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Enhancing Your Image With Photoshop

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posted on Mar, 21 2006 @ 12:38 AM
Okay – This is meant to be a tutorial-on-wheels….

As I think of new techniques to share, I’ll post them here when I’ve got the spare time…Tonight, I’ve got a little time for one such example:

Squeezing the Most Out Of Each Photo
This is a great tutorial to follow along with step-by-step…So feel free to download my sample image or try it out on your own

I’d like to credit Dallas_TX at Worth1000 for the underlying structure of this method he provided in a tutorial on said website…

Any digital photo junkie can do this, and it will turn most ordinary images into great images…All extraordinary images into sublime images

Don’t forget….Variety is the spice of life, so play around with these settings and find out what you like best…Each image calls for its own fine touches…

So let’s get this thing going….

STEP 1: Let’s get a few basic setting out of the way first….Make sure your camera is set to store images in AdobeRGB color format – Otherwise, you’re eliminating about 25% of your potential color range…

This should be easy enough – It’s probably somewhere in your camera menu – Google it if you can’t find it…

In Photoshop, go to EDIT --> COLOR SETTINGS….Again, make sure RGB is set to AdobeRGB

STEP 2: Can you save your photos in RAW? If so, DO IT!! (RAW is a whole other tutorial)

STEP 3: Okay – Now we’ve got our photo we won’t to enhance…It’s been either pulled straight out of your camera as a TIFF or JPEG, or you’ve already done some work to it as a RAW:

With original file in hand, open in Photoshop…

STEP 4: Make sure you can see the full image - Ctrl+0 is “fit-on-screen” view

No we’re going to define what areas are true black and true white in the photo - IMAGE --> ADJUSTMENTS --> LEVELS (Ctrl+L)

Set your options they way I have them here:

You’ll also want to click on the black square and change each of the RGB values from 0,0,0 to 12,12,12 – Change the white levels from 250,250,250 to 245,245,245 – Save as defaults – OK

While holding the ALT key, move the far left slider slowly to the right – You’ll begin to see areas of black crop up….The first splotch of black you see is the darkest spot on your image….We want to tell Photoshop where that is, so select the all black eye-dropper to the far left in that Levels window and click on time on that dark splotch…

Do the same thing to the far right slider to define the brightest spot on your image and this time, click that brightest spot with the all white eye-dropper on the far right…

Now just move your sliders on both sides down until they match the respective ends of the histogram, as seen below

Click OK

STEP 5: Now let’s add a little more saturation


Bump up the saturation until you’re happy…I wouldn’t go over 12-15….

Also, try going to the drop down menu and select any color….doesn’t matter which one for this example….Then, with your default eye-dropper tool that comes up with the hue/saturation slider menu, click on anything in the image…

I click on green the tractor….But I don’t like green tractors….Do you? I like purple tractors….

So slide that hue bar all the way to left….Voila! Of course, this turns everything else green in the image to purple, but for fine-tuning colors and/or completely removing them (such as those annoying magenta or cyan tones that can dominate a poorly exposed image) it works wonders…

Actually changing the color of the tractor to purple without affecting anything else…is…well….You guessed it – Another tutorial….

STEP 7: Save the large file as a TIFF and resize to something you can view in full screen at actual pixels….About 900 wide is a good marker…or 800 tall

Make sure all your cropping has been done at this point

To get the maximum results out of the next step though, you really need to resize

STEP 6: I want to see more detail – I want a sharper image without all the grainy noise that comes with it!


Set the Amount to 100 – Radius anywhere between 1.0 to 1.5 – Threshold stays at 0 – OK

Conversely, if you want less detail and more contrast…

Set the Amount to 20 – Radius to 80 – Threshold stays at 0 again – OK

I’m sticking with the sharper image though from our first unsharp mask…It doesn’t hurt sometimes to do both….

If you think the results are too eye-popping and don’t work well, you can still keep that sharpness and simply tone done the harsh lines by going to EDIT --> FADE UNSHARP MASK

Select “Darken” from the drop-down menu and you’ll see the results immediately

[STEP 7: Now lets add play with the tonality a bit…Go to IMAGE --> ADJUSTMENTS --> CURVES

We’re going to adjust the dark, light and middle tones in an s-curve here….

Your image will not need the same s-curve though – It’s a personal touch….Play with to you get it the way you like it…

That’s about it! Quite a difference!

