 dpi printer, you might choose 240 ppi (1440/6). Press OK and you're done. Note that the GIF file header does not specify image resolution. For this reason, you can't designate an output print size for GIF files. When you resample an image, the number of pixels in the image changes. For example, if you quadruple the number of pixels, each pixel in the original image becomes four pixels. You may be wondering what happens if you increase the size of an image by an odd factor, such as 10 percent. You can't add one-tenth of a pixel! In this case Photoshop interpolates, using surrounding information, to determine the resulting color of the new pixel. At the bottom of the dialog box you can specify three choices for interpolation: Bicubic. Each pixel in the resized image is based on a weighted average of eight surrounding pixels (left, right, top, bottom, and four corners). Bilinear. Similar to Bicubic, but uses four pixels (left, right, top, bottom), and produces softer edges. Nearest Neighbor. Each pixel in the resized image is simply a copy of a single neighboring pixel. This produces very hard edges. For photographic purposes, Bicubic is recommended. Every time you resize, some information is lost. Resizing should be one of the final steps in your workflow. You may wish to forego the Image Size dialog altogether and just use the Crop tool. With the Crop tool you can crop and resize in one step. For example, if you want to make 4x6" prints, click on the crop tool, set crop size to 1000x1500, and specify 250 for resolution. The area you select will be resized and sampled to these criteria. This works great when targeting images for a printer such as Ofoto.

Unsharp Mask
To sharpen an image, use the Unsharp Mask (Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask). This strange terminology stems from a darkroom procedure used to sharpen images. To sharpen an image in the darkroom, contact print the negative onto masking film to create a low-contast thin positive. To make an enlargement, tape the positive and negative together, and register (align) the two images. Both negative and positive masks should face the same way. When enlarging, focus on the negative image. This creates a positive unsharp mask, as the film base separates the two layers of emulsion. Since the positive is very thin, its contribution is minimal. However, on contrasting edges the unsharp positive creates opposing tonal values by allowing light, or lack of light, to influence the edge. This increases edge contrast and gives the illusion of a sharper image. In Photoshop the same effect is simulated in software by comparing adjacent pixel values and enhancing the difference. The following figure is a magnified view that illustrates the unsharp mask in action.

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The following options are available in the Unsharp Mask: Amount. This is the volume control of the USM. Increase Amount to increase contrast of adjacent pixels. Amounts ranging from 50 to 150 are typical. Radius. Specify the radius, from an edge, that the USM sharpens. Use a radius equal to resolution divided by 150. For a screen resolution of 72 ppi, use 0.5. If you're targeting an inkjet printer with a 300ppi image, a radius of 2.0 is appropriate. Threshold. Control sharpening in smooth areas that lack contrast. Two adjacent pixels are eligible for sharpening if the difference in brightness is greater than the Threshold. Use zero for all pixels to participate, and a higher value to suppress sharpening in smooth areas. For detailed landscapes, use a low Threshold of 0 for maximum detail. For images taken with a digital camera, use a Threshold of 1 or 5 to minimize noise. For close-up portraits, use Thresholds up to 5 or more to suppress sharpening of skin pores. The degree of sharpening will depend on target resolution. Consequently, sharpening should be done at the end of your workflow. If you use a digital camera, turn off in-camera sharpening and leave all sharpening for Photoshop. This gives you more control over the process, and utilizes Photoshop's sophisticated sharpening algorithms. The following image illustrates the effects of sharpening. Excessive sharpening produces edge artifacts.

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Original Sharpened Excessive Sharpening

JPEG Files
If you are exporting for the Web, the JPEG file format is a logical choice for photographic images. It's compact and is capable of displaying the full gamut of colors. You can decrease the size of a JPEG file by lowering the Quality factor when saving a file. Images in this document were saved with a Quality factor of 60. Artifacts start to appear when Quality is too low.

High Quality Low Quality

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Black and White
Image Toning
Ever see a toned image on the web and wonder how they did it? Here's a simple procedure that will enable you to reproduce toning, be it duotone, tritone, quadtone, or whatever, in five minutes.

