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Photoshop-Tutorial

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					Photoshop Tutorial
Ok then I’ve been asked by a few people to write a short tutorial on colour correction and retouching, basically how to make a good image better. This tutorial expects the user to have a basic understanding of Photoshop. The first thing I would say is get the composition right yes you can crop, rotate a flip but you can’t easily change your composition. Take a look at is image of a turtle. I like it but it doesn’t sit right, the colours are off (very blue, and no definition in the turtle it’s self) and I seem to have cut the tail off the Remora (sucker fish). The first thing I will do is remove the remora then sort out the colour and lighting. These steps can mostly be done in any order I just tend to do them in the order that I think of them, and some people say a few of the steps are long winded. 1. Remove the remora (sucker fish) First make a mask. Using the pen tool trace around the remora keeping tight around the turtle but leaving some space to blend were you can. I suppose you can use another selection tool but I find the pen the best way of drawing a path I know it can be tricky but well worth persevering with it.

Once the path has been drawn save it in the path pallet.

Now you can delete “shape 1” layer in the layers pallet, and you should still have the path saved in the path pallet click on this and turn into a selection.

You will then see the basic mask, to aid the blending later on I like to soften the edges where I can. The best place to do this is in “Quick mask” mode.

The thing to remember in this mode is anything red is solid and you can use any painting tools to give you almost any section affect. All I’m going to do is use a large soft paint brush to soften a few of the edges (Not keep the edges next to the turtle sharp)

When you go back to the “standard mode” your mask is complete. I like to hide the selection so I can see how the image is changing, do this by pressing command>H. You can now safely paint out the remora using the clone stamp tool remembering to keep re-sampling the brush as you need to. Take your time with this stage a good mask and re-touching will make all the difference. 2. Colour correction I could go on forever about using levels and curves to get the perfect colour balance, but if you can cheat why not? The first thing I try is “Auto levels” normally does a good job but about a year ago I was sent an action script which takes all the stress out of the basic adjustments I have made a few small changes to this script but its essentially the same file I was sent. (Sorry I don’t know the original creator of this script, if you know please drop me an email so I can credit them) I have included the file for you to download. Use one of these to get you started I’m going to use the script As it runs just press return when prompted, don’t worry about changing any of the values. The image below shows before and after the action has been applied. What made me choose the script above levels? The action gives a quick colour fix for the turtle and the purple tint it gives the water can be sorted out later.

At this point I like to grab a snapshot in the history pallet for use later on. (Remember these snapshots are not saved)

Using the action is a great starting point but you still need to work on the colours try the adjustment tools like colour balance By adding a little more blue in the mid tone you start to get rid of the purple tint in the water. Don’t worry to much about the turtle it’s self as we can sort that out in a minute but don’t go to mad.

Create a new layer and select the snapshot that we made earlier which is under the history pallet. Now use the history brush to paint in parts of the turtle emphasising any parts that need it like the head and top of shell. I haven’t touched the flippers or the underside, as I want do that on anther layer you may need to use the rubber to tidy up around the edges. Then using colour balance add some red and magenta onto that layer if the colour seems to strong in one area you can always change the opacity of the layer or use the rubber to take away some of the image from that layer.

Once you have got one area how you want it go onto the next i.e. the flippers, remembering where your light is coming from and that the colour a any reflected light on this image it would be blue. I sometimes find it necessary to repeat this process a few times on different layers to get it just right.

If you were to view these layers without the background it would look a little strange but this is exactly what we are after just adding a little colour in a few places.

When you are finished it should look something like this, although very nice still looks a little flat. The problem is in the water, almost one tone across the whole image it make it look very flat.

So add a few more layers and with a combination of the gradient tool a large brush add tone across the image going from light top right to dark bottom left, once you have added some tone you can also play with the layer opacity to get it right.

Its also worth while trying the transform>rotate to get the gradient just where you want it

The last finishing touch would be to blur the bottom of the turtle where I removed the Remora (just a little mind you) this will help the image blend in to its background. Flatten all your layers, I have ended up with 12 after all the touching up. Once you have done this there are a few ways of blurring either by using the water droplet tool or by using a blur filter. I will use the filter as I feel it gives me more control. Go into quick mask mode and paint over the area you need to affect, go back to normal mode and invert the selection (remember everything red is masked) Then as before I like to hide the selection Command>H then by using the Gaussian blur filter put the edge slightly out of focus With my image it only took a radius of 2.0 pixels. This just softens the cut out.

You should now be finished, if you need to you can always crop the image a little as well. If you compare the two images you should the end result works very well. If you want to practice this I have included the original image for you to download. I hope this tutorial helps you out. Any comments please mail me. saeed@lovetodive.co.uk

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