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Photoshop Tricks, Part 1

For a humorous approach to touching up images in Photoshop, check out Gary Bouton's tips and tricks. He covers how to use Photoshop to firm up your subject's neckline with painless nipping and tucking, how to create images from text, how to work with an image's color palette using practical techniques and more. (From Inside Photoshop CS, Sams, ISBN: 0672326442.)

Author Info:
By: Sams Publishing
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 41
August 25, 2004
  1. · Photoshop Tricks, Part 1
  2. · Trick 2: Creating an Image Out of Text
  3. · Trick 3: Borrowing an Image's Color Palette
  4. · Posterized Piper
  5. · Trick 4: Removing Fringing from Leaves
  6. · Touching up the Image
  7. · More Touch Ups
  8. · Other Selection Techniques

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Photoshop Tricks, Part 1 - Touching up the Image
(Page 6 of 8 )

Here's how to commence with the first step in clearing away blah sky from the nice trees:

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool in Addition Mode
  1. Open the ParkWow.tif image from the Examples\Chap24 folder on the companion CD. On the Layers palette, double-click the Background layer title, and click on OK to accept the default settings.

Note - Changing zoom views A quick way to move an image's viewing zoom level to 30% is to enter that amount in the Zoom Level field. In Windows, this field is located at the bottom on the far left of the status bar; on the Mac, it's on the far left at the bottom image window scrollbar.

After entering the zoom level amount, press Enter (Return) and life is good.

  1. Choose the Rectangular Marquee tool from the toolbox, and marquee an area where trees meet monochrome sky. Hold the Shift key (this enables you to add to the current selection), and then create more rectangles until the sky looks somewhat like that shown in Figure 24.13. Add any remaining marquee selections necessary to include all the sky areas.

  2. Choose Select, Color Range, and then click the Eyedropper tool into the sky, as shown in Figure 24.14. Toy with the Fuzziness slider until you think you have reached the point where the leaves are not selected, but neither do they display spindly or missing components, such as branches. In this example, I set the Fuzziness to 31.

Insider - Oh, yes. If looking into that dinky preview box doesn't cut it for you, you can have Photoshop lay a matte down over the image itself to show you what's going to be selected. To do this, choose Black or White Matte from the Selection Preview drop-down list in the Color Range command. You can also choose the Quick Mask option (from the same drop-down list), and a transparent red tint will appear where the selection will be. This option can be useful as well.


Figure 24.13 -- Try to encompass all the "problem areas" with an additive succession of rectangular selections.

  1. Click on OK to exit the Color Range command. Then delete the sky; Delete (Backspace) ought to do the trick. The next wise thing to do is to click the Edit in Quick Mask icon (or press Q) and see, through the Quick Mask's tinting indicator, exactly how close you came to neatly trimming away the sky from the leaves. See Figure 24.15, and say, "Drat!" once or twice. Okay, we are not dead on with separating the leaves from the sky, but that's the whole point of this trick. You don't try to tighten the selection; instead, you paint into the gap that the selection marquee left.


Figure 24.14 -- Choose the appropriate amount of fuzziness with which to select sky tones. By the way, don't worry about the black areas to the left and right top of the Color Range window. This is a variation in sky and is easily deleted later.


Figure 24.15 -- It's actually better to have a gap in the selection than to have the selection eat into the trees so that when you delete the sky, the treetops look like a locust-fest was there.

  1. If the tinting shows the trees instead of the sky, Alt(Opt)+click on the Edit in Quick Mask mode icon to reverse what is tinted. Um, click on the Standard Editing mode button now (or press Q), and press Ctrl(Command)+Shift+I to invert the selection. Go to the Channels palette, and click the Save selection as channel icon at the bottom of the palette to save the selection to a channel.

  2. Get out the Brush tool, right-click (Macintosh: hold Ctrl and click), and choose the 21-pixel diameter soft-edged brush from the palette. Press Enter (Return) to hide the Brushes palette. The saved selection should still be loaded. Hold down the Alt(Opt) key to toggle to the Eyedropper tool, and click a color really close to the selection edge. Choose Darken for the painting Mode on the Options bar (better to go darker than lighter when mating a new sky with an image), and then make brisk strokes that go all the way to the edge of the selection marquee, as shown in Figure 24.16. Resample often, pressing the Alt(Opt) key to use the Eyedropper; the color of the treetops varies wildly from pixel to pixel!


Figure 24.16 -- You are filling in the areas that, through the Color Range's antialiasing feature, kept the selection you made from actually touching the treetops. In simpler terms, the gap in the selection consists of non-transparent pixels of only 3 or 4% opacity. You're driving the opacity up to an amount that looks real, in context.

  1. Spend a few more minutes painting in the gap around the leaves. Now it's time for the acid test—to drop a new sky into the background. When you're satisfied with the results, press Ctrl(Command)+D to deselect.

  2. Press Ctrl(Command)+S. Keep the file open, name it ParkAbsurd.psd (in Photoshop's native file format), and save it to your hard disk.

This chapter is from Inside Photoshop CS, by Gary Bouton (Sams, 2004, ISBN: 0672326442). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today.

Buy this book now.

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