Pass your cursor over the above image to see the subtle improvement toning provides. Duotones, tritones, and quadtones utilize Pantone colors and Curves to blend Pantone inks. If you're targeting the press, and they've got these inks installed on a printer, then this is the way to do it. However, if you're targeting an inkjet printer, or any other type of photographic printer, that's the hard way. There's no need to use Pantone colors — your printer doesn't have them! It's much easier to switch to RGB mode and use the standard Curves dialog box. If you have a toned image that you wish to mimick, here's a step-by-step procedure for determining points on the curve:

• • • • • • • •

select the image (Ctrl-A) copy the image (Ctrl-C) open a new document (Ctrl-N) paste into the new document (Ctrl-V) convert to grayscale (Image > Mode > Grayscale) convert to RGB (Image > Mode > RGB) add a Curves adjustment layer past again

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If you did everything right, the layers should look something like this:

Now toggle the top two layers off so only the B&W image shows. Choose the Color Sampler tool (it's under the Eyedropper), and specify Point Sample. Zoom-in so you can see individual pixels and lay down points at densities of approximately 64, 128, and 192. Check the Info palette for values and use the Space Bar to navigate. Record the exact grayscale value at each point. Now enable the top color layer to find out what the RGB values are at each point. Record these values. You now know the RGB values for three different places on the curve. Open the Curves adjustment layer and enter these values in the RGB channels. For example, if you measure an RGB value of 62/58/65 when the grayscale value is 64, then your Curves input/output points should be 64/62 for red, 64/58 for green, and 64/65 for blue. Repeat the process for grayscale values 128 and 192. When done check your results by toggling the top color layer on and off. If you need more points for an accurate rendering, try intermediate grayscale values such as 96 and 160. Save the results with the Save button in the Curves dialog box. Next time you want to apply this tone to a color image, convert the image from RGB to Grayscale to eliminate color, convert it back to RGB again, and load the calibrated toning curves. Examine the curves for your favorite toning effect to see if you can find a pattern. For example, brown tones are often accomplished by increasing the contribution of red, and decreasing the contribution of blue. Armed with this knowledge, you can easily make your own toning curves.

Converting to Grayscale
There are several ways to convert an RGB color image to grayscale:

• • •

Image > Mode > Grayscale. Hue/Saturation, and set Saturation to zero. Enable Monochrome in the Channel Mixer.

The last method, using the Channel Mixer, affords the most control. Consider the following picture of the Ickworth House.

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Grayscale is the Photoshop Image > Mode > Grayscale command. Other effects were done in the Channel Mixer, with Monochrome enabled, using the following settings. Filter none yellow orange green infrared high contrast R/G/B 43/33/30 60/28/15 78/22/0 10/70/20 40/140/-80 40/34/60

For some insight in the workings of the Channel Mixer, let's examine each color channel individually.

Red

Green

Blue

The red channel is sensitive to red light. Most noticeable are white roses and a dark sky. The green channel lightens shrubbery and grass, while the blue channel lightens the sky. You can obtain a similar effect using black & white film and shooting through colored filters. When you convert to grayscale, Photoshop combines the color channels to produce a black and white image. However, you can use the Channel Mixer for more flexability. If you design your own settings, mix at least two channels to avoid excessive noise. The above image was processed in Panorama Tools to remove lens barrel distortion and parallax distortion.

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Focus
Depth of Field, Part I
Depth of field is very shallow for large-format cameras. The photographer can focus on the subject while the background appears blurred and plays a less important role. Pass your cursor over the following image to see the effect.

In this picture shallow depth of field, or selective focus, was simulated in Photoshop. There are three methods you can use to achieve this effect.

Method 1
Select the background and blur the selection (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur). If you make a mistake, then undo the blur, modify the selection, and redo the blur. You may find easier to select the subject and invert the selection — or use the Quick Mask (Q) mode. To mimimize edge effects around the selection, modify the procedure as follows. After making the selection, right-click on the layer and choose Layer via Copy (Ctrl-J). Then Lock Transparent Pixels (the small button near the top of the Layers palette) prior to blurring to prevent blurred pixels in the background from altering the subject. This method uses a two-step process: make a selection, then blur the selection. Wouldn't it be nice if you could use a brush to apply a blur and view the image while painting? The remaining methods have this advantage.

Method 2
Duplicate the layer, blur the duplicated layer (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur), and erase portions of the blurred image so that the original sharp image shows through.

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The Layers palette for our image is shown above. Erasing the blurred layer to transparency allows the sharp layer to show through.

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Mask

Original

Final Image

If you make a mistake and erase too much, you can undo (Edit > Undo) and try again. However, you must undo to the point of the error, and this may erase a substantial portion of your work. Also, if you save the file and rework it at a later date, the erased portions of the blurred image are lost. If you want erased sections restored you'll have to start again from the beginning.

Method 3
Use the History palette to save snapshots of a sharp and blurred image, then use the History Brush and paint sharp or blurred areas.

