The April meeting of the Calvert Photography Club was held on Saturday, April 16, 2016.
Today we held a mini Photoshop workshop where members could bring their laptops and get some hands on experience and assistance in applying the techniques learned in class. This was the first of a series of presentations we hope to provide on Photoshop. As we continue our series throughout the year each subsequent presentation will include more features, increasing in complexity to build our knowledge and skills in Photoshop. This month, club member Carl Occhipinti introduced some basic Photoshop features including working with Layers.
Photoshop was designed for a number of different things according to Carl, not just for photographers, and there are a number of ways to do everything. Carl recommended the following settings:
Under Edit – set Color Settings to Prophoto RGB which is the largest gamut (this is because you can go to a smaller gamut later if you need to, but you can’t go from a smaller to larger.) Set Color Management policies to Convert to Working RGB.
Bridge is a file management system that comes with Photoshop. It is only for organizing your photos.
Camera Raw also comes with Photoshop, and here you can do the same initial adjustments as in Lightroom. If you open your photo in Camera Raw and make some initial adjustments, then press Shift-Open to open the photo as a smart object. Opening as a smart object will give you the option to go back and change things later without destroying any picture quality. Also, Carl says, always work on a duplicate later, never on your original. To make a new layer in Photoshop you can press Ctrl-J or drag the layer to be duplicated down to the Make New Layer icon on the Layers Palette. Make sure that the new layer is highlighted to begin working on it. You can name layers just by double clicking on the layer in the Layers Palette.
Blending Modes is a pull-down menu on the Layers Palette which allows you to make various adjustments to the layers. If you want to lighten areas of a photo one good way to do that is as follows:
Make a new layer. Change the blending mode on that layer to Screen. This will lighten the entire layer. Then hold the Alt key while clicking on the Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette. This will put a black mask on the layer effectively hiding that Screen layer that you just made. Now make sure that the color is set to white and using a soft paint brush tool, paint in any areas of the photo that you want to lighten. You can adjust the opacity of the paint brush tool at the top of the page and paint in areas a little at a time until you are satisfied. You can also adjust the opacity of the entire layer in the Layers Palette if you feel that your paint brush adjustments are too much. The size of the paint brush can be easily adjusted by pressing the [ key to make the brush smaller or the ] key to make the brush larger.
To darken portions of an image you can use the same technique as above using the Multiply blending mode instead of Screen.
Another method of darkening or lightning areas of a photo is by using a Curves Adjustment layer. Click on the Create a Curves Adjustment Layer on the Adjustment Layer Palette. Then click on the finger at the top of the Curves Palette and click on an area of the image that you want to lighten or darken. Then drag down to darken or up to lighten. This also will darken or lighten the entire image. Now do Ctrl-I which will put a black mask on the image, again effectively hiding the adjustment you just created. Now using the Paint Brush Tool, paint in with white on the areas to be adjusted. Again, as with the first method, you can adjust the opacity on the Brush Tool when painting in the adjustments, or adjust the opacity of the entire image by changing the opacity in the Layers Palette.
Here is another interesting trick. Say you have some photos of a group of people and one person looks better in one shot while everyone else may look better in another shot. Do Select All to select the image where most of the group looks the best. Then do Edit Copy to Paste that image on top of the other image where maybe one of the group looks better. To line up the images first select both layers on the Layers Palette. Then click on Edit - Auto Align Layers. You can then change the Blending Mode to Difference and use the Move Tool to line the images up further. Next, click on the Mask icon in the Layers Palette and paint in with a black brush to expose the person who looks better in the bottom layer.
To Flatten your image into one Layer once you are done, click on the icon at the top right hand side of the Layers Palette and then click Flatten Image.
A slide show with Scenes from Philadelphia was presented by Sandy Carr.
The April photo assignment was “Black-Out” (Photos showing black or dark backgrounds). Winners for April were: 3rd Place – Melissa Chin, 2nd Place – Don Tyndall, 1st Place – Rick McQuade.
The May photo assignment is “Food Lovers”. The limit is 2 images per person and 1500 pixel max on the long edge.
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