If you’re going to post an image you manipulate in Photoshop on the web, or send it to someone else who does not use Photoshop, you’ll want to convert the color profile to sRGB so your image doesn’t lose saturation…

EDIT --> CONVERT TO PROFILE – Then select SRG and OK – Then you can “save for web” with confidence knowing other people will see your image with the right colors…

Maybe you want to add a border around the image?

IMAGE --> CANVAS SIZE….Select pixels as your unit of measurement, then add 20 to each side and select a color by clicking the square at the bottom and select OK…Add another if you like…

Let me know how this tutorial works for you, or if you have any questions…

Contrary to popular belief, I do enjoy comments

posted on Mar, 21 2006 @ 04:27 PM
Here are a few good examples of what the above methods can do when your photo is way off on the white-balance….My previous example didn’t really have any white-balance issues to begin with, which can typically be mitigated by properly exposing your image and learning the control measures of your camera…

Nonetheless, it happens to us all….

I pulled all of these example images off a Google image search for “bad white balance”

Also works well for those older faded images and faux-color techniques…

posted on Mar, 21 2006 @ 04:31 PM
Hey Ennron, those are some really good tips there!

How do you find the time between everything else you do??

posted on Mar, 21 2006 @ 04:38 PM
do you do request photos?

posted on Mar, 21 2006 @ 04:51 PM

Originally posted by Mechanic 32
Hey Ennron, those are some really good tips there!

How do you find the time between everything else you do??


I'd probably go mad if I didn't spend a little time every day playing around in Photoshop, so it's just something already built into the routine

do you do request photos?

Feel free to u2u me

posted on Mar, 21 2006 @ 08:37 PM
Converting to B&W

There’s a bad way….There’s an easy way….There’s the best way I know how, and I’ll show you all three…

First, you have to start with an image that is conducive to conversion…Some images are simply better in back and white…

Whatever you do, don’t set your camera to take photos in b&w – Take them in color and convert, even if you know you want the end result in B&W…You’ll lose a lot of image quality by going the in-camera conversion route…

Anyways – Let’s get going….Oh – And BTW….I’ve usually already gone through the tutorial above on all my images before I decide to convert to B&W, so to get the best results you may want to follow the first guide on your image before following this one…


The Ugly

I’ll make this quick….


It has its uses….but not here…Don’t do it!!!


The Not-So-Bad (Okay, so in the movie he’s baaaaad


Check off the monochrome box…And no, you’re not finished…

Play with all of the sliders until you find a happy mix of contrast and brightness…


The Good

Now let’s get a better result…Once you get used to doing this, it only takes a second…


When the New Layer dialogue box pops up, keep the default settings and click okay…The Hue/Saturation box will then pop up – Again…click okay – We’ll come back to this layer…

Create another new hue/saturation layer - LAYER --> NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER --> HUE/SATURATION

This time, select the COLOR option in the mode drop-down box…Click Okay

When the hue/saturation box pops up, completely desaturate the image by sliding the saturation bar all the way to your left…Click Okay

Alright…Now we’re going back to our first adjustment layer – double click on the hue/saturation icon in that layer slice to bring back up our dialogue box for hue/saturation…

Bump the saturation up to around +10

Now watch the variance in your image change drastically as you slide the hue bar from one end to the other…

I promise you’ll find one you like – This is a matter of personal taste, but once you’ve found it, click okay…

Now we’re going to merge all visible layers and stamp them into one new layer…With that same layer we just worked on selected, press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E

Your new layer will automatically be selected…

Now we want to lighten the image up a bit b/c we want just a little more contrast to make the image pop…

Take the middle slider in the histogram, and move it to the left until the middle box reads 1.10 – Or just type it in…

Play around with the settings here….Start with Amount=30 and Radius=100 and Threshold=0….Reduce them until you find a setting you like…

That’s it

I was just goofing off with “The Good” “The Bad” and “The Ugly” as my theme photos for each method though…It’s easier to see the differences by putting them together side-by-side on the same image…

I think this image will work well as an example:


The Ugly (or directly converted to grayscale)

The Not-So-Bad (or Channel-Mixer)

The Good (or adjustment layers)

Ah yes! The wonderful shades of gray….

[edit on 3/21/2006 by EnronOutrunHomerun]

posted on Apr, 29 2006 @ 07:12 PM
Editing Images in RAW Format

Traditionalist – Close your eyes….I’m entering the digital “new age” photography controversy zone

Some cameras have the ability to save your photos in RAW format – Although it considerably increases the average file size (around 6.5MB), the versatility that comes along with this format far exceeds such limitations…

Everything I shoot now is saved in RAW…

What is RAW format??