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Sharp Brush

Blur Brush

Scroll Problem

Click on the camera icon at the bottom of the History palette to take a snapshot of the image. Then blur the image and take another snapshot. Enable the sharp or blurred brush, as shown, and edit the image. With this method you can arbitrarily change any portion of the image at any time. There's no need to undo — just repaint with the correct brush. After applying the History Brush a few times the snapshots scroll out of sight. This means that you must scroll to the beginning in order to access the correct brush. Also, snapshots are lost when you save a file. Later, if you decide to rework the image, the sharp/blurred base images are no longer present.

Method 4
Use a Layer Mask to control the blurred effect. Duplicate the layer and blur the duplicated layer (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur). Then click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

Press "d" for default black and white colors, and press "x" to swap colors. Select a soft brush and use shortcut keys "[" and "]" to control brush size. Left-click on the Mask and and start painting. Paint with black/white to hide/reveal the blurred image. You can Alt-click on the mask to view the black and white mask by itself. Alt-click again to restore the image.

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Blur

Mask

Blurred Layer

You can redo any portion of the image at any time. Just choose a color (black/white) and repaint the mask. All layers and masks are saved when you save the image as a Photoshop file — facilitating edits at a later date. This method incorporates immediate feedback as you paint and the ability to re-edit the image at a later date.

Depth of Field, Part II
Pass your cursor over the image below. The blurred-faded background, and visible depth of field, are all done in Photoshop.

There are several points to note in the rollover image.

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The subject is brighter than the background. This calls more attention to the subject. The background is sharp near the camera, but blurred away from the camera.

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The subject remain sharp from head-to-toe.

Although you could use the techniques described in the preceeding section (Focus I), manually selecting the subject in this example is a monumental job! A third-party plugin, KnockOut by Procreate, greatly simplifies the task. Make a selection in KnockOut and save the image mask (File > Save Image Mask) from within KnockOut. Then exit KnockOut without applying the mask. For our purposes it's easier to work with the mask as a file. In this example I'll assume the original is on Layer 0. Right-click on the layer and Duplicate Layer to make Layer 1. Open the Knockout mask as a separate file, give focus to Layer 1 in the image, and Select > Load Selection. Right-click on Layer 1 and choose Layer Via Cut. The Layers palette should resemble the following:

Layer 1 contains the background and Layer 2 contains the subject. Click on Layer 1 and Lock Transparent Pixels (the small button near the top left of the Layers palette Now blur Layer 1 with a gaussian blur. ). Doing an inverse selection and Locking Transparent Pixels in this layer prevents blurred edge effects around the selection. One more minor adjustment. Currently the feet are sharp, but the background they're standing on is blurred! We need to make the background sharp at the bottom of the picture. That means we need to make Layer 1 transparent at the bottom to let the sharp background, Layer 0, show through. Add a Layer Mask (small button at the bottom of the Layers palette) to Layer 1 and draw a black-white gradient to control the sharpness of the background. The Layers palette should resemble the following:

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To independently adjust brightness/contrast for background and subject we'll add Curves above the appropriate layers.

Unfortunately, the Curves for Layer 2 will affect both Layer 2 and Layer 1. To localize the effect of Curves 2 we'll link Curves 2 and Layer 2 together, open the Layers palette menu, and specify New Set from Linked. Change mode from Pass Through to Normal. The Layers palette should resemble the following.

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Now you can independently adjust Curves to control background and subject. Note that Layer 0 still contains the original unedited image, should you need to redo any selections at a later date.

Soft Focus
Glamour photographs and portraits of women are often done in soft focus. In a studio the effect may be achieved with a special lens or soft focus filter that slightly blurs highlights in the image. You can come close to this effect with the Gaussian Blur in Photoshop.

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The above portrait was retouched as follows: Red lips. To give a healthy glow to the model's lips, add a Curves adjustment layer. To select the lips, zoom-in and press "q" to enter Quick Mask mode. Paint the lips with a black softtipped paint brush. Use shortcut keys "[" and "]" to control brush size. Press "q" again to exit Quick Mask mode. Increase the contribution of red and blue for more vivid lip color. Gaussian blur. Duplicate the original layer and apply a substantial gaussian blur — about twice as much as you think you'll need. Reduce opacity of the blurred layer to 30-50%. Sharpen eyes/lips/hair. Apply a layer mask (small button at the bottom of the layers palette) to the blur. With a black soft-tipped brush, paint the eyes, lips, and hair in the mask. This makes the blur transparent and allows the sharp base image to show through. A strong blur with a large radius that is reduced in strength will yield a more satisfactory effect than just blurring the image directly. Note that you can also reduce blurring in the Edit > Fade menu immediately after applying the blur. However, using layers and varying opacity facilitates changes at a later date.

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