I suggest checking out this excellent article for in-depth information about the differences between RAW, TIFF and JPEG….

There are a few basic elements you will need to know first….

RAW format will not be recognized by Windows – You’ll need a third party program to view the images – Picasa is an excellent tool that I use to preview my RAW images – It gives me a good idea of what images I want to port over to Photoshop…

Photoshop has a free plug-in you can download directly off their website called Camera RAW – It will recognize and open RAW files…

Before bringing into the part of Photoshop you’re most familiar with though, you’ll have the true benefit to RAW files you’ll need to work with though…This is where some people say you loose the value, given the processing time involved – There’s definitely a decent argument there….RAW is not for everyone, nor is it meant for every shot…

This is what you’ll see…

Now you have the ability to go in and edit to your hearts content….Fiddle around with the image variables and find something that works for you….

You can go from an out-of-camera shot like this:

To a post-RAW editing image like this:

Mind you, no further work other than RAW editing has been done to the image above…Before using this image for anything, I would still take it through the first tutorial I posted above…

RAW processing is a natural progression in the world of digital photography….You can bet your bottom dollar that every professional worth their salt uses it…And uses it well…

Regardless of to what Nth degree you take your digital post-processing….If you don’t have a leg to stand on with a powerful image in the first place, no degree of processing will save you…

Let me know if you all have any questions or would like to see more samples of what RAW format can do….My hope is that I’ve converted at least ONE person today

posted on Apr, 29 2006 @ 07:20 PM
Great tutorial...thanks, I'll be printing this one out

posted on Apr, 29 2006 @ 07:36 PM

Originally posted by madhatter
Great tutorial...thanks, I'll be printing this one out


And I forgot to mention....Keep in mind - Nothing you do to your RAW image will destroy the original out-of-camera shot...

You're always able to return to the default settings...

Best of all - You can save your settings for one image, and apply them automatically to all your others!

posted on Apr, 29 2006 @ 08:33 PM
Is it just me, or are you glowing?!
Quick Masks & Screen Layers

Sometimes you need that radiant glow in a photo to really make that moment sing…Or maybe you just have some harsh shadows or dark skin complexions you need to lighten up…That’s not going to be a problem with the right tools in Photoshop…

Here’s the image we’ll be starting off with…

Step 1
We’re going to open our image in Photoshop, and after you get the majority of your editing out of the way, we want to enter the quick mask mode – So you’ll click this button:

You’ll want to the default black/white foreground/background colors by clicking that little black and white icon in the lower left-hand corner of the color selections….Then select the paintbrush tool…

Step 2
Zooming in on your image to a descent enough size to be able to paint within the lines of your subject, you’ll want to make sure that the brush size is adequate…The opacity and flow are both set to 100%....And then begin to trace around and fill-in your selection until you’re left with something that looks like this:

The more you stay within the lines of your subject, the better….You can always flip between the white and black colors to add/subtract from the selected areas…

Step 3
Confirm you have your entire subject selected by switching back over into Standard mode…Don’t worry – Everything will still be there if you need to go back and make changes…

Once you have it the way you like it, move back into Standard Mode and you’ll see that everything around what you just painted in has been selected….No problem…

Select the square marquee tool and right click anywhere on the page….In the drop-down menu, choose “Select Inverse”…

Then, making sure you don’t have any other layers selected….We’re going to do “New layer via copy”….or Ctrl+J

The hard work is over….

Step 4
Change the layer mode to SCREEN

I highly suggest playing around with this though…There are many other layers modes and you may find another look that compliments the image better….

WOW – Instant difference huh?? That’s a little too much for me though…

Let’s work on this a little more…

Step 5
Double-click your new layer to bring up the Layer Style window…

You’ll see a couple sliders at the bottom that say “Blend If”….I want you to hold the ALT key down and try moving those sliders around….Have a ball….

Adjust them until you find a shadow setting that works…

Step 6
Now I want to apply a fairly heavy Gaussian Blur….I went with about a 16.8 here…

Step 7
Now that part that begins to make this all make a little more sense…

I’m going to drop the opacity on this level WAY down…Of course – For each individual image and effect you’re going for, this will really vary – Maybe you want it at 100%.....It’s still too much for me though, even at 50%....

I took it down to 35%.....Then I simply went to Image --> Adjustments --> Photo Filter and added a heavy warming filter to the screen layer…

Here’s a Before and After….

Perhaps it would have helped if my subject was actually in a little better focus…huh?
It’s hard to keep 5 years olds still

This technique works wonders on wedding shots though…

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